I've always resided in "working class" neighborhoods. Even on pleasant suburban East Clay Ave. in Roselle Park NJ. Four houses in a row of which mine was third were owned by a supermarket unionized butcher, a New York City unionized school teacher, a management supervisor of unionzed maintanance services, a unionized steelworker. All whose living wage incomes reflected collective bargaining. All of the wives were working by 1960, the extra income was important but the kids were older, too. Those four houses contained a total of 13 kids. We had been on been on the street the longest; two generations, since the thirties. The others had moved in during the fifties. It was a good place to live....
It was a good place to live; large old houses (or smaller & newer) at fair prices, big yards, no frills. Mixed Catholics & protestants, & some jews who never seemed especially observant. No African-Americans, but I suspect few would have chosen to buy property & raise kids in Roselle Park before 1964 anyway. Religious tolerance does count for something in the unfolding flower of humanity. It's not easy & nobody's book says we should expect it to be easy. Roselle Park turned out to be the most democratic town I've ever lived in, the one with the most balanced democracy. It was a genuinely two-party town as demographics slowly bended it from center-right to center-left. Oh, those unions!
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