Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Blast from Hoboken's Past

May 14, 2008

I got an email from a reader who really knows Hoboken. Here's what he wrote me:

I came from hoboken. I’m 69 now and I came across your site by mistake ...I’m glad .....YES hoboken has changed ...its not the quiet town it used to be back in the 1950s.

As a young boy there was some great hangouts to have fun in, BUT they are all gone now. I’m not talking about the bars...there was always plenty of them...I’m talking about the ice cream parlor hangouts...such as ABLE’S across from Sacred Heart Acadamy on Washington Street, JACK-O –DINE’S on the corner by Demarest H.S., JANETTE’S on First and Washington Street. Biggie’s I think is still there but it's not the same.

They were the fun centers of our youth. Famed deejay ALLEN FREED rock and roll shows at the Fabian Theater, destroyed, now a supermarket...the mood and values all vanished it seems...the girls were just lovely...I’m sure time has changed that, just a little…I still have my girl friend I met in ABLE’S in 1958...she was a Sacred Heart Acadamy grad …I was the black jacket greased haired hot rodder that you did not want your daughter to go out with ..BUT YOU CANT JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER...I was sweet and charming back then…and still am...THEN CAME THE VIET NAM WAR...WELL my girl friend married me in St. Ann’s Church and off we war together...looking back to Hoboken with fond memories...4 kids 12 grandchildren later...we still love Hoboken...its memories, that is.

Looking at the two pictures: The first one is in front of St. Matthew’s Church on 9th and Hudson Street. Not in the picture is the hill to the right leading up Stevens campus we used to call DEAD MAN’S HILL...sledding in the winter (just a guess) ...the other with the steps (we used to call a stoop) is either on Park Avenue or Hudson the same area...I only lived a few blocks from there 924 garden street. Stevens Forum and Girl Scouts were right next door to me, now it’s a parking garage.

He's right about the places he identified in the pictures. Hudson is the street and he even knew the block. Well, why wouldn't he? He has a pretty good memory, maybe not another . Jill Price, but probably as close as I am. I love his emails -- he's sent me more with a lot of interesting info about Frank Sinatra (whose The Tender Trap will be on Turner Classic Movies tonight, a real microcosm of the 1950's) pen pal's writing style is a little contagious...gotta watch that...but it's a great read anyway. Don't you agree?

I'll share more of his snapshots of Old Hoboken from time to time. I can see him now in his leather jacket with his greased hair, a boy that Mama wouldn't let near the house. Luckily for Mama my house was in Montrose, Alabama, and the wild ones from Hoboken didn't know how to find it.


Anonymous said...

Off the Hoboken subject, but in what sense do you suppose this fellow and his wife went "off to war together"? Is it some kind of metaphor for marriage or do you think they actually both went to Vietnam?

Mary Lois said...

I think it was a very felicitous choice of phrase, but I took it to mean "we got together and I went to war..." I'm sure I'll hear from him and clear it up.

Anonymous said...

OFF TO WAR WE WENT: Sure, that’s the way it was...I would presume Anonymous has never been in the military, or watched the Viet Nam or any of our wars on tv as an Arm Chair Critic...and has never dealt with the hardships war can bring to young married couples ...being and traveling as a army wife , she too had to endure the hardships of in places she would not even think to visit (much less live), poor housing conditions and trying to live off the meager Army pay...hand washing and pressing my uniforms daily ....DUTY, HONOR, COUNTRY...we did what was asked of us in time of war...with no regrets...A TRUE TEST OF LOVE she had for me ...I am most grateful (I pinned my good conduct medal on her ..)...most deserving it was.