453 South 12th Street  

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nj.jpg (1124427 bytes)At about the same time I started Boy's Vocational School, our family moved out of Down Neck, and purchased a house at 453 South 12th Street, Newark, NJ. It was located in an Italian neighborhood between 14th and 15th Avenues. The whole family still lived together in the new house.

Our flat was on the second floor and had two bedrooms, living room, kitchen, bathroom, and a hall room. Uncle Louie and his wife occupied one bedroom, my sister and grandmother the other bedroom, my mother and father slept in a converted dining room, and I had my private room off the hall.

Uncle Elia and his family moved to the same street, about half a block away. We wanted to be near one another until we got accustomed to the new people in the area.

It was while we were living on 12th Street that we had the fire in the kitchen. It seems the oil burner in the kitchen stove exploded one day and caused severe fire damage to the kitchen and the kitchen walls. Luckily no one was injured.

Also while living on 12th Street, I used to get my haircuts at Ralph's Barber Shop on South Orange Avenue and 12th Street. The shop was next door to the Strand movie house. Ralph was a good friend of our family, and one day he offered me free hair cuts for life if I would teach him how to drive a car and help him get his driver's license. He even offered to throw in an occasional free shave and massage. It was an offer I couldn't refuse.

Ralph bought a car and we went to work on his driving lessons. He soon learned to drive and got his license. He was so happy. He couldn't thank me enough.

Ralph was "Jimmy Buff's" brother. Jimmy Buff had a hot dog and sausage restaurant on 14th Avenue across from 14th Avenue Elementary School. My parents were very friendly with his people. Jimmy Buff's wife and my mother were very close. Their relationship lasted until we moved away.