There are some things that I remember when I was small, very small, and then there are some things I do not remember at all but here are some of the little things and events that I have thought about and do remember. They are not necessarily in any order but as you are my children and my grandchildren I thought you might like to know about my life before television, there was a time you know, as you may have read about it in your history books.
I came into this world on August 23, 1925 in Hackensack, New Jersey just a little after midnight as I have been told.
I was named after my father so I became John Anthony Pall, Jr. I never liked the name Anthony (Tony) so I never used it unless it was necessary. Jumping ahead a few years I decided there would never be another John Anthony, I was under 10 years of age at the time and when in 1949 our son was born, he became Bruce David Pall, much to the disappointment of my father but I kept the promise I made to my self.
I also have a sister, Jean Antoinette, who was born October 16, 1917. (Jean passed away September 5, 1998) Due to the age difference we were never very close and therefore I do not remember to much about her in my younger life but there are times that I do remember and her name will come up now and then. I have a copy of Jeans birth certificate in which my father was listed as an entertainer, this I know nothing about but I do remember finding a violin and mother said it belonged to Dad.
Being born before the Great Depression I know of the good days and the bad. Dad was in partnership with a person by the name of Kaplan, he was Jewish and dad was Catholic, what a combination.
Together they owned a woodworking plant in Scranton, Pennsylvania. We always had big cars at that time, mostly Buick touring cars.
We owned our own house on Cottage Place, Leonia, New Jersey.
It was a big 3 bedroom house with a front porch that went about half way across the front with glass windows for the winter and screens for the summer, there was no air conditioning in those days. There was a large living room with fireplace to the left as you came in and the dining room was on the right. Off the dining room there was a breakfast nook and then the kitchen. The kitchen was only large enough for the sink, gas range and a small table in the middle. The ICE box was in an alcove on the stairs to the cellar and at the landing was the door that went outside to a large backyard. BOY, was it a big yard, especially to a small boy who had to cut it when I was large enough to push the lawn mower as there were no power mowers in those days. We had flower gardens along the edge and along the drive way as the garage was set on the back corner of the lot. On the opposite side was a large quince bush.
Out by the front steps, and to the right of the sidewalk as you left the house was a large wild cherry tree. This was the home for how many big black ants I do not know ( later I found out they were carpenter ants) but I used to sit there and watch them carry out little pieces of wood and pile them at the base of the tree, they were hard working little ants as I used to smooth out the pile of wood bits and the next day there was another pile. I would say I was 4 or 5 at the time. Also in the front yard over by the dining room window was a large magnolia tree, this was one of my mothers favorites. Also between the sidewalk and the curb was a big sycamore tree. These trees have seed pods that are round and prickerly with a stem about 3 inches long. We used to soak them in gasoline and then cut off the stem, light the ball and watch it roll down the hill. I would guess I was about 8 or 9 at this time.
Was getting a bit ahead of my self but I wanted to describe the yard and these were things that I and the other kids who lived in the neighborhood used to do to keep our selves occupied, there were other things also that will come up later.
When I was real young, under 5, and money was no object, we used to spend our summers at the beach at Lawrence Harbor on the Jersey coast. We would spend the entire summer there form the end of June until just before Labor Day. Mom and Dad would drive us down, a trip that would take all day, is now done in 3 - 4 hours. Cars did not run as fast and no modern speedways. Someplace near the beach was a place where you could drive your car on sort of an oval track, only it was made of wood and it went up and down sort of like little hills. You could not do it to-day as the cars are built to low to the ground. The cars then were built with a lot of room underneath, the running boards were about a foot off the ground. My sister and I always looked forward to going on the ride.
We had a bungalow right on the beach and was up on stilts so that when the tide came in to high it would go underneath the bungalow, there were many times when it went underneath. It was a one large room building with curtains for partitions, do not remember anything about a bathroom.
There was not much to do but play on the beach and go swimming as long as there was someone there to watch over me. We used to go digging for clams which was fun to an extent as I always had a hard time finding them and when I did they would squirt water at you, I guess that is why we referred to them as piss clams. There was a night I remember very clearly, some friends of my parents came down to visit us for the weekend and opened the door, shoved in a berlap bag and out came how many live crabs I don't know and they closed the door real fast. After they were all caught we had boiled crabs for diner.
Continued on John's Page ii