Ahh Phoenixville. The place where I grew up, and the place I am moving back to soon. I don't have a specific story to tell, but I do have a lot of memories. I will talk about them in no specific order of importance.
My favorite memories of Phoenixville mostly took place in Reeves park, an annual host of the Dogwood Festival and Parade. I remember punching other kids in the face should they dare enter my path whilst I was scrambling towards a lollipop recently thrown from a parade float on Gay Street. I remember screaming in complete puking agony as I flipped over and over on the Zipper - which was always the best ride at the fair. When it wasn't fair time in mid-May, my middle school friends and I spent hours climbing on the playground and swinging way too high on the swings while four year olds glared at us with their arms folded, standing alongside their mothers. We did a lot of stupid shit there.
Which brings me to my next memory. The infamous Phoenxville po-po. When they weren't searching for front lawn domestic violence cases on the North side, they were circling Reeves park with their tight pants and shiny bicycles waiting for lawbreakers like me and my friends to stay out past curfew. I remember having frequent fights with my friends in the seconds the officers approached us on the pros and cons of lying about our age. We always told the truth. We were pussies.
My first ever encounter with the police came in 7th grade when I got an escort home from an officer after stealing Skittles and Zebra Stripes from the Gateway pharmacy. I remember sitting in the back of the police car in front of my house and lying to the officer about my parents being home.
"Nope, they definitely aren't home. Take me back to the station I can have someone else pick me up", I said with complete confidence.
"There is a car in the parking lot next to the house, is that your parent's car?" he asked.
"Nope definitely not my parent's car", I said matter-of-factly.
He eventually stopped anyway, forcing me to face my parents, and subsequently my ass-whoopin'. I made it out alive only to have them pick me up a few years later from the police station at 2am after jumping off of the 40ft bridge at Black Rock tunnel with my friends. Being the last kid in the family, and facing years of terrible wild children, my parents simply said, "Really? You know you're an idiot right?".
To which I responded, "Yup. And it was totally worth it."
And that was that.
Moving on to other memories. I miss the 5 and 10 (Heidu Sue Variety), and Freda's. Good ol' Freda. Her dingy little candy/hoagie shop was like heaven and rainbows to me. Freda used to do these beautiful and skilled oil paintings; she would show them to my father while he waited for his hoagie and I drooled over Sour Cherries and Frooty Tooties.
I remember hanging out at Sal's Pizza Shop, eating terrible diner food at 3am at the Val, karoake nights at Phoenix Lanes (R.I.P), and pissing off the guys at Dunkin Donuts because we always stayed too long and ordered next to nothing. I remember knocking on doors in winter time to offer snow shoveling services for a couple of dollars (candy money), and having so much snow we could barely walk out our own door. I remember waking up to nothing but flames outside of my bedroom windows when the lumberyard burned down, and I remember the fun times "swimming" in the disgusting water that flooded Church Street after Hurricane Floyd.
But most of all I remember always wanting to be older than I was. Thinking life would be so easy once I grew up. At first I wanted to be 13 so I could ride my bike without a helmet legally, then I wanted to be 16 so I could drive a car, then I wanted to be 18 so I could move wherever the hell I wanted, and so on. Looking back I realize I didn't know what I had when I had it.
Granted, there were bad times. The bomb scares that had us out on the lawns at Phoenixville Middle School for hours at a time, the bullying, the corner fights, some of the horrid people that lived in Phoenixville in general - not all was hunky dory. But without the bad I wouldn't have grown to be as tough as I am today (with the help of my family and friends of course).
So yeah, Phoenixville. I'm pretty excited to go back, and I can't wait to see you all when I get there.
I love you all and miss you.