South Main, corner of Oak, Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, 1940s, a little before my time.
Sippi remembers and yearns for the old and vanished America of yore.
I want to say hello to my neighbors. I want to send my children to school on a bus with their brethren to read of George Washington and Abe Lincoln. I want them to eat peanut butter sandwiches from a paper sack with waxy boxes of whole milk to wash it down.
I want to watch the news and not think it’s an assault on my worldview. I want to watch the news and not think it’s an assault on the worldview of people with whom I disagree.
I want to read a newspaper. I want to listen to the radio. …
I want to sit on naugahyde. I want someone to smoke. ../ I want people to make music right there in front of me. I want everybody to know the words.
I want everyone to dress as well as they can for a social occasion and still be dressed badly. I want to see dress shoes and white socks. …
I want the ballgame to be on TV. I want the TV to be on a shelf over a bar.
I want to go to church on Sunday. I want to go to a bar on Friday night. I want to go dancing with my wife of many years on Saturday. I want to be buried in the same suit I was married in.
I want to see a movie again at the Strand (burned down in the mid-1960s). I want to go to a wedding at St. George’s Lithuanian Roman Catholic Church (torn down by the Diocese of Allentown, 2010). I want to feel the dance floor in St. Stephen’s Hall bouncing from the people dancing. I want to walk up Center Street and see our town’s only skyscraper, the ten-story Steif’s Drugstore Building.
I want to step into the lobby of the Hotel Shenandoah, get a shoeshine, and purchase a carnation for a boutonniere. I want to buy a bag of peanuts and feed the parrot at Dominic Fersulo’s newstand along the north side of the Burke Building. I want to buy bagels Sunday morning at Harris’ Bakery on West Coal Street.
I want to go in and shoot a game of 8-ball in the Modern or the Majestic. I want to buy a beer at Matt Supreme’s.I want to drive deer on Opening Day with the gang from the Brandonville Fire House. I want to feed the trout in the hatchery at the Pumping Station.
I want to listen to my grandfather and the other old greenhorns argue politics, switching back and forth from Lithuanian to Polish to Russian, while playing pinochle up in Girard Park. I want to argue with my uncle Red. I want to help Adam Schadt make moonshine over in Locust Valley. I want to take long drives in my father’s Chevrolet through the Ringtown Valley and Zion’s Grove with 1950s Rock playing on the radio.
Hat tip to Vanderleun.