Earliest Memories :Bushwick
The Bushwick area of Brooklyn N.Y. is located just south of Queens N.Y. And borders with Ridgewood,Queens. On the south it borders with Bedford Styvuesant.To the west is Williamsburg and to the east is East New York. The Bushwick Boys Club, was located on Bushwick Avenue and Gates Avenue.But there were many clubs in those Days. I don’t remember any clubs for young girls.We had the Police Athletic League,The Pals of Sector 15, the Boy Scouts and many child organizations where children could play ping pong,athletic games such as baseball and gave the children, free movie tickets on a limited basis to the Saturday Matinee.These tickets were contributed by the local theater owners and storekeepers.
I would just like to make a point of why I feel the young girls didn’t have Clubs in those days. The female gender was well protected by their parents in those days.
You didn’t see girls traveling alone. They would travel in groups of two or more. I do remember as a teenager there were a group of girls that played softball in the Ridgewood
Section of Queens just north of Bushwick and they played in Grover Cleveland Park.
They were super players and I would have defied any male team to play them.The pitcher they had was a girl with blond cropped hair and she could throw a mean Windmill pitch that looked like it was moving a hundred miles an hour. She had an exceptional arm for pitching. We used to play handball in that park with young teenage girls and they were exceptional handball players. This was a predominately German area and most of these girls were of German descent.They were also very lady like and bright.After the ball games we would walk back to Bushwick,back to the block where we would try to figure out what to do the rest of the day.
One of the best events of the day would be waiting for the evening Newspaper on Myrtle Avenue and Wyckoff Ave at the newsstand. As we waited for the paper we would order ice cream sodas. My favorite was a black and white,this was Chocolate soda and vanilla ice cream. Then choose some magazines and comic books.When the papers came we had a choice of Daily News,Daily Mirror,the Journal American,Long Island Press, and many many more.
On Sunday mornings after church you could go to Schumacher’s Ice Cream Parlor for a banana split.You were always dressed in your finest clothes on Sunday.Finest means boys wore suits,white shirt and tie;girls wore suits or skirts with white shirt.Girls didn’t wear pants in those days.Pants came a little later in the form of peddle pushers.Later on it was jeans and slacks.
The clothing style for men and boys was peg pants
And Mr. “B” shirts. Peg pants had a 28” knee cut a 15” ankle cut which hugged the ankle and a 3” rise at the waist.
This meant your belt was three inches below the top of the
pants.To be “cool” they had to be black or rust in color.
The “B” in Mr. “B” came from a black singer named Billy Eckstine who wore that type of shirt in those days.
Shoes worn probably came from Thom McCann who had
an x-ray machine for seeing how shoes fit.They were most
likely french toes.Brawny guys always wore ox-blood shoes
with khaki pants and plaid shirts.French toe guys wore
long hair with a DA which stood for ducks ass.This was the
way the hair was combed in back of your head.The brawny’s
wore crew cuts.
In the forties with television entering the lives
of the neighborhood the first early quiz show was Charade
Quiz. If you could figure out the charade offered at the
end of the show you sent a postcard with the answer on it.
My Dad and my Uncle sent out handfuls of postcards
on a weekly basis.They never did win even though they thought
they knew the answer to the charade quiz.
The Lucky Strike Hit Parade Show on Saturday nights
offered the top hits of the week.It starred Raymond Scott and
His orchestra,Snooky Lanson,Giselle Mckenzie,and Dorothy Collins.
The kids were offered Super Circus,Mr.I-magination with
Paul Tripp,Horn and Hardart Childrens hour,and on Tuesday night
The Texaco Star Theatre starring Uncle Miltie,Milton Berle.
Folks would stock up with goodies before the shows with
sunflower seeds,three musketeer bars and cookies.The center
for living became the TV room instead of the kitchen oil
stove.We were coming up in the world.A new car also came on the block. It was called a Nash and the seats went down for sleeping.Later Nash became Nash Rambler and then Rambler.
One of the products native to Brooklyn beside the hot dog
Is the soft pretzel. It seemed no matter how old or what sex you were you found someone selling soft pretzels on street corners.
A round fruit basket lined with clean towels would form the base for the pretzels which would be placed in layers on top of
each other in the basket.A stick long enough to hold a half
dozen pretzels would be wedged on the edge of the basket and the pretzels would be placed on the stick for display and sale.
Pretzels would sell for a nickel a piece and three for a dime.
I learned how to buy pretzels from a childhood friend who
was an entreprenuer.There I would stay in front of the local movie theater until I sold out my hundred pretzels. I had purchased the pretzels from the wholesale pretzel bakery at
the price of two for one cent.The trick was not eating the profits.This is how you learned temperance.
I was offered a job at the local drug store.My job consisted of sweeping the floor,shelving products and running errands to pick up supplies at the main warehouse for the store’s products.
On my day’s off I would go to the movie house or better still head out to Ebbets Field to watch the Brooklyn Dodger's
play.I remember the bleachers price was sixty cents.Box seats
were two dollars and twenty five cents and the Grandstand was
a dollar seventy five.Ebbet’s Field was on Bedford Ave. Before
the game we kid’s were allowed to go next to the Dodger Dugout
and see Happy Felton and the Knothole gang. We took picture’s
with our brownie camera’s and many of the Dodger’s would sign
autograph’s for us.The game’s were Day games and after the game
you were filled with hot dog’s,ice cream and peanut’s as well
I attended the New York City Public School System and from grades 1 thru 5 went to P.S. 123.I then went to P.S. 74.
We had excellent teachers and excellent teaching programs.The
Teachers were always involved with the students.The students
Were also excellent students.Children went to school with dress
clothes.The boys wore ties,white shirts and slacks the girls wore skirts and blouses.They were taught to be well prepared.
Many of the children were very talented and excelled in
sports,school work and art and shop work.We learned to “Take
Cover” under our school desks.Our desks held blue/black ink
In an inkwell for our pens.We helped the teacher to erase the
Blackboards.Somebody was always picked to clean the blackboard
With a clean wet eraser. Erasers were cleaned in the schoolyard.
We had a wonderful library that was on the corner of Bushwick Ave and Dekalb Ave that stands until today.On the way
home from school we could stop at the small Moma and Papa
Candy stores to get a soda,a comic,a magazine or school supplies.