Christmas And Winter Memories

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Remembering the Past by Diane Norek Harrisonby Diane Norek Harrison

RAHWAY—Here are some Christmas and winter memories from former Rahway resident Charles Knight, a member of Rahway High School class of 1965: “Diane, My best memories of Christmas in Rahway were the candlelight services held on Christmas Eve at First Presbyterian  Church on Grand Avenue. It’s a wonder we didn’t burn the old place down, and I seriously doubt they continue the tradition today. The choir, the ambience of the candlelit cathedral and the connection to the ‘Reason for the Season’, will forever live in my memories of Rahway.

“Snow was a bonus, and we did have a few Christmas Eves when snow fell. One I remember in particular—I was about 10—looking out my second story bedroom waiting for Santa with my sister Cindy—she was three.  We knelt on the bed for hours looking out, occasionally opening the window just enough to touch the new fallen snow.

“But I do remember washing my car one Christmas Day in 60 degree weather as well. Back in the day—the 50s and early 60s—downtown Rahway was a wonderful place to be at Christmas time. The town and stores were all decorated, and the streets were crowded with shoppers and kids, especially Cherry Street. It seemed as though everyone in town, was in town, bundled up and walking the streets. Everyone knew everyone.

“It may be hard to believe today, but carolers and Salvation Army Santa Claus’ were part of downtown Rahway Christmas Days gone by. Hot chocolate, French fries and a hamburger at Sweedes on Main next to Mark Harris’ topped off the day. Rahway was quite a place back in the day.”

Here are a few 1980s winter memories of Rahway from Derron Palmer: “I remember paying 35 cents for Saturday afternoon roller skating during the winter months at Franklin School and ice skating on the frozen water at Greenfield Pond.”

A Rahway winter memory from Patty DeLeo Gwozdz, a member of Rahway High School class of 1966: “My friends and I ice skated at Rahway Park in the winter.”

LINDEN-This is from a 1954 Christmas ad for Gordon’s Distilled London Dry Gin, Linden N.J.: “There’s No Gift Like Gordon’s” “There’s No Gin Like Gordon’s”

Remember ice skating at Wheeler Park?

Have winter or Christmas memories or past material for my 2009 columns? It’s never too early to send me any holiday past information of the towns listed below.

If you have your own memories or past material for Clark, Elizabeth, Linden or Rahway you can email me at dianenorekharrison@juno.com or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey Street, Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ 07201.


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