It’s different on the outside of a state hospital. At least, at Wernersville there was a lot of camaraderie and fun, Spades and pool tables, tennis courts even, a gym, a library. But you lose something each day at a place like that and then suddenly you’re out on your ass and you realize you aren’t who you were any more.
I returned here from South Florida about two and a half years ago. I followed my son here while in the middle of a divorce. The divorce, the actual courtroom hearing, went down in Florida while I was standing near the phone in a hotel room in Bethlehem.
My husband had advised me to move to Easton. This move turned out to be a critical point in my journey. There I would suffer, cry, find God, be the scourge of the city, call the cops three times and Children’s Services once–through it all I got over the very worst of the divorce and then fled, fled, covered with reddish brown human body lice, to an inexpensive motel near Dorney Park, the water park, the little Orlando of Allentown.
From there I came to this apartment in South Allentown.
It is a pleasant place, wall-to-wall carpet, free heat, a new kitchen, 2 bedrooms. My ex sent a lot of furniture, which my parents helped me move from the apartment in Easton. After a year and a half I feel very, very comfortable here, at least I do when I am sitting at home alone inside the apartment.
Unfortunately, for reasons I don’t entirely understand I get a hard time here. I am so used to it wherever I go that I take it for granted, going around scared and mad when I have to do errands. I thought this vicinity would welcome me back but it wasn’t the case. I was resentful. Obviously my sensationalist blogging didn’t help. I criticized the entire region. My blog journey has paralleled a life passage. I said a lot of nasty things about Allentown. I regret this now. I finally looked up the Billy Joel song, “Allentown,” on YouTube today and found out everything I didn’t know about the background and present culture of this city. Now I’m clued in.
I am remembering a long time ago, when I was 21, and a lot like Allentown is now: burgeoning again, just on the brink of starting to BE; but way down and shaking inside. If you know the Billy Joel video I saw, you know what I mean. All the factories of long ago went down and all meaning in the city went down, leaving the dirty, dangerous little core of a place that I remembered from 26 years ago. Today, money has come in from New York, mansions have gone up, there are lovely parks that have always been there but didn’t shine as they do now with the glow of care, patronage and the bursting core of a whole new Allentown being born. Center City I don’t know much but it is well-frequented; I have been to the courthouse and to a government agency located nearby. I’ve heard it’s dangerous. The wealthier outlaying areas, stretching in every direction, are lush with beautiful homes new and old, elegant restaurants brand new in old stone buildings or older and gentler from older times. So the city has a fragile core.
In my hurt and my pain in my life since I was 21, I have seen to take Allentown down in my blogging and this may be why I feel so much actual hostility from the locals around me. I know that the blog gives me paranoia, also the car accidents recently–all the near misses; so I got so scared I parked the car for a month and then slowly, with the help of God, relearned my driving skills. After 16 years in the madness of South Florida driving I learned a wild way which suited me well there but now I have recorrected to the organized society that this area now is. It scared me at first, this place. I need to learn to love it, as I need to be here.
My mother and father are here; my son still stays here too. I don’t know whether my ex is ever coming back. I don’t know where else I would go if I didn’t stay here. I’d like to be part of the burgeoning, to be healed through it. So much pain, loss. A broken lifetime. In Allentown I see a city which could be broken also, people not knowing its past like me, not understanding its present, not seeing its future. So many people coming in from so many places, crowded roadways, but with the old freight train from a hundred years ago still roaring through it all.
Hello again Allentown!
I’ll be moving again soon but I won’t be very far away.