Tradition – Hellertown, Pennsylvania

Jillian Yorston – The Wassergass Road

I was told this story of a road in the back country of the small rural town in Hellertown, Pennsylvania. There were not many attractions or places that the high school kids could go to that were nearby. So, on most occasions, “fun times” resorted to their own imaginations and wild antics to keep the inhabitants of Hellertown busy.

Although living in a small town, the kids of Hellertown were no different in the ways they amused themselves than kids of other places. They wanted to do adult things. It is in kids’ nature to want to be able to do adult or illegal things, and not have to take responsibility for their actions. This is basic human nature. Doing something you are not supposed to manufactures an immediate adrenaline rush. This rush makes anyone feel like they can do anything and not get caught. Luckily for Jillian, sometimes this is the case.

Jill told me stories of her adventures that she had with her friends in Hellertown. Hellertown’s high school population was notorious for smoking pot. Smoking pot was the normal thing to do on weekends, and sometimes even during the week. The kids would never get caught because the adults did not know of their smoking. And even if they had inklings to what was going on. They never realized how much smoking was actually being done. The kids would be very cautious on where they smoked and made sure to hide any remnants of the weed. Jill also told me a special name they gave to smoking in a car. Everyone I know has always called this act of smoking in a car, “Hotboxing.” Jill said that where she was from, it was called “Clambaking.” Closing all the windows, turning off the A/C, and lighting up made the experience much better than smoking in an open and ventilated room. “Clambaking,” was the preferred method to smoke weed for two reasons. The obvious “better high” they would experience and the fact that they would not get caught by their parents. “Clambaking,” allowed Jill and her friends to be free of their parents and just “chill.” Jill’s adventures did not only stop at “Clambaking,” but in reality only began there.

Since smoking weed in a parked car might get boring sometimes, Jill and her friends were known to drive around while smoking and make the experience much more exhilarating. While driving around seamlessly was fun at times, the best way was to go to “The Gass.” “The Gass,” short for the Wassergass Road was located in the back roads of Hellertown where there were not many drivers on the road. This was convenient so that there would be no accidents and also so there would be a less chance of someone getting hurt. Jill was adamant in telling me that “The Gass,” was the place to be while you were stoned and wanted to drive around. “The Gass,” consisted of several windy and long roads that all led back to Hellertown. So no matter how high the driver or passengers were, they could always find their way back home. “Being able to turn the music all the way up, dance in the car, and not have a care in the world for a few hours has been one of the most exhilarating things I have ever gotten the chance to do.” (Yorston) “The Gass,” is the most cherished road to the high school kids from Hellertown, and one where they have had many fun memories that will last forever.