I was born in Johnstown Pennsylvania. The population in 1972 was 268,400 and it’s been decreasing ever since. My husband was born in Los Angeles California, population 7,065,000 in 1972 and growing ever since. His relatives worked as teachers, movie directors and owned restaurants. My relatives worked in the coal mines, steel mills, and farms. Needless to say our childhoods could not have been more different.
Our daughter, Ellie, is being raised in a world that resembles my husbands childhood more then mine. I love that she has the ocean, museums, amusement parks, but I’m sad that she can’t play in the front yard by herself. I’m sad that there are things that will never be her reality such as walking to the Valley Dairy with her cousins for an ice cream cone. Or staying up late with cousins telling scary stories.
Especially now that my Grandparents are getting older we try and come back to Johnstown Pennsylvania at least once a year.
I hope that as she gets older she’ll remember and appreciate this time as well. I hope that she’ll remember how much her Great Grandparents loved her and spoiled her with attention. I hope that even when the day comes that we don’t come back here anymore she’ll remember how beautiful this part on Pennsylvania is. I hope that the day will come that she’ll want to bring her children here to point out where her Mommy was born, where her great grandmother lived, or where her great great great grandfather once worked. Even though Ellie was born in Encinitas California, I want her to feel a connection to Pennsylvania.
This trip we took Ellie to place I loved as a child, Storybook Forest. It was smaller than I remember, but other than that, nothing had changed.