I’ve written over six months of posts on the theme of growing up in working class Youngstown. What started out as a few posts in answer to a question posed by a friend turned into a series because of the response of so many people from Youngstown who liked, shared, and commented on these posts. All this told me that there is something unique about growing up working class that many of us share. The memories of experiences shared evoked other memories and reflections on how these shaped our lives.
I can’t say I’ve had much of a “plan” for writing these except that I’ve written posts that follow the rhythm of the seasons intermingled with themes that either my wife suggests or that just come into my head or are prompted by a comment from someone else. I’m hoping to continue to do this through winter and spring — after that we’ll see. But I thought I would take a break and share in posts this and next week the sequence of posts I’ve written so far. This kind of puts them in one place, and hopefully is handy if you are just discovering this series. Given that many of you follow on Facebook in one of two Youngstown groups you might have missed some. So here are the first thirteen of those posts:
1. What’s Missing in the Diversity Discussion? This was the post that really inspired the series. I ended it by quoting a question I shared in a “get to know you exercise” where we could suggest questions people could ask us about ourselves. Mine was “what was it like growing up in working class Youngstown?” Someone reading this post asked me to write on this and that was the start.
2. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Part One was literally part one of maybe a two part response, until this thing took off.
3. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Food was the most viewed post I’ve had on my blog and reminded me of what I’ve always known–Youngstowners love to talk about food!
4. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Mill Creek Park. Mill Creek Park represented this space of beauty in an industrial landscape that everyone from Youngstown loves.
5. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Unions. Unions were an essential part of working and community life for working class people.
6. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Downtown. Remember when you dressed up to go downtown for Strouss’ malts as you wandered through the big department stores and other specialty shops of downtown Youngstown?
7. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Diaspora. With the closure of the mills, many left Youngstown. I write about the experience of diaspora, the longings of return. Had lots of comments in this post from those who would return to Youngstown in a minute if they could, and those who had.
8. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Diaspora Part Two. In the post I shared some of the comments from the last post and my own diaspora journey.
9. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — The Paper Route. For many of us our first work experience was delivering The Vindicator. Heard from lots of former paper boys and girls on this one!
10. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Youngstown State. Youngstown State was an affordable opportunity for many of us to live different lives from our parents.
11. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown –Home Ownership. “Pride of ownership” was a big value for many who were the first generation to own their own homes.
12. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Summer Memories. Just what it says–memories of swimming pools, Idora Park, baseball games, and vacations.
13. Growing Up in Working Class Youngstown — Wedgewood Pizza Columbus. The first of two pizza posts inspired by a visit to the only Wedgewood Pizza franchise in the Columbus area, in Grove City. Got to savor the sweet flavor of a Brier Hill pizza as only a true Youngstowner can make it.
I hope you enjoy this review, or discovering some of these posts for the first time.
What would you like to see a post on in the future?