Roseville Section of Newark

by Pat Bilotti


I grew up on N. 8th St. across from St. Francis Church. We watched the church being built and even sold lemonade to the workers. Our CCD classes at St. Francis not only taught us about Catholicism, but also about how to resist being hit in the head by a nun's yardstick. I have a vivid memory of Easter services at the old St. Francis on N. 7th St. where laymen carried a huge cross down the aisle and people in the pews were sobbing hysterically in remembering Christ's suffering. It was very impressive and meaningful.

I attended Abington Avenue elementary school and Barringer High School. We went to "The Blue" for lunch and gabfests. We danced to the Blue Jackets music at Barringer. We had bonfires the evening before our football games.

I remember going to the Roller Derby near Frelinghuysen Ave. and watching the rough and tumble skaters trying to nudge their way ahead of another skater. Some went over the rail as we watched in disbelief.

During our teenage years, we also roller skated on most Saturday afternoons and took the Bloomfield Avenue bus (was it #60 or #27) to the rink. I remember wearing a skate key around my neck and carrying the metal box that held the prized skates.

We moved to N.10th Street, across from City Stadium, and for years watched the lineup for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade right in front of our home. We also went to the stadium for July 4th circus shows and fabulous fireworks.

On the corner of N.8th and Bloomfield Avenue there was a car wash on Louis Long's property big enough for just one car at a time. A car drove up a ramp to get into the "bubble" to be washed and rinsed. It was fun to watch.

A few doors down from the car wash was Biase's Restaurant. It was a big place where parties were also held. On Halloween, the neighborhood kids, wearing their costume, were treated to a lot of goodies by the owners.

We used to go the Branch Brook Park with rented bicycles, which cost ten cents an hour, and take our chances cycling down "Dead Man's Hill." I see that hill now and then when we visit the park to see the Cherry Blossoms. Today I wouldn't even walk down it!

My father drove us to Rotunda Pool to cool off on some hot summer days. It was so crowded, but so much fun. There were never any problems as we appreciated the little we had.

I can still hear the calls of the liver man, rag man, peddler, Dugan's (put the big "D" in the window), and the knife sharpener when they went around the blocks of our area. I can hear the music playing from a traveling car that was asking us to elect Mayor Villani.

We used to collect dishes, etc. whenever we went to the movie theatre on Orange St. A bunch of us would go and made a complete dinnerware set for my brother and sister-in-law.

I will always remember my Newark days.


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