e More They Stay the Same
4/20/2007An old cliché, I know; but think about it… a cliché is given that distinction because it often rings true, with the good intention of helping us to see the positive in something which we might consider negative – ‘Good things come to those who wait’; or ‘Everything happens for a reason’.
Recently I had the pleasure of driving through good old Bergenfield after being away for a long, long time. It did my heart good to see the sights, but at the same time, it made me a little sad to see how much it has changed. Driving down Washington Avenue, I saw the old Woolworth building on the corner of Main Street. It’s an antique store now, I think, going out of business if I remember correctly… but you can still see the shadows of the old Woolworth lettering going across the top of the building. Diagonally across the street, the old Florence Shop building is now a completely different store, painted a dark shade of grey. Then I looked next door and saw the beautiful, timeless St. John’s Catholic Church, with its orange bricks and stunning architecture. It hasn’t changed, despite all that has changed around it.
I remember TWO railroad tracks running through town, behind the old Pathmark (which before that was ShopRite), which is currently a Fashion Bug. Talk about change! One track was apparently taken out years ago.
The old Guarantee Supermarket, Betty Lee Drugs, Luhmann’s, Guerra’s – all are gone now. The County Discount Store is still in business, although not in the original location. Once again, years ago they must have moved across the street. It was nice to see that the Palace Theater is still standing, although even THAT has changed! For goodness sake, an old landmark of Bergenfield, the “Rec” on Legion Drive, is completely gone. They put up an enormous apartment building or retirement center in that location. It seems so out of place.
I’m sure I could recall many, many more.
Driving past the house I grew up in, I had that strange sensation we are all familiar with – the illusion of remembering the house as being so much larger. I felt the same way while driving through town. Bergenfield itself seemed so much larger.
It was great to visit Dan’s Deli and enjoy the best tuna salad sandwich on Earth. Thank goodness Dan’s is still the same, with all the photos of the BHS students, football players, and other BHS teams, and the DPW workers having lunch at the counter on a first-name basis with the owners. These days, Dan’s Deli is run by Betty and Mario, who have done a wonderful job of retaining the original atmosphere. It’s easy for me to remember their names, because coincidentally those are also the names of my parents.
The one constant which meant so much to me was the old familiar sight of good old Bergenfield High School. From the road it still looks the same. I didn’t get the chance to step inside, but my vivid memories sufficed, allowing me to visualize the commons, the auditorium, even the senior staircase. It does my soul good to know that some things never change, even if only in my mind.
Weren’t we all so fortunate to have grown up in such a great town? They just don’t make ‘em like Bergenfield anymore. Bergenfield itself has changed. Call it progress I guess, but if you take the time to look around and ‘Smell the Roses’, you’ll appreciate so many great memories. To apply the old cliché, no matter how much Bergenfield has changed, it will always stay the same… in my heart.
Terri DeLucia, BHS Class of 1979, 4/20/2007
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