What is Brooklyn? It's the small town in the big city, where everyone knew who you were and where you lived. It was hotdogs at Ebbets Field, egg creams at the corner candy store. The Saturday night dance at the local high school, walking hand-in-hand with your boyfriend at dusk without fear.
We took buses and trolley to go to Brighton Beach Bay #2 in the summer and spent the entire day baking in the sun. In the winter it was rollerskating at the Empire Roller Skating Rink. Or snow ball fights in Prospect Park.
If you grew up in Brooklyn in the 40s and 50s those memories were yours as well as mine. The schools I attended were P.S. 161. I graduated in 1953 then went to Erasmus Hall for my freshmen year. I then went to Midwood till 1957.
In 1959 I married my husband Lou. We have been married for nearly 40 years. We left Brooklyn shortly after our marriage. We have raised 19 children yet every time I think of Brooklyn I am 13 again drinking a lime rickey or egg cream at the Sugar Bowl with all the wonderful memories to relive. I physically left Brooklyn however Brooklyn never left me.
5 October 1998
My Brooklyn began in 1956. Lived in 372 St. Johns Place (between Washington and Underhill) and went to St. Teresa of Avila till 1969. (Check their website for 125th anniversary info!). Left St. Johns Place for 77 Eastern Parkway in '67. My Brooklyn was St. Johns Pl. and Washington Ave., the "tar" wall, jacks.
5 October 1998
Williamsburg, South First Street & Bedford Avenue. That's where my (mis)spent youth groomed me for later life, schools not included. I recall A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, which I saw from my bedroom, which faced the yard. The rodent-loving neighbors tossed garbage from their windows, especially those who lived on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th floors. Their reply to the garbage complaints, invariably would be, "live and let live." The street crap games, handball in the schoolyard, punchball (hitting over a baby line), where a 2-sewer hitter claimed local respect, johnny-on-the-pony, the corner deli for a hot pastrami on club, and the list goes on. Let me quit now. The tears cloud my eyes, and bring hunger to my heart (stomach as well).
8 October 1998