Sign of the Times

 

Long before Facebook wall posts and Twitter feeds, residents of Levittown relied on a weekly newspaper for their local news.

The following excerpt was found in The Levittown Times, circa 1952:
“We [The Levittown Times] have been requested by the Slater family of Levittown to inform new residents that the warranty card for the stove may be found in the broiler, under the chrome rack. Don’t accidentally burn it. It’s important.”
The Levittown Times–”Levittown’s Home Newspaper” was a great resource for residents of the new community. This local paper featured only stories concerning residents of Levittown. Anyone living in another community, would have found this paper of little interest.

Some popular features included an “Around Town”, filled with birth announcements and gossip, along with “For Women Only”, focused on the Levittown woman and her household duties.

Levittown Comfort is YOUR Levittown Times. This blog is designed to provide Levittowners with valuable information, from Levittowners. Unlike a weekly newspaper, this blog allows for immediate response. At Levittown Comfort, your stories and comments are encouraged and welcome.

 

These findings and more are shared by Dr. Chad Kimmel, the immediate past president of the Pennsylvania Sociological Society. His research interests include the Levittown Heritage Oral History Project, Traditions of Deviance Project, and the Pennsylvania Sociological Association Archival Project. To read more, click here :

http://www.pasocsociety.org/article4-kimmel.pdf

The Levittown Clothesline: Where Has it Gone?

In 1952, when Levittown was first built, I’m pretty sure every backyard had its own clothesline filled with laundry. Except on Sundays, when hanging wash was prohibited. In a 2012 Levittown , they are hard to find. In my neighborhood, I actually have two  neighbors who  hang their wash every day, their clean wash. I am not referring to the ones that like to air their dirty laundry that is a story for another day.

 

Clean wash, hung on the line on a warm summer day, is a lost art, I believe. But maybe for good reason. Once it was no longer in vogue to be a housewife, the dryer quickened the job and allowed women to get out the door and go to work. Lately, I have noticed a resurgence of housewives, who now prefer to be called Stay-at-home-moms. Whatever the case, for the many of us who are at home with our kids, I wonder, why we aren’t taking advantage of the clothesline.

Fresh smelling laundry warmed by the sun seems like a great idea. Not to mention, it would definitely cut a chunk out of our electric bill, for sure. (Allowing us more to spend on our heat wave fund)

I am no stranger to the clothes line, it was one of my chores as a child. It did take me a while to  grasp the concept of starting with the back row first and working my way forward, other than that I was a pro. I always wanted to live in the city, where they would string their lines between buildings. I imagined standing in your kitchen, hanging your clothes out the window, would be fun.

I want to know how many of my readers still hang their wash on the line. Leave your comment and chime in with your preference: dryer or clothesline.

I’d love to see a photo of your backyard Levittown clothesline, email  to comfortcurator@gmail.com

Just to be fair, I will accept pictures from dryer fans, too!

Levittown’s 60th Anniversary Celebration

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.