My family history is Far Rockaway. We go back to 1915. Different parts of my family are there throughout the years. My grandmother, Eva Baumwoll, lived there in 1915 with her family, my great grandfather and great grandmother Abram and Ida Smilovitz and all their children. My mother’s father Isadore Schulkin was in the Hebrew orphanage in Far Rockaway with his sisters when my great grandmother was too ill to take care of them. My grandfather, Nathan Baumwoll and his sons lived most of his life there. He had homes on Beach 34 Street and Beach 38th Street. They owned a home on Reads Lane when my dad went to war (WWII). Our history is in this place. When people ask me “Where do you come?” it’s always Far Rockaway.
These films that were taken by my father Jack Baumwoll and my Uncles Leonard Balen and Max Schulkin. We are back in a time that does not exist any longer. Far Rockaway was a place that many families chose to live and raise their children. My Dad would take the subway in to New York City where he worked. He was a printer and he printed books, lots of them. He would always bring them home and often he would bring them for me. As I’ve written about before on my blog, I did not graduate from Far Rockaway for we left due to an event at Junior High School PS 198 where I did graduate from.
My dad Jack Baumwoll and his brother Joseph graduated from Far rockaway before World War 2. There are also cousins, more than I can remember now, that graduated there. But some of them are my dear cousins; Illana Balen, Lynn Balen, Ellis Rackoff, Carl Rackoff, Lois Rackoff and Ellen Rackoff. There are dear friends to the family and to me that graduated there also; Robert Goldberg, Barry Fischer, Alan Budman and Billy Lipton. Each one of these souls has helped me to become the man that I am and this is my tribute to them.
The film clips in this video are of my brother Ira baumwolls’ in 1967 and my cousin Lynn Balens’ graduations from 1968 memories from Far Rockaway High School.
Who would ever have imagined that this world would disappear in our lifetime and yet it has. The times have changed in so many ways. Just look and see how all the kids really look in this world. Many of these people are no longer with us. They have missed much for the world has changed in ways we could have never understand or even imagined. A phone that goes in our pocket, streaming movies thru the tv from the computer. Yet with all that we still are, we are just people living our lives and trying to take care of our families and have a good life and of course to record that we were here in some way. The young today have what they call social media. It’s a new world. I have wished for years like many of you who have contacted me that the life that we have lived, our fathers and mothers and grandparents have lived, would not be completely forgotten. This is my small attempt to leave a record. That we were here and this was our times and our lives. I hope you enjoy these films and photographs of a time and place that so many of us call home.
I wish to thank all the people whose photographs are a part of this film and a few great web sites. Marty Nislick’s site “Rockaway Memories” is a true place for amazing stories and history. This is a site that must not be missed. And of course, the founders of all of this, Alan (Skip) Weinstock and Carol Marston were the first too make us all remember what we had with their great site “Far Rockaway Alumni Association”.
Lou Ramas, Bob Natt, Marty Nislick, Barry Halpern, Dave Ableson, Jay Fader, Robert Cooper, Peter Sorman, Billy Lipton, Barry Fischer, Alan Budman, Skip Weinstock, Carol Marston, Robert Goldberg, Ellen and Lois Rackoff, Illana and Lynn Balen, Jack Baumwoll, Lenny Balen, Max Schulkin, Stevie S. Stevens
“If I Ever Leave This World Alive” by Floggy Molly
“Rolling in the Deep” by Adele