Roht Family Memories

by Lewis Roht

          I think we lived at 48-48 40th Street until 1948.  Then we moved to Kew Gardens.  But my 80+ year old memory might not be completely correct.   It was definitely on 40th Street.

          We lived on the ground floor of a building owned by the Hampf family.  The old lady of the family would complain when we hit the front steps with our spauldeen ball, “You are loosening the steps.”  We were playing a game called ‘stoop ball.’ 

          My sister and I attended PS 150.  I left at the end of the 4th grade (my last teacher was Mrs. Levine).  My older sister graduated from 150 and then went to junior high school at PS 125.  We could walk a straight street directly to 150, passing under the elevated train line.   We had to pass the Brefni Inn, a bar close to the corner.

         My aunt and grandmother lived in an apartment building about ½ block from the school.  I often went there for lunch with my grandmother, an immigrant from Russia, and we listened to the old soap operas on the radio.   “Our Gal Sunday” and “Helen Trent” were on the radio during lunch time.  I remember Ma Perkins, but that was not my favorite.

          We attended the movies on 43rd Street.  The Bliss Theater too.  When I was growing up, we used to go to the movies on Saturdays.  There were Westerns, and War movies.  Usually double features with a cartoon.   In the Westerns, you could always tell who the hero was because he wore a white hat.  The bad guys wore black hats.  Sometime there were serials – 15-30 minute short films with up to 10 episodes – one a week.

          On 43rd Street, there was a bar.  They had a TV set and the front door was open, so you could see the television from the street.  My mother once sent me to the grocery store but I got so involved watching a baseball game on the TV that I forgot to buy the groceries.  I was probably about 8 or 9 years old at the time.

           Finally, on 43rd Street, we used to buy our meat at a butcher shop that was owned by a Mr. Langweiler.   I remember that there was always sawdust on the shop floor.  Funny, the things you remember.