Changing Times


As I remember it and often you’ll hear it said that years ago people were closer.I have heard that cliché over and over again.As time went on many family members moved to other cities in the U.S. Some even went overseas to live and work.I would have to say that this occurred some time in the early sixties.Gone were the family gatherings,parties,weddings except for one meeting place that always seemed to bring some family members together.This was the funeral parlor.Everyone seemed to meet again at the wake of a deceased relative.In general those same people never visited each other.Gone was the family closeness that seemed to have thrived in the forties and fifties era.Children’s birth’s,weddings, and all celebrations seemed to center around the immediate members of the family.Gone was the extended family member relationships.Families now were raising their children and trying to become successful at whatever they were doing.Some weren’t so successful and struggled to keep up with the changing world.
The neighborhood began to change and different ethnic groups were moving in to the area.Neighbors were buying homes elsewhere and the young had grown into adulthood and married and moved away to other places.Time seemed to be racing and many people were racing with it and then there were those that
couldn’t keep up with all the changes and they just stayed where they were.
The elderly either passed on or moved away with their children.
Crime was becoming abundant and the neighborhood was dealing with a new type of problem.Drugs.When I was growing up the unmentionable problem of alcoholism existed there.Bushwick was somewhat of a beer capital.There were many brewery’s there.
There were more bars and also called saloons than you could ever imagine.People seemed to enjoy drinking alcohol very much back then.Often you would hear the expression, “Neighborhood Bar”.
This was a place where families gathered together,swapped stories about what was going on in their lives and listened to music coming from a ‘juke box’ while they imbibed their alcohol.
The neighborhood bartender or barmaid became the neighborhood psychiatrist,family counselor,and in general a whipping board for every customer who had a sad or glad story to tell.
After awhile more and more people moved or  just passed on and the neighborhood of Bushwick became a story for a different generation of people
that had moved into it;the setting was becoming different.The neighborhood
began to change to something that was unrecognizable to the many that had
lived there.Houses were being torn down to make way for newer and lower
income housing.
The surrounding commercial area’s began to dry up and factories closed and
companies either dissolved or moved away.
Bushwick had changed but it was still Bushwick and although the landscape
changed,lower income families still exist there,send their children to school
there,raise families there.Hopefully in time it will change for the better,
but having been raised there it could never be as good as I remember it to be.
I often wonder if it was all in my mind and if it actually was as good as I
thought it to be.All I know is I enjoyed living there,having friends and
family there and growing up there.