WAKEFIELD and MOUNT VERNON, Bronx-Westchester, Part 1

For this January lidlifter on the 2016 exploring season I took the IRT #2 train, easily accessible from Penn Station, north to the Nereid Avenue station (mispronounced NAIR-eed by the taped station announcements; the street is named for a former volunteer fire department — they typically took mythological water names like Neptune or Oceanus; a nereid was an Aegean water nymph and is pronounced NEAR-ee-id) and headed north on White Plains Road, edged gingerly into Mount Vernon and then along the border of the Bronx and Westchester Counties and eventually, back to White Plains Road.

The Bronx-Westchester border was much different until 1895, when it was redrawn to give all of what is now in the Bronx east of the Bronx River to New York City. Today the border remains quite irregular, running along streets here and between streets there, above East 242nd Street, above Cranford Avenue, along Mundy Lane (a crazy boundary — see below) and then east, an irregular jog north, and then east just above Pelham Bay Park (but not along its northern edge; west of the New England Thruway there’s an odd bit of business in which Park Drive, along the north edge of Pelham Bay Park, is in the Bronx but all the intersecting streets issuing north are in Pelham Manor) reaching the Long Island Sound between Hunter and Glen Islands. I would have loved to be in the same room when those long-ago surveyors were deciding where to put the line!



I kid you not. One of the reasons I went up to Wakefield on a chilly January afternoon was that I wanted to get new photos of an unmarked street that I know from maps as Garden Place, which is unmarked by the city (so I’ve helpfully created a street sign of my own).

The street, which is in the midst of a city block and can be accessed only by a driveway on White Plains Road between East 239th and East 240th Streets, has never really been represented properly on printed or online maps, which seem to insist on connecting it to East 240th Street. It may have indeed intersected E 240th at one time in the past but that connection has long since been severed.

Garden Place is the last remnant of a turn of the 20th Century real estate development called South Vernon Park. I won’t repeat the whole story here — consult the link for that — but here I can offer the first new photos of Garden Place I’ve obtained since 1999. It’s in a somewhat tough part of town and I made sure to get here midweek during the day.


One of the houses on Garden Place.


The other five houses on Garden Place are arranged side by side on its east side.


The owner of the fifth house has erected a barrier of containers with just a thin space on the right to allow entry. It’s clear the owner didn’t want visitors scuttling about — perhaps he has been robbed a few times — and I did not attempt to get past them.


There’s a single streetlamp on Garden Place, with an additional one behind the barriers that may or may not work anymore. Garden Place boasts a gravel, not an asphalt, pavement job.


Looking up the driveway, which on very old maps is called Walkley Place, toward White Plains Road.


I’d imagine the gate does close now and then.  However a campaign poster for Rob Astorino, a Westchester County executive and former radio executive who ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor in 2014 against Andrew Cuomo was still in evidence. His 2014 campaign website was still extant at this writing.


Taxi stand on the triangle created by Cranford Avenue, East 241st Street and Barnes Avenue. Gary Fonville has previously featured this on a page about defunct phone exchanges; FA stands for FAirbanks.


The East 241st Street is the last stop on the #2 White Plains Line. The #5, which runs with the #2 in rush hours, terminates at Nereid Avenue. This is not the highest numbered stop in the NYC subway system — the last stop in the Broadway el (#1 train) does it one street better.


North stub end of the White Plains Road line above East 241st Street.

Both these buildings on the east side of White Plains Road at Penfield Street are associated with the Wakefield Grace United Methodist Church. The old church may not be in place for too much longer, as the congregation is soliciting funds to build a new church.


Deco-style apartment building on White Plains Road and Penfield Street. As is well known, White Plains Road does not go to the city of White Plains (the best route between Wakefield and White Plains is the Bronx River Parkway, and NYS Route 22 also runs between Mount Vernon and White Plains). Instead it runs from the water’s edge in Soundview north to the NYC-Mount Vernon line, where it changes its name to West 1st Street. Though a stretch of Route 22 further north is also called White Plains Road I doubt there was ever a connection between the two. The city of White Plains was named in the colonial era for the fields of white balsam flowers found there, or alternatively, from frequent heavy mists.

White Plains Road was first laid out in 1863 as far south as where Pelham Parkway is now and was extended south in the early 20th Century. It bewcame part of NYC, along with everything else east of the Bronx River, in 1895 when that portion of Westchester County was ceded to NYC.


Here’s the borderline of the Bronx and Mount Vernon, just above East 242nd Street, with an abandoned trolley pole thrown in for fun. I’m afraid I’m not very knowledgeable about the Bronx trolley lines, which all bore letter designations. I can’t find a match for a White Plains Road line on the linked page, and thus I imagine this trolley pole handled a Mount Vernon trolley that ended at the city line.

A telltale sign is the two-masted stoplight up ahead — these are used only on rare occasions in NYC.


South Street runs west from West 1st Street in Mount Vernon until it reaches… the Bronx once again! A quirk of geography has left a few Bronx streets completely inaccessible from the rest of The Bronx, and they have to be accessed from South Street, across a bridge over the Metro-North railroad to MacQuesten Parkway. I visited this curious area in a previous visit to Wakefield in 2003.


Southern Mount Vernon looks much like the Bronx, while northern Mount Vernon looks quite a bit more suburban.

If you were asked which name between Wakefield and Mount Vernon has a George Washington association, most people would probably say Mount Vernon, which was the name of the Father of His Country’s estate in Fairfax County, VA, which was in turn named by Washington’s half-brother Lawrence Washington for a former commanding officer of his in the Royal British Navy, Vice Admiral Edward Vernon.


You would be wrong to make such an assumption. Mount Vernon, NY was named by Anne Hutchinson in the 1600s for the elevated grounds in the area rich with vegetation, hence “green mountains.” Vermont also is derived from French for green mountains, les verts monts. Wakefield, meanwhile, was named for the plantation house in Virginia where George Washington was born in 1732; that house burned down in 1779.


Street signs in Mount Vernon are for the most part small blue and white signs, which are occasionally sun faded and misspelled. West 1st Street is subnamed for John Vaccarella Jr., a three-time Mount Vernon mayor (1902-1982).


However, I did find a couple of newer signs rendered in an Egyptian-type extra bold font.


Classic Firestone logo outside a Mavis Discount Tire on West 1st Street.

With its signature flaming ‘F’, the Firestone logo is almost certainly based on the extended style of Bradley [typefont]. Firestone was founded in 1900, a few years after the ATF typeface was released. Surviving with very few modifications for over 100 years, the logotype is one of the most durable identities in America, a nation that impatiently scraps even the most iconic brands. [fontsinuse.com]


Cottage-like houses along Pearl Street near West 1st.


I was attracted to this “stick style” Victorian-era building, so called because of the thinness of the timbers used on the porch. It’s a motif most often used between 1860 and 1880.

The imposing Roman Catholic Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church, at West 1st Street and South 10th Avenue, built in 1900, no longer holds services. The parish was merged with St. Mary’s Church in mid-2015. St. Mary’s is a beautiful building on nearby South High Street. Like most churches, its website has not a great deal of information about the archirecture or date of construction.


At this point West 1st Street borders the open cut servicing Metro-North trains, formerly the New York Central Railroad. The railroad has its beginnings in the dawn of rail transit in 1826.

A small park at West 1st and South 11th Avenue is marked with an original 1938 NYS Education Department plaque (when these can be found in NYC they are often badly maintained and in need of a paint job).

Abraham “Brom” Dyckman, a member of the prominent Dyckman family that still has an extant farmhouse in Inwood, was a member of the Westchester Guides, a paramilitary unit assisting General William Heath in attacking Tory (American loyalists to the Crown) strongholds in Westchester County. At this spot, Dyckman was mortally wounded on March 4th, 1782 while attempting to capture Loyalist Colonel James DeLancey, who was commanding several Tory units and made his headquarters here.

All The Brothers Were Valiant: One Man’s Family in the American Revolution

Setting off down South 11th Avenue, in what I’d imagine is one of the tougher parts of Mount Vernon, as interspersed between mostly well-kept homes, you see a few abandoned ones. However, some original detail survives on some of them.


Outside of New York City, you realize that not all municipalities are that “anal” or obsessed about replacing street lighting as New York City is. Scattered around Mount Vernon you still see a few mercury lights such as this General Electric M400. There ruled the streets in NYC from about 1960 to 1972, when sodium lights began to replace them, but there still a good number of them to be found up to about 2009.


Here’s what bus stop signs in Mount Vernon look like.

I liked this fortress-like apartment building at West 3rd Street (Martin Luther King Boulevard). There is a storefront church on the corner ground floor.


A set of retro-lamps have been mounted on West 3rd Street telephone poles. There are likely LED lamps with clear glass diffuser bowls. That’s likely what will hapen with NYC’s decorative lamps when LEDs are installed in them.


Another of Mount Vernon’s elderly mercury vapor bulb lamps. This one is a Unistyle 400 by Line Material Industries/McGraw-Edison. This make was not used on NYC streets, but turns up in many other municipalities.


So here’s where the Bronx-Mount Vernon border really gets nutty. The city line reaches South 11th Avenue midway between West 3rd Street and Cranford Avenue, and then makes a right turn and goes down the center of the road, which in New York City becomes Mundy Lane (named, according to the late Bronx historian John McNamara, for funeral director Bernard F. Mundy; McNamara also explains that Mundy Lane is a cutoff section of Mile Square Road, an ancient road in Yonkers).

But is it really that clear cut? Does South 11th Avenue “become” Mundy Lane? Not exactly. It takes three maps — modified by your webmaster — to demonstrate that it’s complicated.


Between Cranford Avenue and Nereid Avenue (Bronx)/West 5th Street (Mount Vernon), the Bronx side is Mundy Lane and the Mount Vernon side is South 11th Avenue.


Bordering Mount St. Michael Academy between Nereid/West 5th and Pitman Avenue, both sides of the street are called Mundy Lane.


Between Pitman Avenue / W. Sandford Boulevard, it’s Mundy Lane in Mount Vernon and Seton Avenue in the Bronx. Finally, before the city line cuts east, the road is called Seton Avenue on both sides between Bussing Avenue/West Kingsbridge Road and Edenwald Avenue.

There you have it. These distinctions are made on no print maps I’m aware of, and even the normally detailed Google Maps ignores them. No question, this is the strangest New York City borderline of them all.

The distinction between The Bronx and Mount Vernon is displayed in house numbering as well. These two houses face each other across the borderline down the center of Mundy Lane/South 11th Avenue and while the first is #263, the other one is #4515.

Eastchester Lane, a short road completely in Mount Vernon, issues east from South 11th/Mundy Lane for a few blocks. Another well kept historic sign proclaims this as a colonial-era road between Philipse Manor and the town of Eastchester.

Frederick Philipse III’s grand manor is in downtown Yonkers. Philipse, a wealthy Loyalist, fled to England with his family after the USA won its independence from Britain and his house and property were confiscated and sold. The building later became the Yonkers village hall and later, city hall.  Since 1908 it has operated as a museum.

Looking at the Westchester County map, it seems to me that a natural candidate for the remainder of Eastchester Lane running west to the manor is Yonkers Avenue, which makes a great many twists and turns (giving away its age). In any case this section has been cut off for many years.

Here’s a list of historic markers in Westchester County. Nine of them are in Mount Vernon!

In Part 2: along Mundy Lane and back to the Bronx

Categorized in: Walks Tagged with:

49 Responses to WAKEFIELD and MOUNT VERNON, Bronx-Westchester, Part 1

  1. BobK says:

    “…a somewhat tough part of town…” Kevin says. The 47th Precinct is not one of the NYPD’s most pacific enclaves, not by a longshot. We should all give thanks that FNY survived this stroll, on the City’s wildest untamed frontier.

  2. Alan Gregg Cohen says:

    Great article and obviously well researched. This is “territory” I know little about except for the names of the communities; Wakefield in the Bronx, and the city of Mount Vernon in Westchester County. I find it fascinating how these irregular borderlines were drawn, and how the street naming of one side of “the border”, most often completely ignores the other side. Since I left the metro New York area in 1978, for the southwest region of the U.S., I have lived in the suburbs of LA, the Bay Area, Sacramento, Phoenix and Palm Springs. In none of those area have I encountered the “craziness” of New York’s countless grid systems (versus a single grid), and street naming, which for the most part completely ignores its contiguous land borders with its suburbs; Westchester County in the north and Nassau County to the east. I think this is typical New York City government fashion of being self-centered and feeling “superior” to the “burbs”, and thus ignoring “the suburbs” and their streets when naming their own.

  3. Tal Barzilai says:

    Not that long ago, I was actually in Wakefield for taking a job training class sponsored by a program known as AHRC, and the location was over on Bronx Boulevard at the corner by Nereid Avenue, though I never got why that this area has no alternate side parking signs unlike many other NYC that do have them, but on a positive note, I didn’t have to wait for any streets to be clean before wanting to park there nor did the day matter much.

  4. paul riordan says:

    what a dumpy looking area

    • BobK says:

      Perhaps it is worthwhile to recollect that many inhabitants of such dumpy areas endure tedious commutes into Manhattan’s gentrified neighborhoods, where they work for low wages to keep upscale enclaves glitzy enough for more fortunate folks.

      • Bruce says:

        Sounds like what a degree from Trump University would be worth to the under appreciated people.
        Even in the 50’s the pseudo intellectual snobs that were preparing to avoid military service a decade later
        were being raised on that trash commonly known as Rock and Roll, were growing up.

  5. NY2AZ says:

    I was born & raised in the Parkchester section of The Bronx. NY State will license 16 year olds to drive except in NYC. Therefore, when I turned 16, I passed the written test that granted me a learner’s permit. In order to use it my father would take me to Mt. Vernon. We used the Bronx River Parkway exiting at the Mt. Vernon exit; there was a small strip mall with a parking lot. We changed places &, to paraphrase, baby, I was born to run (got back on the parkway which would blend seamlessly into the Sprain Brook Parkway & exited at Central Avenue, Yonkers). By the time I was 18 I was more familiar with Westchester than my native Bronx.

    • Patrickj says:

      Pretty much the same thing happened to me. I grew up in the Bronx, and spent a summer driving all over Ulster County at 16 and often drove in Westchester. My father was a fairly new driver when I got my license, and was quite eager to let me drive in any place unfamiliar to him.

  6. BobK says:

    Dear Kevin: FYI, when I was a kid, four trolley lines converged at the 241st Street IRT Station above White Plains Road. All four were operated by the Third Avenue Railway System (TARS). The two Bronx lines ran until Summer 1948; the two Westchester lines until (I think) Fall 1950.
    The Bronx “V” Williamsbridge streetcars originated in East Tremont and ran to 241st Street via Tremont Avenue, Morris Park Avenue, and White Plains Road.
    The Bronx “W” Webster and White Plains trolleys travelled from The Hub via Melrose Avenue, Webster Avenue, Gun Hill Road, and WPR to the IRT Station.
    The Westchester “A” Line traveled from New Rochelle’s Main Street to the El Station.
    The Westchester “B” trolley rode from Mount Vernon’s New Haven [now Metro North] Railroad station to 241st Street — and beyond, because it often continued below 233rd Street before reversing course.
    The “W” was the longest trolley ride in the TARS streetcar empire. The whole trip cost a nickel.

    • Bruce says:

      Did you ever go swimming at Wilson Woods or to the Kraft theater on 238th.
      I went to P.S 16 from 1947 to 1953

      • Lois says:


        I went to P.S 16 from 1943-1950. We had to go to P.S 103 for the 8th grade. They were transitioning to using P.S 103 for 7th and 8th grades. Yes I went to the Kraft theater on 238th street. I lived on Richardson Ave. near the corner of east 242nd Street.

        • Bruce says:

          Mrs. Budelman at P.S. 16 was really mean. I knew enough not to show off my ADD behavior in her class.

          • Lois says:

            I remember Mrs. Budelman! Yes she was mean. She actually had a dumb side of the class. I also stayed out of her way. Years later I returned to PS 16 to do student teaching and I met her. She was still there, in 1958.

          • Bruce Cooper says:

            I also was a school teacher for 45 years, and I hated school.
            A friend of mine who is the same age as me, taught at P.S.16
            at the start of his teaching career. His name is Stephen Robin.
            He had an older brother named Michael. He met his wife there.
            She also taught at the school.
            Remember the old building. There was a passage way under-
            ground to the school. When they were repairing the newer one,
            I spent part of 2nd grade in the old building.

  7. Stephanie says:

    I grew up in Wakefield and lived on one of those crazy borders—I lived on the Bronx side of E 242nd and Carpenter. The Bronx side ran 2 houses in to the next street and then it became Mt Vernon.
    The worst was no one ever snow plowed–not Mt Vernon not NYC

  8. Jon says:

    The latest views from Google Streetview would appear to show that the pene-exclave that you mention is down to one public street – Baldwin St. The smaller Abbott St. and Bradley St. that run off of it have been privatized with chain-link fences across the right-of-way, though a lone FDNY pull-box can still be seen at the corner of Bradley & Baldwin (probably the only one in this isolated little area.)

    Providing city services to isolated exclaves can be quite challenging. Easements often have to be negotiated to allow the municipality to mate the electrical and water grids to the isolated areas, and I would think that police patrols often get totally forgotten.

  9. The city’s previous motto was “A City That Believes”. This is reflected in the houses of worship in the city that represent over 25 denominations.

  10. R Brown says:

    About Park Drive, that mistaken bit of the Bronx adjacent to Pelham Manor:
    Did you know that one of Forgotten NY’s favorite old Bronx humpback street signs is still hanging out up there (pointing in the wrong direction, but attached with honest-to-goodness Band-It straps)?

  11. Nick Rao says:

    Well I grew up on So. 10th Ave, between 5th St and Sanford Blvd around the corner from the “Mount”. Thank you

  12. Tom Beck says:

    “Though a stretch of Route 22 further north is also called White Plains Road I doubt there was ever a connection between the two.”

    I have seen a number of historic maps that identify Mount Vernon streets that now have other names as White Plains Road. The map I have found most clearly showing the route of White Plains Road through Mount Vernon is in the Lionel Pincus and Princess Firyal Map Division, The New York Public Library. “Map of Mount Vernon and environs, Westchester Co., N.Y.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1890.

    According to this 1890 map (and my use of current street names), White Plains Road continued along West First Street in Mount Vernon, turned north over Scott’s Bridge, followed West Lincoln Avenue to North Columbus Avenue and then headed north to White Plains. By 1890 the street names were starting to change. The map identifies the road north of Scott’s Bridge as Lincoln Avenue followed by “White Plains Rd” in parentheses.

  13. Bruce says:

    I grew up on Richardson ave. 4754, behind the deco building that was shown in a picture from the
    early 40’s to the early 60’s.
    Can anyone tell me if there is a place that has photos from the 50’s that would clearly show the
    stores like Schultz’s Deli and Barney’s bar on 241st and white plains rd.
    Thank you for posting the photos and people’s comments. It has made an old guy happy.

  14. Lois says:


    I went to P.S 16 from 1943-1950. We had to go to P.S 103 for the 8th grade. They were transitioning to using P.S 103 for 7th and 8th grades. Yes I went to the Kraft theater on 238th street. I lived at 4754 Richardson Ave. too. Barbara Schultz’ family owned that deli. She lived on in the building too.
    I love seeing the old neighborhood. Bruce, I think we knew each other.

    • Bruce says:

      I remember you. You had a dog named “Corky”, I think.
      My grandparents lived on top of you in apartment 5E. My Aunt Bella lived with them.
      I don’t know if you remember them, but I still hear from Diane Dempsey 3D & 5E. I am also close to Gail Maxson
      2A, whose mother babysat me.
      I have been in Southern California for over 50 years.
      My wife and I go to NYC during the Holiday season, yearly, if we can.
      Thank you for reaching out. My wife said Christmas came early for me this year, when I found this.
      I’d love to hear from you.

  15. Lois says:

    Yes! My dog was Corky. I remember your Aunt Bella. I remember Diane Dempsey’s name but I didn’t know she lived in 3D &5E.
    Do you remember the super, Mr. Motz? His sons were Lenny and Billy. Or Barbara Schultz on the sixth floor? Schultz’ deli.
    I don’t think I knew Gail Maxson.
    I have lived in Connecticut for 50 years. I’ve gone back to Richardson Ave. a few times, but not in the past several years. I haven’t been in touch with anyone from the neighborhood so it was great to hear from you.
    Tell your wife that Christmas came early for me too.

    • Anonymous says:

      First, I meant to say that Diane Dempsey lived in apts 3D and 2E. Aunt Bella 5E and Mother 2C were in their apartments
      until 1980 when I moved them to Deerfield Beach, Fla. I knew Mr. Motz well. Do you remember before Mr. Motz the
      super was Mr. Fursling, a German man. How about Ronny Lizzi, Johnny DeSantis 1B, & Anthony Censullo 1C.
      Where did you go to high school?
      At P.S. l03 Mr. Steengraf hated me. Mrs. Moses an English teacher liked me. The sewing teacher I think was Mrs. Tully.
      Barbara Schultz had a brother named Herbie.
      Finally, do you remember Kackman’s icecream parlor, Peter Reeves, & the Chinese Laundry. Peter Chen their son was a
      very good athlete. I think he may have had older siblings around your age.

    • Bruce Cooper says:

      Diane Dempsey lived in 3D & 2E. My Aunt Bella 5E and my Mother 2C moved to Deerfield Beach in 1980 and then on
      to Southern California.
      How about Ronnie Lizzi, Johnny DeSantis 1B, Anthony Censullo 1C. Before Mr. Motz, Mr. Fursling a German man was
      the super.
      What about Kackman’s ice cream parlour, Peter Reeves, Alber’ts Pizzeria, and the Chinese Laundry.
      Where did you go to high school?
      Those teachers in P.S. 16 were tough. I had Mrs.Mackay in the 6trh grade.

  16. Lois says:

    I remember Mr. Fursling, but had forgotten about him until you mentioned him. I was friends with Johnny De Santis. His mother and mine were very good friends. Did you know that Mrs. DeSantis married Mr. Sinagra from across the street? I’m not sure about Anthony Censullo. Was he the little boy who died of leukemia? That child lived next to DeSantis. I don’t remember Ronnie Lizzi.

    Do you remember Dr. Furst on the first floor? The Stapleton family ( lots of kids) live in 1E. I played with Tommy Stapleton and little brother Timmy. I lived in 1F before moving upstairs.

    I remember the ice cream parlor, Peter Reeves and the pizzeria. How about Cushman’s bakery across White Plains Rd? And the bakery at the corner of 241 St? There was a candy store right next door. Remember Firestone Tires? They had Spaulding balls.

    Mr. Steengraf liked me. But Miss Gardner in fifth grade hated me. I had Miss Brett in sixth grade. She had no control over the class. You are right. P.S 16 had some tough teachers. I loved Mrs. Bennet in first grade, though.

    My parents moved to New Jersey in 1966.

    I went to Walton High School. How about you?


    I was friendly with Peter Chen. And also with Billy Motz. I had forgotten about Herbie Schultz.

    • Bruce Cooper says:

      Wasn’t Mr. Sinugara’s first name Bill. He had two daughters Carol and Joyce. There was a girl in his building named (I think) Sunta that walked me to school until she went to 7th grade.
      Anthony Censullo’s younger brother Roy had Leukemia. We also went to Dr.Furst. The Stapleton kids used to climb out
      the window of their apartment.
      There was a family named Fry. I think the Dad’s name was Donald. I couldn’t get into the cub scouts (he was the leader)
      because I was Jewish. If he had only waited 15 more years when I became Agnostic, I wonder if I could have gotten in then.
      I remember Cashman’s. The corner bakery we called Max’s. The candy store was Browns. I still have two Spaulding balls
      that Diane Dempsey sent me years ago.
      Mr. Steengraf’s wife was a speech teacher. I had a really bad stuttering problem. She told my mother that I was crazy.
      My Kinder teacher Mrs. Soudak Sperber was a nice person
      I went to De Witt Clinton. It took me five years and four summer schools to graduate. Having taught school for over 4 decades. my wife takes great pride showing my report cards to people and says “how would you like your kids in his class”.
      I hated the teacher’s lounge. I hung in the custodian’s room, even when they were allowed to smoke. Having asthma
      did not matter to me. The estrogen was suffocating in the lounge.
      Peggy and I are coming to N.Y. around Christmas. We are planning to take what was the New Haven from Grand Central
      to Mt. Vernon and walk around what is left of 4th ave. Then take the B bus to 241st. Then we will hop on the
      2 train and go back to the city after walking around the neighborhood.

  17. Lois says:

    Yes, Carol and Joyce Sinagra. They were older than me and wouldn’t let me play with them. They did the best double dutch. I sort of looked up to them.

    Bruce, you have an amazing memory. I’m glad you remembered the names of those stores. I also remember that shoemaker between the candy store and the bakery at the corner. And there was a butcher/green grocer too. My mother would send me there with the world war two ration tokens. Were you too young for those? I believe I was 7 when the war ended.

    Is Diane Dempsey your age? For some reason I don’t remember playing with her so my guess is she is younger than me. How great that she sent the Spaulding balls. Boy did I love those! I’d go down White Plains Road on the day I got my allowance trying to decide between those balls, or ice cream or something from the candy store. I remember when a cone went up from 5 cents to 7.

    The old school building was mysterious to me as a child. We went there for our hearing tests, for some reason. I had forgotten about that tunnel underground.

    Did you know that the first principal of PS 16 used to live in that private home right across Richardson Avenue from our building? And remember our principal Mr. Greenburg? We had to stand up and greet him when he visited our classroom. I was a little afraid of him.

    I did my student teaching with Mrs Sperber in 1959. She was a really kind and helpful mentor. I student taught in my old kindergarten classroom. My kindergarten teacher was Miss Ring. I remember Mrs. Mackay, but I didn’t have her.

    What did you teach? Forty years is a long time! You have me beat. I taught for 7 years and then retired for 20 years to raise my family, I returned to teaching for 23 more years at the age of 50. I retired in 2011.

    Donald Fry’s name is familiar to me but I don’t think I really knew him or his children. How shameful that you couldn’t join the scouts. The good old days were not always so good.

    The Stapletons weren’t the only kids who climbed out of their window. I climbed out of mine from 1F. It let out onto the “airy way”, that space between the buildings. I loved to play there.

    Your trip back to the neighborhood will be amazing. How long has it been since you’ve been there? I think I mentioned that I took my mother there about 20 years ago. Things have changed since we were kids. Those 2 empty lots we used to play in and cut through to White Plains Road are no longer empty.

    When we played on the street, we used that cement loading dock at the warehouse attached to our building for so many things. I wonder if it is still there.

    I just loved taking the trolley to 4th Avenue in Mt. Vernon to shop. I bet 4th Avenue has changed a lot. What a good idea to include that in your trip to the neighborhood. The number 2 train! I think I spent half my life on that train. And the other half was on the bus, first to Walton High School and then to Hunter College in the Bronx.


    • Bruce Cooper says:

      It is 10:30 and I can’t fall asleep, and I found your post. I am 76. I was born 5/30/1942.
      My parents had some kind of ration stickers that looked like stamps, but I never shopped with the ration tokens.
      Diane Dempsey is 75, a year younger. She has a sister Megan who is about 71.
      I did not know that the principal lived across the street. However, I know that the people who lived there were named McCarthy. It had a huge yard, if that is the house that you are referring to. Mr. Greenburg was old, but probably not as old
      as me, which is funny.
      Mrs. Sperber had a lot of patience. She was very kind to me.
      I taught K, 2-8 and did a lot of Home Schooling for kids with behavior issues. It was like dealing with myself. I loved
      the kids. I have always had issues with authority figures. It seems like less of an issue now. I always wanted to go to
      Hunter College. My grades were horrible. I ended going in the army from 1962-1965. I got to California and because
      I was a Vet, I got into Community College. I seem to mature then. I also think that because I was a male going into
      elementary ed.(where there was a huge shortage of males,) I got pushed. I got to a state college, my stuttering
      improved and school got easier. I was able to graduate and get a masters, without much effort. We try to go to NYC at Christmas time. We have been pretty consistent. Last year we met Diane and others from Richardson
      Ave. We got into the building. It looked like the elevator had the same panel with numbers, as when we were little
      They built an apartment house over the lot around 1964.
      The cement loading dock is still there. We used to call it, the platform. During the summer the parents, mostly men, used to
      sit there at night. Gail Maxson who I mentioned, her Dad George used to pitch to us for a softball game. A police officer, Teddy Ross used to be the catcher. One time the parents cleaned up the lot and Mr. Motz poured cement to make bases
      for us. Remember, they used have separate gardens called Victory Gardens to the left of the ball field.
      We used to see the Good Humor, Bungalow Bar or Joe’s ice cream truck at night.
      When I was little, I remember the rag man with horse and knife grinder. When they poured coal from the street , I watched that. I remember the ice man coming to the apartment and putting ice in the box. Then they had the first fridges. My
      mother would put a towel on the floor open the fridge and let it defrost..
      I loved the trolley cars also. I remember on 4th Ave. the Bee Hive Restaurant, Genungs, W.T. Grants, and Woolworths.
      The Fair Department Store was where Santa Claus used to be.
      My Mother had a rough life with my Dad, but she is my hero. She did everything she could along with my two Aunts and
      Grandparents to give me a shot at survival.
      I loved riding the third ave El into NYC until it was shortened up, as time past.
      I hope my ADD didn’t get out of check here.
      In closing, I don’t know if you know a singer named Jack Jones. He’s famous for singing the theme from the
      Love Boat tv show. But, he has always been a wonderful singer. He’s 80, and still has a beautiful voice. We saw him
      at a jazz club over the weekend. I got a picture of us together. I got a chance to thank him because I bought his album
      55 years ago, and it helped get me through my time in the Army. I still have the album.

  18. Lois says:

    Yes I know the singer Jack Jones. Wonderful singer. How great you got the chance to thank him. It’s nice to know he’s still performing.

    I remember Genungs, W.T. Grants and Woolworths. There was an office supply store and a notions store but I am not as good as you are remembering names. There was a shoe store, I think it was Miles. Walking up and down 4th avenue on a Saturday with my friends was heaven to my teenage self.

    I also remember those ice boxes and the ice being delivered. It was a big deal when we got a refrigerator.

    The knife sharpener man came to our door, I remember. I also remember there were some performers, or singers ( can’t remember exactly) who came to the “airy way” between the buildings when we lived in 1F and my mother would give them money. But I really can’t quite remember what they did, exactly. And weren’t there vegetable trucks too that came to Richardson Avenue? Oh yes, those ice cream trucks. What excitement!

    Do you remember that family that lived right across the street? I think their name was Duggins. I may have played with one of the kids. For some reason they seemed strange to me.

    Yes, the house with the big yard was the one I referred to. Your Aunt Bella’s and our windows looked out at it. You could also see Yonkers Raceway from those windows and the row of trees at the top of the all in Yonkers.

    Mr. Motz made cement bases for you to play softball? How wonderful! I remember his delicious crullers that he would make and bring up for us to try. I always liked Billy Motz, but not Lenny so much.

    Remember the morning glories that grew up the wire fence surrounding the victory gardens? That was one of my favorite places. I once picked a few flowers, through the fence and felt guilty all these years.

    Were you with us when some older boys started a big fire in the empty lot on the other side? I’m sure the kids thought it was a good idea at the time but boy it scared me! I ran as far away as I could. I’m sure we all got into trouble that time.

    You were probably too young to remember this, but someone committed suicide in our building by jumping into that area between the building and the warehouse. The second (small) bedroom window and the kitchen window of 4E and 5E looked out onto that area. I think I used to call that area “the well”.

    How about the roof? Did you like to go up there? I spent lots of time up there, but now, I honestly can’t even remember what I was doing. It was a cool and breezy place to be when it was hot. Were there clothes lines up there? Can’t remember. You could see all the way to the Manhattan skyline from the roof.

    Bruce, when it gets closer to your trip, why don’t you post the day you will be on Richardson Avenue. if you don’t mind. That way, if my husband and I are free, we could meet you there.

    One question. Do you remember if there was a roller skating rink in Mt. Vernon? I don’t know if I’m making it up or whether it really existed. In my memory, it was before the trolley got to 4th Avenue.

    Your posts are such fun for me. You really have an impressive memory.


    • Bruce Cooper says:

      The family that lived across the street from us was the Dugan’s. The girl that might have been near your age was Kathy.
      The next was John and then Mary who is still alive and would be around 73.
      I do remember the morning glories on the fences. I do not remember the fire or the suicide. I would sometimes go
      down a few stairs into the well, but I never really played there. Yes, there were iron poles that held clothes lines on the
      roof. My mother never used them. She either used the dryer in the basement or that great clothes hanger that was
      on the wall inside the bathroom. And remember during the summer, they would put a green screen door on our doors.
      I was thinking about what you said about meeting us. I assume that you are driving. What if you met us at the Mt.
      Vernon station of what was the New Haven. We could drive up 4th Ave and go over to the neighborhood for a tour.
      We are staying at the Grand Hyatt in NYC. Our open time is either 12/23 or 12/24. When you call, we will have
      the train info. Then any kind of personal info like e-mail or phone can be done. You could call us at 9 a.m. on
      12/23 to work things out. . Ask for Bruce Cooper’s room.
      Yes, there was a roller skating rink on Lincoln Ave. in Mt. Vernon. When you get to Scott’s Bridge near Howlands
      Fish Market you would go across the bridge like the 7 trolley used to and go straight for about a mile. It was on the
      left hand side. I did not roller skate much so I may have gone a couple of times.
      Do you remember when African Americans sat in the balcony at the RKO Proctors and Loews, so much for
      The people that once owned the building named Jerry Lachman lived in the building either in 3B or 4B.
      Speaking of Conn., do you remember a restaurant in a house named Chimney Corners and a steakhouse
      named Minero’s, I think in Greenwich.

  19. Lois says:

    That is a good plan. I will call your hotel at 9 a.m on Dec. 23. I hope we can make it. Of course Christmas is busy with grandchildren visiting and so on. I will do my best to keep the 23rd free. I definitely can’t do it on the 24th though.

    I am already looking forward to driving on 4th Avenue and going to Richardson Avenue.

    So there really was a roller skating rink in Mt. Vernon! I didn’t go there much, maybe only once or twice. I do remember that is was on left side.

    I was going to mention the Lachman’s. They were a young couple, as my mother always called them.
    For some reason I though they lived on the top floor above the Shultz family. I thought they were the son and daughter in law of the owners. Maybe I heard my mother say that.

    I don’t remember screen doors! Sounds like that was a great idea. We grew up before air conditioning, or at least I did so those doors must have allowed a breeze. I remember we got an air conditioner when I was in college. We got a tv when I was 11 or 12.

    I know what you mean about African Americans back in the day in the Bronx. They even sat separately on the bus on our way to high school. I remember being shocked to discover that the neighborhood just beyond 242 st. was African American. All those years growing up on Richardson Avenue, I never knew that. It made me feel really bad. I took a walk in that direction one day when I was in college and made the discovery.

    When I lived in key West I saw how open the separation and prejudice was. There separate drinking fountains, schools, bathrooms and so on. There was even a curfew. 1960-62. But I knew that it existed in New York too, just more subtle. Like you say, so much for emancipation.

    Both Minero’s and Chimney Corners are familiar names but I doubt I ever went to either one. Have you?

    Thanks for filling me in about the Dugan kids. I wonder, do you remember all this from your childhood or more from your return visits? Or maybe both? Your memory for specifics is awesome.

    I really liked growing up on Richardson Avenue. We had kids to play with and stores we could go to on our own. I loved playing ball in the street and the empty lots. I remember playing under the bushes (hedges) with my girl friends. We were lucky to have had the freedom to play without worries and the independence to go up to White Plains Road. Of course I wasn’t allowed to cross that busy road so I’d wait until an adult came by and ask, “can you cross me the street”?

    I particularly loved walking to and from school. I consider myself lucky to have been a child before people became fearful.

    As a child, I thought Richardson, Matilda, Carpenter Avenues were pretty with little houses and tiny yards. I suppose it has changed now.

    I’ll call on the 23th.


    • Bruce Cooper says:

      There’s a pizzeria on the corner of 241st where the drugstore used to be. Maybe, we could stop there for a spell to chat. I
      know it is a busy time of the year for you. If we met in the a.m. hours around 11:00 or so. You could be on your way at 1:00
      at the latest.
      They used to call that area with the apartments, the projects on 3rd street in Mt. Vernon. Now Mt. Vernon is almost 60%
      Black. When I was a kid my Aunt and Uncle took me to Chimney Corners, once. I also went once to Minero’s, as a child.
      There was a great Italian restaurant in White Plains called Papa John’s.
      My recall is mostly from memory. There are just a three people from the neighborhood that I still have contact with. One
      lives in Dunmore, Pa. another in Bergenfield, N.J. and the last one in Harrison, N.Y.
      Do you remember a family named Jerundo, I think. She always dressed in black. I think they owned a dress factory.
      Do you remember Mr. & Mrs. Stanley that lived across from you. Mrs. Stanley worked with my Mother at Ward Leonard
      Electric Co. on Cortland, just across the border of the Bronx ,in Mt. Vernon.
      How about on White Plains rd. under 4755 Peggy and then Rosie’s luncheonette, a drugstore replaced by a barber shop,
      Ladner’s knitting store, Jerry’s Deli, and Sal’s tv store.
      There was also, I believe, down the hallway from you in apartment 4c, a family named Max Falber who owned a
      hardware store near the Chinese laundry at one time.
      In closing my Mother used tell me about my memory, I know everything that will do me no good, and then laugh, not at me.

      • Lois says:

        The pizzeria on the corner of 241st sounds perfect for a chat. Your idea to meet early is good but could we make it 12 instead of 11? If that works with your plans for the rest of the day, that would be better for us. I don’t remember a drugstore on the corner of 241st, though. Is this the corner across White Plains RD. near the bus stop where the Greek restaurant used to be?

        You continue to astonish me with your sharp memory. Yes, I remember the Stanley’s across from me. I didn’t know your mother worked with her. One time during the holidays, Mr. Stanley rang our door bell after having had one too many and he scared the wits out of me ( as a child). Just because of how unusual that was.

        Oh that luncheonette! It was my go to place for comics, along with the candy store near the corner of 241 st. That drugstore you mention was owned by Mr. Kessler. His daughter Arlene was my very first friend when we moved to Richardson Ave. I was five and she was maybe four. We had just moved in and my parents allowed me to go out by myself on Richardson Ave, And there was Arlene, also alone. Boy times have changed, haven’t they? Most people don’t let kids that young out on the street alone anymore.

        My mother was a great fan of Ladner’s knitting store. I heard that name so much. I don’t know Jerry’s Deli or Sal’s tv store. Was Jerry’s deli that shop on the corner of 242 and White Plains?

        There was a beauty shop and a taylor shop under 4755 also. My favorite thing to do was to cut through the buildings and come out of that door onto White Plains Rd, next to the luncheonette.

        I am not sure if I remember Max Falber and his hardware store. I moved away in 1960. Was it there before then?

        Did the Jerundo family live in our building? That name is very familiar? I remember a mother and daughter who did not live in our building, but nearby They dressed in very old fashioned clothes, maybe black. The girl was about my age but she was never out alone. She only walked with her mother on Richardson Avenue. There were all sorts of stories about them because they were a mystery to us kids. Could that have been the Jerundo family?

        It’s great that you have kept in touch with some of the Richardson Ave. people. I lost touch my parents moved.


        • Bruce Cooper says:

          I found some trains that leave Grand Central around noon and get to Mt.Vernon around
          12:30 and 1:00. When we talk on the 23rd, we’ll firm up the train.
          When I was very little there was a drugstore next to the luncheonette by the entrance to
          4755. They moved to the corner of 241st where Peppino’s is now by the bakery and candy store. The name Kessler is vaguely familiar to me. Jerry’s deli was a couple of stores down from Ladner’s. I think the tv store which was near Jerry’s came in, in the late 50’s. There was also another drugstore near the Greek restaurant called City
          Line Pharmacy, and I think it is the last store still there. There was also a flower
          store called Geo Panos on the east side of street also. The hardware store was a
          few stores down from the Chinese Laundry and Kackman’s icecream parlour.
          About the Jerundo family. I think they lived on the 3rd floor. She dressed in black and
          he was bald. I hate to say that they were an older couple because that describes me.
          They owned a dress factory on Mt. Vernon Ave just south of Scotts Bridge in Mt. Vernon. I never saw children with them.
          I told my wife that I remember you, but as a young girl and I was young also. I am going to bring some pictures of myself and put a bag over my head, first
          so I don’t scare you.
          I have a wedding picture somewhere, and I will try to bring it of Mrs. Sperber. Her
          maiden name was Miss Soudak, I think, a lovely woman.
          Mr. Stanley was not the only person in our building that liked to have a drink. A few times Anthony Censullo apt. IC and I would be plotting adolescent activities sitting on
          the sofa in the lobby, and we would help Mr. Stanley to his apartment. If Anthony and I
          spent more time on our school work, we wouldn’t have been sitting on that sofa and
          trying to craft negative outcomes.
          I have spent a lot of time during my life daydreaming like Walter Middy. I find it
          absolutely fantastic that my images of you are as a girl between the ages of 8 and 13.
          It’s just like the Twilight Zone, Ray Bradbury, and a radio host from the 50’s on radio
          called Long John Nebel who talked about aliens. It’s like suspended Animation but
          time moved on.
          I am so excited about seeing you and meeting your husband.

  20. Lois says:

    It is just like exactly like suspended but time moved on. What a good way to put it. There certainly is a twilight zone quality to meeting someone after 70 years who you remember as an 8 year old. It’s the same for me.

    I’ll bring a few pictures of that 8 year old girl on Richardson Avenue so you can compare her with the 80 year old woman with gray hair and a cane that you’ll see before you. In my mind, I’m still that 8 year old. I’ll see if I have any other pictures from back in the day on Richardson Avenue to show you.

    I listened to Long John Nebel, even after he moved to NBC. What a trip that was to listen in the wee hours, those fantastic stories and ideas. Did you ever listen to Jean Shepherd? He did the late night show on W.O.R in the time slot before Long John, I think.

    It’s such fun to have found another kid from the building.


    • Bruce Cooper says:

      You mentioned Jean Shepherd. I can’t believe it. Last night I was talking to Peggy about Lois Nettleton, an actress who was
      married to Jean Shepherd in the 60,s. She would call in and it was broadcasted on the radio. Steve Allen wanted Shepherd
      to continue on his Tonight Show, when he left. They thought he was too edgy and instead went with Jack Parr. Do you
      remember a show on late Called Big Joe Rosenfeld Jr.. He had a theme song, he played. He was a Norman Vincent Peel
      minus religion.
      Finding you has given me another person to connect with in the building. What crosses my mind is when I would lay in
      bed at night and listen to those shows someone else was doing the same thing.
      I used to look out the window when it was snowing and watch the street. I hoped the snow would cover the street where
      passing cars would not be able to expose the blacktop. If it did, I felt I could stay home from school.

      • Lois says:

        Jean Shepherd had this thing where at a certain point in his show he would say, blink your lights on and off and look out the window to see if anyone else is blinking. I used to do that. My bedroom faced the well and looked at the windows of the other building. I never made contact.

        I didn’t know Jean Shepherd was considered to replace Steve Allen. Jean Shepherd was really my all time favorite late night guy. He used to say some people marched in the parade, but he sat on the curb and watched. He used to say there is no “they”. “You” are “they”.

        Many years later, Joey Reynolds had the all night show on WOR. He sort of reminded me of Jean Shepherd in his creative use of radio, but he wasn’t as interesting, at least to me.

        My mother and I plowed ( walking) through the blizzard of ’47 to PS16, wind howling, snow swirling, snow banks so high I could see the street. We got there and school was closed. It never occurred to my mother! School was so important to her.

        I laughed when I read how you’d watch the streets when it was snowing to see if you could stay home. In those days, there weren’t snow days. At least I don’t remember them. And no communication about school closings ( which weren’t a thing). That was probably because we all walked to school. It is usually because of bus routes that schools close during snow.

        I don’t remember Big Joe Rosenfeld Jr. I’ll look him up Maybe a bell will ring.

        The only girl of my age in the building was Barbara Shultz. I wish I had kept in touch with her. I think it is great that you’ve stayed connected with a few of the building kids.


        • Bruce Cooper says:

          I left N.Y. in 1962. I don” remember Joey Reynolds. How about Barry Gray, Ben Grauer,
          and Tex Antoine with his puppet (Uncle Weathbee) on the weather.
          On a somber note, my 1st cousin Lois passed way on September 5th. She was 88.
          She was responsible for me coming to California and getting a healthy start going to
          college and becoming a teacher. We were extremely close for over 50 years. She was
          born in NYC and went to Walton just like you. She went to Oswego State Teacher’s
          College in the late 1940’s.
          I told her that you and I made contact recently and that your name is Lois and went to
          Walton like her. She got a big kick out of it and said that I have more than one Lois.
          Just knowing that you are there, and especially at night when we listened to the radio
          and I am lying in bed, has been huge source of comfort during this difficult time.

          • Lois says:

            There was a glitch when I posted yesterday, so this may be a double post. If so, my apologies.

            I am so sorry for your loss. Lois sounds like the kind of person everyone should have in life. And how lucky you both were that you remained close for 50 years. A relationship like that is like gold, only more valuable. Please accept my deepest sympathy.

            I’m glad that the late night radio connection we share brings comfort. It touches me too.

            I listened to Barry Gray until the late 60’s when I lived for a time in Hastings New York. I remember Tex Antoine but not Ben Grauer, except for his name.

            I left Richardson Avenue in 1960, 2 years before you. I visited about 3 or 4 times. The last time was maybe 20 years ago. I thought the building looked downtrodden and all bolted up for security. It had a different feel, at least to my mother and I. I wonder what it is like now.

            I hope your Peggy and my Joe won’t be too bored while we take our trip down memory lane. I took my kids to Richardson Avenue once and they weren’t anywhere near as thrilled as I was to be there.

            Can you give me the address of the Mt. Vernon station where we are to meet? I looked it up, but there seems to be 3 stations in Mt. Vernon.

  21. Bruce Cooper says:

    Obviously I am up, trying to make sense out of life.
    The address you want is 1 East First Street, Mt. Vernon, N.Y. 10550.
    Ben Grauer used to do the New Years Eve telecast from Times Square. He was a staff announcer for NBC.
    I used to think when they decorated the lobby at Christmas with a tree it was very pretty. The stand
    that the tree stood on had multi colored bulbs which really made it look great. I loved just sitting on
    the couch and looking at it.
    Did you go to P.S. 103 or were you at P.S. 16 when it was a K-8 school?
    Peggy works as an instructional aide with a little girl that has a form of Palsy with delayed issues She has been with her since Kinder. She will be retiring hopefully this June. She started like you in
    her early 50’s. She is about worn out. She turns 70 next January. She worked clerical jobs in the
    medical field until the commute got too much. She took a year off quit smoking and started out being a proctor at the lunch tables to get her foot in the door. I suggested to her that you live with a
    child ,why not work with them.

    • Lois says:

      Thanks for the address.

      Now I remember Ben Grauer. Boy I wish I had your memory.!

      I went to PS16 K-7. It stopped being k-8 the year they sent my class to PS103 for just the 8th grade. At least that’s what we were told. They said they wanted all the rest of the classes under my class to go to PS 103 for 7th and 8th grade. I graduated from PS 103 in 1951. Did you go to PS 103 for 7th and 8th grades?

      I actually started teaching in 1959 when I was 21, but after a few years I took 20 years off to raise my sons. And yes, I went back when I was 50 and worked 23 more years. I also worked in a nursery school and was director for a bit in between.
      Tell Peggy I understand! I was worn out when I retired at 73. Most people don’t recognize how much it takes to work with kids, no matter how wonderful it is. Peggy will be thrilled to be retired. I know it.

      My mother did what Peggy does in her local school. She also started out in the lunch room and then went into the classroom as an aide and then with a disabled child. Only Mom was a superwoman. They would not let her quit. She finally had to tell them she was done at the age of 95. Yes, 95. They were even coming to her house to pick her up. She was 104 in 2016 when she died. I was in awe of her energy, all of my life, but especially in her old age. She danced at her 100th birthday party.

      Clearly, I don’t take after her.

      • Bruce Cooper says:

        Your Mother sounded fabulous. What a life. Am I correct, that your maiden name is Italian? Which brings
        up the question, did your Mother make meat balls and spaghetti, and did she pass it on to you? Oh food
        glorious food.
        I went to P.S. 103 for 7th and 8th grade and on to De Witt Clinton.
        My Dad lived to 100 years 5 months. He remarried in 1965, lived In Spring Valley, N.Y. and then onto
        Port Richey, Fl., outside of Tampa, on the west coast. I refer to the western part of Florida as the
        redneck Riviera.
        My Grandmother Esther who lived on top of you used to throw M&M’s in a napkin out of her 5th floor
        window for me to catch and eat when I would yell for it. She was a great Hungarian cook.
        My cousin Lois will have her ashes put in a niche next Sunday. A whole bunch of the family is buried
        there. It took me years to convince her to make some arrangements for her burial.
        I have been battling pneumonia, asthma and old age stuff. I am feel better.

        • Lois says:

          I was thinking that in case there is a disconnect on this forum, for whatever reason ( I can’t think of one now) but anyway, if I can’t communicate with you, I wanted you to know that I will definitely call the hotel on Dec. 23. Joe and I are really looking forward to meeting you and Peggy.

          Yes, my family is of Italian descent. Yes, spaghetti and meatballs, lasagna all of it. My soul food.

          Sorry to hear you have been sick. But glad to know you are feeling better. What is that saying? Getting old is not for sissies.

          I just love the image of you grandmother throwing down M&M’s to you. I think you were lucky to have her right there in the same building. And your aunt too.

          I will be thinking of your family next Sunday. You were smart to help Lois make arrangements.

          When were you in the old neighborhood last? Has it changed very much? I mean physically. In my mind, Richardson Avenue was always a nice street with little houses fairly well kept up. But of course, those are the memories of my child self. I have a picture of my father on Richardson Avenue, just before they moved. it shows that new building in what used to be the empty lot on the warehouse side.

          Remember the incinerator? It was my job to bring the trash there. It always sort of scared me, to open that bin. but once I found a big stack of old piano sheet music. A treasure. I still have it.

          • Bruce Cooper says:

            I was in the neighborhood last December. I finally got into the building and looked at my old apartment door, the mailboxes, and the separation between the buildings that your first apartment faced.
            I think most of the neighborhood is black, el Salvadorian, and other Hispanic people. We were in the lobby and saw only black tenants. We had to put the newspapers on the floor of the incinerator separately from the garbage, in the old days.
            Some gossip. My father threw my Mother and I out of our apartment
            2C when I was in the 3rd grade. My Grandfather and Aunt took us in for about 2 years. I slept in the little bedroom with my Aunt Bella in a twin bed next to her bed. My Mother still paid the rent because she did not want to lose the apartment. My Mother worked a very taxing job doing “piece work”, and slept on the sofa. We moved back in sometime when I was in 5th grade. My Dad did not work very often
            My Mother and I were visitors to the Police Department seeking relief. However, the police said that they did bother with domestic issues unless there was a crime. When I was 17 in 1959, my Mother finally got the court to evict him. By that time, I was an emotional wreck. Sometimes, it felt like being a prisoner of war living with him.
            I chased his love my whole life. However, my allegiance, love, and admiration was always to my Mother, Grandparents, Aunt Bella
            Aunt Charlotte, and cousin Lois.

  22. Lois says:

    I hope we can get into the building when we go there too.

    Well, the story of your childhood goes to show how powerful it is to have good people in your life even in the midst of traumatic experiences. I’ve always thought it really takes only one person to believe in you and support you during childhood to make the difference. What an awful time your mother had! She must have been a strong woman. How lucky for her she had her family’s support. It is no wonder, though that it was traumatic for you.

    I’ll bet your childhood experience made you a wonderful teacher, especially for kids who had problems. There is nothing like walking in someone’s show to give you deep understanding.

    That’s why I was good at helping kids understand math. It wasn’t my best subject, so I really knew what a struggler needed to know.

    Do you have any of your family left? I have cousins but all my aunts are gone now.

    • Bruce Cooper says:

      The entrance to the apartment house was open last year. If it is, we can take the elevator to the fourth floor and to the second floor and take photos in front of our apartment doors. Perhaps even the mailboxes and take a look in between
      the two buildings..
      I have a few cousins in the N.Y. area that I have not seen in decades. In California I have a few also. My cousin Lois
      has daughters. I am close to one that lives in Las Vegas but not with the other. Peggy has a brother in Oklahoma and two
      kids. Her son lives in Arkansas and a daughter about 40 miles from here. She has four grand children that are spread out.
      I had two daughters, Rachel and Rebecca. Rebecca died going on 11 years ago in a car accident. She would have been
      37 this October 21st. Rachel is 39 and got married two years ago for the first time. I don’t think that she will have any kids.
      Like you all of the aunts and uncles have been gone for decades.

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