My Town, USA - by Alan
As I walk along Main Street, Bay Shore, today, at age
75, things look different now than in the days of my youth but I can still
remember the aroma of the Blue Bake Shop, Entenmann's Bakery and Barbino's
Bake Shop and a bustling little town long ago where a kid could have some
good times with some good people. I walked or ran everywhere when I was a
kid; a bike in the '30s was hard to come by in our house. The Bay Shore
Theater where I worked as an usher was something to see. My cousin, Kenneth
Courtney (Weasel), was presented with The Young Tarzan Trophy in 1938 (which
should have been mine). I had the mumps the day of the competition. Many a
night we would sneak into the movies when the show would break and go in the
side doors. St.Patrick's School was a wood building. That is where I started
school in 1936. We had boys' and girls' bathrooms outside the school, and in
the winter, the nuns would not let you out so many a puddle was seen on the
floors. The nuns were tough at times, but it didn't do us any harm in the
long run. One game we played was called "jail-break." It was between the
boys' and girls' bathrooms where the older boys would keep you in there; it
was up to you to break out. Sister Mary Grace was principal and teacher of
the third grade. I remember her telling us if we were bad, we would be put
in the "Encyclopedia Machine" upstairs. We tried very hard to behave
ourselves in her class.
Kelly's Lake is where I spent much of my youth (now the
site of Newin's Ford car lot on the northwest side of town). My family lived
a block away and my cousins, the Courtneys, lived right on the lakeshore, as
did many of my friends; the Neumans, Sortinos and the Abbotts. In the winter
when the lake froze over, we would skate until our ankles gave out. On the
side of the lake we would have a big fire going, to warm us up or dry off
anyone who fell in playing "Tickly." This was played at the north end where
the ice was thin and the water was shallow. You ran across, cracking the
ice; the more you ran over, the more you chanced falling in, and that's when
the ice got ticklish as we called it. In the summer we would fish for sunny,
bass and perch. It was so much fun playing Tarzan, swinging in the trees.
There were more broken arms than you could count, but who cared; we would
live forever. There was no Jane at that time, but that's another story.
As you walked east, you passed King Kullen and A&P, we
had two of them; one on each end of town as well as Sears, W.T. Grant, and
shoe stores too many to name. Every time you went into King Kullen, you
would ask the butcher for a piece of baloney and he always gave it to you.
He would always ask, "Were you in the wagon when you fell out?" and then he
would laugh. We could never figure out what he meant until years later.
Moving along east, you passed under the big clock, Spivak's Jewelry, the
Skipper Bar, on past the Bay Shore Firehouse, where I was allowed upstairs
once to see all the trophies they won. I remember when they would return
from a tournament, blowing the sirens and waving their winning trophies.
What a great group of people.
And oh, I can still remember that great aroma again
from Entenmann's Bakery. What a great contribution to the town of Bay Shore
this family made. On to the Bay Shore Memorial Building, where, in the '30s
and '40s we had teenage dancing. In the back of the Memorial Building there
was a log cabin that was used by the Boy Scouts of America (anyone remember
what troop it was?). Across the street was Freistad's Drug Store where many
a good time was had especially when Pat Vesey worked there. Another place we
all went after the games was Adick's Soda Store, this was a lot like the
setting in Happy Days with a juke box and all. Next was the Bay Shore
Library, where I should have spent a lot more time. Walking further east,
you would find many more interesting places like the Nautical Bar and Grill,
Patheys Flowers and Southside Hospital.
That was my Main Street and there was much more and as
I walk along Bay Shore's Main Street today, I am warmed by my memories of
good times and good friends in a good place; good old Main Street, USA.
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South of Montauk -
by Alan Kletchka '48
WALKING ALONG MAIN STREET, I FEEL AN URGE GO SOUTH ON
CLINTON AVE. NOT BEING ABLE TO RESIST, I TURN, AND BEFORE MY EYES, I SEE
MYSELF RUNNING, WALKING, OR HITCHING A RIDE DOWN CLINTON AVE. AT THE VERY
END OF THE BLOCK, IS WHERE MANY HAPPY MEMORIES COME TO MIND. THIS IS WHERE
OUR GREAT SUMMER PASTIME BEGAN; BENJAMIN'S BEACH AND MEMORIES OF LONG AGO.
OUR FAMILY HAD A LOCKER #99, MY COUSIN THE COURTNEY' HAD #100, NEUMAN'S #
??, HOW COULD I FORGET THAT NUMBER, THOSE YOUNG LADIES WERE VERY CLOSE
FRIENDS. FOR YEARS MY PARENTS WOULD SCRIMP AND SAVE TO PAY THE YEARLY FEE OF
$25, IT TOOK ALL SUMMER TO PAY IT OFF. I CAN STILL HEAR MR. BENJAMIN ASK,
"DID YOUR MOTHER SEND ANY PAYMENT THIS WEEK?" I KNOW WE WERE NOT THE ONLY
ONES HE WOULD ASK. THE SUMMER BROUGHT OUT ALL THE BIG CITY (BROOKLYN)
PEOPLE. THE KEYSERS, THE SORTINO'S, CHATERWITZ AND MANY OTHERS. THE BIG
ATTRACTION, WAS WATCHING THE OLDER GUYS PLAY HANDBALL-STU PAYTON (WHO TOUGHT
ME HOW TO SWIM), STAN HAFLEY, GEORGE SORTINO AND SPOOK HUGHS, THE LAST THREE
I MENTIONED, ALL GAVE THERE LIVES FOR THERE COUNTRY, KILLED IN ACTION IN
WWII. THAT IS WHAT MADE THE HANDBALL COURTS SO SPECIAL TO MANY OF US. "NOW
ON THE HIGH DIVING BOARD''-MARY RODGERS (SHE HAD THE BEST FIGURE IN TOWN)
AND SHE LOVED TO SHOW OFF AND WE ALL LOVED IT. WE PLAYED UNDERWATER TAG, AND
WHO COULD FORGET GOING UNDER THE RAFT? THIS USED TO DRIVE THE LIFE GUARDS
NUTS. WE NEVER GOT OUT OF THE WATER. MY MOTHER WOULD HAVE TO CALL AND ASK TO
GET ME OUT FOR A SHORT BREAK AND TO LET THE BLUE COLOR FADE. BENJIES IS GONE
NOW, BUT NOT THE GREAT MEMORIES.
WALKING ALONG THE SHORE LINE EAST. HI JOHN (KLUGE'S), SPENT A LOT OF TIME
THERE WHEN IT WAS KNOWN AS "VINNY'S HAPPY LANDING". ON THE SHORE LINE, WAS
THE BAY SHORE YACHT CLUB, WHERE THEY HELD MANY SAILBOAT RACES. BOATS FROM
ALL OVER THE ISLAND CAME TO COMPETE.
THE OCEAN AVE. DOCK, HOME OF THE BAYSHORE TUNA CLUB, WITH OFFICES IN CAPT.
BILL"S BAIT SHOP. CAPT BILL ,IF I REMEMBER HAD 16 OR 17 KIDS. HE WORKED WITH
THE BSTC, BY SCHEDUELING FISHING TRIPS. WE WOULD BUY OUR BAIT (SAND
WORMS-.35 CENTS A DOZ) PLUS HE SOLD ICE,
BEAR AND SODA. I SAILED AS MATE ON THE ALICE V, OWNED BY MURRAY JOHNSON. THE
ALICE V HAS NOW BEEN REFURBISHED AND IS IN THE MUSEUM IN WEST SAYVILLE.
THEIR WAS CHARTER FISHING BOATS OUT OF THIS DOCK. CAPT. CHICKEN JOHN BOSHNER,
FRED PAUL MATING, SKILLER WATTS, BOB SMITH MATING, AND 15 QUARTS (SHRIMP)
CHARLIE WHIRSTER, ARTIE SHILLER MATING. SOME GREAT FISHING IN THOSE DAYS.
THE DOCK WAS ALSO GOOD FOR SNAPPER FISHING AND CRABBING. MY POP, TOOK ME
THERE MANY DAYS AND NIGHTS. HE TOLD ME THAT THERE WAS A GAS BARGE AT THE END
OF THE DOCK, YEARS AGO THAT SOLD BOOTLEG BOOZE.
BACK UP ON MAIN STREET, I PASS ST PETER'S CHURCH. I ALWAYS THOUGH THAT WAS
WHAT A SMALL TOWN CHURCH SHOULD LOOK LIKE. YOU ONLY SEE CHURCHES LIKE THAT
DOWN HERE. AND WHAT HAPPENED TO THAT BEAUTIFUL ALTER THAT WAS IN ST. PAT'S
CHURCH. ARE ALL CHURCH'S TODAY TRYING TO LOOK LIKE MUSIC HALL'S?
WALKING FURTHER ALONG MAIN STREET, I MAKE A LEFT TURN ON NORTH PARK AVE. BUT
THAT'S ANOTHER CHAPTER.
"SEE YOU AT BENJIES"
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If These Halls Could Talk - by Irvina Lew '56
If these halls could
talk, they’d be chatting in French about Julie Franchi, a former French
teacher who—for too brief a time—also taught European history. Miss Franchi,
with her bright red lipstick and long, red finger nails wore long skirts and
a smile when she introduced us to another, more sophisticated world. Chez
Julie, everything French sounded beautiful and history came alive through
art, palaces and culture; not dates and wars. I was lucky enough to be her
French student for three years, her history student in my sophomore year.
She became my mentor when I was editor-in-chief of the Maroon and White and
she was its faculty advisor; we often worked on the yearbook together until
late into the evening at her home in Brightwaters.
During that commitment,
I must have whined once too often about not having time enough to rehearse
school plays, work on the Maroon Echo and see my boyfriend; she taught me a
time management lesson that later became a tenet of my life and the name of
my first book: “You Can’t Do It All.”
Each year, she’d reward
the yearbook editor with lunch at a French restaurant in New York City.
Maude Chez Elle—my first French meal in Manhattan--was located on 53rd
Street across from the Museum of Modern Art. The first time I noticed that
she wasn’t perfect in every way, she made a right turn up Broadway and I was
certain that the cars racing downtown would crash and crush us. Mlle.
Franchi never flinched; she just backed up and continued driving cross town
(blocks beyond 6th where she should have turned). She used the extra driving
time to remind me of good manners; she taught me the “comme il faut” or
“when in Rome” lesson of travel. “A Tuna Fish Sandwich (my favorite food) is
fine for Bay Shore. Today, you’ll have a chance to try something vraiment
francais.” I ordered Coq au Vin and subsequently majored in French, became a
teacher, taught my French students to cook and brought them all to Manhattan
museums, theaters and restaurants.
If these halls could
talk, they’d ask: How many other students did Julie Franchi influence?