|Mom at 6 yrs (1948)|
More recently before she passed in 2009, Mom just loved to sit on my sister Sheryl's front porch in Philly and watch the world walk by. Mom said it reminded her of growing up in Newark, sitting in the front of her building as a child. By now, my readers know that I often tell of memories of her as a sort of a record for my brother and sister and my niece and nephew, Angelica and Johnny as well. One day, I hope it will help them get to know their Nana better.
Mom grew up in Newark, NJ, in an apartment building on Goldsmith Avenue next to Weequahic Park. It's comforting to know the building is still there. During some of those hot city summers, Nanny and Grandpop sent Mom to Camp Kalmia in Blairstown, NJ. She told me she used to enjoy camp but one evening she almost lost her life. A huge summer thunderstorm rolled through the area taking everyone by surprise. A huge stately maple tree stood next to the cabin soaring into the sky as far as she could see.
|Camp Kalmia lake|
|A building from Camp Kalmia where Mom used to stay.|
Mom told me she landed on the base of an old oak tree. She was injured but thank G-d did not break her back. She often told me her back continued to hurt her through the years due to this accident. She was lucky though again.
The last story is a funny one. During my Mom's high school years, she was addicted to the dance show by Clay Cole, disc jockey and host of the teenage dance party, The Clay Cole Show, which was the New York City's counter-part to Philly's American Bandstand.
Mom used to watch Clay Cole every day during her later high school years. She once told me of how she and her best girl friend played hooky one day from school to go on the dance show (unbeknownst to my Nana) . They cut class and took the train in to New York City to appear on the show.
The girls got on the show, but then realized that my Nana watched it every day as well! So every time the camera panned the dancers, Mom and her friend would hide behind people, hoping that Nana wouldn't spot them dancing. Well, my Mom had luck on her side once again, and Nana never spotted them cutting class.
|Clay Cole with Annette Funicello circa 1960|
I have to say, I love these stories about my Mom. I always knew she was a fiesty fun gal but knowing she was like that in high school too is just great. You need to ask your parents about their experiences growing up my friends. My sister, brother and I are lucky enough we have some of these stories.
You can read more about The Clay Cole Show at these links: