Remember When: You Realized What Being From Bloomsburg Meant

Monument

MonumentThis week, I’d like to try something a little different in this column. Rather than focus on a particular topic, I want to find out what everybody’s memories are of first being made to understand that not every town looks like, thinks like, eats like, or maybe just sounds like Bloomsburg.

For example:

I remember my first trip to New York City. It was by bus and we entered the Lincoln Tunnel, which you approach via an off-ramp that spirals into it from above, affording you an almost 360-degree view before bringing you down to the toll booths. As the bus was making that turn, I could see a large parking structure and I realized – there were probably more cars in that garage than there were people in my hometown!

And aside from the obvious differences in size, height, and population between Bloomsburg and New York, while I was a freshman in college there, I remember rushing to get to the bank one Wednesday and a friend asking me what the hurry was. I told her it’s because banks close early on Wednesdays and she said “No they don’t. Why would they do that?” And then I realized; that’s a Bloomsburg thing! By the way – does anyone know why that happens? I think I’ve always assumed that it had to do with the farmer’s market (which used to be a much bigger deal and many businesses on Main Street would close early because of it) but I’m not sure if that’s really the case.

So how about it? What were your personal discoveries about the differences between Bloomsburg and any place else? Share your memories in the comments section below.

2 thoughts on “Remember When: You Realized What Being From Bloomsburg Meant”

  1. In years past, stores on Main Street remained open Saturdays until 9 p.m. Then the late shopping night was changed to Fridays. People received weekly pay checks at the end of the week, and did their shopping. No malls. The Wednesday afternoon closing gave shop owners and the banks a mid week break. On Sundays, all businesses were closed. During holiday shopping, stores were open several nights until 9 p.m., following Thanksgiving and the arrival of Santa with the annual parade.

  2. Both of my parents grew up during the Great Depression. Mom was just about to turn 20 when I was born. Dad, recently home from the Navy was a plumber’s helper earning $40 a week. Every now and again when we were at home alone Mom would mention a man named Leroy, and if she had married Leroy we’d be rich. Leroy was an old friend from back home up the river who she’d met in high school. He’d played trumpet in a band and when the opportunity arose he escaped the anthracite regions for warm and sunny Arizona where he built up a very successful aircraft related industry.

    So, I’d often find myself fantasizing about what it might be like growing up rich in Arizona instead of standing here on Main Street in front of Woolworth’s or the Western Auto looking through the window at all the toys I couldn’t afford. But each time the fantasy would, invariably, take a downturn as I would begin to wonder who I would be if I wasn’t me. My father would not have been my father, and I would have never lived in Bloomsburg at all. I would be an entirely different person! Also, the school friends, family, the life I knew would have never happened.

    Still, that childhood fantasy of growing up rich in Arizona remained with me over the years, like haunting scenes from an old TV show or movie.

    35 or so years later, around 1990, just a few years after opening this printing business, at our old shop along the freeway just north of Houston, our new friend and neighbor in the shopping center, owner of the insurance agency next door, came over and asked if we could make a name plaque for a young lady who worked for him. Elaine had just divorced and was wanting to go back to her maiden name. He called Elaine over to make sure he had her last name correct.

    She wanted the plaque to read Elaine Lenudi. “Lenudi? Wow!”, I said, “Now there’s a name I’ve only ever run into once in my lifetime. But that was a million years ago, back in a place called Pennsylvania, I mean Wilkes Barre, well Nanticoke, no Sheatown. If my mother would have married Leroy Lenudi I’d have grown up rich in Arizona. Leroy was an old boyfriend who played trumpet in a band and went to Arizona and became rich. I never met Leroy but I often wondered what that life would have been like.”

    As I was coming down from my memory I noticed that Elaine was standing there with her mouth open, the expression on her face showing utter disbelief. She said, “Do you have ESP? You’re talking about my Uncle Leroy! I grew up in Wilkes Barre!”

    I said, “Well, Hi cousin. Nice to meet you.” Elaine replied, “My Dad’s in town. I’ll bring him by tomorrow and you can meet your uncle too.”

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