|The house I grew up in - my parents bought it in 1949 for $8,500|
All three schools I attended in Johnson City NY - Theodore Roosevelt elementary, C Fred Johnson junior high, and JCHS on Main Street - long ago ceased to function as educational institutions. In fact, the new high school opened the year after I graduated. TR has been replaced by an apartment building, CFJ is converted to Campus Square (housing for students), and the high school building houses a mishmash of marginal businesses.
|The Johnson City High School I attended in the late 60s|
|Training ground for a pinball wizard|
|Loved to sit in the 3rd base bleachers at Johnson Field, glove ready to catch foul balls.|
|The sad, sad demise of my beloved IBM Country Club|
|The original traffic circle was so large we tried to establish a neighborhood baseball field - but were chased out by the cops|
|The Floral Avenue park softball field, where a 300-pound guy once barreled into me at home plate in an attempt to knock the ball loose. He knocked me head over heels into the backstop ... but I held onto the ball.|
|What we knew as Greenfield, path to Little League glory|
|Wonderful chocolate cream pies|
|At least the golf course is still there - this was the original 18th hole|
Driving around to these once-familiar sites while visiting for Thanksgiving, I was struck by how much smaller the village of Johnson City seems compared with when I was a lad. It took only an hour or so to drive to all of these, and some of that was shopper traffic around the mall (which was not there during my childhood). There are also a lot fewer trees; most streets used to be tunnels of foliage. Downtown is a wasteland - with the exception of the UHS hospital complex that continues to expand (but pays no taxes).
|Without the UHS hospital complex, nearly a ghost town|
Johnson City is no longer the idyllic place to raise a family as created by the Johnsons of benevolent Endicott-Johnson shoes (since shifted overseas). The innocence of my youth has been supplanted by a depressing hard edge.
I'm glad I grew up in the Johnson City of the 50s and 60s. But that Johnson City is long gone.