Alonzo Kittrels

Memories of bus trips to Coney Island with the Good Will Family Club from the 1940's through 1961

Alonzo Kittrels
Interview Date:
May 18, 2020


From the 1940s through the 1970s, bus trips to Coney Island were so popular that concessionaires recall 50 to 100 buses arriving on Saturday mornings and staying till 6 or 7 at night.  Growing up in a close-knit family in Philadelphia, Alonzo Kittrels enjoyed annual bus outings to Coney Island sponsored by the Good Will Family Club organized by his grandmother, mother and aunts, who were the club's founders.  He describes the club's activities, which also included family reunions and gatherings at Philadelphia's Woodside Park. Since the bus trip to Coney was not limited to family members as many as five buses were required and there was a great deal of preparation and anticipation the night before. 

Born in 1939, Alonzo's first memories of Coney Island are as a boy of 5 or 6, when he loved playing on the beach and took home a bucket of sand as a souvenir. He says that his must-do yearly ride was the Parachute Jump and the one ride he never got on was the Cyclone.  Looking back on the experience, Alonzo reflects on "the importance of family remaining together as family to pass down some of the memories," which he does in his weekly Back in the Day column for the Philly Tribune.