Dec 21, 2009

Allentown On My Mind


I'm a baby boomer. I was born in December of 1946. As soon as my mother climbed out of the hospital bed, another woman climbed in. I grew up in the neighborhood now called Little Lehigh Manor, wedged between Lehigh Street and the top of the ravine above Lehigh Parkway. That's me on our lawn at the intersection of Catalina and Liberator Avenues, named after airplanes made by Vultee Corporation for the War. We had our own elementary school, are own grocery store, and the park to play in. On Saturdays my older brother would take me on the trolley, and later the bus, over the 8TH Street Bridge to Hamilton Street. There were far too many stores to see everything. After a matinee of cartoons or Flash Gordon, and a banana split at one of the five and dimes, we
would take the bus back over the bridge to Lehigh Street.





Not that many people know where Lehigh Parkway Elementary School is. It's tucked up at the back of the development of twin homes on a dead end street, but I won't say exactly where. I do want to talk about the photograph. It's May Day, around 1952-53. May Day was big then, so were the unions; Most of the fathers worked at the Steel, Mack, Black and Decker, and a hundred other factories going full tilt after the war. The houses were about 8 years old, and there were no fences yet. Hundreds of kids would migrate from one yard to another, and every mother would assume some responsibility for the herd when it was in her yard. Laundry was hung out to dry. If you notice, most of the "audience" are mothers, dads mostly were at work. I'm at the front, right of center, with a light shirt and long belt tail. Don't remember the girl, but see the boy in front of me with the big head? His father had the whole basement setup year round with a huge model train layout. There were so many kid's, the school only went up to second grade. We would then be bused to Jefferson School for third through sixth grade. The neighborhood had its own Halloween Parade and Easter egg hunt. We all walked to school, no one being more than four blocks away. Years ago when I met my significant other, she told me she taught at an elementary school on the south side, but that I would have no idea where it was.

compilation of two posts from June 2008

14 comments:

significant other? said...

MM:
Great writing and personal reflection but I am troubled by one thing.I thought I was your significant other but I never taught at an elementary school on the south side.

michael molovinsky said...

dear ms. jolie, i'm sorry for any false signals i gave you, but i sincerely hope, especially for the sake of all your adopted children, that you and brad work things out, my best, michael

Anonymous said...

the piture is classic..97 years of romper day in allentown and the kids are still doing the maypole dance. hopefully that wont change about allentown.

Anonymous said...

AWESOME and SIMPLER TIMES.

"Back in the days when I was young I'm not a kid anymore, but somedays I sit and wish I was a kid again...."

Alfonso Todd
www.prolifickmag.com

michael molovinsky said...

pat, thanks for your comment. i'm not printing it, just in case your friend would mind having her name on the internet.

Susan said...

Dear M.M., My friend Pat told me about your blog and its so strange that I have that same photo. As a matter-of-fact, I passed the photo around at our 45th class reunion last Oct. I was your partner in that May Day dance. I lived very close to Parkway School, and you are so correct about it being such a great neighborhood to grow up in. I have recently reconnected with some of the "gang" from Parkway. Thank you for taking me back, by the way, I didn't know that it is now Little Lehigh Manor. Your classmate, Susie

michael molovinsky said...

susie, thanks for note. the big headed boy in front of me, name was drew (i'll omit last name) they moved away still in the early 50's.. likewise, i always referred to the neighborhood as the parkway or lehigh parkway, but the realtors now call it little lehigh manor. in about 2005 i tracked down Bobby E, who lived across the street from me. saw pat at reunion in 2004. it still is a great neighborhood.

michael molovinsky said...

susie d, if you go to the following address, which is the first time i used the mayday photo, click on it, it will enlarge to full screen size.

http://molovinskyonallentown.blogspot.com/2008/06/lehigh-parkway-elementary-school.html

Anonymous said...

Hi Michael,
Are the houses in the first picture facing Catalina? I think the house on the left is the house I lived in from 1957 to 1964. I lived on the corner of Catalina and Liberator across from Bobby E. When did you move away?

michael molovinsky said...

yes, it's the curve right where liberator from jefferson, and catalina from parkway south meet. scotty b, lives in house with car in driveway. that car belonged to his father, scotty and his sister grew up there. on the triangle there was my family, bobby E. (other half of that twin faces catalina, and biery(don't remember name of other family in that twin). mauer family lived across from scotty b. we moved in 59, then house occupied by miller family for next 45 years. bobby e and i remained good friends for many years, then lost contact till recently

Britt said...

Then that isn't the house I lived in. I lived facing Catalina, right on the corner but I remember all the names you mentioned. They were good times.

michael molovinsky said...

if anybody has some old pictures of the neighborhood or park which i might borrow to scan and put up on this blog, please contact me, in phone book.

i remember an elderly gentleman who sold icecream from a white pickup truck, any memories of him?

i also have pleasant memories of the lehighsupermarket with its soda fountain. the miniature golf course, etc.

Susan said...

"Fred", I'm thinking it would be fun to have a Lehigh Parkway reunion. And by the way, I thought the kid with the big head was Jimmy H., behind us is Barbara S. in front of big head is Bonnie B. (her back is to the camera, but she has the cutest shoes on). "Ginger"

michael molovinsky said...

susan, i'm on the mend currently and wouldn't commit to attend anything for several months. however, i'd be glad to help you publicize anything, anytime, you have in mind. also, i know someone who has been having a southside "motorhead" reunion the last few years, if you would care to combine with that. some of them are parkway people, and south mountain jr. high for sure.