Home Read Write Q & A News Parners
Back to List Next Story Previous Story
Growing up in Westbrook Park
Mar 13, 2006
I grew up on the south side of Allentown, in Westbrook Park, on Mohawk Street. It was one of the first streets in the development, and my childhood memories are punctuated with the distant sound of hammers and bulldozers. We used to scour the construction areas after school looking for "chalk" -- drywall, I later discovered -- and use it to draw hopscotches on the sidewalk. It wasn't really good chalk.

There were so many kids in the neighborhood that there was always someone to play with, and games sort of organized themselves.... tag, hide-and-seek, baseball, bike riding, sledding. We'd knot branches on the willow trees and swing over the creek. We'd look for crayfish, minnows and pinheads. We'd build dams and get our shoes wet when we slipped off the rocks. We'd find dead animals (usually groundhogs) and poke at them with sticks. We'd climb trees (the 'monkey tree' was a particlarly good one) and swing by our knees from the branches. At the end of the day our dads would whistle us in as if we were dogs. Nobody thought anything of it -- it was just the way you got called in.

There were two penny candy stores within walking distance. The first one was on 5th street, and it wasn't really a penny candy store. I liked it, though, because the gumball machine had prize-winning metal balls in it. The GOOD penny candy store was where the Weight Watchers is now. Wax lips & teeth, swedish fish, flying saucers, licorice, tootsie rolls, 'lipstick,' and more... plus a soda fountain to boot. I never wasted my time on soda, I went for all the candy I could afford, and it all got put in a little brown paper bag.

When someone got sent for bread & milk, we went either to Traub's or the Acme. Traub's smelled good with the hot dog snack bar right there, but you had to cross Emmaus Avenue. If you went to Acme, you walked the thin line next to the wilderness that harbored Hoffman's junk yard... a dangerous, exciting place. I played with matches in that junkyard.

Westbrook Park was a good place to grow up. It has changed dramatically since I lived there, kids' lives have changed, too. They don't seem to spend so much time outside anymore, even though the park and the creek are still there, the willows and climbing trees are still there. Where have all the children gone?

Back to List Next Story Previous Story
  The name "Storymill" is a trademark of Immuexa Corporation.
All stories are copyright by their respective authors.
Website by Immuexa