Sharonline reunion draws hundreds despite rainy weather
People came from as far away as California, Colorado and Arizona.
By CYNTHIA VINARSKY
VINDICATOR BUSINESS WRITER
YOUNGSTOWN -- When the rains came Saturday morning, Mary E. Brown wasn't sure how many of her parade recruits would show up to march in the sixth tri-annual Sharonline Reunion parade on the city's East Side.
Brown, 74, was thrilled when 40 units braved the wet weather for the event she chaired, part of a three-day neighborhood pride celebration in an area now known as McGuffey Heights.
Scheduled every three years, the Sharonline Reunion gets its name from a streetcar line that ran from Youngstown to Sharon, Pa., until 1939.
People who grew up in the Youngstown neighborhoods surrounding Jacobs Road came from as far away as California, Colorado and Arizona to meet with their old friends and family.
Clifford Johnson, in his eighth year as reunion chairman, said a dinner dance Friday at the Brentford House drew 250, and as many as 1,500 attended an all-day picnic Saturday at Nick Johnson Park. A worship service at Alpha and Omega First Baptist Church on Winton Avenue also was planned for today.
Charles Moore, 68, a General Motors Lordstown retiree and Sharonline native who lives in Naples, Fla., said he's never missed one of the neighborhood gatherings.
Moore, who served as the reunion committee's first chairman, said the neighborhood was special because people watched out for one another and for one another's children. "It was all about family, and it still is," he said.
Johnson said the 15-member reunion committee is working hard to attract more young people into leadership because they want the tradition to continue.
A retired teacher and school administrator who lives in Warren, he said Sharonline's second major focus, in addition to the reunions, is a scholarship program that boasts a 90-percent graduation rate.
The program offers $500 scholarships for four years to candidates who either live in or have a family connection to the Sharonline area. It is contributing to tuition costs for a freshman at The Ohio State University, a sophomore at the University of Florida, a junior at Bowling Green State University and a senior at Youngstown State.