By Roy Bellesfield
When I was a young boy growing up in center city Allentown, I was
used to city life and enjoyed it, as there were so many things of
interest to me. For a change of scenery, some of us boys would go
for a hike to see what went on outside of the city.
One of our favorite places was over on the south side of town,
around Waldheim Park, where there were many mine holes to swim in
and no houses, schools, or roads to cross; it was very rural back
in those days — nothing but fields and trees and fresh air to
In our church, we had members who farmed for a living, and when
corn-husking time came around, we were invited to the Lohman farm
in Mickley’s, now known as Whitehall Township. I shall never
forget the fun we had pulling off the husks and throwing the corn
into a wagon pulled by a horse. It was lots of work, but mixed
with frolicking and just a good time had by all.
When dinner time rolled around, we gathered around tables loaded
with lots of homemade goodies and apples and pears right from the
farm. At the end of the day, when most folks went home, my father
hitched up a buggy with a nice leather seat and a hood over the
top, and he took my sister, brother, and me for a nice ride.
My dad knew how to handle horses, as he was a chauffeur for a
doctor who made his calls by horse-and-buggy. My dad told us of
times when a baby was born, or when someone was going through a
crisis, when he waited until the doctor came out and then went on
to the next patient.
The doctor bought a car later on, and on my parent’s wedding day,
he drove them to the church. That was a big thing for my parents;
my dad told us all about it whenever we asked, and I asked a lot
of questions when I was a kid.
I’m glad I was inquisitive because I remember a lot about the
good old days of the past. My dad was a kind, gentle person who
always took the time to relate memories of his younger days. I
had two older brothers at home besides my sister and younger
brother. They both worked and brought lots of treats for us
younger kids, and they also had cars; so when there was something
exciting going on, they piled kids in the back seat.
I remember making a trip to see a Ford tri-motor plane when it
landed at the airport. What excitement for us!
There were no runways, just fields of grass and dirt, and when
the plane took off, there was so much dust and dirt that we had
to shield our faces. I remember the day the Graf Zeppelin flew
over Allentown. All eyes went skyward, and it was thrilling to
see it as the dirigible’s motors roared.
When a new business started in the city, there were cars equipped
with large loudspeakers, driving up and down the streets,
announcing events. When night time came, large searchlights swept
across the sky to draw shoppers.
I thank God my memory still brings these bye-gone scenes back
Editor’s note: Roy Bellesfield wrote articles for us for 5 years
before his passing. He remains the most popular writer we have
had. As a tribute to his legacy he reprint his articles from time