Remembering The Past: South Amboy Christmas Memories

by Diane Norek Harrison

SOUTH AMBOY-In December 1902, the Dr. A.L. Bright Drug Store, which was on Broadway, sold Vantine’s perfume in beautiful holiday packages. They also had Lunborg and Palmer’s perfumes, manicure sets, softly razors, and fountain pens. They sold Whitman’s and Roselle Vogue chocolates, a full line of Christmas and New Year cards, and booklets. Christmas seals were sold for 25 cents for five.

In December 1946, Don Menna’s Department Store, which was on the corner of Augusta Street and Pine Avenue, had a motto: “Give Practical Gifts for Christmas.” Their store was filled with merchandise for every member of the family. They were sure their stock would please everyone on your Christmas list. They sold infants’ wear, ladies’ dresses and a full line of shoes and house slippers.


On Dec. 8, 1948, a free Christmas show was shown at the Empire Theatre, which was on Broadway, for the children under the auspices of the Luke A. Lovely Post of the American Legion. The Legion was in charge of distributing toys to the underprivileged children. Santa handed out the toys.

If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, 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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