Here are ten things (actually places) I think you should know about. Places that I think show you why it was so cool to grow up on South Side Easton.
These are in order of my favorites but please feel free to comment below and add your own or indicate any of your own favorites that I may have missed. (I know one of them being the pretzel factory that for the life of me I regrettably do not remember having patronized).
Sadly, if you were one of the unfortunate souls who didn’t grow up on South Side, please tell me about your favorite places growing up.
10. Lackenor Heights. I know I probably spelled it wrong but that shouldn’t diminish how cool this park was. Huge swing sets, lots of basketball courts and a large field I’d spend many days at playing softball or tackle football.
09. Laundromat. Long before we could afford a thing called a dryer my Mom and Grandmother used to drag the kids here. This was the place to go to dry the wash if inclement weather prohibited the use of hanging it on the clothes line in the yard.
I loved putting dimes in the machine and twisting the knobs or playing video games while the clothes dried. Also a good time to head over to Food Lane and peruse the toy aisle knowing full well that whatever toy I wanted Mom would never buy.
08. St Mary’s Carnival. Held religiously (of course) every summer. The fair consisted of the usual spinning wheel games and bingo. To me, the games of skill paled in comparison to the way the little old ladies made fried dough. The ultimate comfort food for a pre pubescent boy on a hot summer night.
07. Porter Elementary School. I spent the first five years of my schooling here. Still recall the big 1876 numbers that adorned one of the eaves indicating the year it first opened it’s doors. The school was closed in 1979 and torn down shortly there after.
06. Food Lane. Can’t say enough about this place. This was where my first bowl of Count Chocula came from and will always hold a special place in my heart. Aside from actual food there was a toy aisle as well that I always made a bee line to on every visit.
05. Huck’s: Located right across the street from the Delaware Terrace, a housing development for low income families. Huck not only made a decent cheese steak but he was rumored to have Mob connections. He had a big black German Shepard dog that used to sit outside and watch patrons come and go. I loved his home made fries. Of course, I now wish he would have used a proper fry scoop instead of a make shift one he made out of a liquid bleach bottle.
04. Pino’s Pizza. Located in the same shopping center right next to Food Lane, this is actually the only food establishment still open to this day. So many wonderful memories of slices and companionship here. I don’t care if it is under new ownership. The name remains and the pizza is still killer.
03. Brother Bright’s Soul Food Store. Located two blocks from my house, this was the place to go in the early 80’s as I was bussed to Palmer and the Easton Middle Schools. Brother Bright and his wife were two of the nicest people you’d ever want to meet.
02. Lucy’s Store. A staple of Easton. THE place to visit before and after Porter school days. I used to love going there and getting penny candy. Mr. Lucy always knew to fill my little brown paper bag with more red fish and purple raspberries than Tootsie rolls. My man knew how to hook a brother up.
Although I’m sure he served his candy to many a generation in his time, I’d give anything to have had the chance to have him fill a bag for my daughter too before he passed.
01. Barney’s Lunch. The sign as you approached said it all. It read “We Serve The Best Steak Sandwiches in Town” and was dead on. Barney’s was the ultimate destination. At night, the red neon light was lit up and you knew if you were a hungry traveler the welcome mat was always opened.
Where else could you get the ultimate cheese steak, a bottle of Pepsi and the chance to rap with Barney himself? Or, if he was busy filling orders, you could always sit at a table or play Space Invaders or Vanguard.
And when Barney was blaring Foreigner Four on the jukebox, man you knew you were in the right place. Nothing compared to tearing into a Barney’s cheese steak while jamming to “Waiting for A Girl Like You” with your buddies.
It was the 80’s and it was wonderful.