Back to Hazel Street

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Back to Hazle Street, I was talking about my mishaps as a young boy.  We had an old wringer washer.  It had to be filled with boiling hot water through a hose.  I think I was about four.  I was watching it fill up and the hose flipped up somehow.  The water got me across my shoulders.  It was amazing that it missed my face.  I had second degree burns on both shoulders.  The blisters rose up immediately.  My mother was freaking out, of course I was screaming. My father carried me over to old Dr. Grove across the street and from there to the hospital.  The bandages made me look like I had on shoulder pads.

When I was five we were playing this game on the back porch of the apartment building.  It was actually just a concrete slab behind the building.  We had this old sheet.  We would put it over a kid’s head and shake him or her around.  If the kid could stand he or she was superman or woman.  Well I wasn’t superman. I fell and broke my arm.  I did have a cool cast to draw on.

I wasn’t the only one to visit Dr. Grove.  One of the scariest things I saw as a little kid was when the old heavy iron fell off the ironing board and landed on my little brother’s little finger.  My mother picked him up; his finger was almost completely severed.  She ran across the street with Tony and me in tow.  They were able to save his finger.

 

Wayside

 

I thought I should describe the neighborhood of that time.  Those of you that live in Wilkes-Barre can compare it to what it looks like now.  I know it is quite different because I do return home regularly.  As I said, we lived across from the Salvation Army.  That building is on the High Street corner.  The next building, going up the hill toward Stanton Street, was where Dr. Grove had his office.  Our apartment was above Sam Jane’s Grocery store.  Up the hill from there was the Wayside Mission.  Yep, this wasn’t the swanky part of town.  I remember that bright white cross gleaming in the night.  Down Hazel Street, it ended at the intersection with Ross Street and Main Street.  That’s right; it didn’t connect to Academy Street like it does today.  Ross Street and Hazel met at an angle and a triangular building stood at the corner.  I knew it as the Flat Iron Building.  I didn’t know if that was its real name.  Along Hazel and that end were the factory buildings that I knew as The Hazard.

There were plenty of kids in the neighborhood and, even at five and six; we were running all over the place.  There were a couple of African/American families next door.  There were a bunch of kids but I can only remember the nicknames of the two boys.  The one closest to our age was called Scoochie and his older brother was called Beaver.  When I went to Dorne School for that short time, I remember Beaver used to carry me around the schoolyard on his shoulders.  Kenny Coopy lived on Metcalf Street and the side of his house faced the open area behind the apartments.  We all played in the dirt patch behind the apartments.  There was also I kid that lived on Metcalf Street that had the great name of Jimmy Cool.  Wouldn’t you love to have that name in the fifties?

I remember walking with some of the kids to a bakery.  I’m pretty sure we walked down the tracks a ways, but I might be wrong about that.  The bakery had day old stuff that they sold for pennies.

I had my first crush there on Hazel Street.  A little girl named Theresa Madaya.  Again it is a guess on the spelling, if you read this Theresa and I’ve murdered your name, please forgive me.  She lived on Columbus Street, though I swore in those days they called it Columbus Ave.  I would just get all goofy when I saw her.  I remember a neighbor kidding me by telling my mother that Terry, as she was called, wouldn’t have to change her name much if we got married.

I guess that’s it.  I have covered the years from 1954 through the flood of 1972 with my memories.  It’s time to hear from you.  What did you do when you were a kid?  What was your street like?  Who were your friends?  Come on, start typing.

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About

Pete is a retired software developer, a writer, and a martial arts instructor. He lives in Maryland with his wife Cathy and they are enjoying their retirement. Pete is the author of four novels, "The Teacher", 500 Years from Home", and "The Long Journey Home" are available at Lulu.com; and "Pioneers" in available at the Kindle Book Store.

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Posted in Growing Up, Memories, Wilkes-Barre

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