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Dolores G. Smith, age 76, Haddon Hts.Alum, and JF Kennedy High School Alum

Memories of Growing Up Gloucester by Gary Marcucci

 Editor's Note: Gary Marcucci, a former resident of Gloucester City and a graduate of Gloucester High School, Class of '61, wrote the following article. The period was in the 40s, 50s and 60s. The article was initially published in 2011.

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Martins Lake was a popular spot for swimming during that period.


GLOUCESTER CITY, NJ -(September 11, 2011)(CNBNews)--I first hung out at VanStein’s, a little store near the corner of 7th and Market.  The following is a list of the guys that I remember being there:


            Harry Wilson

            Corky McNutt

            Johnny Clifford

            Tony McGrath

            Jack Ahern

            Tim Downey

            Howard Dickson

            Joe McCullough

            Sam and Jim Chew

            Joe Heimerel

            Tommy Reed

            Jan Ferry

            Eddie Spolture

            John Rowan


We used to play baseball at the lot right behind Hunter Street School.  This is before Tee Ball and all other controlled sports.  You got to play with guys three or four years older and learned the rules through your peers.  It was a great day to play ball there or maybe even go down to Charles Street baseball field and later go to VanStein’s to get a Pepsi and a bag of chips.  The VanSteins were great.  They used to take a bunch of us down to a lake in Deptford a couple of times a year to swim.  We would go down to Foster’s Laundry on freezing nights and stand by the hot vent.  Can you believe we were hanging out at ten years old?  Some of the guys were older, but you learned your place. 


The first dance I remember attending was in Cissie Everhart’s basement.  It cost a dime, but you got potato chips, pretzels, and soda. 


Early Teens


I then moved to Gladys, at Market and Sussex Streets, a candy store.  The guys there were:


            Bill Kimmey

            Jake Miller

            Dick Fitzpatrick

            Johnny Cobb

            Frank Herman

            George Cleary

            Bob Bevan

            Pete Pitzo

            Albie Brandt

            Joe and Ed DiGiacomo

            Joe Brandt

            Joe Battersby

            John Ellenbark


We also had some girls that came around regularly.


            Marie and Sissy Hagan

            Nancy Johnson

            Flossie Harris

            Alberta Ellenbark

            And some others I can’t remember.


The girls used to try and teach us how to dance in the back.  I can remember Tutti Fruitti by Little Richard was popular; this was the first time I remember dancing in public.  Some of the guys were really good, and then there was me. 


About this time, we started going to the dances at Gloucester Catholic High School in their gym, Gloucester City High School, and one place I remember in particular was St. Anne’s in Westville.  Many of us used to hang out at Beverly Hanson’s house.  It was neat; their family had a monkey as a pet.  Some of the girls we hung out with were:


            Beverly Hanson

            Terrie Manion

            Donna Barton

            Lois Grossinger

            Bernadette Murphy


Middle Teens were spent at Tucker’s, at the corner of Cumberland and Joy Streets.  Some of the regulars were:


            Bill Kimmey

            Jake Miller

            Dick Fitzpatrick

            Frank Herman

            George Cleary

            Bob Bevan

            Pete Pitzo

            Albie Brandt

            Joe and Ed DiGiacomo

            Joe Battersby

            Jim Fritz

            Joe Brandt

            Billy Underwood

            Denny Stinsman

            Larry Pusey

            Bill Tourtual

            And so many others would drop by on a semi-regular basis.


These were the times when we thought putting a lit cigarette in the cuff of somebody’s pants was funny.  Played a lot of pinball and football in the street as if your life depended on it.  We continued going to the dances at Gloucester High and Gloucester Catholic and, once in a while, to the Gloucester City Park Dances. 


Junior and Senior Year of High School


Finally graduated to Powell’s Luncheonette on Broadway near Cumberland.  There was always dancing going on here too.  Way too many people to mention who hung out there. 

Now we had wheels and could go to the Dancette out in Oaklyn and the dances at the Almonesson Ballroom. 


It was from about age fifteen to seventeen that we used to crash weddings.  I still can’t believe how we got away with it.  I remember when Joe Brandt danced with the bride at the Gloucester Heights Fire Hall. 


After high school, we started going to local bars, such as the Erin, Cap’s, Twin Bar, and the Sand Bar.  We would stop at these places before going on to one of the dances.  From our twenties on, besides the shore, there was the Erlton Bowl and Al Jo’s.


So many stories that we all have that would fill a book. When I was away at college, I didn’t tell a lot of the stories for fear of being branded a liar.  Some of the stuff we did was absolutely nuts. 


Playing Little League Baseball and having your teammate (Dinky Brennan) drive himself to the game.  Joe Brandt flushing Walt Sharp’s eye down the toilet and a thousand more.  


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