H i c k s v i l l e     T h a t      I     R e m e m b e r

 Bob…We recently traded emails regarding the submission of a narrative on what it was like to grow up in Hicksville and you suggested that it seemed like a good idea. There are a lot of memories so deciding what to say was a difficult job. I suppose the best place for me to start is in the beginning when we moved to Hicksville. The following is my story…

Growing up in Hicksville in the 1950’s and early 1960’s was an idyllic time compared to our world today. It may not have been pure bliss but with our selective memories, we fondly remember what it was like. Here is part of my story from the earliest years.

We moved to Hicksville on Labor Day Weekend, September 4, 1956. That was just in time for me to start the fourth grade at Dutch Lane School. It was practically across the street from our 1951 Levitt Ranch at

27 Ball Park Lane in what was known as the “B” section of the Levitt development that extended into the southern part of Hicksville.

Ball Park Lane terminated at Newbridge Road to the east where there was a potato field on the opposite side.

In 1956 it had recently been harvested so we roamed through it picking up some of the culls. Several years later a Catholic high school was built there.

The main entrance on Newbridge Road

The football field viewing from Cherry Lane

 

Our street was appropriately named as there were four baseball diamonds and a football field (with goal posts only) right across from our house.


Levittown Parkway was on the other side of the fields. Just past our house there was a fenced “sump” with two more baseball fields behind it as well as a wooden handball court and a small parking lot. Just behind the school was an asphalt court with two tennis nets and four basketball hoops surrounded by an eleven-foot chain link fence.

 

The reason we knew the height of the fence had to do with playing stickball at the school. There was a portable wooden classroom building for the fifth and sixth grade classes that had recently been added to the main building in order to accommodate us early boomers. The end of the building was our backstop and we used chalk to draw a strike zone on it.

 

We then took a long tape measure and determined that the fenced courts were 225 feet straight away to “center field” with the left and right corner posts being used as foul poles. One of us had to climb up to the top of the fence holding the end of the tape measure that determined that it was eleven feet from the ground. These facilities provided a never-ending opportunity to play outside with our friends.

 

North of the school and athletic fields was Levittown Hall that was used as a meeting place for various events.

Next to it was one of the community pools Levitt built in that area.

 

We spent many summer days playing ball, hide and seek, riding our bikes all over the area and swimming until we were too tired to do anything else. Back then parents not only allowed us to play outside unsupervised, but we were ordered out of the house regardless of the season. At dinner time the call went out and we had to scoot home.

 

I firmly believe that our family structure and respect for authority that we were taught gave us a firm foundation to build on that helped most of us to grow up to be responsible citizens who were generally successful in life despite the rough spots in the road.

 

Then came the mid 1960’s and America would undergo significant changes once again that would have far reaching effects. That can be addressed in a future narrative.

 

Bob Dean

Class of 1965