February 23, 2011
For Carol Ackley, it was fun, fun and more fun being a girl in 1950s Levittown; lots of kids to play with and the memories linger
Carol Ackley's 1960 yearbook photo and at the 50th class reunion in 2010
By Carol Ackley '60
It was fun being a girl in 1950s Levittown. There were lots of kids to play with and the warm memories linger.
I came to Levittown in February 1950 to 47 Blacksmith Road, the last part of Levittown, because my back yard was the Hicksville line. I moved there from Pittsburgh where I was born.
The move was full of excitement, because we were coming to live with my father in our new home. I had lived with my grandmother, aunt and two cousins, and my mother during the war and beyond because my father was already in the Army when the war broke out. My father had been living in New York since 1947 and now finally we were all going to be together.
Dad borrowed a car, we didn't have one until 1953, from our next door neighbors to pick us up at LaGuardia and bring us (my mother, grandmother, baby sister and me) to our new home. My father got lost and we drove all over the Long Island until we finally reached our destination. We were greeted by our neighbors, the Oswalds.
I loved Levittown. There were so many girls (Carol Kosiewska, Beverly Corbin, Karen Balos, Sandy Gay, Penny Irwin, Janet Hellings, Patty Oswald and myself) in our area and we were all good friends and played all different games, from hopscotch to punch ball, kickball, ringaround the world, dolls and so forth. We had a great time!
Patty went to Wisdom Lane School, but I couldn't because it was full so I was bussed to Abbey Lane. First, the bus went to Wisdom Lane then the Little School House on Old Jerusalem Avenue and then to Abbey Lane and the reverse trip home. I went there two years, first with Mrs. Miller (who became principal) then with Mr. Karpman, my first man teacher, in third grade.
Finally, Northside School was finished and I went there through sixth grade. Some of the teachers I remember include Mr. Hollowell (what a handsome man), Mr. Lynch, I loved his sense of humor and he made learning fun, and finally Mr. Maloney, who had a band and used to play quite a bit at our dances that we had at Division Avenue High School.
Going to Northside was really exciting because we were no longer bussed. We rode our bikes, roller skated or walked in this giant cloud of friends and collected more as we eventually arrived at school. What fun.
We arrived at Division Avenue School in 1954 (it was not yet a high school) a little nervous. After all, we were the first kids out of Northside, a little cocky, because we were the oldest in that school, and into a school with older kids since there was an eighth grade.
It was exciting that we moved to different classes and got to meet new people. I loved being with different friends, although some moved away including Peggy McNeill, Maryann D'Agostino, and my boyfriend in eighth grade, Howie Haggerty. He really made me laugh. Patty Oswald was now going to Catholic school. A whole gang of us would go to the movies, or to the roller skating rink. What fun.
Does anyone remember going to the roller rink in Mineola? We used to go there before the one on Hempstead Turnpike near Jahn's in East Meadow was built. We would be real daring and jump over the third rail because the tracks were right next to the skating rink in Mineola.
In high school, I would much rather have fun than do a lot of learning so I paid for that by spending every summer going to summer school at Levittown Memorial High School and working. One summer I was working in Woolworth's, and the store was trying to get rid of hoola hoops, so I volunteered to sell them in front of the store. Needless to say, I saw just about everyone from school that day, and I could not make the hoop spin. Frank Barning and Russ Green thought that was the funniest thing.
I used to hang around with Sandy Adams and Linda Kenley. I remember sitting in science lab between John Koehler and Mal Karman. Mal was always telling off-color jokes, I would poke him in the ribs, and then go tell the jokes to the girls at lunch.
I dated a fellow from my church all through high school. He was from Hicksville. In senior year, I started to hang around with Joan Allibone and we still keep in touch today. It was great seeing her at the 50th reunion this month. She introduced me to my late husband, John, who I married in l961, have two children, Jack an architect on Long Island and Ellen. I have five grandchildren and am a great grandmother.
For 16 years, I was a stay-at-home mom most of the time, worked in the schools for a little while, then stopped. Later after the kids were in college I worked for Weight Watchers for 15 years and retired and now live in Kings Park.