Elizabeth Memories: Elmora Avenue In The 1950s


by Diane Norek Harrison

ELIZABETH-Here are some great memories from Elizabeth resident Barbara Bebert Evers:

 “Dear Diane, Here are a few of my memories of growing up on Elmora Avenue. The avenue has changed a lot since the 1950s. The cars drove much slower and there was no tractor trailer traffic.

“Saturday afternoon was spent at the Elmora movie with a double feature matinee for 25 cents. Little Mary, the candy lady, would lose her patience with the crowd of kids who attacked her counter all at once. Wednesday was “dish night” when the moms saw a movie and got a dish or cup to add to their growing set. At this time the whole neighborhood would be eating off the same set of dishes.

“During the summer, we would get a refrigerator box from the appliance store on the corner of Jersey and Elmora, drag it home to Pennington Street, and play in it until the first rain when it would collapse.

“The Silver Mirror Bar made a great pizza in the back room. One dollar a pie and 10 cents extra for the box. Mike’s candy store and soda fountain next door was where we got our double stick ice pop for a nickel. If you were a steady customer of Mike’s, he would keep the Elizabeth Daily Journal behind the counter with your name on it. Next to Mike’s was Lepo’s Barber Shop. His claim to fame was that it was where Phil Rizzuto got his hair cut.

“I have to mention a few stores that are long gone. The Candy Kitchen, Stiller Shoes, Atles Meat Market, Matthew’s House of Charm, Thomas Jewelers, Cardville, Young’s Bakery, Murray’s Hardware and Towns About Dress Shop. The five and dime store was so packed with merchandise that only the owner could find what you asked for. In May, we always looked in the windows of the Carousel Children’s Store to see all the beautiful Communion dresses.

“Twin brothers, Sam and Andy, had a fruit and vegetable store where we would get our Chinese apples. In the summer the whole front of the store would open up like a garage door making it feel like an outdoor market.

“There was always competition between Foodtown on one side of the street and the A & P on the other side. In the A & P you would always smell that fresh ground coffee.

“Tabatchchnick’s (sp?) Deli was next door to the old library where they would have story time. It was dubbed ‘The Sardine Club’ by the Daily Journal. The library was on the first floor of a two story house, very small and crowed. The new library was built on Grand Street.

“I have to mention Paul Oefele Photo Studio. The studio was on the first floor of the two family house with a nice front porch. We would go next door to Paladino’s bar and look in the window to pick out our favorite “Reingold Girl,” and then stuff the ballot box with our votes. Then there was Gus, the shoemaker, who would supply us with heels for hopscotch. He would get annoyed but did it anyway.

“The thrill of the summer was when they moved the big two family house on the corner of Elmora and Jersey. It rolled up Elmora, made a left on Pennington and now sits on at Pennington and Bellevue. Every kid in the neighborhood was out watching it travel. It drew quite a crowd!

“Mike Canton’s Barber Shop on Pennington had a water fountain inside where we would stop on our bikes and get a cold drink. Only a few of us had this privilege. I was lucky because his daughter Joyce was my best friend.

“Still living within walking distance of the svenue, I always look at the stores and remember what was there many years ago. We can’t turn back the clock, but we can still keep our memories.”

My thanks to Barbara for remembering back in my column!

If you would like to share your memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway for use in my 2009 columns, please start sending. This is the last call for winter, Christmas or Hanukah memories or past material for my 2008 end of the year columns. Must have all by Nov. 7. Email me at dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, P.O. Box 1061, Rahway, NJ 07065

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