Residents, present and past, celebrated the community’s values
By William K. Alcorn
Hundreds came to this weekend’s 10th triennial Sharonline Reunion to renew acquaintances, see who’s still alive and reminisce about the beloved neighborhood where they grew up – and where many were born and raised and never left.
The Sharonline area, now known as McGuffey Heights, is named for the trolley line that once ran between Youngstown and Sharon, Pa. It’s a group of neighborhoods on Youngstown’s East Side with borders extending north and south from the Hubbard Township line to McKelvey Lake and east and west from state Route 616 to the west side of Lans-downe Boulevard, according to sharonline.org.
“I’m here because I have good memories growing up in Sharonline,” said the Rev. Patrick Reed, a minister at St. James Church of God in Christ in Youngstown, during the reunion picnic Saturday in Bailey Park off Jacobs Road.
“I swam in the pool, which is now closed, for 10 cents. There was peace here. I felt safe walking to Thorn Hill Elementary. I still feel safe here. It’s almost like a suburb,” said the Rev. Mr. Reed, a 1989 graduate of East High School and 2012 graduate of Youngstown State University.
A lot of people left for work or other reasons, and the reunion brings them back together, said Bill Morrison, 75, a member of the reunion organizing committee and a 1958 graduate of North High School.
Mallory Cooper, 24, a 2009 graduate of Liberty High School, was at the picnic with her grandmother, Ethel (Watkins) Searles, who grew up in the Sharonline area but now lives on the city’s North Side. She returned to Youngstown in 1987 after living in New Jersey for 22 years, and said she came to the reunion from New Jersey “to meet up with all my high-school girlfriends.”
“I used to see people at the reunion I grew up with,” said Searles, a 1958 graduate of North High School. “Now, I see their children and grandchildren.”
Searles described how it was living in the Sharonline community as a child.
“Everybody was like family. Everybody knew everybody, and if you were misbehaving they would not only tell what to do, if you needed it, they would spank you,” Searles said with a laugh.
Originally from Kentucky, Lawrence Underwood of Youngstown said, “I married a girl from Sharonline,” explaining his presence multiple times at the reunion.
Underwood said he and Rita (Harris), a 1965 graduate of North High School, have been married 50 years. The reunion rekindles the community spirit and values Sharonline residents shared, Underwood said.
The Sharonline reunion is a three-day affair.
On Friday, there was a dinner and dance, and the event ends today with a morning worship at Reeds Chapel AME Church at 1939 Jacobs Road.
While not directly associated with the reunion, the Associated Neighborhood Centers McGuffey Centre had a yard sale Saturday to earn money to repair the facility’s roof, It is also conducting a “Raise the Roof 3,000 for $100 Campaign” in which the center’s board is asking 3,000 people to donate $100 each. For each $100 donated, the Youngstown Foundation will provide a 5 percent match.
Those checks should be made out to the Youngstown Foundation with The McGuffey Centre indicated on the memo line.
Contributions of lesser amounts are also welcome, said Wayna Hightower, financial secretary. Donors can also mail contributions to ANC/McGuffey Centre, P.O. Box 717, Youngstown, OH 44501 but with the Youngstown Foundation on the memo line.