I wrote about Sue Tatterson's trip to Scranton Lace Company last week, and reader Jo Ott used that post as a springboard to share these wonderful memories of growing up in West Pittson, Pennsylvania:
If I'm reading that ticket correctly (my old body doesn't twist sideways much any more!) that ticket says "West Pittston." My family lived in West Pittston -- 144 North Street -- during the 1940s -- most of the WWII years. My sister (1 year older) attended West Pittston High School and I attended elementary school there. I have old report cards from all four of our school days there.Thanks for sharing all of those wonderful memories, Jo!
June Cleaver kind of community. My best memories are the snow sledding on the town's great hills in the very deep snows the area received every winter, staying out, even at night, until my wet gloves and snow pants turned to ice and I was in very bad need of a nose wipe.
Being in coal country in coal's peak mining days, I remember as a little kid seeing neighbors coming home from the mines totally black with coal dirt, carrying the metal lunch pail all miners then carried into the mines. Speaking of the mines, I remember one day hearing of a little girl who was walking down the sidewalk across the Susquehanna River in Pittston, eating an orange, and she just disappeared. There was a cave-in and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Cave-ins were frequent back then and as a little kid I would sometimes wonder if our house would sink into the ground. I'd scare myself thinking I heard digging underneath!
I drove up to West Pittston back in the summer to see what it's like today. Not much has changed. The great high school is still there although it's no longer used as a the high school. The Grand Union is gone. So is the wonderful skating rink where everyone in town could be found except when on the hills sledding in winter. My old house is still there, as are the neighbors'. They're all gone now, including, Louie Lewis who managed the cemetery. Louie and his wife Betty and my parents were good friends and played cards with other neighbors all the time. The Michalango funeral home up the street is still in operation, but with a new name and owner. Grablick's Dairy is gone or at least I couldn't find it.
Abbott & Costello, Our Gang movies, all the great musicals and love story movies. Loved playing marbles in the dirt in the yard next to our house. There are many more stories -- like how our family received eggs and sugar in the mail from a relative in Juniata County during those war years. [Comment from Chris: How does one mail eggs?]
We left West Pittston for York County in 1947. Myself and one brother entered Edgar Fahs Smith, another brother finished his last grade school year at Shiloh Elementary and my sister went into York High. Three of us graduated from Ol' York High.
Sadly, West Pittston was badly hit by flooding this year. One newspaper article I read included the information on how the town's citizens voted down flood walls similar to those installed up river in Sunbury, I believe. They didn't want to lose their views of the river.
Every family I ever knew growing up in Pennsylvania had at least one Scranton Lace table cloth. They were brought out every Easter and Christmas and other special occasions. Some families even graced their dining room table with a Scranton all the time, then would bring out the "good one" for holidays.