A Reply to Fred Scharnikow's Article

Mary Manello NPHS Class 1952 sent an e-mail to Fred
She has lived through the changes in Plainfield
An interesting story


Mary's e-mail to Fred


Hello Fred,

I couldn't agree more with your article about Plainfield's decline
many years' ago. I am so proud of you that you said what
everyone is afraid to say. I was born in So. Plainfield and
visited Plainfield many times with my Mom, Dad and
siblings. You brought back many wonderful memories. It
was, indeed, a "Queen City". We shopped in so many of
those stores. I loved the bakeries, Arthur's, The Lace Shop,
Tiny Tots, Teppers, Rosenbaum's which later became
Goerkes, Bam's, the 5&10s, shoe stores, Lorstan's, Fanny
Farmer, Loft's Candy Store, Fred Lippitt's Children's Store,
etc. I believe Gruning's Restaurant was on East 5th Street
which had great sundaes. I remember a Chinese restaurant
on the second floor on Front St. My first summer job was at
Grant's 5&10. When I married I lived on Central Avenue for
a few years and walked to the center of town to the meat market, etc.
It was safe.

During high school years, I would either catch a bus or walk to
Cleveland Avenue to work at Fair Mail Service after school
and then take a bus to So. Plainfield and walk almost a mile
home.

I did a lot of walking in Plainfield and I vaguely recall seeing you
and Audrey at a lovely house on one of the Plainfield Streets
and seeing who, I believe, was your Dad.

After high school I worked at a Plainfield law firm on West
Seventh Street. One lunch time I visited my parents in So.
Plfd. and when I returned to the office, I turned left from
Central Avenue onto West 8th Street to go around the block
to W. 7th. There were two cars in front of me and I noticed
about 4 or 5 black high school youths started throwing
stones at us. The first car was able to turn around fast, but
the 2nd car and I did not have the time to turn. We both
went straight as fast as we could. I believe the 2nd car got
pelted but, by God's mercy, I saw about two or three stones
coming at my car, but not one hit. I was so upset when I
arrived back at work and can't remember if I told my boss.
That evening, the Plainfield riots took place so, I believe,
these youths were programmed to riot. I remember reading
about the riots and Office John Gleason's death. It was a
sad time and a stain on Plainfield. Also the night of the riots
my brother-in-law David Gunn was taking his wife to
Muhlenberg Hospital as she was about to deliver. I
remember him telling us of the harrowing time getting
there.

Some time ago I noticed the great influx of Spanish people into
North Plainfield, but didn't expect to see so many stores on
Park Avenue with Spanish names. I am also against illegal
immigration. My parents came from Sicily, were sponsored
and my Dad had the promise of a job. I have compassion for
them, but they broke the law and should be deported and
apply legally.

Mary Manello Gunn