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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!

Originally posted to DJ Rix on Thu Jun 16, 2005 at 11:58 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Blacks choose not to live in Roselle Park? (4.00)
    "No African-Americans, but I suspect few would have chosen to buy property & raise kids in Roselle Park before 1964 anyway."

    Why was it Blacks chose not to live in Roselle Park?
    Why is 1964 a magic number for that?

    Most real estate business and banks practiced "red-lining" that didn't allow Blacks in many, many neighborhoods.

  •  I always find it interesting (4.00)
    How Republicans always like to refer to the 1950s as the "good old days."  Back when only one bread winner was needed, the women stayed home, and there was a Beaver Cleaver in every neighborhood etc. etc.

    I found this message from the GOP appeals to a lot of THEIR working class supporters today.  I didn't have that luxury, because both of my parents were immigrants and I was too young to grow up back then, but I find it interesting that the 1950s coincides with the high point of trade unionism in this country.  

    Yes, in the 1950s the average american made more in real dollars than at any other time in history.  Families could afford one bread winner, if they so chose.  

    Unfortunately, the same people who same to champion the culture of the 1950s are the same ones who destroyed and tore down the factors that created it in the first place.  

    I wonder how much of a big deal family values would be today if families had the option of not having to have both parents work, sometimes two jobs each, if parents could have the time to stay home with their kids, if financial pressures didn't spark inter-marrital adversity.

    The 1950s and those days are a testament to the success of the New Deal.  Until we have another one, red state land land will be living a pipe dream.  

    "Moral Values Absent Economic Justice Is Poverty of the Soul." - anon.

    by PaulVA on Fri Jun 17, 2005 at 05:46:04 AM PDT

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