New Florence, PA
I grew up in a tree-filled valley
and New Florence, “down street,”
was about a mile down Shannon Creek Road
and over Town Hill. Population 1,000.
Most of the houses were white
with “New Florence green” porches.
There were a few basic churches
and two gas stations.
The Dairy Nook where
we kids sat in the booth and left spoons
balanced on the edges of hot chocolate cups.
Or we’d go to the drugstore where
we liked to sit at the only booth
and order ice cream for fifteen cents.
The table underside was dotted with gum.
Deranaldo’s where you could actually buy clothes.
The bank with the drinking fountain in front
where the do-nothings hung out.
A small grocery store called “Pecks”
where old guys and some young
played pinball and drank coffee.
Across the street, Trimble’s,
another grocery store with a wooden floor.
The post office had a bulletin board
to post the town going-ons.
It was usually empty.
Kavinaughs, a little hardware store,
where they also sold vegetables out front.
Down past the “subway”
which was really an underpass
for the train tracks on top,
a feed mill sat so long
it looked like the wind would blow it over.
Kenneth’s Funeral Home and the library.
Two brick schools--an old red one where my Dad had attended
before my Grandpa sent him out to the country school
because the town teacher had it out
for the rascally red-haired boy.
The newer yellow one was where I went.
New Florence doesn’t look like that anymore.
They say they even have an Arby’s and a Dollar Store.
The fountain still works but no one stands there.
The Drugstore, Deranaldo’s, Dairy Nook, Peck’s,
Trimble’s, the gas stations, the schools, they’re all gone.
Most of the houses are still white
with New Florence green porches.