Pepe (Jim) O'Baid
I made an entry a while back when I first found out about this site. What I want to tell you is that I went back recently to have dinner with some of the best friends anyone could ever have. We are and always will be brothers and sisters of the heart. Thanks to all the kids I ever knew from Smith & 2nd Streets for all the memories past, present and future. Junior, Dixie, Twan, John, Vinny, Goose, Butchy. I will never forget how you guys took me back in your lives as if I had never been gone at all. I am proud of all of you.
You want kids to grow up with values, learn from the kids of the 50s who grew up in the tough neighborhoods of Brooklyn. We know about respect and how to say NO with a vengeance. God Bless us all.
16 October 1999
My Brooklyn was East NY, 1949-1957. Canarsie from 1957-1970. In ENY I lived on Bradford St. between Hegeman & Linden Blvd. I went to P.S. 213.
I remember Sam's grocery on the corner of Wyona & Hegeman. Mom would send me with a shopping list for Sam and he would always figure the total on the paper bag and put the change in the bag.
Brodsky's candy store was on another corner of Wyona & Hegeman. My brother would go there Saturday night and get the Sunday Daily News along with Breyers ice cream pops for everyone. I remember the Mellorolls and ice cold sodas I would fish out of the big soda cooler filled with huge blocks of ice.
I remember Ginsburg's toy store on New Lots Ave. as well as Nino's Pizza, Bressner's, The Biltmore movie (the water fountain built into recessed niche made a lasting impression on me, don't know why) and May's, where I went for my first tricycle, doll carriage (a replica of a fancy coach in those days).
I remember rollerskating with a skate key around my neck, of course, on the rough sidewalks and how smooth the schoolyard's surface felt beneath my feet. My friends were Eric, Marc, Marie, Marilyn, Yvette and Joycie all on Bradford St. I remember the Y on Linden Blvd. and walking with mom to shop on Blake Ave. We would visit many pushcarts and come home with shopping bags full. I also recall the huge barrels of pickles & kraut as well as Morris' Meat Market with the sawdust on the floor. I always got handed a piece of baloney to eat as mom shopped. We also made trips to Pitkin Ave., where she'd always buy shoes at the Wide Width Shoe Store. Do any of these places, people or events sound familiar to anyone?
16 October 1999
Memories of Brooklyn
My Brooklyn is Red Hook, now Carroll Gardens, with egg creams, stickball, pimple balls. Sitting on the stoop till all hours of the night as the smell of fresh baked bread came from the two bakeries that were on either ends of the block. (I can taste the bread now). Johnny pumps in the summer. The whistle or yell of someone's mom calling the kids for dinner or it's time to come in. Ring o liveo, buck buck (or Johnny on a pony), tops, skelzeez, fistball (or punchball). Just a few of the things that I hold close to my heart.
Growing up in Brooklyn, these might have been just a few things that at the time you took for granted. You don't know at the time that those realities would be treasured memories in the years to come. When you're brought up in Brooklyn you are part of a family that is known all over the world, and wherever you go and wherever you move to the Brooklyn in you stays in you forever. Someone asks you "Where are you from?" and you proudly say almost boasting "BROOKLYN." The person immediately takes a step back and says "oh!" because wherever they are from it can't compare to Brooklyn. We are a tough and tight-knit bunch with a diploma in street smarts that will help you through life whether you are a doctor or a laborer. If you're from Brooklyn you have an edge. I am sure other people from other places might think that where they come from or came from is the place to be from, but we all know better. "It ain't BROOKLYN."Check me out at Brooklyn Streets.
16 October 1999