Janey Way Memories 150 An Anniversary of Sorts
Today marks an anniversary of sorts for my column. On July 2, 2009, I wrote the first volume of Janey Way Memories: “The Story of the Janey Way Gang.” This column is the 150th volume. Much water, as they say, has passed under the bridge since then.
Some of our dear friends passed away. Others have moved away. Nearly all of us are retired now.
I have to say that when I started the column, I told my publisher that I would soon run out of ideas for stories. That has not happened yet, more than 5 years later. The fact is that Janey Way provides a rich treasure trove of stories for the column.
For example, there are the stories about the pit, the abandoned sand and gravel site that stood behind the houses on the east side of Janey Way. The Janey Way Gang spent much of their childhoods in the pit doing things like fighting great military battles, building roads for our Tonka Toy trucks, racing bicycles over piles of dirt and engaging in dirt clod fights with the kids from T Street. Eventually, they made peace with us and became our friends.
When we weren’t running through the pit, fleeing from “ole man Charlie,” we were playing touch football on the street in front of our house, having roller derby races in the halls of Phoebe Hearst School, shooting hoops at St. Mary’s School or skirmishing with the O Street gang.
I remember a couple of us sneaking over to the Pesce house one night after Christmas and taking all of the trees from their Christmas tree fort. That led to one of many block fights, but like all the others it ended with a peaceful settlement.
We always had lots of fun things to do on Janey Way. What we didn’t have was: video games, cell phones or personal computers.
We had our imaginations though, and we used them all the time. We pretended to be cowboys, caped crusaders, astronauts and soldiers. Sometimes, we even pretended to be actors, like the time we staged a Broadway-style production in the Puccetti’s backyard. The whole neighborhood showed up to see that show and paid a whopping 25 cents per person to attend.
The best thing about the Janey Way Gang is that they have never stopped being friends. We still get together for poker games and re-union parties. As we speak, they Puccetti family is planning a Janey Way reunion party for December of this year.
I look forward to seeing all of my Janey Way friends, then. I also look forward to penning many more of my Janey Way Memories for you. So, for now, see you next time with another tale about the Janey Way Gang.