For displaced, misplaced, and nostalgic ex-Bronxites

My Beloved Bronx

by Beverly Kahler


y maiden name was Beverly Regina Weinreb, but I was also known asBeverly Love because that was my Mom's family name. I was born in 1941 and grew up at 1717 Parkview Avenue, next to Buhre Avenue.

As a little girl, my Mom would often take me to the movies. The local theater was the Pilgrim Theater, also known as "The Pillbox". They used to hold drawings for prizes. One time, I remember winning a "Dagwood Bumstead" harmonica. It was made out of metal and shaped like a sandwich.

The local hangout for the teenagers was Flo's Candy store on Buhre. I can still see it in my mind. The jukebox was in the back and there were several booths. They made dynamite egg creams. For a quarter, the jukebox gave you four plays. Can you believe it?

Some of the other stores on Buhre included Pressman’s Pharmacy, where if you got a splinter in your hand or something in your eye, Mr. Pressman took it out. We didn't need doctors for that. He was free and all the Moms brought their kids to him. We had the local A&P supermarket where you could grind your own coffee. I still remember that there was sawdust on the floor (and I have no idea why). There was a shoe repair store on the corner. I loved when my Mom brought me there, because I got to sit in his booth (it had a little door to open it) and wait for my shoe to be fixed on the spot. Can't get that service anymore.

I lived across from Our Lady of Assumption Church and on Sunday the church bells' ringing would wake me up. In the winter, to get to the main avenue, I had to turn the corner on what was known as "Cardinal Hill" and the wind was always against you turning that dreaded corner, and if there was ice on the ground, forget about it!

As a teenager, I hung out with Audrey Donner and many times we would walk to Westchester Square and head straight for Woolworths. The floors there were wooden slats and you could feel them bending under your feet as you walked. The earrings were usually under a dollar and we would buy cheap pink or orange lipsticks. Shiny, of course. We wore our lipstick in a fifties style, way above our top lip. A few doors down was Miles Shoe Store where we would buy T-strap shoes for $3.99. It would cost $4.99 if you wanted your shoes in "gun-metal" style.

Audrey and I usually went to the RKO Castle Hill movie theater or the Loew's American movie theater. We would meet up with kids from the Zerega Avenue bunch. On Friday nights we went to St. Helena's dances and I can still hear Father Scanlon saying "Make room for the Holy Ghost!" as he parted the couples who were too close.

I often let my imagination drift back to those innocent days when all was so sweet and simple. Wow, what a great time I had in my beloved Bronx!

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