Memory bits

Are your memories in bits and pieces. Here is a huge and growing list of bits and pieces of memories to help you recall many more memories. We focus here on the better times and the lighter side of life in the Village. We also throw in a few emotional memories of some not so good moments. Many of the items here have been taken from the Village Memories discussion board on Yahoo! HERE In most cases names have been omited to protect privacy.

Help us add more. Write: jimbrown@optisonics.com

  • My friends and I grew up in Palisades right near the home [the Village]. We played basketball and football v home teams probably late 50's maybe early 60's. We played tackle football v home which had decent equipment - helmets,shoulder pads maybe cleats.  [If I remember correctly] Duffy was name of coach we had to negotiate games scrimmages. We played mostly on what we called our home field which was a horse pasture at Links' Stable. We would cut grass, layout lines as best we could, and put up stick goals post. There were no kicks for extra points.  Most of us were Irish and Italian, most of home boys were Irish so games had some riotous moments. A few years later my Mom worked in the kitchen, as did another neighbor’s mother at St Joe's. My Mom, a farm girl from North, was a great cook so I would hope the children would know there were great meals to be had at cafeteria. Before the home was built it was a private airfield for a local Rockleigh guy. -Jim Doyle
  • "We hardly ever saw a boy. Ooh, what a sin! I remember trying to peek through the cafeteria doors to see my little brother who I missed so much. We both got in trouble for hugging. He was about 5 years old."
  • A prefect by the name of Ted that used to play guitar.
  • Around 1967 or 1970 there was a fire in the Jr. Boys Cottage and the juniors had to stay in the Intermediate Boys Cottage during reconstruction.
  • Collecting baseball cards and trying to win other kids' cards by playing "leaners," where we would lean the cards agains the mopstrip at the bottom of the wall and then fling other baseball cards at them. If we could knock them flat, we won the card.
  • Listening to Cousin Brucie on WABC/AM on a transister radio under your pillow. The music and the voices on the radio made life at the Village easier to bear and for some gave a feeling of being home. You can hear these sounds once again by clicking here. (Aslo see the whole Music Radio website.)
  • "Anyone remember going to Christmas at the gymnasium? Santa would call you up to the stage for your present. I remember how disappointed I was that this present wasnt mine because my name was not on it. just had "girl 8yrs old." -Linda
    "
    I remember Santa came in a helcopter. I remember getting a suitcase. I don't remember getting anything else. I loved Christmas at the Village. -Barbara Geiry Martin
  • Getting a polio vaccine in a sugar cube and T.B. prick tests.
  • The Mother Evangelist School uniforms with the polyester white shirts that made you perspire and stink!
  • Standing in line for milk-of-magnesia or castor oil? UGGH! Like the farina or oatmeal didn't work!
  • Hey, I stole some boxes of church "host" or wafers once. Yes, got in trouble...the big ones that the priests used for mass were the best! -Johnny
  • Near the Villages last years the cafeteria was no longer used and the children ate in the cottages. The food was still prepared in the main kitchen and delivered in the stainless steel food warming carts.
  • "Remember saying grace before meals in the cafeteria? We all used to stand up behind our chairs and it came out all sing-songy, especially the "In the name of the Father and of the Son" part." -sjvinmate
  • Building projects in the wood shop with Mr. Lampert in the evening. The senior boys create two level shelves which then hung over their beds and nativity mangers which were sold as fund raisers.
  • Buffing the floors with your backside while sitting on a cloth! Or a cloth under your feet. We sang, "We buffa the floors, we buffa the floors, that's what it's all about..."
  • The nasty oatmeal in the cafeteria and the hot chocolate that tasted like dish washer water.
  • The food at the Village wasn't exactly like what you ate when you checked into the Four Seasons. When you went to serve mass at the convent, they laid out quite a breakfast spread. There were eggs, bacon, sausages as well as toast and jam. While we were eating Maypo and Farina, those nuns were piggin' out! -Tom
  • Everyone was glued to the TV to watch Kennedy's speech during the Cuban missile crises and then the unforgettable day he was assassinated.
  • The Pegasus Horse Show across the street at Pegasus stable.
  • Day trips walking to Tillman Park where you could swim in a big pool.
  • Playing basketball in the gym with coach Mr. Silvio Lacetti. We even has a team that played against schools on the outside. For a short while there also was a football team coached by Mr. Bob Lampert that had uniforms and played outside teams.
  • Filming the Campbells Soup commercial when lots of child "extras" ran across a lawn.
  • Soupy Sales visits the Village.
  • "I remember the commercial for "Nu Nu NoodleO's" do you? Carlos and I won a twist contest for $2.00 each! Do you remember halloween contests? We were the Beatles one year and were treated like royalty!" -sjvinmate
  • When a call came in for a staff member an annunciator bell was sounded throughout the Village which sounded a morse code like code for the staff member to call the switchboard from the nearest phone. These bells were common years ago in department stors such as Macy's. Below is a sample.
  • The swimming pool that located between the Jr. Boys Cottage and the shops in the Gymnasium Building. It was opened and dedicated with a gala ceremony. There were speeches and choral performances by the children accompanied by Mr. Hamilton on the piano. One fitting song was "By the Sea, By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sea."
  • "I remember singing with Mr. Hamilton and putting on shows like Cabaret, He always sang "The Impossible Dream" and "Blackbird, Bye, Bye". I also remember the pool and when they constructed it. Do you remember that the nun's got to go in it at night. They had [a slatted fence] so you couldn't see anything unless you stood up on the radiators!" -sjvinmate
  • Giving Lassie, the intermediate girl's cottage dog, a bath in tomato juice after she was sprayed by a skunk.
  • A trip on the Village bus to Palisades Amusement Park.
  • Visiting with parents, relatives, and sponsors in the visiting room in the gymnasium building.
  • Graduation day ceremonies in the chapel.
  • Assembling in the chapel according to cottages. The girls on the right side and the boys on the left. The Juniors to the front and the seniors to the back. Each dorm occupied one pew and therefore each cottage had four pews.
  • The green glazes brick walls of the gigantic industrial style kitchen.
  • The senior boys being taken one dorm a week to have an overnight stay at Mr. Lampert's house.
  • The stainless steel food trucks that plugged in to keep the food warm over steam while it was transported to other places throughout the complex like the Barbara Givernaud Cottage and the convent.
  • Milk in single serving containers was delivered to the cottages on a modified toy wagon. The wagon was loaded from a walk in refrigerator located near the main kitchen. Cottages usually got 24 milks and the Givernaud cottage 48. How's that for being the milk boy some 40+ years ago! -Jim Brown
  • Jumping up to try to hit as many of the blue cross I beams in the main corridor as you can.
  • A few of the senior boys would sneak at night to the senior girls cottage to see one certain girl that was, needless to say, very popular with the boys. The route took them seven eights of a mile along the roof of the long corridor. The roof was not all at the same level. At one point one must climb up 5 feet to a higher roof level where the corridor meets the gymnasium building near the pool. (See here in the second picture.)
  • Methods used to dispose of repulsive foods before the sister would make you eat it.
  • When the tennis courts were built near the maintenance building.
  • Going on begging trips with the nuns.
  • Trips to the New York World's Fair.
  • Having no classes so we could go to another of many — often sequential — Christmas parties sponsored by generous organizations believing there's was likely the only one we got to go to. We had to act as such and show lots of appreciation.
  • Getting sick on the Village bus.
  • May Day celebrations
  • The clam bakes in the field at the boy's end.
  • Trips to Bear Mountain
  • The huge Easter egg hunt.
  • The hot sticky sand and nowhere to shower off at Rockaway Beach.
  • The Halloween parties.
  • Friday night movies in the gym shown in 35mm movie theater format. "Ben Hur," "The Ten Commandments," a surfing movie, and many others.
  • Singing and dancing in the many Broadway reviews staged for dinners and other fund-raising events. There was the annual $100 a plate dinners put on by the St. Josephson Guild to raise money to run the Village.
  • The bazaars held in the gym and in some outdoor areas at the boy's end. Visiting adults would buy "bricks" (slips of paper) to raise money.
  • Lining up to go to the cafeteria and most everywhere when in the younger cottages.
  • The boy's basketball games.
  • Volunteering to get up earlier to go to weekday morning Mass. At times in some cottages this was mandatory.
  • Watching the construction of the new swimming pool.
  • Practicing for the marching band in the gymnasium and the band room. Trying to get the fife to at least sound like music.
  • Marching at the New York World's Fair, around the Unisphere and on the terrazzo map on the floor of the New York State Pavilion.
  • Marching in the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade on Fifth Avenue.
  • Playing football with Mr. Lampert as coach.
  • Wearing your school uniform to go to Sunday Mass.
  • Going to the sr. boys cottage to see a puppet show in the "Don Bosco Theater."
  • Group trips Closter to see a movie.
  • Learning a new hymn to sing at Sunday Mass.
  • Testing products like Crest toothpaste. Remember the plain white tubes with a letter to identify it for comparison. Tests were also done on liquid vitamins.
  • Lining up at the infirmary to get a shot.
  • Going to the dentist in our own dental suite with hospital green walls.
  • Trying to step only in the red tile squares along the long corridor.
  • Getting a haircut by the visiting barber during school time and returning to class smelling like a bottle of hair tonic. The barbershop was just outside the school doors into the main corridor.
  • The small circular wading pools with the fountain in the center that were located one on the girls end, one on the boys and one beside the Barbara Givernaud Cottage. They were all we had till the pool was built and weren't even working for some time just before the pool.
  • The older boys built tree houses and huts that grew into expanding villages in the woods to the north of the Senior Boys Cottage. That was until the bulldozers came in to clear the land to expand the Rockleigh Industrial Park back into that area.
  • Ice skating on the frozen water that filled the hole dug for the new building that expanded the neighboring industrial park.
  • Looking over from the school playground at the beautiful building and fountains beside the new Klopman Mills building.
  • Sneaking up to the statue of Mary on the front lawn to do something naughty such as smoking.
  • Before we had our swimming pool, a neighbor who's house was in the woods beyond the maintenance building, invited the children to swim in their pool that had just been constructed. There was still dirt where the concrete deck around the pool was to be. We would go through tall weeds, mud, and brush to get there.
  • Working in the dishwasher room, the pot room, the serving line, and the many other chores that were sometimes fun and sometimes torturous. They were fun when we felt like we were adults with an job.
  • More to come...