Spending time with King Pedlar is like walking down Kings Park’s very own Memory Lane. Many people greet him by name, and stop to talk about his photography projects or the good old days down at The Beacon(now ) with Benny the Bartender. Times were simple then and Pedlar maintains that sense of simplicity in his daily life.
Pedlar’s young life was far from easy. When he was only 10 years old, his father, a Yale educated writer for NBC, died leaving his mother to care for King, his younger brother Dean and a sister Lynne.
1949 was a time of horrible hardship for the family and they moved into St. Johnland, which at the time was a home for orphans and those in need. There Pedlar and his siblings were educated and content. In the early ‘50’s, Pedlar’s mother remarried and moved the family to Levittown where King and his siblings were bussed to Farmingdale High School. The adjustment from the small 10 student classrooms of St. Johnland to the large public high school was too much for Pedlar. At 17, he enrolled in the United States Navy.
After returning from the Navy, Pedlar briefly entered the Kings Park State Hospital Nursing School in 1957. However, the rigors of the program were not for him and he left the program and began working as an attendant at the psychiatric facility.
He and many of his co-workers lived in a large one room dormitory and enjoyed the camaraderie of the hospital. Pedlar called those days his “Shangra-La”, a phrase he attributes to his friend and co-worker Matty O’Reilly. Pedlar served as a night shift attendant from 1958 until his retirement in 1990 . His time as an employee was recently documented in Lucy Winer’s
Throughout his tenure at KPPC, Pedlar also served the community as a busdriver for the . This part-time position gave him the opportunity to get to know many of the KPHS athletes.
“Those kids were really liket the crème de le crème. Great kids," he said.
Today, most people know Pedlar as an unofficial historian and photographer for the community of Kings Park. He still lives in view of the hospital grounds.
“Those bricks are in my blood. I still enjoy looking at them.”
He and friend Steve Weber have done some work on short films about the history of Kings Park. Pedlar characterizes them as simple, short films about Kings Park places and events and can be seen on Facebook and YouTube.
He also enjoys keeping those who have left Kings Park abreast of happenings and events in town. Aside from his passion for photography, Pedlar also enjoys playing the piano. He recently played at the and would enjoy playing in a piano lounge at some point.
Pedlar says he loves his Kings Park and its people. He notes an increase in traffic and people and although he misses the days where everyone knew everyone, he does see the positive growth in our community.
“Years ago, you’d have to leave Kings Park to go to the doctor or the dentist or a good restaurant. Everything is here now."