February 13, 2013

Backyard adventure of a Levittown five-year old

Class of 1968

In 1955 most of the homes on Carnation Road in Levittown had backyard fences made from cyclone fencing, white pickets or logs. They were always between three and four feet high, making it easy to converse over them with the neighbors on either side and behind.

One summer day I was playing in our backyard when I heard a dog yelping in pain. I stood on the lower rung of our log fence and saw the neighbor diagonally behind us beating a puppy as she dangled it from its collar. I was five-years old and my sense of outrage was enormous. I yelled out “You put that dog down you mean lady.” She stopped, and in a shocked voice asked me, “WHAT did you say?!’’ I repeated myself and added, “You’re mean and when you die I’m not sending you an “I'm Sorry card.”

She dropped the puppy and began to run toward the corner where the fences of four backyards met, and straight for me. I took off and blew into the kitchen of our Cape Cod where I literally hid behind my mother’s skirt as she was stirring something on the stove. The neighbor entered our kitchen without knocking about five seconds later.

The neighbor was livid about my behavior and the puppy’s who had chewed her brand new couch- something that you had to save up and pay for in cash in those days. My mother understood her plight, but defended my sense of injustice. The puppy found a new home and although I wasn’t reprimanded, my mother told me to get an adult to intervene in the future.

From Jim Urban, class of 1961

Frank, welcome back. These are some of the things I have noticed about your blog through the years: 1. The writing is, generally, excellent. 2. There are very few spelling or grammatical errors in the posts. 3. There are very few posters who have a negative remembrance of growing up in Levittown; almost all remember their childhood with exceptional fondness. I'm not certain that this is common. 4. There is an unusual commonality evident in the memories of those of us who grew up in Levittown. How can it be that such a diverse group of people, from such diverse backgrounds, socio-economic strata, religions, goals and experiences, all feel similarly about their childhood years? Must have been a very special place indeed.


Howard Whidden '62 said...

Well said, Jim.

Marilyn Monsrud Frese '63 said...

This is a response to Leslie Sands Bells comment!! (there was no comment link on Leslies story) I hope that neighbor died a painful and slow death at an early age and is burning in HELL!!! And that you Leslie will be granted your next life in doggie heaven. You have no idea how animal abuse gets my blood boiling!! Even though that happened a half century ago, I still feel the pain just hearing that old story. BE KIND TO ANIMALS OR BURN IN HELL!!

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