Meadville Tribune

Opinion

July 1, 2014

Remembering yesteryear: You might have grown up in Meadville if ...

Growing up in Meadville in the late 1960s/early 1970s was a unique experience. We rode bikes without helmets, drank out of hoses and spent the summer outside.

I attended East End Elementary School and had the same second grade teacher my mom did. My first job was as the Tribune carrier for Talon Plant 5. My dad was a toolmaker before Meadville was Tool City USA.

Every neighborhood had its own grocery store and in ours my grandma owned it before selling it to my dad. I started feeling nostalgic especially when I went to lunch at the Pizza Villa last week.

I was transported back to seventh grade, because the place looked exactly the same as it did in 1973, except the juke box was gone and the little pizza dude was missing.

While a lot of the buildings are gone, I still have a lot of memories and thought I might share some stories of yesteryear. I call it “You might have grown up in Meadville if ...”:

- You could hardly wait for the “Pink Sheets” to come in the Tribune every Saturday. Cable television meant you got three really clear networks. Channel 13 and Channel 10 out of Canada came in sometimes.

- You could get almost anywhere in town for under a buck in a Lafayette Taxi.

- When you got your gas pumped at the Arco, if you spent more than $10 you got an 8-by-10 of one of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

- Saturdays were spent at the matinee in the Academy Theatre. The Park Avenue theaters were called the Bantam Theaters when they first opened.

- You bought a candy bar, pop and a comic book at Gabby Ave., Rice’s or Hunters News.

- You got Lobue’s sausage on Water Street made by Babe himself.

- Every church in town sponsored a Boy Scout troop. Your scouting supplies were on the second floor of Printz’s.

- Your Little League team was sponsored by Lou Davies Pontiac, Jim Taylor Datsun or Weber Harris Ford.

- It wasn’t Christmas until you went and saw the mechanical Santa Claus in Murphy’s window.

- Friday grocery shopping was at the Super Duper in the Park Avenue Plaza. If you were lucky, you could then go peruse the toy department at Mason’s Department Store.

- Your first hamburger made outside of the house may have came from the Red Barn, Johnny’s Drive-in or on the grill at Murphy’s lunch counter. Fine dining was at Ricci’s, and that wasn’t very often.

- During the summer, you may have felt rich when you had a dime in your pocket for milk on your way to Huidekoper or Shadyside Park for an afternoon of recreation. Remember the Mr. Softee truck going through the neighborhoods?

- Your milk was delivered at home by Johnny Gleason from Klover Knoll Farms. Prescriptions from Jack’s Pharmacy and Dr. Hibbard both came to the house when someone was ill.

- When someone was sick, you had a choice of going either to Meadville City or Spencer Hospitals. To this day I still think the best milkshake I’ve ever drank came from the snack bar at City Hospital.

Progress is a constant thing. All the places I’ve talked about are gone or changed. I know older readers will look at this and say they remember this or you forgot that.

My real hope is a younger reader will read this and start taking note of the Meadville of today and 40 years from now and write a column about 2014 Meadville.

That’s how I get to be immortal.

Earl Corp is a reporter with The Meadville Tribune. He can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at ecorp@meadvilletribune.com.

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