Tuesday, February 23, 2016


I was not born in Reading Pennsylvania. I was born and raised in Cleveland Ohio as documented in the book Adoptee-A Childhood of Torment. Reading was a vacation spot for my family, since my Mother was born there. I had few relatives in Cleveland since my Dads side really did not bother or care much about anything other than my Dads two brothers and one sister Thresa, Mike and Benny.

On my Moms side we could fill a average sized party center. We had a 50th wedding anniversary party for my moms one sister with over 250 guests, a family only affair. In 1971 my Moms eyes needed to be operated on. She chose Reading Pennsylvania, her home town to have the surgery done. 1971 was the year I moved to Reading Pa. Coming from a city at that time had over 1 million people living there to a town that boasts of approximately 80,000 people, it felt like Mayberry RFD.

To a city kid like me, this was all good. Reading was a beautiful town.  I loved it. To me everything was within walking distance. No more Rapid Transit, High Speed lines and no more rush hour. The country was 2 minutes away. Everything about this place I loved, Reading Pa was the best of the best! I ended up going to Penn State and you know it, there was a satellite campus 5 minutes away. I stayed there until 2010. I thought I had found my permanent home and retirement home all in one.

There were times when I left Reading to pursue education, a year in Phoenix Arizona and 4 yrs in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. I even spent some time living in Lancaster Pa. I always returned to Reading for various reasons, most of which was my Mom and her failing health.  Dad died in 1974 so he was not part of the pictures since I was 20 when he passed away.

I was so happy being in Reading that I actually took pictures of different things in and around the city and sent them to my friends in Cleveland to show them what a gem this city was. You could actually walk around at night in Reading without fear. Those were the days.

Today, Reading is a shell of what it used to be. Gangs, murder and all types of quality of life issues became the norm. The older folks passed away. Their heirs sold the properties to absentee landlords, who cared only about the money. Politicians tried in vain to stop this decline. The city of Reading at one point recently was in danger of being taken over by the state. Corruption through out city hall was rampant.  A few months before a murder to let left of my house about 150 ft away, a young teenage girl shot and killed her ex-boyfriend,  we saw a ton of cops and flashing lights down near the Amanda Stoudt Elementary school. My neighbor Mike and I walked down to see what was going on down there. There must have been over a hundred people watching. Mike and I saw a 3 or 4 yr old boy pull his pants down, and proceeded to pee and poop on the sidewalk with his mom standing there watching him! Mike said to me, this has turned into a 3rd world country. Boarded up and burned out homes peppered the neighbor. I said to the mother,  do you know what toilets are for. I walked away saddened to what this beautiful city had become.

I talked at length with my wife and we determined that this city could never recover from the decay.
It was time to leave this once wonderful city known as Reading Pa. I was not ready to leave just yet, but when the teenage girl shot and killed her ex-boyfriend less than 500 ft from my front door, that was it. I got a truck, got some friends and we loaded up the truck and left for Cleveland.

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