Oxheart) surrounding a spacious clothes-drying area. In the rear corner was a stable, in which we had a team for general purposes, a saddle horse for my father, and a pony for us children. My father was very font of horses, and whether for carriage purposes or for his lumber trucks, they had to be fine. In fact, he entered some truck horses in the New York Horse Show at least one year, and took prizes.
At that time, and in that part of Brooklyn there were many homes of the size of ours, but curiously we boys didn't play in these yards. There were occasional empty lots, which tho' rough and with many stones, we used for baseball and football, except on Saturdays when we would go "to the Park" - meaning the Parade Grounds just outside Prospect Park. But the Playground in daily use for more or less of each day was the street where we played shinny, ring-a-leave-o, hop scotch or "just played". The girls of the neighborhood didn't play baseball or football with the boys, but they did play everything else with us. Of course, our pony played a bit part at that time.
We children took turns with her. That is, we each had her for a day, but as my sisters didn't use all of their turns, my brother and I had the most use of her. Though we had a "pony cart" (who-wheeled carriage) we mostly rose horseback through Prospect Park with our near neighbors, Rob and Lizzie Gair, each of whom had ponies. On occasional Saturdays we would use the cart, taking lunches and friends, and drive down to Bensonhurst for a swim in New York Harbor opposite Staten Island.
At that time (in the 1890's) Flatbush was neither farm nor city. It was just a vast expanse of unused land waiting for the City to "com'n git it". So also was it from Prospect Park to Cony Island and to Bensonhurst. Only the present Ocean Parkway from the Park to Cony Island was there in those days. It was a very wide and very fine road. There was room for two or three lanes of carriages in each direction, and also a broad space in the center reserved for the use of fast horses. It was always an interesting sight to watch a gentleman speeding his horse, or two owners fast horses having a "brush". A brush was an impromptu and informal race.
In the summers our family, with the exception of my father, went off to the country from the closing to the reopening of School. Transportation then was not what it is now, and a trip of what we would now consider a short distance consumed a great deal of time. Saturday was then a regular business day, and we knew no such thing as our present "week-end" of Saturday and
Go to Page #30