Growing up Levittown New York...The Way it Was on Long island
I wondered how to write this post and figured I'd sit down and let it write itself. It's hard to describe my childhood or what it was like to grow up in the famous (or infamous) Town of Levittown, Long Island NY. It was, in a word Magical. And it was sad that none of us really realized we had the "perfect" childhoods.
Maybe I can't describe it....Maybe I can SHOW you!
I can't speak for everyone of course but I have met and reconnected with SO many friends from the "old days." We all agree we never realized just how lucky we were. When my father got out of the service, he wrote to Mr. Levitt himself. The homes only came in two styles, Ranches or Capes. The trees were tiny and Servicemen and their wives were moving out here in droves, mostly from Brooklyn or Queens.
Historic Jones Beach, Wantagh NY
They loved it here. They thought it a perfect place to raise children. My father was a traveling man and didn't want to set down "roots" (my brother was born in San Antonio, TX and my sister was born in Louisiana) but my mother refused to "waste" their money on rent. They bought a ranch home in Wantagh, NY, along the border to Levittown.
The Old Flower Farm, Circa 1961 Wantagh Long Island
Eisenhower Park....Former name is Salisbury Park. Across from the Lake is the Harry Chapin Theatre.
It was the days of stores being closed on Sundays and family getting together for dinner always followed by Poker :) Mostly, they loved to get together at our house. We didn't lock the doors because there was no reason to; our biggest thrills were The Levittown Pools, Carvel, Jolly Rogers/Nunley's and Cherrywood. The Circle M Diner was for Pizza burgers and there was no place like Zorns for chicken.
Jones Beach Concerts--The BEST concert Venue anywhere says any Long Islander :)
My dad would whistle for us (sometimes I swear I can still HEAR it!) and we never knew what treat was in store for us! Putt Putt, Carvel, The Movies or Chinese Food were just a few things we'd get called for. If friends were over, they came along. That's part of what Growing Up Levittown was.
We actually HAD a litte red School House in Levittown new York! My first school...
Hard to read but it's official....The School House is Historic (and so am I : )
My first school is still there, now preserved as an historical sight (ok, I'm old : ) In Junior High I made friends from ALL the elementary schools and had more fun then I'd ever imagined; it stayed that way all through High School at General Douglas Mac Arthur.
Levittown Long Island New York--General Douglas Mc Arthur High School; It looked like a prison back then (sometimes it still does!)
There were no fences put up back then. We didn't want "privacy" we wanted to play with our friends and run from house to house. ALL the mothers would watch us! Sand Hill Park was my childhood park until I got older-then it was Salisbury Park (now called Eisenhower Park).
In Memory of those children who lived, loved and laughed in our Community. Wantagh Long Island New York State Park.
Our Post Office! Thank goodness they preserved it.
And the old train station, now a museum.
I don't remember hearing once about MONEY issues, I just knew that when it was shoe time, my mother would only buy us Buster Browns (because they measured your feet so many different ways : ) Besides, I didn't want to walk around without that cute little dog inside my shoes.
Cherrywood Shopping Center, Wantagh Long Island New York Circa 1961. It had Buster Brown Shoes and Pizza was 15 cents!
No one said a word about Health Care. As a matter of fact, when I came down with Scarlet Fever, the doctor came to ME. I was the only one in my family born on Long Island in a hospital that has since been torn down (I always wonder if that means anything).
We saved our Green Stamps and only shopped at stores that had them. We were a family and we were a community. We all watched out for each other and we all helped each other.
Jones Beach was for picnics and "being VERY careful" by the water and if you're a Long Islander, I don't have to tell you there is no better concert venue then the one at Jones Beach. Period. There were concerts here all the time. At Roosevelt Raceway (which actually HAD been a raceway and then a giant flea market), at Nassau Coliseum (where I saw Led Zepplin in 1973 for a whopping $5.00) and at the Westbury Music Fair (where I just saw Huey Lewis and the News!).
There was no Road Rage, no Home Invasions, no gangs. There was fun, friends and a feeling of safety. Junior High and High School were a time of laughing more then studying, meeting at the "Candy Store" and later at the "Family Lounge." What a perfect time to be a child in such a wonderful community. We truly CARED about each other.
Facebook is covered with Long Island sites and if you read them, I'm not the only one with great memories of a time that doesn't exist anymore. We wouldn't DARE talk back to our parents although we could have anything we wanted---as long as WE bought it!
The name of my post comes from a group on Facebook. There is another group called A Little Bit of Long Island and so many more. I miss it; people have left and life somehow got complicated. But I couldn't have asked for a better childhood and I don't believe I would have had it if it wasn't in Levittown, Long Island.
The OLD St. Francis Church...before it burned down and they rebuilt it.
Pictures are from both Wantagh and Levittown as they bordered each other. It didn't matter because ALL of us ‘Grew up Levittown.'
*Carole Provenzale is a Certified Feng Shui Consultant serving all of Long Island, New York City, Brooklyn and Queens for Feng Shui/Design Consultations.