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After writing about the Christmas fire, I woke up this morning thinking about the time we lived on Moyallen Street in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. It was from the fall of 1956 to the spring of 1959. I had gone to Dorne Elementary School for a very short time before transferring to Dodson. I was six when we moved there and almost nine when we moved to Dodson Lane by the Parrish Street Pool. In those days kids that age were all over the streets. There was far less traffic and there weren’t crazies on the street to do a kid harm.
We lived on the block of Moyallen Street between Grove and High Streets. We were in the height of the baby boom so there were plenty of kids on the block. It’s funny how you remember some kids very well and others hardly at all. As the street drops down toward High, the Hoyt family lived on the right about half way down the hill. Ivan lived there; I think I went over his house once. Moving back toward Grove, at the top of the hill, there were two houses on either side of the street. On the right side was the home of Tony and Billy Sukaldolski, (please forgive the spelling) and on the left side was the Suda family. David was about my brother’s age and he had an older brother. We were next moving toward Grove Street.
We were on the left if you were facing High. Next to us were the Stivers. Al was older and his younger brother Manuel was Tony’s age. Their father called Manuel, Hot Rod and so we all did. Their father was loud and boisterous. He seemed to be a good enough guy, but he scared me a bit; not because he did anything, just because he was loud. He had a jigsaw and I remember he made Hot Rod a cool gun out of wood.
On the corner with Grove there were two houses that had storefronts. They were two little stores that had gone out of business years before. The Millers lived on the left side and the Spades on the right. I hung out with Craig Miller for a time and with Bobby Spade for a time. Their storefronts were perfect playrooms and I spent a lot of time in both of them. Craig and I did a lot of running around and he had a great model train set up in his storefront. Craig had a great imagination and he was very smart. Bobby was the youngest of four kids, if I remember right. I believe he had an older brother and two older sisters. I heard my first rock and roll tune when I was five, but I started hearing them on a regular basis from Bobby’s older sisters. I distinctly remember hearing “Teen Angel” for the first time there.
It was from Moyallen Street that I first walked to the Hart Theater with my brother and some others to see the twenty color cartoons at the Saturday matinee. I believe it cost fifteen cents to get in. I remember getting to Bank Street and seeing that great stone wall and the stone steps down to Hazel. We walked along the wall pretending it was the great wall of a castle.
I went to first, second and third grade from Moyallen Street. I remember Dodson in those days. If you went in to the school from Jones Street and went to the first floor and turned right, on the right side was my second grade class, Miss Reilly, I mentioned yesterday that I thought she was nice. Next her class was my first grade class with Mrs. Singer. Mrs. Singer was the wife of a minister and a good teacher. If you looked down the hall there is a crossing hall and the door facing you on that hall was my third grade class. That was Miss Arnold’s room, I remember her as being a bit sterner.
Across from Mrs. Singer’s class was the boy’s bathroom. It was there that I saw my first limerick. I must have been in third grade when was able to read it. It read, “No matter how you dance and prance, the last few drops land in your pants.” That was one of the truest statements I have ever read.
I’m running on here. It looks like this will have to be a two part post. I haven’t talked about things we did in the neighborhood. To be continued.