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“How do you like the neighborhood?” I asked.

“We love it! How do you like it?” responded my new neighbor.

“Well, I’ve lived in Wyoming for most of 67 years, so I guess I like it fine.”

I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Barbara Bullions, and if you had asked 16-year-old me if I would spend my life in this town, you would have gotten a definite “No!” I dreamed of exploring faraway places described in geography books. I longed for the romantic life of a bohemian writer in Montmartre or a struggling filmmaker in Rome. I tried. Even before I graduated college, I purchased a one-way ticket to Luxembourg on Icelandic Airlines. I shipped clothes for four seasons to family in Italy, my home base. But three months into my adventure, I got a phone call that changed everything. My grandmother, whom I adored, was gravely ill, so home I went. Real life took over — a job, marriage and children. Then my mother got sick. Years passed quickly, and here I am, retired from teaching at my alma mater, Wyoming Area, and taking daily strolls around town.

Wanderlust never left me though. I’ve been abroad a dozen times with students and friends. My husband and I have driven cross country twice and done Route 66 from beginning to end. Although I love the charm of Europe and the wide expanse of the west, I always look forward to coming home. I’ve come to realize that it was never in my nature to be away for too long.

What is it that draws me back when I can easily live anywhere? The obvious answer is family — at first parents, now children and grandchildren. Less obvious is my attachment to my home, neighborhood and town. When I return from a trip, the first sight to welcome me as I cross the river is the view of the Methodist Church steeple set against a background of mountains that change with the seasons. I turn onto Ninth Street and see the Presbyterian church in the distance, framed by a canopy of trees. From my house, I can see the park and the children who consider it theirs. In late winter, teenage boys cooped up for too long bring shovels to clean the basketball court, as they have done for generations. Temperatures rise and small children flood the little park, their laughter and the rhythmic squeaking of the chain link of the swings lulls me to an afternoon nap. My granddaughter visits and runs to the same spinning ride that I fell off 60 years ago.

Change doesn’t come quickly to Wyoming. We’re not one of those “new communities” that lack character. We’ve got The Swetland Homestead, the Wyoming Monument (visited by three presidents) and the Luzerne Presbyterial Institute, all on the National Registry of Historic Places. Every child who has grown up in Wyoming has visited Queen Esther’s Rock, but few know that we have a confederate soldier buried in Wyoming Cemetery.

As I am slowing down with age, I appreciate the slow pace of my town. As I take my daily walk, not only am I greeted by old friends, but by old tree lined streets with old homes as beautiful as any I’ve seen in my travels. There are older, more quaint towns in the U.S., but they belong to someone else. Wyoming belongs to me and I to it. So, after so many years and miles of travel, I am happy I chose this place to be my anchor.

To answer my new neighbor’s question, yes, I like it just fine. And, I look forward to sharing its stories with you.

WA theater production

Wyoming Area Drama Club, Thespian Troupe 4795 will present the heartwarming comedy “Daddy’s Girl” at the secondary center, 252 Memorial St., Exeter, from 7 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17, and from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 18. General admission tickets are $8 and will be available at the door.

Wyoming Free Library news

Wyoming Free Library’s special Thanksgiving story hour will be held from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 17.

Our local library has been serving the community since 1927. Special programs for children and adults are offered year round. Now, the library is asking for donations to continue its work. Look through your mail for the request, or donate online at www.wyomingfreelibrary.com.

Exeter Lions news

Exeter Lions recently visited some of our veterans at the Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The Lions were inspired by stories and heard a great rendition of “Yellow Submarine.” A surprise visitor, Bill Kuklewicz, played the accordion for the whole room to enjoy. The Valley Masonic Lodge of West Pittston accompanied the Lions on their visit.

Exeter tree lighting

Santa will visit Exeter on Sunday, Nov. 25, at the annual Exeter tree lighting ceremony. The event at Lions Memorial Park on Wyoming Avenue, next to the Exeter Borough Building, will start at 5 p.m. with snacks, refreshments, activities, caroling and pictures with Santa.

Wyoming Area Catholic news

As we approach the holiday season, the Little Sisters of the Poor are again asking for assistance. Once again Wyoming Area Catholic School will participate in aiding the Little Sisters of the Poor with their request. Needed are tissues and lotion, body wash, denture cleaner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, canned fruits, vegetables and soups, unsweetened cereals, coffee and peanut butter., postage stamps and any monetary donations, as well as gift cards from local merchants. All items will be presented to the Little Sisters during the school’s Thanksgiving Liturgy on Wednesday, Nov. 21.

Wyoming Area Catholic Builders Club is seeking coat donations. Send them to school through November. Also this month, student council is collecting new mittens, gloves, hats, scarves and socks for newborns through age 16. Donations can be dropped off at the school.

Wyoming Area Catholic PTG will be selling poinsettias and holiday plants through Nov. 30. The poinsettia colors available will be red, pink or white. The flowers and plants will be delivered Tuesday, Dec. 11, and can be picked up between 2:45 and 3:45 and 6 and 7 p.m. at the sports entrance of the school. The cost for each poinsettia is $10 for a 6½-inch single branched and $17 for a 7½-inch two branched. Also available are 24-inch wreaths with red bow, $20; cemetery log, $20 and winter rose plant, $17. Orders are due by Friday, Nov. 30. Please call the school at 570-654-7982 during school hours for order forms.

 

Free hearing tests

First Presbyterian Church of West Pittston is offering free noise and hearing testing at the Institute, 40 Institute St., Wyoming, from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28. Bring your headphones and measure the noise you are putting in your ears. Take a quick hearing test to learn how noise is affecting your listening ability. Family Hearing Center audiologist Dr. Jim Zeigler will share information on how hearing is damaged by noise and how to prevent damage with the use of safe earphones, earplugs, monitors and even cell phone apps.

St. Monica’s pierogi sale

St. Monica’s Church, West Wyoming, is taking orders for homemade potato and cheese pierogi made using the former St. Joseph’s Church recipe. Pierogi will be available for pickup from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, or immediately after the 4 p.m. Mass in the church hall. Cost is $8 a dozen. To order, call Maria Parra at 570-709-2335. 

Kiwanis Breakfast with Santa

The Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club, along with the Wyoming Area Key Club and Builders Club, will hold its annual Breakfast with Santa from 8:30 a.m. to noon Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Wyoming Area Secondary Center cafeteria. The public is invited. Breakfast will consist of pancakes, eggs, sausage, juice, milk, coffee and tea. Tickets are $8 for adults, $5 for children 2 to 12 years and free for children younger than 2.

Tickets may be purchased in advance by using the Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club Facebook page and the link to PayPal. Advanced reservations are not required and tickets can be purchased at the door. Money raised from the event will continue to support the Key Club, Builder Club and K-Kids Club and Circle K Club sponsored by the Kiwanis Club.

Children and parents will have a safe, non-stressful environment to visit with Santa, enjoy the wonders of Santa’s Wonderland, and do crafts with the Builders Club members. There will be raffles for baskets of toys for boys and girls and Christmas trees. PSP will be available to take professional photos at an additional cost.

Wyoming Hose Company fund drive

Wyoming Hose Company No. 1 reminds residents and businesses that the 2019 annual fire department fund drive has begun. This is the time you can donate to help the volunteer firefighters help you. Donations help keep the firefighters safe while they protect you and your property. By now, you should have received a 2019 donation request form. Please fill out the form and send it in along with your donation. A second reminder mailing will be sent soon. 

Exeter collections

Exeter Borough offers single stream recycling. All recyclable items can now be placed in the same container and placed out weekly. Pickup will still be Mondays. 

Yard waste is still collected Thursdays. Regular garbage is collected Wednesdays. 

Refuse, recyclables and yard waste are to be placed curbside the night before pickup or by 6 a.m. the morning of collection. 

For information, call Lynda at 570-654-3001, ext. 2 or Karen at 570-654-0933.

Barbara Bullions writes about Exeter, Wyoming and West Wyoming every week. To include an item in her column, email barbarabullions@gmail.com or call 570-301-2185 by Sunday.