438 Avon Avenue, Newark, NJ

(Click on photo to enlarge) 

blueleft.gif (267 bytes) bluerigh.gif (266 bytes) home2.gif (1008 bytes)
Mickey & his Dad planting grapes at 438 Avon Avenue.

After I had spent nine months at Studebaker's, they closed up shop and I went to work at Central Avenue Garage, located on Central Avenue and 12th Street, across from the Fairmont Cemetery. I would walk the six long blocks to and from work. Jobs were scarce. No employers held on to their help unless they were absolutely necessary.

The Central Garage was owned and operated by a German mechanic who had an accent that never left its country. He was six feet tall, weighed 200 pounds, and was strong and forceful. He and I got along very well. He liked my mechanical ability and my willingness to use it. He owned a beautiful 1925 Buick touring car with side curtains. He put it up for sale and I bought it. It was an immaculate car, clean as a whistle, inside and out. He sold it to me for $250.

At about this time my mother and father purchased a house at 438 Avon Avenue. It was a three story house next to the corner. It had two stores in the front. One was rather large and had three rooms attached in the rear, which we rented out to a German tailor and his family named Mueller.

Uncle Elia and his family moved into the third-floor flat, and our family occupied the second floor. My father's store was separated from the tailor shop by an inside stairway which lead to our flat on the second floor. His store was small, just 5' by 10'. But it was just fine. It had just enough space for his shoe repair shop, his equipment and machinery. The side door leading to the upstairs flat made it very convenient for all of us.

Not long after moving in, we had need of a new roof on the house. We contracted the services of a local roofing company for the new roof, but since finances at that time were tight, my mother and father arranged for payment on a monthly basis. They always made sure that the payments were timely and never late, along with their monthly mortgage payment.

The roofing company was in need of a mechanic. I inquired and was interviewed by a real old-fashioned German Dutchman. They had three trucks and three company cars, plus the mother's, father's and son's cars to maintained. I was hired because of the business we gave them. The job lasted about two years. Their equipment was terrible-- trucks with no doors or windows. In the winter it was devastating. When it snowed there was no roofing work available, and the men were laid off.

The owner had a lakefront property somewhere near Lake Hopatcong and another driver and I were dispatched every other day to drive up to the lake property and secure it for winter. We made sure the bathroom toilets were drained so that the water pipes would not freeze. We also made sure there was plenty of fuel oil in reserve for heating and cooking.

The other driver was older than I, had a lot more service and experience with the owner, and was very dependable. I learned a lot from him. We would start out in snowy weather about 8:30 in the morning, in the best truck without side curtains, and drive for about two hours. We were almost frozen by the time we arrived. The driver was an outdoor man and loved it. He had a lot of stamina. He bought hamburger steaks or whatever we wanted, plus coffee, cokes, etc.., and we would have a cookout at the property- just the two of us.

We were instructed to do any outdoor work necessary at the lodge or house. We had to clear the snow away from the driveways and other access roads. The owners were more or less thankful that we were able to make a general check of the property, so they didn't need a property manager.