ELIZABETH-More memories from Greg McGinty: “It was nearly 60 years ago at the age of eight, when I moved from Mitchell, South Dakota, and came to live in Elizabeth, N.J. It did not take me long to realize this move would forever change my lifestyle.
“In comparison to Mitchell, Elizabeth tripled in population. There were more kids on my block to play with in Elizabeth, than the total number of classmates in Mitchell grammar school. While playing Cowboys and Indians in Mitchell, athletics and an abundant exercise of walking and running became the new norm.
“Reminiscing today, my friends and I never thought twice about the countless times we would walk to the Ritz Theater on East Jersey Street or the Liberty Theater on Elizabeth Avenue. Round trip was about two miles. Quite the different perception of a country boy.
“Thomas Jefferson High School was an all-boys high school. I never thought this could be possible. Girls attended Battin High School on S. Broad Street. The boys would go to Battin for science lab courses, while the girls attended Jefferson for secretarial classes. Today both schools have joined class reunions.
“For three years, some friends and I would journey walking roundtrip to Jeff, more than two miles. We would trudge in the snow, get rain soaked or sweat through the heat. Sometimes, noticing we may be late to school, we ran the distance. It was part of the norm.”
More next week!
If you have your own memories of the past in Middlesex or Union counties, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org 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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