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If you could see what I see

October 14, 2011 - Kathleen Palumbo
While recently traveling the well-beaten path to downtown Youngstown I realized that although most people make the mindless drive seeing only blight and the grayness of inner city, I see so much more. Blinded by the memories of yesterday’s downtown, I wished everyone could see what I see.

Easing towards the downtown area, I see Handel’s. Not in Boardman, Austintown, nor any of the countless franchises now available. The original Handel’s…what was in my day, the one and only.

I see myself standing in line at the Uptown Theater. Visiting the Uptown was more than just seeing a was an event.

I see Mr. Wheeler’s Diner bustling to keep up with the lunchtime crowd, serving up some of the best burgers around.

I see East Earl Avenue as Dean Martin on the record player, Sunday spaghetti at three o’clock sharp, and drinks from those shiny metal glasses you can now find in the antique stores. Grandma and grandpa are gone; their house and neighborhood time-worn, but in my mind, it’s Sunday; Dean is crooning, dinner is ready, and the metal glasses are sweating with cold drinks.

I see the mezzanine at Strouss, where on endless occasions, a Strouss malt made an ordinary day seem somehow special.

I see the downtown Christmas tree. And although they still put one up, in the mind of a little girl that tree was mountainous and majestic in a time when everyone made the trip downtown to see the tree…every Christmas…every year.

So, next time you find yourself in the downtown area, if you grew up around Youngstown, look beyond the gray. Somehow, in viewing downtown through your memories, the gray fades, and the city is alive again and in living color.


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