Bit of Johnstown history ...


   I was born in Johnstown in 1954. We lived in Lower Yoder Township until 1961 when my father packed the car with six kids and a wife, loaded the U-haul, and off to Florida we went. (Ronald, Connie, Cathy, Bruce, Ricky, Kevin, Clifford, and Patti) We only moved because my mother had multiple sclerosis and the doctors suggested the warmer weather in Florida would be good for her.

   We lived on Nash Street just below my grandparents (Donald and Naomi Wisor, and Wadena) and across the street a little bit from my uncle, aunt, and their four girls. (Duane, Dorothy, Sharon, Pam, Debbie, and Barbara) On one of my few visits back I noticed a little place of woods that was next to the alley way behind our house. This was the place all the kids would go to play. We called it the fort. I was pleasantly surprised to see it was still there after thirty or so years.

   I have only been back to Johnstown twice in all these years and will be coming there for the third time again this summer during the week of July 4th. I can remember on cold winter days mom and dad would take the time to get all of us ready to go play in the snow and when we came back in, lovingly caring for us and getting us warm again. My father Ron Wisor was a volunteer fireman and policeman for the Lower Yoder township. He also worked at Bethlehem Steel. Some of my fondest memories are the parades we would attend and my dad was a clown with the fire department. They had a car called the Blitzbuggy that was unbelievable. They had it all fixed up pretty crazy and on the back the trunk was gone and replaced with a toilet. On the toilet was a man sitting there with his pants actually pulled down. (you couldn't get away with that today) I remember hanging out around the fire station just like many of the other kids in the neighborhood whose father was a fireman. We would often watch the water running down the creek behind the fire station just for something to do. Then there was always the fireman's picnics and the family reunions. These were always a lot of fun. My father was also in the Minstrel. Dressed in brightly colored clothes and having fun singing, dancing, and joking around.

   We would often go to a lake called Shawnee. This is where I suppose I learned to swim. There was also an occasional trip to Idewild Park, which I also was surprised to find out recently that it is still in business. We might just have to visit these places again while we are there this year.

   Then there was the ice cream man. This would be Mr. Softie. Nash street is very steep and he would not stop in front of our house. I remember many days when all the kids would stand out in front of the house and holler out -- MEANIE MISTER SOFTIE, MEANIE MISTER SOFTIE - and we would repeat it over and over just to have fun.

   What are we all doing now. Dad is retired. Mom passed away in June of 1977. Cathy lives in Florida and works at Disney World. Bruce lives in Florida and is a manager of a construction company. Kevin lives in Florida and is manager of a body shop. Clifford lives in NC and is a tour bus driver for Christian tours. Patti is a homemaker in Florida. Me, I am a Baptist minister and a senior computer analyst/programmer for Ethan Allen furniture in NC.

   I often wonder how life would be different had we stayed in Johnstown. I constantly check the internet for updates and things that are happening around Johnstown. Although I was only seven when we moved away, I can still remember the friends, relatives, and the places around a wonderful place called - JOHNSTOWN PA.

   There are so many more memories to talk about but don't wish to bore you with my silly childhood memories.

  Thanks for taking the time to read my little bit of Johnstown history.

Rick Wisor
Marion, NC

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