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August 2006
Nicky Newark

Hi readers, I'm sure you would be interested in knowing the "stage" at 123 Park Avenue in West Caldwell is still there, although there now exists a flower garden in the neighbor's yard and the flowers are almost as tall as the stage. The grape arbor is gone; however, most everything else looks pretty much the same in the old neighborhood.

Now let's take you to the stage at the high school. If you read my previous article about the skits we and the neighborhood kids performed at 123 Park Avenue, you may remember that I shared the stage with Dean " Doc" Cummings.

Well, my buddy was in the cast of the high school production of Bye Bye Birdie. With ticket in hand I naturally headed to the show. As I remember, Dean's dad picked me up on his way home from his burger joint on Roosevelt Avenue in Newark, since I lived in Newark.

We arrived at the school auditorium just as the lights were dimming. Even then I felt the eyes, but the room darkened quickly. The show was great, everything went smoothly.

Then intermission arrived, the lights came on and my buddie waded through the crowd to say hello. Then again the eyes, and there were people and students milling around Dean and me and it seemed like there were quite a few young ladies saying hi to me, none that I knew. Intermission was about over and Dean hurried backstage. The rest of the show was well received and the final curtain came down to thunderous applause. The cast and crew crowded the stage to receive the much deserved thunder.

The lights came on and once again the eyes. Dean managed to squeeze through the crowd to shake hands with the well wishers. Here he was standing at my side and boy did I stick out like the proverbial sore thumb.

Yes, I was "Nicky Newark" dressed in shiny grey shark skin suit with a white on white shirt with long pointy collars, silk tie, silk socks, and outrageous pointy-toed Italian shoes. Everyone around me was dressed in Madras, blazers, penny loafers, and chukka boots.

I was a celebrity of sorts since Dean had informed his schoolmates that I was a budding "rock star" from the big city of Newark. It seemed like I couldn't field the questions fast enough, especially from the girls. But alas it was time to go, and we filed out of the school and into the car to head to 123 Park Avenue and back to reality.

by Lance L. Casper

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