October 1, 2014
We all, at one time or another in our lives, have had a collection of ‘something.’ Some of us are still collecting. Why do we do it? No one knows the answer to that question but please continue reading anyway.As some of you may recall, even before G.I.’s came home from WWII, many of their children were making model airplanes whose design was based on the ones their dads flew in the war against the Nazis. Lined up on their bedroom dresser were toy tanks, jeeps and ships. The B-25 Mitchell with its tail gunner design and the B-17 Flying Fortress bombers with their ball turret gunners were hung from the ceiling with other airplane models. Little boys could walk from their new V.A. housing, built just for the returning veteran, to hobby shops to purchase model kits made of plastic and balsa wood. Army patches were also sought after and collected. In Paterson, one such V.A. housing project was located at 11th Avenue and McLean Boulevard.
The comic books that we collected had super heroes like Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman who battled criminals and evil doers. We bought those treasures at “Abe’s” on Tenth Avenue and E. 25th Street in Paterson. Boys and girls alike also ventured out to buy stamps and coins where we learned all about history and geography. For ten or twenty cents we would order, “on approval,” a ‘grab bag’ in small glassine envelopes with ten mystery stamps already postmarked from either Italy, Belgium or Azerbaijan, which was then a part of the U.S.S.R., but unfortunately, was only rarely listed in our albums. We couldn’t wait each week to journey to the Madison Stamp Co. on Hamilton Street, also in Paterson. Little boys also collected and played with marbles..peppermint swirls, aggies and “shooters” which were the prized marbles used as the projectile in games. Perhaps you drifted down to the “Paramount” candy store(candy store? What’s that?) on Vreeland Ave and 19th Ave and bought a $.25 pink, high-bouncing “spaldeen” with which to play running bases, punch ball, hand ball, “pointers” or stick ball because you were only limited by the confines of your imagination as to how many different games you might play with that new spaldeen!
In the 1930’s Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon started our fascination with space toys such as robots and ray guns. Everything Buck Rogers was collected especially his “Supreme Inner Circle Ring!” Everything baseball was also collected including pennants, pin-backs and of course the cards from Topps or those cut out from a Bazooka box. Boys attached those cards to their bicycle spokes with clothes pins to make a cool flapping sound. Poor Hank Greenberg! Lucky Hank Aaron! Who knew those cards would one day be worth a fortune!
We girls were still playing with paper dolls as we had since the 1700’s. We had “First Ladies” to dress up. Also on the scene were the Ginny doll and, of course, the Barbie doll to line up on our dresser tops. We also lined up our collection of “show dolls” who were dressed in their native costumes from countries around the world. Who could forget the troll doll introduced to us in 1963! We had to have one in every neon hair color…chartreuse and fuchsia…cave man and nurse. A little later in the 1960’s Hot Wheels and Match Box cars were collected. If you had a Hot Wheels green 1969 “Volkswagen Type 2 Transporter” (the “beach bomb”) you could sell it today for a lot of money.
Why this topic to begin with? Simple answer. The Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey collects also. Our collection? You! Yes, we collect you! Also your family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Our coverage of you goes back to the mid 1800’s…your way of life, your traditions, your achievements, your joys and sorrows…your organizations, temples, schools, hospitals and cemeteries. Your newspapers, publications, obituaries, books, immigration papers, ketubah’s, military service records, yearbooks and photographs are all archived and displayed at the JHSNJ. In other words, everything about you, as a Jewish resident of northern New Jersey and the world community, is documented and celebrated at the Jewish Historical Society.
We’ve been representing and collecting “you” for 35 years. Please take notice of who we are and what we’ve done. Make yourself a part us. We have made ourselves a part of you. That is why “we” collect.
Check your closets and donate your memorabilia so that our period in local Jewish history shall always be preserved. We will treasure you for it !!!
This is both a serious and joyous time of year. Those who no longer ‘sit across the table’ from us are remembered and prayed for during the Yizkor service. During Sukkot we take joy in the harvest, thank G-d for our bounty and enjoy the fruits of our labor for the past year of hard work.
Dorothy Douma Greene, President