A Lifetime in Reynoldsville PA, a lifetime ago… A Grandpa Tale
When I have written posts in the past I will sometimes say “There’s a story in there someplace.” On July 27, 2012 I posted a post titled “The Places I have lived.” Quite the original title, but I think back upon that post and remember that there were additional posts to be written. This will be one of them. The entire text of the time I lived in Reynoldsville is offered here, and as you can see there isn’t much to go on. But I am going to make an effort to expound on that simple paragraph. Hopefully you and my granddaughter Cari will enjoy reading it. Because it’s for Cari that I write lots of these stories.
“Next stop Reynoldsville PA. Reynoldsville is a coal mining town just north and east of Pittsburgh, we lived there 1 winter. The house was coal heated, and Stephen King could have written about it in many of his more scary novels. I do have fond memories of sled riding during that winter, and a school trip we made to Washington DC to visit the national museum’s that was cool. Began the 4thgrade here.”
If we were sitting around bull shitting, and I began to speak of the time I lived in Reynoldsville, PA, my memory would span a year. But the reality is that the family moved to 937 Grant Street, Reynoldsville PA in September 1959 and departed for Norwalk, Conn. in February 1960. The address is of no importance other to mention it was 2 downhill blocks away from Main Street. It was a 6 month period that was a lifetime to a 10-year-old.
Here is some current information regarding Reynoldsville it has a population of 2,730 folks of which almost 52 pct are women. So it must be good for guys looking for a date. The median resident age is slightly over 37, I would be one of the curve busters there LOL. The town of Reynoldsville is located approximately 75 or so miles (depending on the map) northeast of Pittsburgh. The prime industries have been coal mining, lumber, and tanning. The borough of Reynoldsville had originally been an Indian village, with the last of Indians moving on in 1824. In the 1830’s the Reynolds moved to the area. The name of Reynoldsville was confirmed by the Post Office Department in 1850.
I guess this has been plenty of setup to speak of 2 events that live on and on in my mind. Again I was 10 years old when I lived there. My granddaughter just celebrated her 9th birthday. Because these events remain so familiar to me, I wonder what events are shaping Cari memories. I wonder what memories Cari will have 55 years from how to share with her grandchildren. I wonder if she will still have this blog to share with those grandchildren when she speaks of her grandfather. Soft smile, I really hope she does speak of me.
Anyway moving on. The first event was a school sponsored field trip to Washington DC to visit the museums. I have no idea how much money my folks had to shell out for this trip but it was a one day event. It started at the butt crack of dawn, and was over close to midnight that day. At the time I could not be accused of having patience, so I am sure I must have driven someone crazy asking “are we there yet?” Sidebar; I have had the headphones pounding in my ears since I started and the IPod is set to random. Just so you “Kid Rock” is now screaming in my ears, but I have heard Creed, Toby Keith, Cream, Sting, CSN, Aretha Franklin, DH Hughley, Eric Clapton, Johnny Lang, Travis Tritt, SRV, Buddy Guy, Koko Taylor, Moody Blues, AC/DC, Jimi Hendrix, Melissa Etheridge, and of course Nickelback to just name a few. The things I clearly remember seeing are the Washington Monument, the Jefferson Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Smithsonian Institutes’ Castle, The Capital Building and the Whitehouse. I remember that the bulk of time was spent at the Castle. I do remember standing at the very foot of Lincoln and being not much taller than his shoe, I also remember playing on the steps to the Capital Building. And I suspect if I were playing on the steps at some point a chaperon told me to stop. I know we did not go into either the Capital Building or the Whitehouse. Those are the sum total of my memories of that field trip. One of the reasons it must stand out, is because it was by far the most significant field trip I ever went on throughout my schooling. I was fortunate enough to end up working in Washington DC some 20 years after this field trip, and lived in the area for the next 30 years. During the course of those years, I visited every building on the Mall more than twice, except the Holocaust Museum which I only visited once. That single visit could be a post by itself; it was the most moving 3 hours I can remember.
The second memorable event to take place while I lived in Reynoldsville was sled riding on a public street.
I have no idea how it came about, so what I am about to say is pure conjecture on my part. But this conjecture is based on the fact that the cross streets were closed (Willow and Main) and blocked, no cars were part on 10th Street (the hill), and transportation was provided back to the top of the hill. It only happened one time during the period we lived there, but again, I suspect it might have been part of some annual event because it was just too organized. The run started at the Top of 10th Street, and ran for 2 blocks, where the road leveled at Main. Something had been done to the snow at Main because you just quickly slowed to a stop. You and your sled were loaded up and taken back up the hill, for another run. I know dad and I did one run together, and I believe he allowed me to do a couple more by myself, and I am sure he did more than that by himself; he was only 35 at the time. Hot chocolate and coffee were served, and I am sure something stronger would have been available. I know we moved on shortly after this event. LOL I don’t want you to think we were nomads, at this time my Dad was a store manager for McCory’s 5 & 10. He would be sent to a store that was in “trouble” and stay long enough to get it back on its feet, and then management would move him on to the next store. I would also hazard to guess that this could never happen in this day and age because of insurance, community groups, safety, and expenses. The new order at work. LOL
Folks that sums up an expanded version of the time I lived in Reynoldsville PA. Cari, I hope you enjoyed the story.
As usual folks, if you have any questions, thoughts, concerns or comments please feel free to ask. Take care, Bill