Growing up Camden

Fond memories of fast cars and pizza

By Dwight Collins | Jan 15, 2014

Camden — When most people hear the word "Ferrari" they think of the best of Italian engineering; but when I hear the word, I think back to the best pizza in town.

Some of my best memories growing up Camden were at Ferrari's on Main Street, where the Browns welcomed everyone, but especially us kids. I was never once told to leave when the pizza was gone and the pitcher of soda was empty, unlike some other eating establishments in town.

I’m sure being friends of their children Michelle and Chris might have had something to do with it, but regardless, they treated all of us like we were family.

I've lost count the number of times a gaggle of my friends would go in after school for something to eat. Pitchers of soda would reach the table before we even got in the front door. We would eat and drink and even sometimes be a little rowdy, but we were always respectful and I, for one, was grateful for their hospitality.

Ferrari's was where we would go before school dances, plays and rehearsals at the opera house, or even after a marathon Pac Man game at the LaVerdiere’s arcade. It was where year-after-year eighth-graders from the Mary E. Taylor School flocked to celebrate graduating from middle school.

It also brings back memories of my mom. She and I would go there for dinner and get the lasagna – which was my favorite – and she would always get the large so she could take the rest to work. One time, I ate her leftovers – that was one mistake I never made again.

I can still see the red and white checkered tablecloths and the shakers of crushed red peeper and grated Parmesan cheese that sat in the middle of the table. I can also hear my mother telling me once, “Here put some of this [crushed red pepper] on there, it will clear your nose right out.” – And it sure did.

I’m sure we all have our own memories of what it was like growing up in Camden and each generation had a place to go, be social and even maybe grab a snack after school. For my generation, it was Ferrari’s.

I feel lucky to have grown up in a town where people in the community looked out for each other. In the every day hustle and bustle of life it is hard enough to focus on what your own needs are, let alone anybody else but the Browns always found time to make sure kids in town had a place to eat and socialize.

I like to feel that the newest generations of “Camden kids” still have people in the community that have their best interest at heart and would go that little extra just to make them feel welcome.

After all, like the old saying goes, it takes a village…

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