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Garfield Poet Praises Hometown

Ralph Acerno
Ralph Acerno Photo Credit: Courtesy of Ralph Acerno

GARFIELD, N.J. — Ralph Acerno remembers Garfield well enough to still wax poetic about the city decades after moving to River Edge.

Acerno, 68, grew up in Garfield before moving in 1965. He graduated Garfield High School in 1965 and currently serves as the minister of Christian Community Church of River Edge.

The memories of his hometown stayed strong as he converted them to writing. Acerno said he does a lot of writing but wanted to share his Garfield thoughts with others.

"I think a lot of people today are looking to connect, but lack the verbal skills," he told Daily Voice. "I try to take those and put them into writing so they have something they can put in a very clear way for them to understand. I do it kind of like a service for people."

Some of his words appear more poem-like, such as a piece that starts, "It's not a place you'd drive far to see. But a place no less special and sacred for me."

It ends, "But it's time to move on. I've yet much to do. I pass the sign 'leaving Garfield.' But I'll never leave you."

Other writings take a more first-hand narrative approach, such as his account of recently visiting his old neighborhood in Garfield.

He shared his writing on Facebook groups dedicated to Garfield and said he received plenty of compliments from people who could relate to his tales of the city's past.

"I think at the time when I was growing up [Garfield] had a real sense of camaraderie and community," he said.

Acerno served in the U.S. Navy and earned his master's degree in theology from Princeton.

MORE INFO: To read Acerno's takes on Garfield, visit the Facebook group, You know you're from Garfield, NJ when...

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