By Scott L. Miley
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
Many folks wish they had kept better accounts of their youth with stories they could pass along for future generations.
Dr. Lawrence Allen has compiled such vivid memories about his childhood in Bloomington during World War II. His self-published book, “The Boy Who Lived on All Street,” is a detailed recollection of growing up, mostly in the 1940s, near downtown Bloomington in a neighborhood known as McDoel Gardens.
“I began to see the unique meaning of the neighborhood and the things we held in high regard such as our education,” said Allen, 76, a retired Anderson urologist.
“I felt it was worthy of capturing a time frame of that sort in order to preserve what existed at that time and document what was important that contributed to our survival.”
Allen writes of his father working for RCA in Bloomington and his mother raising himself and younger sister Judy. He writes of neighbors with some receiving chaptersw of their own.
He captured snapshots from the 1940s. In a section about World War II, he writes of the coupon books issued to residents alloting them food and gas. “I also became aware of a term ‘Black Market.’ I recall that an owner of a small grocery on South Rogers Street ... was arrested for holding back certain rationed foods under the counter and selling to selected customers without requiring the usual rationing coupons and of course for a higher price. My parents knew the man’s family, who were embarrassed and held in social rebuke.”
In 2010, Allen wrote his first book, “Pearl,” a touching biography of his grandmother. He is working on his third book, a child-like tale involving a boy and a toad.
He plans to hold book-signings for “Allen Street,” with the first set for noon to 2 p.m. on May 4 at the Anderson University bookstore, 1215 University Boulevard.
And it’s by chance, that the Allen family lived on a street with their name attached to it.
“Allen is a commn name but even school bus drivers said they were picking up the Allens from Allen street. They got a chuckle out of that.”
Allen feels his youth and his family’s experiences were like many of those living in the 1940s.
“They are typical of countless other families in countless other neighborhoods throughout America who shared the experiences of WWII.”