I grew up in Pennsylvania. My father was a long-haul truck-driver when I was little and we moved almost yearly. So I was very very familiar with North East and North Central and East and East Central PA. People ask where I'm from, I tell em, the North Eastern Quadrant of PA. I figure that covers most of my childhood.
I remember events and such by where I lived at the time. That
clues me in to my age and grade and gives me a year to cite.
Sometimes, people will remark on my memory. It's mostly little
tricks like that. No real big mystery.
To finish my childhood years, we moved back into the house my
grandmother last owned. The house was an old home. It went
through alot throughout the years.
The town was the town my mother lived in as a young girl.
Catawissa was a small town, but I was a country girl, growing up in the
boondocks. So any town would have seemed odd to me. It was
constraining to have to be constantly aware of other households and not
to roam about at will.
The town was bordered by water, in every direction. There were
seven roads in/out of town, each one crossed a bridge. Some of
the bridges were major, iron affairs, the grating whistling to a higher
pitch the faster you drove. Others were small covered bridges,
the wooden planking rumbling as you bumped along the treads.
Railroad bridges with wide, sturdy concrete pylons squatted over
Fishing Creek. One-lane, short, flat concrete spans skipped over
small creeks that had no discernable names.
Catawissa's main waterway was the Susquehanna River. The northern
and western branches joined just 20 or 25 miles south. Wide and
shallow in most areas, with the occassional deeper hole or pocket
carved into the roots, under the banks, the Susquehanna burbled merrily
over rocks or swept at a steady slow pace, providing varied grounds for
fishing for all skill groups and ages.
Kids and teens would swim in favored spots. The most popular was
the Dam, on the eastern edge of town. The town officials closed
access off years back, but time was, it was a fine way to spend the
I have many memories of the Susquehanna. A long river with two
branches, it seemes to meander through my life. It made marks
even before my time, that carried through into my childhood. I
grew up hearing and knowing the power of the Susquehanna.
In 1972, Hurricane Anges blew through, flooding homes, roads, fields,
and street. Dried up canals filled with rushing waters. The
devastation was truly amazing. I was a baby, but my folks were
visiting my grandmother (in the house in which I would later
live). The house sat on a hill that was on a larger slope.
We were just about at the top of the mountain, well out of the
valley. Yet the flood waters left muck along the porch and silt
in the cellar.
Now, my brother lives in that area. The lower portion of town is
flooded. The river hasn't crested yet. There is nothing but
rain in the forecast. They predict it will be worse than Agnes of
This 20 yr flood has been in the making for close to 35 yrs. High
water, my friends, is hell. My thoughts are with you.