by Sandra Smelson Frank


I only have good memories of Newark. I was born in 1953 and lived in Newark until the 80’s. My mother told me that my father and her worked in Fischer’s Bakery, but I have yet to find any information or photos of the one in Newark.

I lived most of my life with my grandparents and aunt, they were the best. You can say they spoiled me. My grandmother brought me a Patty Play Pal doll, it was almost as big as me. One day I was in the kitchen and I left the doll sitting on the floor in the living room. I heard my grandfather yell “Sandra get off the cold floor”. My grandmother could not stop laughing. I remember going to the candy store with a quarter and coming out with a little brown bag full of candy.

My grandfather sometimes hung out in Lucky’s Tavern, across the street from Hawthorne Avenue School. Sometimes I would go in to get him. Most of the customers would pinch my cheek and give me a dollar, those where the fun days.

I remember going downtown with my grandmother and always ending the day with a hot dog and orange drink in the basement of Klein's or Bamberger's. I can’t remember which one, but I can remember how good they tasted. I used to walk all around Newark with my best friend Ellen. We would walk on Clinton Ave and go into Watson Bagels to get a hot fresh bagel for a nickel. You didn’t need any butter or cream cheese on it, it was so good plain. After that we would go to Valley Fair where they had a pet department.

One Easter I bought a dozen baby chicks for one dollar. I kept them in a box and when they started to get bigger, I think, my grandfather took them to a farm. My friend and I would ride our bikes to each other’s house when she moved to Lehigh Ave which was near Beth Israel Hospital. I was living in Newark when the riots broke out. That was pretty scary. I miss Newark a lot, when you could walk anywhere day or night, any neighborhood, without thinking twice about it. Hope you enjoyed my Newark story.


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