|Lois A.H. Mosley in 2008 |
(Staten Island Advance)
It is due, in great measure, to Mosley's contributions to Sandy Ground Memories, published by the Staten Island Historical Society in 2003, that we know about these remarkable people, as well as the places they lived, worked, and played. Mosley graduated from Tottenville High School and became a dietician, working for most of her career at the notorious Willowbrook School (now site of the College of Staten Island). She moved from Sandy Ground to the Mariners Harbor Houses in 1957, then to New Jersey in 1975, and passed away in 2008.
|Rossville A.M.E. Zion Church (Jan. 2014)|
|565 & 569 Bloomindale Rd. (Jan. 2014)|
We invented a telephone system of our very own. Between the McDonalds (at 509), the Moores (at 565), and the Henrys (at 569 rear), we had a "Knock, knock" system that was unique. When we had running water installed in the three houses they were all on the same meter. We could turn the faucet off sharply and it knocked. To call a neighbor we each had a code. The number of knocks let you know who should stick their head out the door for a message.
In many ways, Mosley's memoir is like many reminiscences of childhood in bygone days. Other stories, however, bring a sharp reminder (though never bitter in her telling) of the prejudice that Sandy Grounders experienced deep into the twentieth century. Here she describes goings on at Reinhardt's, "a combination ice cream, candy store and saloon," located on the southwest corner of Bloomingddale Road and Sharrott's Road:
It was an amusement park for white folks and it provided much fun for us Sandy Ground kids.... The bold kids, mostly the boys, would go down to Reinhardt's and entertain the picnic folks. They would show off and dance and the people would give them nickels. Sometimes the bolder kids would steal the little red reflectors from the license plates of the patrons' cars. At these picnics and clambakes, the picnickers ate and drank all day long. When evening came we kids became beggars. We would run home and the people would give us the leftover food and clam chowder to take home. We were usually a quiet neighborhood but I do remember the fight that erupted in 1935 between a few Sandy Ground men and some of the [white] patrons at Reinhardt's. A paddy wagon took John Cooper, Lester Moody ("Leaky") and others to jail.
|From Sandy Ground Memories|
|Site of Reinhardt's/Sleepy Hollow Inn (Jan. 2014)|