Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Trying to remember the very early years growing up in Rego Park

It’s very hard to recall my very early days growing up in Rego Park since it is now over 50 years ago. When my parents were married in 1946 it was very difficult to get an apartment since there was no construction done during World War II. So, they lived with my grandmother in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn. Thus, I was born in what’s now known as Brookdale Hospital in 1949. Two years later my family moved to Rego Park Queens. At that time my uncle Ben (my dad’s twin brother) and some close family friends lived there. We moved to 61-40Saunders Street which was a wlkup building built in the 1920s. It was on the border between the Jewish and gentile sections of the neighborhood. I have to remember that because the Catholic kids would not play with me. They all went to a parochial school nearby. I did have a Jewish friend named Jodie who lived across the street.

The elementary school P.S. 139 was just a couple of blocks away on 63rd Drive, the business street in Rego Park. Almost the entire school was Jewish. Back then you would just stay in one classroom all day with one teacher. Some of my teachers were:

Mrs. Avidon

Mrs. Michelle

Mrs. Randall

Mrs. Chesser

Mrs. Milstein

Mrs. Berger

Some of my friends were:

Steven Gaber

Richard Jacobowitz

Ron Freisenger

Ronnie Blum

Ronnie Bierman

Michael Weisbrot

Jeffrey Little

Lorin Merinoff

Jeffrey Mehler

Philip Kart

Robert Stok

Mark Epstein

Robert Klein

Joel Truehaft

Maybe these guys will google their names and find this journal. A few years ago I reconnected online with Richard who changed his surname to Jacoby and lives in California. In the Spring of 2000 I met Steven Gaber who now lives in Toronto and we walked around the old neighborhood. I spoke with Robert Klein on the phone some years back. He lived in Virginia back in the 1990s.

I may as well talk about my Hebrew School years at the Rego Park Jewish Center. We left PS 139 at 3:00 and had to go for Hebrew classes at 3:30. Everybody hated learning the Hebrew language since it was so difficult with different letters and vowels. One of my teachers there Jay Bushinsky becam a journalist and has been the correspondant from Israel for 1010 WINS radio. I remember Mr. Yardeni, the mean music teacher. I fondly remember Rabbi Josiah Derby, syngagogue assistant Jack Feldman, Cantor Morris Loewy who gave the Bar Mitzvah lessons. Right next to the temple was a barber shop. Back in the early 60s, the adult price was $1.25 and children paid $1.00. The barber who was not Jewish always asked a young man when is his Bar Mitzvah. Of course, we all liked to brag about that, so if we had our big ceremony we had to pay the adult price.

Here is a good web site about Rego Park.

Sometime soon I will write about my days at Russell Sage Junior High School and Camp Wel-Met

Those were the days.

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