I was born and raised and eventually moved back to a small town in Central Pennsylvania by the name of Shamokin. It was a wonderful place to grow up, the kind of town where everyone knew their neighbors, you didn’t lock your doors and people got involved in the community. As a child, I remember several local ice cream shops, numerous mom & pop stores, parades and plain ol’ small town charm.
That has all changed. Drastically. Over the last ten to fifteen years or so, our community has demonstrated an overall decomposition. It has become dirty, run-down and decayed. The homes have been taken over by absent landlords who will rent to anyone no matter what. Gangs have started to form. You don’t (or don’t want to) know your neighbors. The city is in financial crisis. And I could go on and on.
Where there used to be families sitting on their front porches, there are abandoned refrigerators. Where there used to be movie theaters, there are parking lots. Where there used to be hope, there is submission.
This has bothered me for quite some time. My husband and I have spoken to our community about gang awareness in an effort to reclaim our community. I have formed a small group of citizens that get together to share many things, the largest of which is the “neighbor helping neighbor” attitude. We meet twice per month. Unfortunately, overall interest is low.
When I drive or walk through my town, it makes me sad. When I read of the arrests made, it makes me suspicious of those around me. When I hear of residents being harassed or threatened, it makes me angry. I miss my town and everything that it was. So today, in an effort to regain my hope, I rode through my town in search of signs of the old Shamokin. Or at least a hint of normalcy that I felt was gone. I am happy to report that there is still some beauty, history and even normalcy to be found. Here’s what I saw today:
My town can be beautiful, you just have to look for it.
My town is historic.
My town still has some mom & pop establishments.
And my town still has some pride.
And luckily, my town still shows some signs of normalcy…
and even nostalgia.
My town could be what it was. If only people would take the time to help make it great again. Please don’t die Shamokin, not without a fight.