Need to walk off the holiday turkey and trimmings? The Valley Arts District, located on the Orange-West Orange border and beloved by South Orange and Maplewood folks, is a fine destination for walk and – check this out! – old-time talk.
When I recently took a guided tour of the area, HANDS, Inc’s Molly Rose Kaufman pointed out a sign in front of the old Stetson hat factory. A large green ear-shaped sign had a phone number to call. Who’s on the other end? On Freeman Street, Beatrice Manischewitz tells her story, from self-described “greenhorn” past to what she describes as her “lucky” marriage into the Manischewitz family, makers of matzoh and other food products. And why not? Beatrice’s Orange home was the apartment above her father’s small grocery store.
Beatrice’s story is one of about two dozen recorded by Orange High School students in a project called [murmur] Orange.
A map is on the site, and you can use it to listen to stories from home by clicking on the locations. But the project is designed with cell phones in mind; it’s a pleasure to walk the old streets and listen to stories at the same time.
I am surprised again and again to learn how many locals have deep roots in the Oranges and Newark. Perhaps this holiday season, it’s time to ask or tell the old stories about what brought family members here. Start with [murmur] Orange and see where memory takes you.
Stories were produced by Orange high school students Shannon Sorhaindo, Shaniqua Simmons, Kori Davis, Khemani Gibson, Vaughn Spann, Jermaine Sutherland, Shanique White, Francesca Di Gangi, and Zaki Michael. Molly Rose Kaufman coordinated the project, Scott Gurian led the production of the stories and Mike Malbrough created the map.