March 26, 2011

Bob Cotter led an interesting life as a Levittown kid who hung at the pool, built forts, delivered newspapers, brought home toads


Yesterday I discovered an old Levittowner, Bob Cotter (class of 1964), on Facebook. I remembered that he was my 1960 classmate Phyllis Cotter's kid brother and invited him to be my Facebook friend. I sent him the link to that day's blog post, Tim Lavey's story and photo under the headline, "Early 1950s memories of Orchid Road and the glorious sump." His reply was prompt.

Bob wrote:
My body left DAHS in 1962 for a program at Levittown Memorial, but my soul was always at Division, as we lived around the corner on Butternut. I lived at "the sump", built forts, climbed the power line towers on the Motor Parkway, and played in the unfinished foundation next to Engine Co. 2 firehouse on Hickory Lane. Wild blackberries, raspberries and I brought home lots and lots of toads...my mother loved that! I was a denizen of the Azalea pool.

Frank replied:
Welcome back, Cotter. That was too easy, sorry. Love your memories. Levittown was a wonderland for adventuresome kids. We really did not need much money, at least I didn't.

Bob replied:
Money? Large soda bottles were worth a nickel, small, two cents. With all the construction there was a gold mine of empties...baloney sandwich from the East Green deli was maybe half a buck...I had a 90-paper Newsday route at 13 and lived like a king.

Frank replied:
I loved baloney sandwiches. They were cheap and they were good, and a bag of Wise Potato Chips was the perfect accompaniment. I returned many a soda bottle, was always scrambling for change. The best was shoveling snow, real money, the kind you could fold.

Bob replied:
I mowed lawns for $2 a pop, $2.50 for a corner house and I'm still shoveling snow (Bob lives in Montreal). Memories of registering myself and playing Little League baseball at Redwing field...walking all the way there from Butternut Lane on a hot mid-Island flatlands Saturday...french fries in a brown paper bag from the drug store at the North Green...Walk-away sundaes and malties from Grants...Sorry Frank, but ya got me going.

Frank closed the exchange:
It's amazing how much Levittown "oldtimers" have to chat about. We were strangers to each other until today. Gotta go, Bob. I crave a baloney sandwich and a bag of Wise potato chips. Please pass along my regards to Phyllis. See you on the internet.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Howard Whidden '62

I sent an e-mail to Phyllis Cotter not to long ago, letting her know I still remember the awesome voice she had in high school. I especially remember one program in the auditorium in which she sang the Lord's Prayer...it was sung so beautifully she got a standing ovation from the student body.

Kathy said...

What a neat and lively piece on my fellow Butternut Lane-er! I remember you as a kid, Bob. I think we called you "Bobby" back then. You would have been in my sister, Chris's class. All the best. Kathy Stahlman Zinn '63