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
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
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
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
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.