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Beginning in 1959 my parents and my sisters, brother, and I went on our first family picnic to Interstate Park in New Jersey. It was followed by many more including my Grandmother, all my Aunts and my Uncles at the time, and two of my oldest sisters were married so with my brother-in-law it was a great big summer day filled with lots to do!
We would all gather and meet there early as possible, to get a good table close to the bathroom area! We set up the tables with goodies that were prepared on the day before someone would make the potato salad, another would make the corn on the cob and so on, there was a boat dock right there you could go fishing if you wanted, and there was a great trail to hike on that went on it seemed forever up the palisades!
Then we take turns playing football, or tossing a baseball, the kids would fill up their water pistols, including the grownup kids! We would also go there on the 4th of July in the 1960’s over the years, It made for some great memories.
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One of the best memories I have as a kid in the 1950s was the summer evenings when we got to stay out a little longer and just hanging out in front of the house with a few family members and friends, my 6 cousins lived in the building right next door from us, and would come out also especially on those hot summer nights as no one had air conditioners back then.
We would play games from the time like johnny on the pony and more. Sometimes we would have sparklers that lit up the night and then wave them around! and sometimes we would just hang out on the porch after getting a bottle of Coke, Pepsi, or 7up soda around at Mom Bruno’s candy store we weren’t allowed to leave the area other than going to Mom’s store we had to stay in front of the house or we had to come in for the night.
we hardly stayed out past 9:00pm back then and if we were lucky till 9:30! I think the parents did that just to get extra time to watch tv without the kids! There was a barber shop I used to go to over the years and it was on the way from those very buildings, and not much had changed on the outside over the years, and as I walked past them on the way I could almost see us there on the porch with my cousins and friends just being kids and having fun on a summer evening.
The 4th of July!
The 4th of July was always a favorite day of mine growing up in the 1950’s, it was a day that began early in the day with events at the city stadium, and they held track events and much more!
As the day went on we would go in the early day then head back home to gather together and see who had the firecrackers or sparklers, and take turns throwing them in the air and running!
We were always careful not to get in the way when they went off, and a few of the older kids liked to throw those cherry bombs off! Wow were they loud and scary watching them go off! As the day went into evening, we would gather up and travel back to the stadium for the competition of the marching bands!
The bands came from all over the New Jersey area and everyone looked forward to viewing it at night but it was always a hot and humid night on the 4th, and the bands played great even in the humid heat!
But a few always got weak from the heat and had to rest. Then at last the big event of the night! The fireworks display that went on for about a half hour all the light in the stadium would go out and the crowd would roar! About 10:pm it ended and we all went home with memories of the day that we would talk about for days after.
God Bless America!
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(c) Can Stock Photo / Boris15
My family never had an Air conditioner in the 1950’s, but then again most of those who lived on my block didn’t have one also, so we were all in the same boat! But no complaints we all got through those hot summer days!
Time for a snack!
Way back in 1953 I went with my Mother, Aunt and cousin to see the Walt Disney film Peter Pan, it was the first time I ever went to see a film at the drive-in. My cousin and I were more excited about being there than watching the film! It was a night-time feature and that make it more fun! And in between there was an Intermission, so people could get treats at the snack counter.
If I remember well there were 2 films that night, I don’t recall the other film that played but it didn’t matter as me and my cousin we didn’t sit long enough in the car to watch that much anyway, we were always going to the snack counter for candy, soda, hot dogs!
But I think our Mother’s were kind of mad and even glad that we weren’t in the car much so they could watch the films in peace! But thinking back I have to say, my cousin and I had a great time that summer of 1953 and a memorable time for 2 cousins who shared a fun night at the Drive-in!
Illustration licensed from (c) camstock photos
Browie Camera 1957
Back in the summer of 1957, I was coming back from Mom Bruno’s candy store around the block from my house and my sister was outside the house with her Browie Camera, and told my and my cousin who lived in the building next to mine and my two friends to sit on the porch to have our picture taken.
And she had us sit on the lower steps, while i was eating my 5 cent raspberry Italian ice! She told me to put it down and I said I have to eat it because it’s hot and would melt.
So after a few minutes she took a few photos, I’m not sure what happened to the others but the one I’m talking about is located here: Lazy days of Summer 1957 So on the top step is me eating that Italian ice and my friends and my cousin on the bottom step!
As you can see that’s my bike in the background and the grease stains we made from always fixing our bikes, I look at it now and think what were we doing! but it’s the way it was then grease and all! I would do it all again if Icould.
Photo Licensed from (c) Can Stock Photo.com
On those summer days of the 50’s, it seemed like we were always fixing our bikes outside. If wasn’t one thing it was another! Like taking out the inner tube if it had a flat we would always go to Pep Boys about 5 blocks away and get a tube repair kit and walk back and place the tube in a pail of water to see where the leak was.
When the air bubbles came up we dried it off and put on the patch, if it wasn’t that we would be taking the chain off to fix it, taking off the main link and adjusting the wheel. Then if that wasn’t enough, we were taking out the ball bearings and lubricating them if they needed it.
Oh I remember how the store smelled of rubber from the new tires in the store and anytime I get near a new tire today, it all comes back to me and I can vision my friends and me on a summer carefree day of the 1950’s going to Pep boys.
You never forget your childhood friends I was lucky to know them, friends to fix bikes with, to go see 2 saturday movies and cartoons by the way for .25 Cents friends to go play ball with, friends you fought with, friends you laughed with, yes those were special times, so here’s to my childhood friends wherever they are, and a special thanks to Pep Boys!
Every once in a while a memory comes back to me from better days from the 1950’s, This one is from when I was about 8 or 9 and it was a kids kind of summer day bright sunshine and hot! We didn’t really mind the heat much in those days as no one I knew had air conditioning. Sometimes on a nice day like this my Father and Uncle would take me with them to go crabbing down off the piers in the Hudson River in Hoboken.
So we would carry a few crabbing nets and a bucket and bait and walk down there a good walk but you never thought about the walk. We would throw the nets in the water then wait awhile and pull the nets up if we caught any crabs we would put them in the bucket and start over again we would stay for hours then head back home I didn’t touch the crabs I didn’t want to get snapped by them! LoL
I remember in the 1950’s the city I lived in held a may walk event that was held in the stadium and was an all day event! It started with a small parade of floats that would go to the stadium and there would be events, like track and more…
Then they would give out lunch boxes that held a sandwich, a candy bar, and the best, a high bouncer rubber ball! the kids would also get tickets for a half pint of milk and an ice cream Dixie cup! It was a day long event! Great Memories!!