Tree Streets Neighborhood

Johnson City, Tennessee • Southside Neighborhood Organization


Four years ago while visiting my daughter’s family for Thanksgiving I attended the Johnson City Christmas Parade. She had recently moved here and it was our first visit to see the area. The parade seemed an easy do with a two year old, so we trotted down the street, crossed Walnut Street, and went through a vacant lot to find a spot on the curb of State of Franklin to await the parade.

I found my surroundings pretty dismal. The vacant lot was filled with lots of litter that attracted my little grandson’s attention but not mine. Across the street the view wasn’t any better. A long row of what appeared to be deserted warehouses didn’t improve my impression of my daughter’s new home town. The parade I watched that day should have been called The Yellow Pages of Johnson City, as every business that owned a truck or van drove down the street as if stuck in rush hour traffic. The business names on the vehicles were decorated with red ribbon and maybe a wreath or two and this was not very exciting. The high point of that parade was Elmo, who walked along the street and stopped to shake hands with my grandson.

This year as a resident of the Tree Streets I attended my second Christmas Parade. What a difference! We caught the parade almost by accident as I wasn’t anxious to repeat my first experience. The train exhibit at the Train Center on West Market Street had drawn our family to down town. It did not disappoint us and we all enjoyed it. Leaving the train display we found ourselves caught up in the crowds heading for the parade. Once again I found myself standing on a curb in Johnson City waiting for Santa. But this time it was different, it was evening not afternoon. The lights of a big Christmas tree and the large snowflakes on the lampposts gave the scene a festive air. The lights of the decorated store fronts were a vast improvement over the abandoned warehouses. Even the blue head lights on the police motorcycles were exciting to watch in the night. I felt like I was caught in one of the picturesque train putz we had viewed at the train display. The bands, the girl and boy scouts, the armed forces, the dancing schools and especially the library ladies dancing with their book carts (one of them a Tree Streets resident) were a delight to see.

Maybe it was the change of time from day to night, or the change of parade route to downtown or maybe it was just that the childhood delight of my grandsons was infectious but I felt the spirit of Christmas that was lacking at my first parade four years ago. Maybe it was just because I live here now and it was my hometown parade I was watching and I saw it with different eyes. Whatever it was, I felt happy watching this parade.

The vacant lot is gone now and so are the deserted buildings along the State for Franklin. I was happy to see these changes and look forward to more planned improvements. My neighborhood is maintaining its reputation as one of the best places to live in Johnson City. It makes me proud and glad to live here. I wish all my neighbors in the Tree Streets a Happy Christmas and the best in 2011. See you at next year’s parade!

Betty Ann (and Joe) Polaha

Views: 19


You need to be a member of Tree Streets Neighborhood to add comments!

Join Tree Streets Neighborhood

Comment by Neil Owen on December 20, 2010 at 8:58pm

Betty Ann,


Thanks for your wonderful insights. We're so happy that you're here!


Have a Merry Christmas!


Comment by wanda buda on December 19, 2010 at 12:45pm

That was a wonderful review of the parade, and your "new Home".  Thanks, I enjoyed it.  I might say, you are a very good addition to our neighborhood, and Johnson City,  Your good spirit and willingness to "help" with any project  are an example to all "newcomers", especially those who often complain of "nothing to do here".  Watch out Betty Ann, you will become a True Southerner if you aren't careful. Wanda Buda

© 2024   Created by Neil Owen.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service