Saturday June 23, 2012, Bolton Mansion, Levittown , PA
When I signed up to volunteer at the Levittown 60th Anniversary celebration, I envisioned a day of selling pretzels and water, and maybe seeing some familiar faces. Having lived in Levittown for most of my life, I was excited to play a part in a day focused on honoring its history. What I got, was a whole lot more.
By mid-afternoon, I was pulled from pretzel and water duty and assigned a seat as an interviewer for Levittown oral histories. As a writer, I appreciate the importance of people and their stories, and on this day I got to hear quite a few. I listened to stories of Levittown,and its beginning, direct from the people who were there.
I heard stories about young brides moving to Levittown, some not even old enough to sign the deed. Housewives who spent their days scrubbing black tile floors, impossible to keep clean, from the dirt of a brand new housing development. Husbands, who on return from second shift work, were challenged to find which house was theirs, on a street of identical new homes. Streets filled with loads of children, spending their days watching homes being built. It was a magical time for many young families, all living the American dream. Many of the people who reminisced about the early days of Levittown, and the house they bought in 1952, still occupy them today, 60 years later.
Local politicians with ties to the town, joined the celebration. Jim Cawley, Pennsylvania’s Lieutenant Governor, was on hand to share his Levittown story. Cawley, who was raised in the Appletree section, shared that he also spent some time living in the Bolton Mansion on Holly Hill Drive, as a caretaker of the property. Pennsylvania State Representative Tina Davis, though not a Levittown native, was there to celebrate with her constituents.
It was a day to honor the legacy that is Levittown. A day to be proud of being a part of this community that has stood the test of time. Only hours after the close of the celebration, conversations had already begun planning a Levittown’s 65th Anniversary celebration.