A Place Called Brooklyn (redhookstories.com)
This story is about a generation of children who lived in Brooklyn, NY circa post World War II….. Most children during this period who lived in cold water flats were very poor. Their immigrant parents who came here from Ireland, Italy, Germany, Puerto Rico, etc. were mainly unskilled laborers. They struggled day to day to support their children with basic needs and an education with hope for the future. I will document an eye witness account of some of their experiences. I will focus on the street games they played. Many of these street games in these poor neighborhoods were self taut and many others were passed along from one generation to another. During this period these children did not have any electronics with perhaps the exception of a radio. They generally lived in a cold water flat or apartment which may or may not have an indoor toilet. This meant that whoever did not have an indoor toilet, had to use an outhouse, a narrow shack located outside the building which did not have any plumbing.
Generally a flat had two or three rooms, no heat, and no hot water from a sink, no bath tub, maybe a laundry sink which could double as a bathtub. Some apartments had a coal stove for cooking food; the stove could also provide some heat. The children lived with their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and in some cases along with aunts and uncles. These children would wake up every morning, have a meager breakfast and either sent off to school or they were let out of their home to fend for themselves. They were expected to return home for dinner.
These stories are not meant to chronicle the pain and suffering this generation endured. The purpose of these stories is to document some of the experiences they had growing up on the streets of densely populated cities in the U. S. They did their best to overcome boredom through street games and their ability to create spontaneous adventures. These games included tag, buck/buck, hide & go seek, one & over, ring-a-leave-e-o, and others that did not require a ball, rope, skates, bat, baseball cards, marbles, straws etc. Then we can add to this mix various adventure games that involved fireworks, chalk, balloons, lumber, sticks, yo-yos, straws, also discarded items (Skates, Gallon Glass Jars, Cans, Carriages, etc.) That could be recycled into a game. My stories feature Pepino an Italian kid who lives with his mother, father and teenage sister in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn New York during the summer right after World War II. These stories are told through the eyes of a nine year old boy named Pepino.