I have many wonderful memories
of growing up in Bergenfield during the 50’s and 60’s, but some memories
were not so nice. As a young boy there was nothing better than going to
the Palace theatre (Pop’s Flea House) on a Saturday for a full day of movies
and cartoons. We would pack a lunch, be dropped off late in the morning
and picked up again late in the afternoon. It was a perfect day,
right? Wrong! There was one thing always present in the back of your
mind, something you dreaded, hoping to avoid, but couldn’t. “Going
down to the Bathroom in the Palace Theatre”! Especially when the movie
was a horror movie that scared the crap out of you. You waited and waited,
but eventually you had to make the trip, no matter what horrors might await
you. The bathroom was in the back of the main floor and you had to go down
this long flight of stairs. The further down you went, the mustier the
smell got, you “knew” you were “underground”, and you knew evil waited.
The room was covered in those little bathroom tiles, the urinals were on
the left and the shitters were towards the back. It did not feel like a
nice place. I’m sure I was not alone in these feelings and many a pee or
poop record was set, and we certainly went up the stairs faster than when
we went down. My personal record was set the day I saw “Invaders
from Mar’s”. I never moved or went faster than on that day, bad enough
I watched almost the entire movie thru the cracks between the seats. Was
I a pussy? We’re the other kids scared? I didn’t know and I didn’t care,
I only went down to the dungeon because I had to.
Years later, I worked at the theatre, brought dates to the theatre, sat in the balcony, made out next to the projection booth ( left side facing screen), even took my children there. Know what, even after all that time had passed, I still got an eerie feeling down in the bathroom of the Palace Theatre. I wonder, was I the Only One”?
50th Reunion Info
D'Ambra, Francis (Frank) N. age 78, of Bergenfield, passed away on June 9, 2015 at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, NJ. He was born in Brooklyn, NY. Frank was predeceased by his parents, Frank and Philomena D'Ambra and his son, Daniel Lee Brown. He is survived by his beloved sister Nancy (D'Ambra) Lescher, his niece Elizabeth (Lescher) Chirafisi, and nephews Francis and Fred Lescher. Frank was a graduate of Holy Trinity High School, St. Francis College where he earned his doctorate and the Catholic University of America where he earned his law degree. Frank started his career teaching at St. Helena High School in the Bronx, NY. He went on to be a history teacher at Bergenfield High School, the Head of Guidance at Teaneck High School, an attorney for Sill Cummis and finally the Supervisor for Special Education Services for the Passaic School District. Family, Friends and others whose lives Frank touched are invited Saturday June 27th from 11:30AM-12:30PM in the Funeral Home. Humanist Service at 12:30 PM, to reminisce, grieve and support each other. In lieu of flowers a tribute donation may be made to AMFAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research in honor of Frank D'Ambra by visiting their website at www.amfar.org For information call (201) 944-0100 or www.frankpatti.com
photo submitted by Janet Tepper Riemer, Class of '52.
A Mighty “Mite” Friendship
|Sometime in the winter of 1948, Mrs. Margaret Conti and
Mrs. Helen McMullan pulled their little bundles of joy down Surrey Lane
in a sled. The bundles of joy were Richie Conti age one (Class of 1966)
and Donald McMullan age two (Class of 1964). Little did the kids realize
that it was the beginning of a lasting friendship that still thrives today,
almost 67 years later.
Throughout our school years we went to all the sporting events , religiously visited places like Callaghan’s hot dogs in Fort Lee, Stockdale’s in Park Ridge, played basketball at the Tenafly courts, went to and worked in local movie theatre’s like The Palace (Pop’s flee house) , and the ones in Englewood, and Teaneck. We played PAL baseball and basketball, neighborhood stick ball, whiffle ball, stoop ball, and went to Fishie’s. We went thru the teenage years, the dating, the music, and all the confusion that time period brings.
Donald went off college a year ahead of me, him in Oklahoma
and me in New Mexico. We would talk and hang out during breaks, but the
visits became less, and less frequent. Both of us married, had children,
but always t kept each other updated, never missed a birthday phone call
and the years rolled on. Helen and Frank (my first PAL baseball coach)
passed away as did my parents, Andy and Margaret. During visits we
saw each other’s children and then grandchildren. He was my first
call when I took my fourth generation to Fishie’s just before it closed.
Last year, we took 2 of my granddaughters on a cross-country trip and we
visited Oklahoma, and spent some time with Don and his wife Donna. .
By the way, not many people know this, but Don was one building away from
target zero in the Oklahoma City bombing. His name is on the wall for his
role in rescuing a great many children at the various day care centers
affected by the bombing, an action that took a toll on Don’s health.
Well, here we are, March, 2015 and our friendship is still
Saturday, October 10, 2015
7:00 p.m. at the Elks Lodge in Bergenfield
Come join us as we celebrate our 40th High School Reunion!! It seems
like only yesterday when we were roaming the halls of BHS, playing the
juke box in the cafeteria, walking over to Dan's Deli for a fantastic
egg sandwich, or cruising down the Avenue, but now here we are 40 years
later, better than ever! We are attempting to get a head count as to who
will be coming, so please click on "GOING" and stay tuned for more
details. The Elks Lodge can only accommodate about 150 people, and we
want to give Class of '75 folks (and their guests) first choice, so
please feel free to invite all of our 1975 classmates if you do not see
them on the invite list.
Contact Peter Furhman
Class of 1965 - 50th Reunion
October 9,10,11, & 12, 2015, Columbus day weekend
For more information and to pre-register:
Bergenfield Alumni is now on
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