Tag Archives: Linda Sabo Stufflebean

Homes In Which I’ve Lived

How many different homes have you lived? I’ve lived in nine (counting the three apartments I’ve rented), but can’t decide if that is just a few, in the average range for a retired person or a lot.

Here is my childhood home and the childhood home of my father, too:

House on Summer Street
49 Summer Street, Passaic, New Jersey

On Pearl Harbor Day, 7 December 1963, we moved to the suburbs:

4 Winters Drive, Wayne, New Jersey

When I finished college, got my first teaching job and got my first apartment, I settled in to life in Rhode Island for three years:

270 Fruit Hill Avenue, North Providence, RI
Source: Bing Maps

Next, I accepted a job offer in Mexico City, Mexico. I roomed with four other young ladies in an apartment just outside the boundary of the Polanco neighborhood. I can’t for the life of me remember the address, but I do remember the apartment was quite empty except for some beds and I think a small sofa in the living room. I was very suprised to discover the old mansion where I taught at Colegio Eton, Alpes 605, Lomas de Chapultepec neighborhood, is still owned by the school, but is now the preschool campus:

Source: GoogleEarth

Notice the 25th anniversary sign on the left celebrating the school.

After my time in Mexico, I moved to Upland, California and rented my last apartment. At the time they were the Apple Apartments. I don’t know what they are called today, but they were renamed years ago.

1334 W. Foothill Blvd., Upland, California
Source: GoogleEarth

My apartment was right downstairs from the one you see here and was located at the far west front side of the complex, right on busy Foothill Boulevard, which is the old Route 66.

When Dave and I got married, we bought our first home in Alta Loma, California:

6637 Jasper Street, Alta Loma, California

Dave named our first cat Jasper after the street name. Today the house sits about three properties south of the 210 freeway. We lived there for five years before moving a bit northward – 3/4 of a mile – but still in Alta Loma.

6245 Celestite Avenue, Alta Loma, California

This was home for the next 26 years. When we retired, we headed to Oro Valley, Arizona, following Dave’s brother-in-law and his family, who settled here in 2003.

We’ve actually lived in two houses in Oro Valley.

Arizona House #1
Source: GoogleEarth

I just realized that I don’t have a good photo of the front of this house, so GoogleEarth will have to help out here. See the tall tree on the left? That is the tree made famous as the header photo in my blog. You can’t see it from this angle, but it has the big dead branch in it. We lived here for four years, but I couldn’t keep up with all the yard work. I never knew that picking up and trimming cactus was so much work! The new owners stripped out every single cactus on this one acre property so it looks very different.

We’ve been in our current house for two years and it’s a lot less work, being on a half acre that includes the house, a pool and part of a desert wash.

Arizona House #2

There you have it – six houses and three apartments covers my lifetime. Which is my favorite? I have to admit, it’s my childhood home in Passaic.

In how many different homes have you lived?

Memories of Little Sebago Lake – Updated

Recently, I wrote about feeling nostalgic for the good old days of summer vacations spent on Little Sebago Lake in Maine.

August 1955

A member of the Little Sebago Lake Facebook group left a message on the post and invited me to check out their group, which I did and which is wonderful.

I posted several other photos from the 1950s and then asked for help in identifying exactly where my grandparents’ camp was. I remember which turns to take, but back then, none of those roads had names so I could estimate the cottage location, but wasn’t positive about it.

However, I did have a cottage view, assuming that the cottage hadn’t been razed and replaced:


That bumpy land was the walkway down to the dock!

And, I had a lake view with a distinctive little island directly across from the camp:


And, I remembered we used to swim and sunbathe at an empty little beach across the way. What I remembered most about it was that behind the vegetation, there was marshy, bog type land.


Armed with these photos, my memory and Google Earth and with suggestions from some of the Little Sebago Lake Facebook members, the camp was located:

Google Earth

The red arrow indicates the approximate location of the camp and you can see the little island just to the left in the lake. The purple arrow indicates where that sandy beach is and it is still there because the marshy area that I remember doesn’t make for good land on which to build!

That was only the beginning of my exciting discoveries. Another member of the Facebook group sent me a link to the Cumberland County Registry of Deeds website and, like many counties across the U.S., they have begun to put digital images of land deeds online and they are free to view.

Normally, I would add a visual example here, but because the purchasers of the camp are still living, I will omit that step. However, I’ve written a letter to them – property owners’ addresses are also visible on the website – offering to share images of their camp in days gone by. I hope I hear back from them. I was even able to save the image of the land deed recording the sale from my grandmother to them.

There was even a plat map showing the property and the island:


That wasn’t all I was able to discover. I found the names of the owners of the property next door. Their grandchild had been vacationing at the lake at the same time I was there a couple of times:

Linda, right, with friend

I then used some genealogical sleuthing skills, located my toddler friend and have also written her a letter. I imagine she will be quite shocked, if she even remembers me!

Last, but maybe best so far, is that the current owner of the camp next door found my blog posts about Little Sebago and left me a message on FB. She is texting the current owners of my grandparents’ cottage. Definitely time for a genealogy happy dance. 🙂

Sometimes, we get so involved in our ancestors’ lives that we don’t share memories of our own. I consider myself very lucky to have had two sets of relatives with cottages on lakes and I spent considerable time at each of them.

I’m so glad I’ve been able to fill in so many of the unknowns about the Little Sebago camp – when the cottage was built, who owned the property before, who bought it from my grandmother and even the last name of my young playmate in the photo above.

Be sure to take the time to record your own memories for posterity.

Friday Night Socials in Downtown Passaic, Part 5

I guess it is fitting that the last post in this series of Passaic memories is about Friday night shopping. Nana loved to walk downtown on Friday nights when the weather was nice. The shops were open, but shopping wasn’t her main objective. Downtown was one big social gathering on Friday night. You might say everyone who was anyone (that covers pretty much the whole population) meandered downtown to visit with friends.

Downtown Aerial View

The yellow pin is my house and the red pin at 68 Lexington Avenue was in the heart of the shopping area. After dinner, Nana and I would head east on Summer Street and then walk south along Lexington Avenue, often arm in arm, until we reached the first store, which was Manny, Moe and Jack’s Pep Boys auto parts store at 75 Lexington Avenue. Of course, we never went in there, but from that point on, there was lots of window shopping.

To understand our walking path, another aerial view will help.


Main, Central and Lexington Avenues were the major roads crossing Passaic to the Clifton border on the north. See where 6 Lexington Avenue is in the bottom right corner? That is the bottom of a double V of street intersections. Heading northwest from that intersection, up one side of the V is Main Avenue. Heading due north up the right side of the V is Lexington Avenue. Now look carefully as you head north on Lexington Avenue. Another V is within the larger V and splits off from Lexington Avenue. That street, also heading mostly northwest is Central Avenue. Keep in mind that my block of Summer Street was bordered by Central and Lexington Avenues. 6 Lexington was near the very beginning of Lexington Avenue. If you walked south past #6, the addresses became Main Avenue. Therefore, as we window shopped along the east side of the street, small shops were on Lexington, but by the time we reached S.S. Kresge and McCrory’s, even though we were physically on the same street, the street name changed to Main Avenue. The west side of the street was home to banks, opticians, movie theaters and other non-window shopping types of businesses.

Here is a view of downtown in the early 1960’s. I know it is after fall 1963 because that is when the railroad track that went down the middle of the street was removed and the space was turned into public parking. This is the far end of the shopping area as McCrory’s was usually our last stop before we headed back home.

Passaic, circa 1964
Post card in my personal collection

As we headed south along Lexington and then Main Avenue, we crossed Monroe, Market and Jefferson Streets, all filled with small family owned businesses and restaurants.

After passing Pep Boys, we son reached Thom McAn’s shoe store at 48 Lexington Avenue, the place where Mom invariably first stopped when I needed new shoes. It wasn’t a big store, but they certainly had a lot of shoes from which to choose.  Today, Lexington Electronics is there, but only the address number 50 is used today. Thom McAn’s was in the shop space on the right.

Site of Thom McAn’s

Ginsburg’s children’s store at 26 Lexington Avenue, always had beautiful clothes in the display window, but I never remember anyone buying any of them for me. They were likely too expensive unless on sale. However, each year, we did go there to make one necessary purchase – my blue bloomer gym suit, which was required for gym class at #10 for grades 4-6.

Old Ginsburg’s Clothing Store

Bargain Man is housed there today. It just doesn’t have the same feel as the old shops.

After Ginsburg’s came Nadler’s Department Store as 8 Lexington Avenue. One year, my mother had saved up my Christmas and birthday money, which totaled $35. We went shopping at Nadler’s for some new clothes for me and I fell in love with a pinkish-tan suede jacket with short fringes on it. My mother must have also liked it and it was on sale for the astronomical price of $10.00. Mom said I could buy it, but that I would have to give up one of my weeks that coming summer at the Y day camp (which apparently cost about the same amount of money.) I readily agreed, we bought the jacket and I wore it everywhere until it didn’t fit anymore.

Site of Nadler’s & Record City, next door

When Google went around filming Lexington Avenue, Nadler’s old spot was still a children’s department store, but it, too, was going out of business.

Right next door was Record City, today an ice cream shop. Record City drew many shoppers to their window displays, not for records, but for those new-fangled tiny things called transistor radios. They came in lots of colors and you could actually walk around with them outside, listening to your favorite radio station. I had my heart set on one that had the unattainable price of $6.98. These new radios were made in Japan and were ridiculed for their overall poor quality. Little did we know how that reputation was going to change.

Although I loved walking downtown with Nana on Friday nights, one thing was very frustrating for me. All of Nana’s friends were also out walking and every hundred feet or so, we ran into one or more of them. Then Nana had to stop and talk for about five minutes, but the chatter was always in Slovak, which I didn’t understand. I didn’t mind that she visited with friends, but the constant stopping and talking cut into time in S.S. Kresge’s and McCrory’s, which always had tantalizing items for sale.

Christmas time was especially fun, as I saved up to buy gifts for my family. My goal was to spend no more than one dollar on each gift. One year, I found a beautiful little lace hanky for my other grandmother for 75 cents and I snapped it up. Nana sifted through the boxes of Christmas cards that she would be needing (the ones that I addressed) and we always ended up carrying a couple of bags of cards back home.

Sadly, Kresge’s and McCrory’s have been replaced with the sub-divided space for Rainbow and Fabco Shoes and Magic Sneaker.

S.S. Kresge’s old store

Site of McCrory’s

The last stop on this memory tour is Jefferson Street, which is between Kresge’s and McCrory’s. There were two shops that I remember. The first was the Dumont Record Shop at 197 Jefferson Street, which carried all the latest hits, but also had a great supply of oldies. I was beginning to listen to popular music by 1961 so I was in awe of this shop, even though I didn’t buy records there until some years later.

Dumont Music Shop, now a thrift store

 181 Jefferson Street was a favorite stop on the shopping tour because it was the home of the Jefferson Bake Shop, which sold the most delectable home style treats, with everything from pastries to cookies to pies. Nana wasn’t big on sweets, so it was always a treat when she bought me a cookie.

Old Jefferson Bake Shop

Surprisingly, this store is still a bakery, but I can’t imagine that their desserts are as good as the Jefferson Bake Shop.

After about three hours of window shopping and visiting with friends, Nana and I would head back home, reaching 49 Summer Street sometime between 9:30 and 10:00 pm. Then it was off to bed for me.

I hope you have enjoyed my tour of memories of Passaic. It was a wonderful place in which to grow up.