I Remember My Brooklyn
Bedford - Stuyvesant
Artie (Skippy) Wilson
Brooklyn, prior to the fifties, was a different place. There were pigeon coops on the roofs, a family bar close by (Rush's) and neighbors talking everywhere.
There was stickball,stoopball, ace, king, queen, Johnny on the pony and a bunch of other games which were played regularly.
There were sweet shops and ice cream parlours (Schneider's) and the local butcher (Ziggy's). Bohack was a small store on Fulton Street and it had sawdust on the floor. Sal the barber was there for years as was Spector's drug store.
We got our rolls at Molly Fitzpatrick's and groceries at Scaturri's. The tax man was Panky and the candy store was Noto's. Patty Noto knew Jackie Gleason and the kids used to get a kick out of Gleason mentioning Noto's name on the tv.
People had less money but were richer. People knew each other. It was a thing called community and we all had it. Families all came from the same area and lived close to each other for years.
Somewhere around the late fifties, early sixties this all changed. People moved here and there. Families moved miles from each other. People no longer knew their neighbors. The sights and sounds common to us all had changed. We lost something at that time that now we look back and reminisce of and feel a longing that never will be satisfied again.So here's to old Brooklyn!
MY old Brooklyn. I hope you enjoy these pages as they slowly develop. Look carefully as there are mouse overs and also many of the photos are click-able links to other pages.If you see something that you remember, drop me a note. It will be good to remember together.
Here I am with my oldest boy, Artie. This was about 1952. We were standing in front of our house at 866 Herkimer Street
I Remember My Pop
Bedford - Stuyvesant Brooklyn - Glendale Queens
Oct 13, 1927
My Hero Arthur Clarence "Skippy" Wilson
My hero isn't a sports figure or a politician. He hasn't graced the silver screen or won a Pulitzer prize. He did not have many of the attributes considered by many today to even qualify. Yet to me, there can be no better a man ever to walk this earth. Simple things can relate how someone loves you. I remember as a small child my father would arrive home in the morning and Mom would have made him eggs and potatoes and I would climb up there with him and start polishing off his potatoes. Mom would yell, "Get down and leave your father eat his breakfast in peace." To which Pop would reply, "Leave him alone, he can have anything I got". That's the way Pop was and if he were a rich man, I know I would be also because he never held back a thing. I started calling him Pop years ago. He called his father Pop and it seemed to be such a term of endearment as he referred to his father that I wanted that same relationship. I was a bit mischievous to say the least as I was coming up but Pop was always there to help me through it. I remember I had shoulder length hair and he looked at me and said, "why don't you get that hair cut?" He didn't try to force me but I could see that it meant a lot to him so without saying anything I went and got a crew cut. When he saw me he said, "I didn't tell you to shave it all off!" Yet you could see how pleased he was, seeing that I wanted to do what made him happy. I quit doing a lot of wrong things when I saw it made my father sad. That's what he meant to me. Pop wasn't a rich or a business man. He was a factory worker who no matter how bad the weather or how sick he might have been, he always left the house around 11pm to go to work. By the time we moved to Queens and I got old enough to buy a car, I used to leave my friends and rush home so that I could take Pop to work. He would always tell me I didn't need to do that and I would reply that I did. I could never repay Him for all the time he spent with us kids. We would walk for miles, go feed the pigeons, visit some friend who had pigeons on his roof. Whatever it was, Pop was there. The first time we had pizza together he poured on the crushed red pepper so I did the same. He told me it was hot but I didn't care. It burned but I pretended it was nothing. He knew but he also knew I wanted to be just like him. He is one of the few that I know that actually had a happy life with his wife and stayed together for many years. I miss you Pop. Very much. Yet I don't have to feel a total loss. I always tried to make you happy and I always let you know I loved you. I never missed an opportunity to sit and talk with you even from the Philippines. I wish I could have been there to say goodbye, as a missionary there is no money. You can however feel good that you taught me to give it all away as you did. As a result of your life I have a good relationship with my wife and children as I am acting just like you! See ya Pop.