October 11 – Happy Birthday Steve Soulla

22soullaEvery school year from September of 1966 until June of 1969, I not only saw Steve Soulla every day of the week, I gave him some of my money too. Well, actually, it was my parents’ money. He was the proprietor of a store called Soulla’s Card-Craft that used to be located on the southwestern corner of Guy Park Avenue and Wall Street, right across from the old Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School Building. Today, there’s a gas station on the site of Soulla’s old business and a seniors’ high-rise where the school used to be. But back in the day, the traffic back and forth between those two locations in the morning before the first school bell rang, at lunchtime and in the afternoon after the final bell sounded, was a constant flow of hundreds of kids spending between fifty cents and a dollar each on candy, gum, baseball cards, school supplies, ice cream bars, etc.

Today’s Birthday Celebrant was a lifelong native of Amsterdam, N.Y. born here on October 9, 1921. He was one of the eight children (6 girls, 2 boys) born to Fedele and Evelina Soulla. During his high school years at Wilbur Lynch he was a very talented basketball player for Coach DeWitt Benjamin’s Purple & Gold cagers, jumping center and usually finishing among each game’s top scorers. After graduating in 1941, Soulla joined the Navy and saw action in both Guam and Okinawa. After returning from service he went to college, eventually earning his degree from Qinnipiac University. Steve’s athletic talents extended to both golf and bowling. He excelled at both for a very long time.

His Card-Craft store was a hit from the start with its perfect location and Soulla’s knack for staying on top of the nickel-and-dime-costing tastes of the Amsterdam adolescent market. He and his long-time friend Tony Cosentino would…

You can read the rest of my story about Steve Soulla in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.


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