My husband and I have now lived in Michigan for the past 22 years, but we will always consider Johnstown our home. Your website got us talking about what we remember most about being raised in Johnstown (Minersville, Cambria City and Moxham). There are so many wonderful, fond memories of now absent family and friends, growing up beneath the hillside, within the shadow of the mills.
We remember how our senses were assaulted as we entered the downtown stores. Who can forget the sounds of candy being weighed upon entering Glossers, Woolworths or Grants. Of how our noses were assailed by the delicious smell of buttery popcorn and roasting nuts, or the smell of pipe tobacco as one waited inside the smoke shop at Glossers for the traction company bus to take us home in the winter. I can still see the colored fountain drinks circulating at the 5 and 10 cent stores while watching our cheeseburgers frying on the grill.
How many remember the elevator man, dressed in his red uniform, who opened and closed the elevator doors at Glossers. The painting of their store windows featured prominently too as we attended high school (I went to BMHS, class of 1974, and my husband attended JHS, class of 1975), as did those Friday night high school games at the Point.
Who can forget the animated figures in PT's windows at Christmas, or the large outdoor clock that hung on the brick wall bordering the parking lot behind Glossers? How about our own version of the "Eternal flame" that was always visible from the Point on the top of a Bethlehem Steel smokestack!
Sad to say, many of my fondest remembrances revolve around people and places that are now gone, except in my memories. I will always remember the gorgeous ice cream/candy store named Elites. My grandfather used to take me there for hot fudge sundaes. And yes, going to Alwines was a regular Sunday event (I liked their Whitehouse ice cream the best). I also loved the old library. It was such a great old building to explore, and I could always find a nook to read in. My girl friends and I would eat at TOPS diner afterwards. We attended the grand movie theatres, The State and the Embassy, every chance we could. Who could have imagined that a steel town, founded by eastern European immigrants, would have had two grand, opulent movie houses, but we did. Today, my children cannot even imagine a theatre that has velvet curtains, and an usher dressed in epaulettes, carrying a flashlight. And a balcony, no theatres have them, but we had 2. And last but certainly not least, who can forget all the great summer afternoons spend at either Fun City (Ideal Park) or Bethco Pines.
For those of you who still live in Johnstown, I envy you, and ask you to love, protect, and preserve the buildings and attitudes which make Johnstown such a wonderful place to grow up. Nobody knows more than I the priceless and value of those intrinsic qualities which make it so loved and memorable.
Ann Rees Rozsi