Priscilla Normandy Greenwood's Family Album

Growing up in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
School Days
PS 132  -  JHS 196 in Brooklyn
Grover Cleveland High in Ridgewood, Queens

PS 132, Brooklyn, Kings County, NY

Grover Cleveland High School, Ridgewood, Queens, NY


These pictures of  P.S. 132 were sent to me by Laura Sweeney who attended in the 1950s. Laura took the photos in 2000. Grover Cleveland High School 1950-52
2127 Himrod Street
Ridgewood, NY 11385 
J.H.S. 196

J.H.S. 196 (TenEyck Junior High)
Taken in July, 2001, by Debbie Normandy

In the '40s, comics were big. The boys on the block bought Captain Marvel and Superman. The girls bought Pep comics to catch up with Archie and Friends - Blonde Betty and Veronica and her annoying friend, Reggie.

Mary Marvel alias Mary Batson But I only loved Mary Marvel, alias Mary (Batson) Bromfield, twin sister of Captain Marvel, alias Billy Batson.  When Mary arrived on the scene in 1942 in Captain Marvel Adventures #18, Fawcett Publications, she was the closest thing to a heroine the comics offered little girls of my generation, and to top it all off, she could fly at supersonic speeds. To give you the condensed version, it seems that Mary's nurse, Sarah Primm, switched Mary for a dead baby of the Bromfields, another family who employed Nurse Primm. Primm gave Mary's twin brother Billy half of a locket and the other half, of course, belonged to Mary, who had no idea she was switched at birth. Like all good fairy tales, Billy and Mary found each other through the locket.  Meanwhile there was the Egyptian wizard Shazam who originally gave Billy his powers and the magic word "Shazam" that turned him into Captain Marvel. Mary yelled "Shazam" during a particularly harrowing experience once and it turned her into Mary Marvel. The wizard actually said something like, "although she is a girl" the magic word worked for Mary because there are female counterparts to the gods and demigods that gave Billy his powers. Mary seemed happy to be "allowed" to do what the boys did. But then, it was 1942.

When I was in JHS 196, I liked to stop at the playground after school to play handball with a pink rubber Spalding. It was smaller than a tennis ball, and hairless. Spalding ball  Later I graduated to paddleball played with a solid wooden paddle. Still later, the wooden paddles had holes in them. Finally the racquet evolved to look like a little tennis racquet.  I continued playing as the game changed and the racquets changed and I changed. Out of this beginning grew my life-long love affair with racquetball, which has never ended.

Yesterday (June, 2004) Gordon and I were in Bed, Bath and Beyond in Gainesville, Florida, and near the cash register I was surprised to see a large display of Spalding balls! I bought one for nostalgia's  sake. It says "High-Bounce Ball" under the name Spalding. The only difference I can see is that now there is a bar code on the back! Sign of the times.

Statue of Liberty on Liberty Island
School field trips took us Brooklyn kids to extraordinary places we took for granted. Places like the Statue of Liberty. How exciting it was to take the ferry from Battery Park over to Bedloe's Island (now called Liberty Island) to see Lady Liberty.

When I read the immortal words below which are carved into the statue's pedestal, I try to imagine what it must have been like for all four of my Italian grandparents to first see "Liberty Enlightening the World" (as the statue is officially entitled). Their ships left Italy from the Port of Naples  in the 1890s and glided into New York Harbor after weeks at sea to be greeted by Lady Liberty.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses,
yearning to breathe free
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
by Emma Lazarus
The inside walls of the Statue were covered with lipstick graffiti in 1944. Somehow I doubt that it is now, but I have never been back. We weren't allowed in the crown when I went with my classmates because they told is it had something to do with security. It was during the war--WW II, "the BIG one," as Archie Bunker used to say on the classic TV show, All In the Family.

My fascination with ancient  Egypt was born at the Brooklyn Museum of Art the very first time I laid eyes on the Egyptian mummies. It was nurtured at the American Museum of Natural History, my favorite of favorite museums as a child. I always felt my children missed out on so much culture growing up in north central Florida in the fifties and sixties before there were any real museums here. With population growth, that has changed.

One of our favorite treats was a field trip to the Hayden Planetarium. A lot of field trips were outdoors. I guess they thought city kids needed to see parks and gardens. The teachers took us to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (and taught us not to call it Gardens please, as there was no "s" on  the end), Prospect Park and Central Park  We visited the Cloisters at Fort Tryon Park, the Fulton Fish Market at Beekman and South Streets, Chinatown in Manhattan and, of course, the Empire State Building. Life was rich. We had no idea how rich.

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Now Playing: "School Days"

School  Days,  School  Days
School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick
You were my queen in calico
I was your bashful barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate
"I love you, so"
When we were a couple of kids

Nothing to do, Nellie Darling
Nothing to do you say
Let's take a trip on memory's ship
Back to the bygone days
Sail to the old village school house
Anchor outside the school door
Look in and see
There's you and there's me
A couple of kids once more

School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick
You were my queen in calico
I was your bashful barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate
"I love you, so"
When we were a couple of kids

'Member the hill
Nellie Darling
And the oak tree
That grew on its brow
They've built forty storeys
Upon that old hill
And the oak's an old chestnut now
'Member the meadows
So green, dear
So fragrant with clover and maize
Into new city lots
And preferred business plots
They've cut them up
Since those days

School days, school days
Dear old golden rule days.
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic
Taught to the tune of the hickory stick
You were my queen in calico
I was your bashful barefoot beau
And you wrote on my slate
"I love you, so"
When we were a couple of kids

    Music by Gus Edwards
     Lyrics by Will D. Cobb, 1907
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Copyright 1997-2013 Priscilla Normandy Greenwood