38 Herzl Street (around the corner from Pitkin Avenue) was my starting point. Think of Jack Diamond, Haddon Hall, Charlotte Russes, vendors selling baked sweet potatoes or knishes or hot dogs outdoors. How stores would close in the summer and open "on or about August 15." Ebinger's. Lime rickeysrubberband ballsyeh spaldeens, tooplaying handball against the brick walls. Simkhes-toyre with the candles in apples or potatoes topping those paper flags, Kishke King, the chocolate shop, eating Chinese.
Shopping for clothes, etc. P.S. 175 (does anyone remember Ms. Cherichetti and her clothespin dolls from many lands?). J.H.S. 84 and J.H.S. 66. Betsey Head Pool and Parkkitsl ParkLincoln Terrace Park. The Loew's Pitkin and Palace (remember the mean old matron?). The Chester.
And who out there in Cyberbrooklyn remembers that ahead-of-its-time institutionthe H.E.S? We lived in the corner building, where Block's childrenswear store was, then a shoe store. There was a green police phone box and our reguls including the beloved Freddie the Cop.
18 September 1996
3802 Glenwood Road, St. Vinny, The Junction, Farragut Pool, Ebinger's, Dealtown, ULSTER 9-5993, Spaldeen's vs. Pennsey Pinkey, Freedman's Sporting Goods, Skees Inn, the smell of hot tar while my mother hung the laundry on the roof of the building, "J" park, the dog days of August when I would walk for blocks and not see a single person and feel happy and sad at the same time and not know why.
6 October 1996
[The following lovely letter was sent as an enquiry, not as reminiscence. But, upon reflection, the Brooklyn of the 173rd New York and the 165th New York regiments is Janet Rice's Brooklyn as well. So, with her permission, I have posted it here.
And no, I can't imagine that many Brooklynites would consider her avocation "incredibly weird," just quirky in a very Brooklynese way. DNM]
This is going to sound incredibly weird, but my husband and I are in a Civil War reenactment group and, and is customary in such things, our group has adopted the name of a real regimentwell actually two, since we also do zouaves. The regiments are the 173rd New York and the 165th New York. Both of them, but particularly the 173rd NYSVI, were raised in Brooklyn. The 173rd was primarily fireman and policeman.
OK, so just accept that people to do this sort of thing, even if it makes no sense. But because of it, I am trying to research Civil War era Brooklyn. I'm looking for information on such things as the life of a middle class family in Brooklyn at the timewas the library open then, what sort of amusements would I take my children to, and so on. I'm also looking specifically for information on women's societies - such things as soldier's aid societies that a respectable Brooklyn matron might be involved with.
Soperhaps you could help point me to references that I can con my local library into getting for meor local historical societies that might help. If by any chance you know of anyone who is "into" Civil War history for the area, I would be most interested in corresponding with them.
OK, so its nuts - but what reenactors do, if we do anything useful, is to remind people that the war was fought by individualsmen who left them families and home and went a long way away to die. The 173rd fought in Louisiana and about 150 of their number were imprisoned at Camp Ford in Tyler, Texas. We try to make sure these men aren't forgotten. Anyway, if you could point me towards references or people, it would be much appreciated.
[Any suggestions? I've already sent the addresses of the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Brooklyn Public Library. DNM]
8 October 1996