I came across this online bulletin board after a Facebook friend nudged me back. It reminds me how many of my childhood friends started to get back in touch after so many years – before Facebook. You can find the whole discussion, to the present day, at:
This all starts with someone wanting help to write a book about Elmhurst and asking for memories or perceptions back in August 2003! …some thoughts from Tokyo for what is contribution likely to the book’s post script (or hopefully a second edition). Please put me on the list to buy the book.
America’s melting pot
One of the first things I ever remember reading from a newspaper was in the late 1960’s in the NY Daily News. It was a 110 precinct cop describing his beat. He said “Whatever God made, we’ve got a least one of ’em here.” I remember trying to figure out what that meant.
Games: Johnny rides a pony, Hot beans and butter, Mr. Hobdy’s street football, Juniper Valley park with the baseball team, punch ball at recess, slap ball, stick ball, and skitching in the winter (catching rides on the back of cars on icy roads – what were we thinking!!)
Food: zots, devil dogs, spiced ham sandwiches from the German Deli
Places: Dandy’s Pizzeria, school closets, confession booths, Henry’s basement to watch Monty Python, (the race to) Elmhurst lanes for after school bowling, the gym with the low ceiling
Events: The Bazars, Saturday morning basketball games, sports nights, those amazing Gabrielli musicals (Fiddler on the Roof, South Pacific) and the practices, first kisses in dark alleys, block parties
Adventure: Hitch hiking to New England with two fellow Elmhurst adventurers – you know who you are guys “Ringe (New Hampshire) for Kicks!” , A Tale on Dawn concerts and jams. Spying on friends playing/cavorting in our building’s backyard from our balcony
Fear: The Savage Nomads, the hippies who lived across the park a few houses down the Neufeld’s funeral home, the cops asking who shot at Ms. Devlins’ windows with the BB gun, the guys who stole my first cool bike. Moving to Jackson Heights. I try to describe to my kids what it was like growing up in Elmhurst; Immigrant kids of working class parents growing up in the Casablanca of America. One day they will tell their kids what is was like growing up Tokyo and I hope they too will have the same sense of fulfillment.
Maybe that sometimes forgotten Statue on Ellis Island still welcomes and Elmhurst has kept her promise.