Share Your Life Stories
Lauren

Allentown, PA

#1 Jan 10, 2013
I'm doing research for an English paper about my hometown. Allentonians-- share your stories about Allentown. Your experiences in Allentown. Your growing up in Allentown. Your life in Allentown, PA. The bad, the good. Don't hold back. I'm especially looking for the voices of those who live/ have lived in-town, not the suburbs. Native Allentonians and transplants alike, I look forward to hearing from you.
Bob

Allentown, PA

#2 Jan 11, 2013
I've lived in Allentown since the 1990s. It's a crappy town. I have no idea why you want to write a research paper on it.
Julie

Allentown, PA

#3 Jan 20, 2013
I moved 2 Allentown in the 1996, myself. I moved here with my parents and sisters, from NYC. I went to Allen High for the 11th and 12th grades, and then went to Lehigh County Community College. I'm married with 2 kids, and I work as a nurse. I live in a suburb on the outskirts of town now, but I grew up on Linden Street. It was a bad part of town, still is I guess. There was pretty much crime then, as there is now. But I do love "A-town", I guess. I mean, I never really had close friends until I moved here. My closest friends from college are still my closest friends now. I just wish the Allentown School District would improve. I think that instead of the Hockey Arena, which is supposed to "revitalize the city", the city should use the money for educational reforms. But no, instead they just demolish peoples homes in the name of sports and gentrification.....
I miss the old Allentown

Allentown, PA

#4 Jan 21, 2013
I was born and grew up in Allentown. In the 50s' when I was a child, Allentown was a great place to live and grow. It was quieter, cleaner and shootings were rarely ever heard about, if ever. That probably describes most of America during those days. Of course we had run down areas of the town that have since been torn down; replaced by condos, businesses and apartment complexes, so that is at least an improvement. Unfortunately, our town became a mecca for welfare recipients. Former mayor Daddona and I-78 is mostly responsible, but it is also a sign of our times. I'm not bashing all welfare people; only the ones who come here and do the crime, drugs and shooting. I know the economy is not easy for a lot of people out there. The point is, we all deserve to live in safety and peace.

I miss the movie theaters - the Rialto and Colonial, and drive-in movies, and the old corner store! We didn't have computers in those days and visiting a movie theater on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon was fun and relaxing, plus, the movies were so much more entertaining and without all of the violence you see today. I also remember the old ALBETH Ice skating rink on Hanover Avenue. My friends and I skated there on Saturdays and we had a blast. We also enjoyed going to the Brass Rail on Hamilton street for a slice of pizza. Couldn't do that anymore. Another pastime was shopping at Hess's, Leh's and Zollinger's because we didn't have the Lehigh Valley mall and other outlet stores you see today. Can't forget McCrory's, 5 and dime store, Woolworth's, Speedy's Record Shop, and the Dolly Madison icecream store! There was a great pizza joint on South Eight Street called Hi-Fi Pizza. In the 60s, I frequently stopped by the Cyrus Garb Shop. Great 60s fashions and jewelry. It was "the" place to go. When I was in elementary school, there was the Franklin firehouse PAL dances every Friday night featuring a spotlight dance. Thirsty kids paid 5 cents for an original bottle of Coca-Cola in the thick green bottle; the best tasting cola around in those days. In the Summer, my local playground had a playground instructor on hand. Made crafts and played games. The ice cream festivals in those days were the best and the best cakes could be had on the cakewalk. In the 50s, kids had access to a trampoline area near 13th and Allen streets. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season. Trick or treating in those days started out as 1 to 2 weeks! Can you imagine how annoyed and frustrated people grew hearing that dang doorbell ring almost non-stop? I did get lots of great candy, money and rotten fruit, Lol, I now sympathize with those people and they were good sports. Trick or Treat night eventually dwindled down to 3 days, then to one night only as it is today. I couldn't forget the 1976 "1776" 200 year anniversary parade! What a celebration that was. Lots of people and lots of fun! I still have an old cookie jar I bought from one of the souvenir stands. The Great Allentown Fair was a kid's paradise back in the 1950s. It may sound tawdry, but my friend and I couldn't wait to see why was waiting behind the sideshow tents. I really did pity the poor "freaks", and it was unfair to even call them that. I'm glad they did away with the sideshows because it's obviously cruel and inhumane, but we were just kids and we couldn't resist. We often walked out of the tent crying. A cruel lesson to learn about the realities of life and that life can be cruel for some. It also taught me to have pity for those less fortunate and to be grateful. One thing my friend and I did giggle at was the girlie show stage presentations to lure customers - mostly men - inside the tent. Whenever we passed by, we'd stare and then crack up laughing, all while we were stuffing our faces with cotton candy, and those rides - Wow. Take me back!
I miss the old Allentown

Allentown, PA

#5 Jan 21, 2013
I was born and grew up in Allentown. In the 50s' when I was a child, Allentown was a great place to live and grow. It was quieter, cleaner and shootings were rarely ever heard about, if ever. That probably describes most of America during those days. Of course we had run down areas of the town that have since been torn down; replaced by condos, businesses and apartment complexes, so that is at least an improvement. Unfortunately, our town became a mecca for welfare recipients. Former mayor Daddona and I-78 is mostly responsible, but it is also a sign of our times. I'm not bashing all welfare people; only the ones who come here and do the crime, drugs and shooting. I know the economy is not easy for a lot of people out there. The point is, we all deserve to live in safety and peace.

I miss the movie theaters - the Rialto and Colonial, and drive-in movies, and the old corner store! We didn't have computers in those days and visiting a movie theater on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon was fun and relaxing, plus, the movies were so much more entertaining and without all of the violence you see today. I also remember the old ALBETH Ice skating rink on Hanover Avenue. My friends and I skated there on Saturdays and we had a blast. We also enjoyed going to the Brass Rail on Hamilton street for a slice of pizza. Couldn't do that anymore. Another pastime was shopping at Hess's, Leh's and Zollinger's because we didn't have the Lehigh Valley mall and other outlet stores you see today. Can't forget McCrory's, 5 and dime store, Woolworth's, Speedy's Record Shop, and the Dolly Madison icecream store! There was a great pizza joint on South Eight Street called Hi-Fi Pizza. In the 60s, I frequently stopped by the Cyrus Garb Shop. Great 60s fashions and jewelry. It was "the" place to go. When I was in elementary school, there was the Franklin firehouse PAL dances every Friday night featuring a spotlight dance. Thirsty kids paid 5 cents for an original bottle of Coca-Cola in the thick green bottle; the best tasting cola around in those days. In the Summer, my local playground had a playground instructor on hand. Made crafts and played games. The ice cream festivals in those days were the best and the best cakes could be had on the cakewalk. In the 50s, kids had access to a trampoline area near 13th and Allen streets. Unfortunately, it only lasted one season. Trick or treating in those days started out as 1 to 2 weeks! Can you imagine how annoyed and frustrated people grew hearing that dang doorbell ring almost non-stop? I did get lots of great candy, money and rotten fruit, Lol, I now sympathize with those people and they were good sports. Trick or Treat night eventually dwindled down to 3 days, then to one night only as it is today. I couldn't forget the 1976 "1776" 200 year anniversary parade! What a celebration that was. Lots of people and lots of fun! I still have an old cookie jar I bought from one of the souvenir stands. The Great Allentown Fair was a kid's paradise back in the 1950s. It may sound tawdry, but my friend and I couldn't wait to see why was waiting behind the sideshow tents. I really did pity the poor "freaks", and it was unfair to even call them that. I'm glad they did away with the sideshows because it's obviously cruel and inhumane, but we were just kids and we couldn't resist. We often walked out of the tent crying. A cruel lesson to learn about the realities of life and that life can be cruel for some. It also taught me to have pity for those less fortunate and to be grateful. One thing my friend and I did giggle at was the girlie show stage presentations to lure customers - mostly men - inside the tent. Whenever we passed by, we'd stare and then crack up laughing, all while we were stuffing our faces with cotton candy, and those rides - Wow. How I miss those days!
I miss the old Allentown

Allentown, PA

#6 Jan 21, 2013
Sorry I posted twice. My computer seems to be running slow this morning.
Lauren

Allentown, PA

#7 Jan 25, 2013
A big thank you to everyone who has posted thus far! I truly enjoy reading your responses, and I am very grateful for the input.
Keep the stories coming, Allentonians!
Anna

Allentown, PA

#8 Jan 29, 2013
I miss the old Allentown, as well. My upbringing was similar to the poster above.
What a neat English project. Best of luck!

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