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“The View from Ocean Hill” is a journey through time. Its’ about the sights, sounds and smells of Ocean Hill, an ethnic Italian neighborhood tucked away in eastern Brooklyn.
Lives were shaped by the streets and alleys of the neighborhood where it was easy to get into trouble with the law, parents and friends. It was cramped and sometimes irritating sharing a railroad flat with a brother and sister but it had its upside. Families shared everything they had, not only among themselves but also with their neighbors. Neighbors responded in kind.
The concrete stoop in front of 88 Hull Street was a gathering place, a clubhouse. We stepped off each day from here to scour our known world never venturing beyond the fringes. Our world was constricted by neighborhood boundaries that were not influenced by distance but by who lived in the adjoining neighborhoods. Callahan and Kelly Park was on the eastern fringe of the neighborhood in the midst of Broadway Junction and was within easy walking distance. It was home to Chops, G-man, Philly Beans, JackJack, BS and Fast Eddie. We played punch ball, stickball and handball until it was too dark to see your own hands. All the school yards, hallways and street corners hold memories of past fights, card games and hours idled away talking and harmonizing the latest Doo Wop songs. None of us were rich in material things but we were rich in family and friends. The transition from High School to College began one journey and ended another. My childhood friends were suddenly gone. One day we were playing together, smoking our first cigarettes and sipping from our first bottle of Thunderbird wine and the next day they had disappeared. They had not changed; maybe I had. Running and hiding from friends, enemies or the police was an art that was acquired. We never bought toys, we made our own. Carpet guns and scooters were made from scrap wood and recycled nails, bottle caps and old skates.
The events are accurate as I remember them. Substituting some characters in events was necessary. In some cases names were changed to protect those who expressed the desire not to be in print or to be quoted.

oceanhill

About the Author

Lou Alba
oceanhill Woodbury, CT

Married with two children; BBA St. John's U; MBA Pace U; MBA Sacred Heart U; retired from IBM and as a high school teacher; Honorable Discharge USMC; Fundraiser JDRF; member American Legion.

Publish Date  April 10, 2009

Dimensions  Pocket  222 pgs   Black and White printing (on cream uncoated paper)

Category  Biographies & Memoirs

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Comments (2) Write a comment

bigboy27

bigboy27 says

Your the best teacher ever, i have you in middle school. (aka-papa lou)

posted at 05:38pm Nov 03 PST

pitruzzo

pitruzzo says

Real literature allows the reader to step into the life and world of a real person in a real place and time, and this is what I think Lou Alba has done for east Brooklyn in the late 50s & early 60s - much more powerful than any artificially invented fictional creation. (I've tried to do something similar, but in a very different way, in 'Dorp Voices', with my childhood in South Africa.) This is the real thing, from the heart and the memory. Great stuff!

posted at 09:29am Jul 19 PST

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