February 11, 2013

Levittown absorbs you and keeps you in its grasp

A LONG-GONE EARLY LEVITTOWNER MISSES EVERYTHING ABOUT HER OLD HOME TOWN


1951 photo: Lillian Smith in front of her 17 Brook Lane home.



Levittown absorbs you and keeps you in its grasp forever.

By LILLIAN SMITH 
Class of 1962

It's been 48 years since I've lived on Long Island and yet it remains the most pervasive memory of my past. There is something so special about the Island for me--particularly Levittown, a town that absorbs you and keeps you in its grasp forever.

When you return for even a short while, it's like no time has elapsed at all--as if the life you lived back then was an alternate life. Perhaps everyone has that same nostalgia for the place where they grew up, and maybe that eerie suspension of time is just a universal longing to return to an era where everything seemed safe and possibilities were endless.

I remember Levittown now, more in the abstract than in the opaque reality of movie theaters, beaches and childhood friends. Although all of those things comprise the water-colored memories of the way we were (to borrow the corny lyrics of a Barbra Streisand song), I see Levittown more as a painting where the colors merge into the image of my past as a whole. And I miss everything about it.
_____

Lillian Smith Handleman is a 1962 graduate of Division Avenue High School and a long-time resident of Connecticut. She has been a frequent contributor to our blog.

4 comments:

Tim said...

I really enjoyed reading your reminiscence of Levittown.

"Although all of those things comprise the water-colored memories of the way we were (to borrow the corny lyrics of a Barbra Streisand song), I see Levittown more as a painting where the colors merge into the image of my past as a whole."

The lyric may be corny, but very evocative. As a personal aside, I see Levittown in the medium of a Paradise Pencils piece, working in the shade of my friends porch on a summer day.

I wish I knew then, what I know now...

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