December Memories From Around The Area

Remembering the Past by Diane Norek HarrisonBy Diane Norek Harrison

PERTH AMBOY-This is from material given to me for my column: On Dec. 15, 1978, Holy Spirit School held their Christmas Program. Here are the songs sang with teachers names: Grade 1- Melody of Christmas Songs-Poem, Sister Madonna; Grade 2-“I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus”, Mrs. M. Joyce; Grade 3-“The Gingerbread House”, Miss S. Baumlin; Grade 4-“The Littlest Angel”, Miss J. Payenski; Grade 5 “Santa Makes A Change”, Sister Immaculate; Grade 6 “Christmas in France”, Miss R. Austin; Grade 8-“We Need A Little Christmas”, Mrs. Decibus and Grades Kindergarten and Grade 7-Nativity Scene-Sister Laboure and Miss L. Nemeth.

SAYREVILLE-Lifelong Sayreville resident Jim Smith told me of the fun sleigh riding in the President Park Development in the Parlin section. “In the late 1950s until about 1962, the kids would sleigh ride down Garfield Place passing all the streets. We would start at Buchanan, to Coolidge, Roosevelt, Harding and end up on Cleveland Avenue. At this time there were no homes in the area of Mohawk Lane. It was a field where we could sleigh ride down the hills in there.”

SOUTH AMBOY-A lifelong city resident remembers sleigh riding down the hill in front of the “old” South Amboy Memorial Hospital back in the 1930s. Great memory since the kids in my neighborhood also went down the hill in the 1960s, right out on to Bordentown Avenue.

EDISON-Roosevelt Top Hat Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, on Route 1 at the entrance of Roosevelt Park, was serving Christmas dinner. A full course dinner was $2.50 for an adult and $1.25 for a children’s dinner in December of 1954.

PERTH AMBOY-All from December 1954-Kreilsheimer’s at 133 Smith Street was selling religious medals for $2.50 & up, and cuff links and tie holder sets for $2.50 & up. Jag’s Sporting Goods sold footballs for 98 cents, ice skates for $9.00 & up and roller skates for $14.75 & up. Waltham Coasts at 55 and 56 Smith Street held a pre Christmas sale, selling a 5-piece chrome dinette set for $59.95 and a 3-piece maple bedroom set for $79.95.

SOUTH AMBOY-In December 1970, Crane’s Hobby Shop, which was at 167 North Broadway, was selling an Aurora Thunder Jet 500 racing set at a sale price of $15.95, regularly sold for $19.95, and a cock dune buggy on sale for $15.95–a regular $20.00 value.

In 1973, Sacred Heart Girl Scout Troop # 714 had a service project for December. Tray favors and tins of cookies were decorated. Mildred Smith, head of the volunteers at South Amboy Memorial Hospital distributed the favors among patients of the hospital and patients at local Veteran’s hospitals. The troop participated in Christmas caroling on Friday, Dec. 14 at the Amboy Madison Bank on Broadway from 4:45 to 5:15 p.m. A bowling party was held by the Troop for their Christmas party.

WOODBRIDGE-This is from early 1930s Christmas material given to me for my column. The exact year is unknown: In Avenel, The Girl’s Club held a Christmas party at the Campbell Clubhouse, with the mother’s as guests. Two dollars was voted to be given to the Red Cross. The Women’s Missionary Society of the Grace Lutheran Church held a bazaar and food sale. Elaborate arrangements were made for the affair.

Have any information or memories of anything listed in this column? Have material with what things cost in years past? I hope to see it for a 2009 column! I collect past winter and Christmas information all year. Know some? Send them at any time.

If you have your own memories or past information for Carteret, Edison, Metuchen, Perth Amboy, Sayreville, South Amboy or Woodbridge you can email me at or send copies of your material to me c/o CMD Media, 1139 East Jersey St., Suite 503, Elizabeth NJ 07201.

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