Here’s one for the books! I think it was the summer of 1957/58 when word got around that there were two New York Yankees showing up at the restaurant around the block from my house, I don’t remember who spread the word but it was a suprise to say the least!
We didn’t know who it could be we heard it might be a pitcher or a hitter but it didn’t matter anyway, I mean where does a kid see Yankkee players other then TV or at the ball park? and In a store just a block from you home!
Most of us kids were yankee fans that I can remember but a few of us liked the Brooklyn Dodgers, and a great team they were! With Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Pee Wee Reese, and other greats. It seemed like the Yanks and Dodgers were always in the world series in the 1950’s.
But back to my story I got together with a few of my friends and we hurried to the store and we were like, it can’t be true why would the Yankees come to a store right in our neighborhood what’s the odds?
So we crossed the steert and walked into the store and sure enough there they stood with a bunch of people and other kids who were waiting for an autograph! I did get one Yankeet to sign my ball but I lost it sometime later over the years. It was Bill “Moose” Skowron! who played first base at the time. And I can’t recall the other yankee, I think it was Gil Mcdougald But I’m really not sure but his name seemed to click in my head when thinking back but it was when I was 10 or 11 years old.
We found out later it was the store owner who knew one or the other of the players and that’s how it came to be that 2 yanks made a visit in a corner store on a summer’s day in the 1950s. Let’s Go Yankees!
This is a true story that’s bitter-sweet for me from the 1950’s through the 1960’s It’s about a childhood friend who passed away in 1966 in an auto accident, he was only 19 when it happened but my story starts from the 1950s, he lived a couple of houses from me and he would hang out with us and in the summer and we played a lot of baseball across the street at the monerstary grounds.
Kevin was his name and he had red hair and freakles and he was the one kid on the block who seemed to have all the bats, baseballs, beause most of us had only one bat between us and I didn’t have a glove that was left handed, so I always had to use one of their gloves I was the only left handed kid of the boys.
So we would choose up sides and play baseball but if Kevin didn’t like being wrong on anything and then he would take all the balls and bats, and storm off and go home and the game was over! This was normal for us “here he goes again”! Then we would find a way to play a new game. There was a couple of summers we would play our “world series” game and his Grandfather who lived with him would be the coach, it was played like a real game 9 innings and 3 outs, like real baseball but not a full lineup!
I don’t remember who won the games but it was fun to just play in it and Kevin brought all his equipment with him! And we were like hope he doesn’t get mad and leave! But he ever did most likey because his Grandfather was there. Over the years we moved on and I only saw him at the dances we played at as a band in the 60’s, he was in high school then and would come with a few other kids, and I think a girlfriend, we would say a quick hello untill the next time.
Kevin had this great car that he fixed up a real cool looking car and the last time I saw him I was walking down to the poolroom that me and my friends used to hang out in the 1960s and it’s weird, but as I was walking across the street I noticed him waiting for the light to change he was the first car, I was about to say hello but the light changed and he took off and I just went my way, and in the morning my father said to me “Your friend was killed last night in an accident” I read the headline I coulnd’t believe it!
Every once in awhile I think back and remember Kevin and think how sad because he was a bright kid and who knows what he could have been if he lived we’ll never know. I wanted to share this with you because Kevin never got the chance to look back, so whatever decade your favorite memories are from as a kid, cherish them all.
I was thinking the other day of how aromas can bring you back to a certain time in the past like, the smell of the street after it rains on a hot summer’s day, or the aroma of the air on a crisp fall day and so on. And that got me thinking how music can bring you back to a memory from the past as well!
Besides Elvis, the Everly Brothers had a great sound and tight harmonies and great songs like, “Wake Up Little Susie”, “bird-dog” and more. Rock and Roll was in full swing and my favorite female singer at that time was Connie Francis with her hits” Who’s Sorry Now” Stupid Cupid” playing on the radio.
And that brought me back to the day I ran in at the tavern my Father worked part-time at just around the block from my house, to ask for a nickel or a dime to go the Mom’s next door and Connie was on TV singing “who’s Sorry Now” and I said to myself “she’s the best girl singer ever”! Then ran out the door for my treats .
To me the Everly Brothers were the Beatles of that time, and even they were influenced by them with the wonderful music of the 1950s! It’s funny when I was living in the times then, I didn’t know it was the fabulous 50’s! as It’s now referred to or look around saying wow how great is this!
But there was something about it and you could feel it, it’s only as the years pass you look back and say, Yes it really was a special time! and just imagine I was one of the lucky ones to be there when it was all happening!
There was a time where a kid could travel around without a worry this short story reminds me of how I did that from time to from Mom Bruno who owned the candy store around the block from my house.
Every once in while when I went to Mom’s for something, she would yell Hey Bobby! to get my attention before I hurried out the store. I came back to the counter and she would say” Do me a favor I need you to go the the store a few blocks away and pick up a few things and bring it right back and I’ll give you .25 cents you and can pick out what ever you want.
Wow! ok Not quite like hitting the lottery but it was exciting to me so Mom gives me a note with her list of what she needs and I head out to the store I go into the store then hand over the note and money to the owner, who gos in the back and fills the order in about 15 minutes or so, and in a large box there are cartons of cigarettes, boxes of display candies, and othe items, he then ties it up with twine rope so i can carry it the few blocks to Mom’s.
So here I am 10 or 11 years old and walking back to Mom’s without a worry about anyone stopping me or trying to take anything from the box, the items were aways out in the open for all to see as the man never had the top of the box sealed.
But I never once had anyone question me about it so I went right back to the store and mom would say thanks and then she would say ” Pick out what you want Bobby” but like I said once before a kid could get a bit with candy, being 2 for a penny, soda, about 5 to 7 cents, ice cream, about the same I did that a number of times for mom Just wanted to share this!
Back in the winters and summers of the1950’s my father worked part time around the corner tavern, and every once in a while he would wake me at 6:am and say, Do you want to come with me I have to open up and get the tavern ready for the day? I said ok so as we opened up he would say to me, take this flashlight and look under the wood plank on the floor behind the bar and any money you find you can keep I’m like wow a treasure hunt!
So I did just that and after about 30 minutes or so I added up my finds and at times it would add up to a couple of dollars, and a kid could buy a bit of candy then as most were 2 for a penny, and soda a dime or less, chips were about 5 cents, ice cream about 5 cents so you get the point I’m making here.
Yes what a treat it was to have 2 dollars at one time then you felt like you were rich! The money was gone in like no time because you would wind up buying things just so you can. And there were times I would go the 5 and dime store “Woolworth’s” just about 3 blocks from my house and once there I had a pick of things as the prices were low enough to buy a Duncan yo-yo, or a water pistol, a hi-bouncer ball, from Spalding and a number of other great little toys and gadgets and still have enough for candy!
This was fun to do in the 1960s, it was a new dance craze that caught on like fire! I remember it well I never did learn how to do it but a few friends I knew could work it.
It was a great time fot dance crazes There was the Pony dance and others I will post later on when I come back as this is a test entry again to try out this new editor.
This is me when I was a kid at 10 years old not, really but it is very close I had redish hair with freckles and on summer days I wore polo shirts like this and had a blast as a kid. You can view more about my photo on the button link below.
I don’t have any other photos of me as a kid only one I have posted with my cousin, and a friend and me on the porch in 1957..
My sister took the photo after coming back from the candy store around the block from my house, I’m the one eating the Italian Ice on top left :
in the 1950s, I lived right across the street from from the Church Saint Michae’s It was was built on 12 acres of land and went 2 blocks lwest to east some, and 3 blocks north to south! It was the biggest Chruch in the country at the time and many attented mass there on Sundays and many were married there over the years and my oldest sister was married there also in 1958, it was built in 1869 and completed in 1875.
I moved there when I was 4 years old and still remember when they first put down tar for cars to park in one section, and the other section was dirt with trees and it was fenced in the entire length, so as I got older that’s where the kids in the neighborhood would gather to play, and we would play stickball down where the cars parked after Sunday services. It also had basketball hoops on each side of the parking area.
On the other end is where we would play baseball, the city would add a back stop later on but the bases we made with any decent size rock we could find for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd base, but we did have a home plate the city also added. Many times you could spend most of the day there, only to go home for diner then back again to play a game.
And I remember summer days shooting off those toy water rockets that had a launcher and when you pumped it up it took off straight up and we could have sworn it was headed into orbit! And of course, that’s where the city would dump those wonderful mountains of snow! from around the city and seemed to last a year in the cold winter!
I’m not kidding it took forever for them to melt and they were large and seemed to go on forever and the truth is, we didn’t mind if they did! Oh but what fun we had making snow forts and making up sides to have snowball fights! The Church is still standing there but no longer active with membership it was upgraded for the area highschools for sports and looks nice and on the south end part about 3 blocks away from there are condominiums built on the land a number of years ago very nice looking.
So very once in awhile when I’m in the area I say in a quiet whisper “Hello to Saint Michae’s Church” Thanks for the memories!
In the 1950s my friends and I would go down the to a family farm only about 4 blocks away it was a farm well-known back then and named The McGill’s family farm! I don’t know the whole history of it but it was a great place to go in those summers of the 1950s! You could find, apples, peaches, pears, raspberries, and those wonderful blueberries!
Sometimes we would bring a brown paper bag or carry what we could but most of the time we ate the fruit before we made it home! We really weren’t allowed on the farm but it wasn’t a fenced in kind of farm and you could just walk right in but if the owner saw you he would chase you off.
Many times my sister and I would go down for fruit and other kids on the block that we knew, and my cousins who lived in the building next door from my famliy, and my Aunt would make applesauce from the apples and even the green ones! Yes there’s nothing like fresh fruit right from the farm!
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.