Wednesday, September 29 1999
Off to the 'real Nantyglo'
While waiting for my ride to the airport I managed to put up the latest letter from Nanty Glo native Frank Charney, reminiscences of the Detroit Tigers in 1951 and before.
That will probably be the last change for several weeks, as I'm off to the
United Kingdom, taking in highlights of England, Scotland, Wales and
Ireland between now and October 12. The main highlight for me will
be a planned visit to Nantyglo, Wales, which I haven't seen before,
and which shares space with our own Nanty Glo here
on the Home Page.
I will try to write at least a couple of times from Internet cafes, but those letters will go only to members of our eforum list; you'll have to sign up to get them (see directions above; there is no charge).
Sunday, September 19 1999
More summer reading
One of the first entries in the Jonal was about my summer reading, at which
time I was reading through the collected short stories of Flannery O'Connor.
Since then I've read five additional books, and am now well into my sixth.
I'll introduce each of them this evening and perhaps go into more detail on
some or all of them, depending on whether there's any interest, in
The first was another book by Ms O'Connor, a novel, The Violent Bear It
Away, about an orphaned boy and his relationship with his religiously
zealous great uncle, who dies near the beginning of the story, and his
modernistic, skeptic uncle, the love-hate relationships among all of them,
and the forces at play in their lives. It is a dark, brooding but
imaginative work worth pondering.
The second was A Spiritual Portrait of Saint John of Kronstadt, a
less-than-100-page compilation of testimonies and reminiscences about one of
the most interesting priests (at least in this lifelong former Protestant's
purview) in Russian history, who around the beginning of this century drew
large crowds to outdoor meetings as well as regular church services, and was
famed as a healer as well as a preacher. Though seemingly most un-Orthodox,
he is one of Orthodoxy's most highly regarded recent holy men.
The third was Man of God, Saint John of Shanghai and San Francisco, a
compilation of writings about a most extraordinary man, Russian Orthodox
Archbishop and wonderworker John Maximovich, whose relics are in repose and
on display in the Joy of All Who Sorrow Cathedral on Geary Street in, of all
places, San Francisco. I've read much about him and much about and by his
best-known disciples, and visited his shrine, since becoming Orthodox.
Though many converts are "required" to choose a "name saint" when they come
into the church, I've never been given that requirement and am still
undecided about which "John" I identify with as my spiritual model. These
two books didn't make it easier to come to a decision, though I was hoping
Fourth was Thomas Mann's classic, Death in Venice and Other Stories. Mann
was one of the early winners of the Nobel Prize for literature and is
regarded as one of this century's top authors, with Hemmingway, Fitzgerald,
Thomas Wolfe, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh and a handful of others. I had
never read any of his work and, living this summer in Venice (albeit
California, not Italy) it seemed like the time to do so. Some good reads but
nothing earth-shattering here.
Fifth was Franny and Zooey, by J. D. Salinger. Salinger's The Catcher in
the Rye is a classic short novel, which I had read in my twenties. I heard
long ago that this novel deals with Franny's "obsession" with the Jesus
Prayer, and the devotional books that introduce the prayer, The Way of the
Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Journey. The Salinger story is set
in 1950's New York City and concerns a highly sophisticated family of
over-achievers. Though dated in some ways, even in terms of the now-passe
modernistic religious ethos that underlies the story, it is still highly
effective and works on a number of levels. The 20-something clerk in the
bookstore where I bought it volunteered that it is his all-time favorite
book, which says a lot for it.
Now I'm reading Jack Kerouac's On the Road. I've known of Kerouac and had
impressions of him since my teens, but hadn't read him until the older of my
two sons, Michael, offered to let me read his copy of Kerouac's novel, Dr.
Sax, over a year ago. That's a novel of boyhood in New England, with
magical realism elements, and though interesting and readable, it's not the
best of its kind I've ever read (that honor would go to Ray Bradbury's
Something Wicked This Way Comes). Then a couple of weeks ago my younger
son, Kevin, wrote that he's reading On the Road, and being in position to
start a new novel, I bought it. It's much better than I expected. And though
Jack Kerouac is the main fiction writer of the "beat generation," it's much
more upbeat than downbeat, a real surprise. A critic cited in the
introduction likens it to a more grown-up Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn,
and that strikes me as fitting, being about halfway through it now. I was
surprised at how much I have in common with Kerouac, though we're also
radically different in many ways, but I'll save those observations for
Oh, and incidentally, Malcolm Cowley, the Blackick Valley's only major
literary figure and the only one with a page on the Nanty Glo site (look on
the Forum home page for "Belsano's Famous Son..."), played a major role in
Kerouac's becoming a leading literary figure of the 1950's.
Saturday, September 11 1999
You know you're from Pennsylvania if...
I've received three copies of this takeoff on Jeff Foxworthy's "You know you're a redneck if..." pertaining to Western Pennsylvanians (Eastern Pennsylvanians don't think Philly talk sounds funny at all). Paul Ceria suggested I make some use of it on the Home Page, so here it is. It does fit well with our earlier discussion of local peculiarities of speech and custom, I think.
You know you're from Pennsylvania if...
Omitted, purely by accident I'm sure, was any reference to Lebanon bologna. I took it to school in my lunch bag every day for months at a time, little dreaming that people outside the Keystone State had never heard of it. Not to mention one of my favorite meals, pot pie (and no, for you outsiders, The Colonel doesn't even know what it is). But I guess I'm not from Western Pennsylvania any more...I've no idea who "Cope" is.
· You think driving from Johnstown to Ebensburg is a long trip.
· "Hey Yunz Guyz" is a greeting.
· You take time off of work/school for the entire 3 days of doe season.
· You know the location of the following towns, know someone from them, and have spent time there: Grampian, Stahlstown, Creekside, Kittanning, Brush Valley, and Davidsville
· You've taken deliberate field trips to Old Bedford Village and Ft. Ligonier.
· You know what to do when your Mother tells you to "Redd up your room."
· You feel the only good bands out there are Donny Iris, Joe Grushecky and the Iron City House Rockers, and The Clarks.
· You know the time and location of every Wing Night in a 10 mile radius.
· You complain about people who are on the news crying about their wet basements after a hard rain and reply with a comment like, "That's not a flood, Johnstown in '77 was a flood."
· There are pictures of you as a small child with the deer your dad or grandfather killed.
· You think people from Philly talk funny.
· You own an original Terrible Towel.
· You don't understand what all the hype is about for Rolling Rock. You've been drinking it for years.
· You consider an exotic vacation a trip to the Jersey shore.
· Your version of the English language contains no form of the verb "to be." For example, the car needs washed instead of the car needs to be washed.
· You're 45 years old, have never been outside of Cambria County, and don't see the need to leave.
· You only own three spices: salt, pepper, ketchup.
· You design your Halloween costume to fit over a snowsuit.
· You have more miles on your snowblower than your car.
· You have 10 favorite recipes for venison.
· Driving is better in the winter because the potholes are filled with snow.
· You think sexy lingerie is tube socks and a flannel nightie.
· You owe more money on your snowmobile than your car.
· Your snowblower gets stuck on your roof.
· The local paper covers National and International headlines on 1/4 page but requires six pages for sports.
· You think the start of deer hunting is a National Holiday.
· You head south to go to your cottage.
· You know which leaves make good toilet paper.
· You find -20F "a little" chilly.
· The trunk of your car doubles as a deep freezer.
· You know the four seasons: Winter, Still Winter, Almost Winter, and Construction.
· The municipality buys a Zamboni before a school bus.
· You don't understand how anyone could watch a football game without either halupki, halushki, or kielbossa.
· You remember fondly days of youth known as "Snow Days."
· You don't understand why all sports commentators don't sound more like Cope.
· Words like: gumband; buggy; hoagie; chipped ham; and pop actually mean something to you.
· You can use the phrase "Firehall Wedding" and not even bat an eye.
· You actually get these jokes and forward them to all your Pennsylvania friends...
Sunday, August 29 1999
What do you mean I'm not God?
No new class pages today, but there were some major updates to Nanty Glo's
Class of '48 and Nanty Glo-Vintondale's Class of 1960. And there was a
single update to Vintondale's Class of 1945.
As things are finally settling down, tonight I'll try an essay.
I still haven't learned that I'm not the center of the universe.
Most evenings here in Marina del Rey I walk out Ocean Walk for a couple of
miles toward Santa Monica, and ride the bus back to my apartment at dusk.
The first bus I should have caught tonight buzzed by without stopping, which
is not all that unusual, and as I carry a book along to read while waiting,
I shouldn't have minded. Still, it's the principal that bus drivers think
they don't have to stop if you haven't signalled; just being at the bus
stop doesn't mean anything I guess....
The bus in a hurry was relatively empty. The next one, 10 or 15 minutes
later, had standing room only, but that kind of figures, doesn't it? If they
stop, people will get on. I'd have probably made my connection less than a
mile up Main Street for the bus that passes my apartment on Washington
Boulevard if the first bus had stopped, but as it was the next bus was the
longest in coming that I've ever had to wait. A good half hour. I board it
at the beginning of its return route into Culver City, so I got a seat, but
it was also the most crowded, after the first and second stops, that I've
ever seen it.
There's a sign just behind the driver that says passengers are to exit by
the back door. Hardly anyone ever does, crowding to the front and making
would-be new passengers wait until they get off. But I usually try to sit as
close to the back door as possible to be the exception.
I pulled the cord
for my stop and verified that the light had come on because, the bus being
so full, I couldn't hear whether the bell rang with the cord pull or not.
The bus stopped and I walked to the back door and started pushing on the
rails. It was the type of door that requires some emission of steam before
it opens. No steam. No green light. Push, shove. The bus is starting to go
Of course, in such a noisy bus I had to yell at the top of my voice to be
heard: "I'm trying to open the door back here!" Of course there's nothing
more embarrassing than having to yell at the top of my voice in a public
place, and nothing more infuriating than being embarrassed in public.
"Calm down," the driver responded, and after detaining me another minute she
pressed whatever it is that releases the steam and makes possible opening
Calm down!? Like it's my fault I try to exit the back door like the sign
says and the back door won't open?
The only thing she could have possibly said that would have helped me calm
down would have been some variation of, "Oops, sorry; try it now." That way
she would have at least been acknowledging that she was partly to blame
since she's the one who controls the steam-powered door. And after all, I
had rung her bell, I was standing in the doorwell.
Calm down, of course, just had the opposite effect. I was kicking the
elevator in the apartment building minutes later and slammed my door as hard
as I could to announce my arrival back in my empty apartment. Calm down?
Now, of course, I have calmed down and I wonder what all that was about.
Lord, help me to stop trying to take Your job!
And I'll stop trying to exit by the back door.
Saturday, August 28 1999
No new pages!
For the first day in a couple of weeks we have neither any new high school class pages or additions to existing pages to report today!
We did receive a new reminiscence for the Forum, from George Dilling, on the days when streetcars connected Nanty Glo with Ebensburg and Johnstown, and Woodland Park. Check it out.
Also, Mary Ann sent this in response to a number of virus warnings that have been posed here by members in the past week:
I know a few people have sent some of these supposed "virus alerts" around
via the home page mailing list. I thought I could try to clear up some of
them by sending this link to a Virus Protection Software site that lists
those that are real and not.
Feel free to send this out so that the others know some of this list. I know
I have just seen the one on "Bug's Life" and the "Budweiser Frog" one, and
probably a few others as well..
I appreciate the updates from all who send them. Remember that there is a virus warning link permanently on the Home Page front page, down toward the bottom. One of the page's first readers told me recently she never scrolled down the page before a few days ago! There are a lot of good things "below the flashing photos"; if you've never scrolled down, you may have been missing most of what's available on the site.
Friday, August 27 1999
More class page updates
Our only new page today is Nanty Glo High School's Class of 1948.
Bonnie Farabaugh pointed out that, although I'd said the classes of 1969,
1985 and 1986 were online, the cells for them on the Schools Page didn't
have links. I greatly appreciate the tip and urge all to check the classes
and updates they've sent in via the Schools Home Page and let me know if you
see any discrepancies.
Thursday, August 26 1999
Class page news
Our entirely new pages today are the Classs of 1934 (Nanty Glo) and 1985.
Well, in a sense the Class of 1934 isn't entirely new. The members were
online already yesterday, but as part of the Class of 1935. I think we've
straightened out the misunderstanding and both are reflective of their true
And the Class of 1985 is online through the generous support of Lisa Johns,
who offered to help beyond just submitting the list, and ended up formatting
the page for web publication. Thanks, Lisa!
Also updated today is the page for the Class of 1971 thanks to Susan Barker
who submitted additional information, like married names, locations, and
occupations for most of the members. Thanks, Susan.
So I believe we're caught up again. Oh, a tip for being helpful: All classes
after 1967 are Blacklick Valley High School. But prior to 1967 all classes
are ambiguous...could be any of four other Valley schools between 1930 and
1967. So please specifiy which school it is if you're sending lists or
Wednesday, August 25 1999
'49, '69, '86
Today I added pages for the classes of 1949 and 1969 for Nanty Glo High
School, and 1986 for Blacklick Valley. I got through all the corrections
received for pages already online and as of this writing am caught up, so
far as I know. If anyone knows otherwiseif you sent something that isn't
yet onlineplease let me know. No need at this point to resend anything, as
I don't (intentionally) delete email that I might need to use, even after
it's been used. Just let me know if something was sent but went unnoticed,
with the approximate date it was sent, and I'll do a search.
I feel like I've run a marathon but it's great to have seen the finish line
of the first great wave of class lists.
There are now 49 class pages online, with still about 75 classes not heard
from. Again, thanks for all your help.
Tuesday, August 24, 1999
Added a page for the Nanty Glo High School class of 1952, and updated the
page for the Class of 1935. Most importantly, perhaps, added a scrolling
marquee to the School Pages Home page, for publicizing reunions and other
class news (classes of 1949, Nanty Glo, and 1979 both have reunions next
month). Check it out at http://www.nantyglo.com/schlpgs.htm. Several
corrections to existing pages were received but not yet added.
Pages have been received for the Nanty Glo Class of 1953 and Blacklick
Valley Class of 1986.
Monday, August 23 1999
More than expected
I exceeded expectations for today by getting not the hoped for "final four"
pages online, but those four plus one more that came in late yesterday. Add
these to the colored cells: Nanty Glo-Vintondale Class of 1960, and
Blacklick Valley High School Classes of 1976, 77, 78, and 81.
I also created and added a "How it works" page making permanent the tips
provided through this forum week before last on how you can help get the
pages online sooner.
You can check it out at http://www.nantyglo.com/howitworx.htm .
That's the good news. The "bad news" is that already I have on hand two more
class lists waiting to be formatted. They're Nanty Glo High School Classes
of 1952 and '53, courtesy of Frank Charney, who continues on a roll. No
seriously, I'm grateful for each new class list received, even if it's a
year till I catch up with all of them (and actually, I expect it to be a
never-ending task, but one that gets lighter as the majority of class lists
are online and only details need filling in). Already I've received a number
of emails filling me in on detailsEd Lekawa's son, Dan, informs that Ed
lives in Anaheim, not Pasadena, for example. And so far, I'm keeping abreast
of those as they come in.
Please "proofread" your class list to see if it's correct, or if you can add
any "married names," cities or towns, occupations, or email addresses.
Sunday, August 22 1999
Blacklick Valley pages added
Today's new pages are all ones for Blacklick Valley High Schoolclasses of
1974, 75, 79, and 82. The Class of 1982 was submitted twice, and moved up in
the sequence by virtue of the fact that one of its submitters also sent in a
number of other lists. The Class of '79 was moved ahead because they have a
reunion coming up next month (it was also submitted twice).
We also made major changes and additions today to the pages for 1951 (Nanty
Glo), and 1980.
To help you avoid submitting a class that we've already received but haven't
put online yet, here are the ones awaiting that process: 1976, 77, 78, 81,
and 1960 (Nanty Glo-Vintondale).
Thanks to all who've helped make this project so successful.
Saturday, August 21 1999
Lots of new class pages
Another long day...and night...still trying to catch up. Today we added
pages for Nanty Glo 1951, and Blacklick Valley 1970, 1971, and 1972.
Already received and waiting to be formatted this weekend, all for Blacklick
Valley: 1974, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 81, and 82. Also on hand are some updates,
already, to the Nanty Glo class of 1951.
If you sent updates for any page already online, please check the page(s)
now; I believe they're all up to date. Please let me know if I missed
Friday, August 20 1999
First movie; international dinner
Entry for Friday, August 20
Lots of topics this late night.
Today we added the first movie clip to the Nanty Glo Home Page. To see it,
you'll probably need a 56bps modem (smaller-capacity carriers may take
"forever" to download it and may time out before doing so), and in some
cases even then you may have difficulty (please let me know if you do). I'm
not sure if you also need a movie player (believe you will), but if you do
and didn't get one with your computer, there's a link to a free one on the
page. This clip is from our footage of the trip to Santa Catalina described
last weekend. Go to the Jonal Page, scroll down to Monday's entry about the
Catalina trip, and click on the still photo that's on the page to go to the
movie clip. Or, more simply, go here:
The idea, of course, is to put clips from Blacklick Valley on the site as
soon as feasible. All the video I have from the Valley is about 400 miles
away, so that will have to wait awhile. This is an experiment to move in
that direction. Meanwhile, if you have valley video clips in file format,
I'll be glad to take a look at them with an eye to putting them on the page
:-). Strictly speaking, of course, the "moving pictures" on our front page
are also "movies," known in cyberspeak as "animated gifs." But there are
The other big news is that now we have a substantial Vintondale High School
page on the School Pages site. My brother Tom came through with the list (or
most of it) for the Class of 1945. Go to http://www.nantyglo.com/schlpgs.htm
to check it out. There are still lots of pages to put online, and my
apologies to those who sent pages in days ago and haven't seen them online
as yet. In the interest of balance I wanted to have a substantial Vintondale
page on the directory as soon as possible. Tomorrow we'll plan to go back to
the earliest lists received but not yet added, and resume adding them.
Finally, and by no means least, there's this, another walk down memory lane
from Paul Semindinger:
Hi Jon :
Iniated by Father Peter Bodenscatz around 1945 or
thereabout, dinner tickets were sold for an ethnic eve of sampling
different foods from different countries. Nanty Glo was a natural for
this endeavor. The tour originated at the Silver Hall around 5:30
p.m., and cars were already there and waiting. The tickets were in
different colors that represented ethnic designations. Several
families of Polish, Slavic, Irish, Hungarian and Italian background pooled
together and used one house as guest house. The diners were driven
to one of the designations, then criscrossed all over town until the
tickets were all used. It was very successful, as everything was
donated, including the cars, drivers and gasoline. This was a fund
raising endeavor of St. Mary's church...the school auditorium was
then called the Silver Hall.... Can you imagine the planning this must
have taken? Those were the days of party line phones, and the use of
an operator to make a call.
Thought you might enjoy this tidbit of early Nanty Glo history. Paul
Thursday, August 19, 1999
More class pages
Tonight I created and added new pages for the Blacklick Township High School
classes of 1961,
1964, 1965, and 1966.
Go to http://www.nantyglo.com/schlpgs.htm to check them out.
Wednesday, August 17 1999
Vintondale comes through
Finally, there's a yellow cell in the Vintondale High School class pages
links area, with five members of the Class of 1950 online. But,
ironically, the list comes not from a Vintondale alumnus, but from our
frequent contributor Frank Charney, who remembers these graduates
About them, Frank writes: "Gloria Balest (maiden name) was a sister to
Luise Balest. Luise married Frank Edwards and both worked for the Nanty
Glo Journal. Perhaps you knew or heard of both. Frank is deceased.
"Walter Nemesh was killed in a lone car accident in July, 1990, in
Somerset County. Walter was an usher at my wedding approximately 25 years
earlier. Several years earlier, Walter's parents died in a
fire that destroyed their hotel and bar. The incident remains a mystery to
"Al Pisaneschi and I attended Pitt together in the early fifties."
I vaguely remember hearing of Balests, and the Nanty Glo Journal
connection "rings a bell," but I can't say I specifically remember either
Louise or her husband. I remember the Journal as having three editors: H.
O. Eldridge, Andy Rogalski, and myself, with bureau chiefs or news editors
thereafter. Eldridge was living in Michigan in retirement when I joined
the paper full time, but I don't remember ever meeting him. My Journal
memories begin with the dynamic duo of Andy Rogalski and Betty Nedrich,
and of course I got to know Gerald Newman (the ad manager) and
founder-publisher Herman Sedloff while writing the teen column and later
Tuesday, August 17 1999
New class pages
News pages were put online today for Blacklick Township High School
classes of 1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, and 1953.
Monday, August 16 1999
26 miles across the sea
Decided to get away from the school classes topic for a day and write
about something totally different; my weekend, in particular my Saturday.
(Though work is continuing to catch up on the backlog of class information
accumulated thus far.)
Despite a heavier workload than normal on my paying job as well, I spent
Saturday on a trip to Santa Catalina Island, my first. Do you remember the
pop song of the early '60's, "Twenty-six miles, across the sea, Santa
Catalina is a-waitin for me. Santa Catalina, the island of romance"? Well
I've seen pictures and even movies of it in the intervening years, and
planned to go some day, but it kept eluding me. On Thursday, Karl, my
supervisor here whose wife and family are back home in Indiana state, said
he wanted to make a visit to the island, and I said I did too, so we
planned on making a day of it.
Click photo above for the Nanty Glo Home Page's first-ever
movie. NOTICE: For best results you should have at least a 56bps modem;
wait until the page is fully loaded, then click on the play arrow.
It's 22 miles from Long Beach, where we departed; the song might have been
referring to the San Pedro (LA) departure point. Twenty-two miles is far
enough, especially on a low-cloud-cover day like we had for the trip
(though it was bright and beautiful once we arrived), that one shore goes
out of view before the other appears. Approximately two hours each way,
the round-trip goes for $25. And although I've been on ocean voyages
before (most notably ferries from Wales to Ireland and back), this boat
was much smaller than those ships (which carried probably dozens of tour
busses and hundreds of cars as well as thousands of passengers), and it
was the rockiest sailing I've ever had. Didn't make me seasick, but did
make me want to keep pretty still for quite a while (just on the verge,
maybe). The return, with "a following sea," as Karl, a Coast Guard reserve
commander, put it, was much easier.
There's only one town, Avalon, on the island, and it has a permanent
population of about 3,000, the only industry being tourism. So it's very
quaint, with lots of nice hotels, restaurants and shops, and not terribly
expensive. Of course it's not the Hawaiian Islands so it has to try harder
to compete. But it's a beautiful place; the town very quaint and colorful,
and the island very rugged; an immense mountain rising out of the ocean
and except for a couple of valleys like the one Avalon's in, almost
straight up. There are few cars and trucks, and tourists can rent only
gasoline-engine golf carts or join tour busses to get around. The island
was developed by the Wrigleys of chewing gum fame and fortune, the same
ones whom Wrigley Field in Chicago is named for.
Our highlight was a "partially submersible" "submarine" ride to see the
undersea world (it didn't really submerge; the lower deck is always under
water). At $22 each (senior discount) it was pretty expensive, but other
people were going scuba diving and we thought this would be as close as we
could get to that. We felt it was worth it. The fish and kelp and other
underwater flora are amazing. Otherwise, we just toured around on foot. We
got sunburned, I got sore feet, and we were both very tired. We sailed
from Long Beach at 10 a.m. and got back about 8:30 p.m....a day well spent.
Just a day playing tourist, which we all need once in a while.
Friday, August 13 1999
Well, we're awash in riches. The day began with four more partial lists of
Blacklick Township classes ('61, '64, '65 and '66), from Linda Watson
Silbaugh. Then I received a complete class list for the Blacklick Valley
Class of 1973 from Lois Dilling Matvey. It being the first received for
the consolidated school district, I added it today, as well as the Nanty
Glo-Vintondale Class of 1957 received yesterday from Lou Hahl. Finally, I
received lists for Blacklick Valley for 1970 to 1975 from Mary Ann
Though I'm grateful for lists received in any condition or form, mistakes
and all, if you want to help, here are some things that will make it
easier to get them online faster:
List the names alphabetically, first name first.
List women by their maiden name in alphabetical order, followed by their
married names, if you know them, ==out of order.==
Mabel Deffenberg Wilson
Do not use any parentheses around the maiden names--no ().
If you know town or city, occupation, and/or email address, list this way:
Jake Essen Connemaugh retired teacher firstname.lastname@example.org
Don't give additional address details. I feel it's not appropriate to
publish them, especially without permission. If anyone has a known online
personal home page, please do include it. For example, after the above
info, you could add: http://www.nantyglo.com/jakespage.htm
Again, if you already have lists in some file format, don't worry about
these niceties, but they will speed the process if you're able to follow
them. It will probably be sometime next week before I catch up, and I'm
betting the pile will get even higher before that point.
Thanks so much for all your participation; I have a feeling this is going
to be the favorite department ever added to the Nanty Glo Home Page. I
find myself seeing names I haven't thought of in years and thinking,
"Oh...that's interesting," and I know once a lot of this type of
information is available, many of you will find the browsing very
interesting, and filling in the blanks is going to give us lots of
satisfaction. More fun than bingo, huh?
Thursday, August 12 1999
Blacklick Twp. makes quantum leap
For a while today, Nanty Glo-Vintondale and Blacklick Township high
schools were tied with pages for two classes each. Nanty Glo-Vintondale's
class of 1958 was added to yesterday's class of 1963 to match Blacklick
Twp.'s classes of 1960 and '63. But then Lou Hahl, whom we all met here in
the Jonal and on the list several times in the past week, came through
with info on more than 20 classes for Blacklick Township, including an
entry from the Class of '34. I said last night that George Dilling's Nanty
Glo Class of '35 would be a challenge. And inasmuch as George's listings
are nearly complete and Lou had only one member of the Class of '34,
there's still a challenge. But...Lou provided us enough to color the BTHS
cells for all the classes from 1934 through 1944 as of tonight, and there
are still many more we haven't had time to format as yet, to be added
And is it ironic that Blacklick Valley is yet to get a first class page,
considering how the younger generation is supposedly so much more computer
savvy than we oldtimers? Maybe it takes 10 years of forgetting high school
days before you can begin looking on them with fondness again...but some
of those classes have had 20 years already!
Incidentally, Lou also sent me a list for the Nanty Glo-Vintondale Class
of 1957 (in case anyone else was about to send it). I believe he got many
of these from saved newspaper clippings of graduation photos, and
mistakenly thought the Nanty Glo-Vintondale group was Blacklick Township,
but I recognized too many of the names (including Bill Martin's) to be
fooled. I'll try to get that posted tomorrow.
Please go over your class page if it's online and make any additions or
corrections you can. Peggy Lou Dilling Walker asked me to correct her name
from the one the school used to her preference, and of course I'm happy to
oblige with any such requests (especially if, as in her case, your
preference is the name you were known by in school rather than the one on
the records). But I'm a firm believer in peoples' right to choose their
The use of Peggy's name above is how I plan to handle "maiden names" and
married names. I will list women alphabetically =according to their birth
surnames=, with their married names following. Thus people who remember
Peggy as Peggy Lou Dilling will find her among the D's, even though her
present last name begins with W. I'm also going to drop the parentheses
often used around "maiden" names. On many of the lists we know the maiden
names but not married names, also, and putting them alphabetically by
birth name as a matter of policy will prevent having to reshuffle the
decks once corrections start coming in.
FINALLY, for today, my apologies to anyone who has written me in the past
week or so and has not received an answer. I've sent many, but am now led
to believe that they weren't received by the addressees. There's some
problem with my mail server and I think its initials are MSN, as in
Microsoft Network. I seem to be receiving mail fine, but my answers are
going out to end up in some dead letter box without so much as a "bounce"
message coming back.
Wednesday, August 11 1999
Latest Additions to the Page
Keeping up with the new school pages project is time consuming, as I
imagined it would be, so I'm going to limit tonight's comments to what's
new on the site.
Today we added two more class pages, both with fairly complete lists of
members. The Nanty Glo class of 1935 is online and should be a challenge
for our more mature participants. Can anyone top that? And the Nanty
Glo-Vintondale class of 1958 is also online. So the standings are:
Blacklick Valley 0 pages, Blacklick Township 2, Nanty Glo 1, Nanty
Glo-Vintondale 1, and Vintondale 0.
Besides these pages, check out George Dilling's latest contributions.
Newcomers (and our list is at 101 members now) should be told that Mr.
Dilling spent 73 years in Nanty Glo (and is now retired and living out of
the area). His latest recollections are a grandstand at the municipal
recreation field, and swimming holes on the Blacklick Creek before it was
polluted with sulphur from Revloc Mine (that would be upstream, near the
creek's source). Fascinating reading.
Tuesday, August 10 1999
Ah, the Capitol Theater
Today's entry is a guest essay by Paul Simendinger
Ah, the Capitol Theatre. It was built for Vitaphone, which was another
way of describing the newest sound of the era. Vitaphone was a huge
speaker located in the center of the screen. It sat atop a platform on
wheels, which could be rolled away for stage performances.
All seats were leather and repairing one rip or tear took about a half
hour. The lights (12) were lowered by rope to be relamped. We changed
every bulb when we had it down. There were four circuits for each light
and they were plugged in in the ceiling. We had to be careful that we
did not mix the lights as we had red, green yellow and white. The
theatre orginally had over a thusand seats, but when they enacted a
federal amusement tax, the last row in the center and several rows in the
front were removed to keep in the lower category of tax. Our air
conditioning was basic. The air was pulled in from the outside, and
passed over a room filled with blocks of ice, then pushed up to the
ceiling and out to the auditorium. We had to pump the pressure up for the
fan to run at the higher speeds...and it worked. All summer long we
had a banner out front advertising the air conditioning.
POSTERS: All advertising was rented, and had to be returned to National
Screen Service in Pittsburgh. We used stills (8x10's, 11x14's, 22x28's,
1-sheets, 40x60's) which were displayed in the front of the theatre, and
3-sheets, 6-sheets and 24-sheets which were pasted onto the billboards
along Chestnut and First Street. The 24-sheet in the alley near the Ford
dealer was advertising "the Capitol Theatre, the showplace of Cambria
There were four changes of films per week: Sunday...which was always a
double feature, Monday and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday and
Saturday. Wednesday/Thursday was dish or silverware or cosmetic
(Constance Bennett) nights. Friday was sign-in night for the drawing of
bank nite on Saturday. They signed a proxie slip
and were eligible for the drawing. I was the drum turner for many years
and assisted Mr. John Gustin, the high school principal, in the
drawings. We had over 30,000 people signed up for the drawings, and
it took four books on stage to see if they were signed up....
Enough for now, will give more information later. If anyone has any
questions, I will attempt to answer them.
Thanks very much, Paul; excellent info.
Remember, everyone, if you haven't sent in your class list yet for the new
Valley school pages, please do so. Thus far, Blacklick Township is way out
in front, with two classes online, compared to zero for each of the other
schools. You don't have to know all the names; just send those you
remember to get the ball rolling for your class.
Monday, August 9, 1999
There seems to be support for yesterday's school pages proposal, so I'll
proceed to the next step. The home page for this new department is at
http://www.nantyglo.com/schlpgs.htm. From there,
go to the Blacklick TOWNSHIP section and click on 60. As that's my class,
I knew enough names from it to create a sample page. However, even it is
far from a complete list.
There seems to be ambiguity about when Blacklick VALLEY High School had
its first graduating class. One writer says 1967 was the last graduating
class of the old districts, which would make 1968 the first Blacklick
Valley class. But another writer says the first to graduate at the new
school was 1970. I'm assuming based on this that the jointure became a
fact in 1968 and graduates that year were Blacklick Valley, even though
the school BUILDING was not yet finished. So I'm making pages for
Blacklick TOWNSHIP and Nanty Glo-Vintondale through 1967, beginning
Blacklick VALLEY in 1968. If this is incorrect, please let me know.
Now...please, everyone, if you were a member of a class at any of these
five high schools, please send in your own name and as many of your
classmates as you can remember. If you know residence towns or cities,
occupations of anyone (from self-employed to retired), and email
addresses, please include them. But if all you have is names, please send
as many as you can. Include names of deceased classmates too, and note
that fact if you KNOW it to be a fact.
Thanks for all your help.
Sunday, August 8, 1999
A modest proposal for school pages
Thanks to Robert Noel for informing us that, indeed, someone (at least)
has moved from Ebensburg to Nanty Glo!
I'm not going to do a thought for today but rather make a proposal to see
what you think. I've been mulling this for a while and want to know if
there is support for it.
Though I appreciate the posts from Ron Weekes advocating existing school
class pages on the Internet, and in general I don't want to duplicate
effort, I can't help feeling the Nanty Glo Home Page should offer a
similar service for all the classes of Nanty Glo, Vintondale, Nanty
Glo-Vintondale, Blacklick Township and, of course, Blacklick Valley, high
schools. My plan would be to have a page, or a section of a page, for each
class that still has survivors around who want to keep in touch. Members
would be listed in a table with the following headings: Name, now residing
in or last known residence (giving city only), occupation, and email
address if any. Names would be linked to a personal home page where more
information could be given at the discretion of the individual. Each
page would also include links to any class pictures or memorabilia
received for posting, as well as the date and contacts for the next
I would not limit it to graduates only; anyone who attended a class for
some time and either moved or dropped out before graduating would be
eligible for listing (my own Blacklick class has this policy toward
reunion attendance, and it seems wise to me).
My biggest question would be what to do about Valley class members of
Bishop Carroll, County Vo-Tech, and any other schools outside the valley,
as I definitely wouldn't be interested in listing all class members of
those schools. Perhaps the purpose of the listing should be assisting in
class reunions, but I'd appreciate suggestions.
What do you think? Are you willing to be listed and list your classmates
who aren't online? Tomorrow I'll try to put online a sample of how the
page might work.
Saturday, August 7, 1999
Town rivalries; beer brands
Saturday, August 7, 1999
I guess we're a thoughtful lot. The discussion on the Capitol Theater didn't take off until two days after it was posted, and we finally got Joe Millward's reply to the list about the Nanty Glo/Ebensburg rivalry on Friday. And a good one it was.
Our Nanty Glo gang of circa 1960 attended Ebensburg teen canteen dances fairly often, and always had the same impression (we were second rate in their view). It never came to anything serious, that I recall; making an issue of it in any way would have been too uncool. And we did get along well enough, but there was always that uneasiness. And I must confess I had slightly judgmental feelings for anyone who moved from Nanty Glo to Ebensburg. It seemed the thing to do when anyone "arrived" or reached a certain level of success. I wonder if that still happens? For one thing, Ebensburg isn't nearly as pretty as it used to be (or is that my perception only?), and Nanty Glo is far more attractive than it was. Ironically, though coal mining is much cleaner than it was, Ebensburg is the mining town now.
I don't know that this rivalry existed with any other community; when we went to dances in Johnstown we were too insignificant to even be noticed. In Lilly, which had a lot in common with Nanty Glo, we were out-of-towners but felt like equals. The feeling of rivalry probably hovered over Nanty Glo and Ebensburg because they were so much alike and so few miles apart. For a decade or so, Nanty Glo boasted of being the largest borough which, since Ebensburg had been started a century earlier, probably cut a bit. But that claim to prominence is long past.
Another thought for today, on a totally different topic. This occurred to me on my walk earlier this evening, when I saw a T-shirt with the inscription, "Life is full of important decisions," above pictures of a dozen different brands of beer cans. Who of a certain age, growing up in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, would have ever imagined that one day Iron City and Duquesne would fade into history, and Rolling Rock would become a national brand? I wonder if, once they sold Gulf Oil to Standard of California, the Mellons, Scaifs, Mellon-Scaifs or whoever they are had nothing better to do with their money than put it into making the family brew a household word? Or is it just that good? (I personally wouldn't know.)
Remember when a huge Iron City billboard was as much a Johnstown landmark as the Inclined Plane?
Friday, August 6, 1999
Frank Charney writes in response to my hazy recollection of Alexander the Great (the movie, that is):
Marlon Brando was in "Julius Caesar" in 1953. Richard Burton starred in
"Alexander the Great" in 1956. I can't believe the movies are that old,
because I was a great moviegoer back then.
Marlon Brando was the first name that popped into my head and I immediately thought it wasn't right. Racked my brain. "Oh, I know who it was...he was married to Elizabeth Taylor--twice. I took pictures of his family home in Wales...." But Brando was all I could think of. I should have used the Alta Vista search engine on the home page!
Trudy had this addition to our discussion of where the name Blacklick originates:
I sometimes forget, in my position as Public Relations and Special Events Coordinator, that I work IN a library.
Therefore, using my head for something other than a hatrack for a change, I found this, to answer my own question.
Black Lick--A town in Indiana County, PA, which enters the Conemaugh from the north. Given the Indian name, Naeskahoni, "Black lick" Neeskiu means black, mahony, a lick. Translation, the salt lick with dark water. The town settled in 1807 and laid out in 1860, was named for a nearby coal-black creek, which once contained a salt lick.
I understand that there is such a phenomenon as natural salt licks.
Wanda writes this:
This is (about) "last week's column" -- while I was
on vacation. I just want to mention that when I was
subscribing to the Scotch-Irish E-List, Linda Merle -
the moderator--said that "redd" is Scottish. I said
I was always told it was Pa. Dutch, but she said the
Scottish people settled in that part of Pa., too.
So, this is proof that the Scotch-Irish settled
in Western Pa. too. (Also), incidentally, she mentioned that
Scotch-Irish is really an American term to indicate
that one has ancestors born in both Scotland and
Ireland--not that they intermarried, but that after
the Scots migrated to Northern Ireland in the 1600s, their
offspring would have been Scots but born in Ireland
with Irish citizenship, resulting in calling them
I can believe that "redd" is Scots-Irish; don't recall where I heard it was Pennsylvania Dutch. Scots-Irish has lots of complications. My study of the Kennedy clan has turned up the fact that there's a Kennedy area on the clan maps of Scotland, but that they probably migrated to Scotland from Ireland centuries ago. Ireland was part of Great Britain centuries earlier than Scotland was, which I find difficult to keep in mind.
Both Oliver Cromwell and King William sent Scots to Ireland to convert it rom Catholic to Protestant, but mostly they ended up just settling in nine or so counties in the northeast of Ireland, which is the reason the country is divided to this day. Most of the Protestants in those counties (where they are in the majority) are Scots-Irish, and I think the term has been used for any Protestant Irish in Pennsylvania, too. And Pittsburgh really is the center of Scots-Irish immigration to America. Though they're dispersed throughout the country, too, still a third of all Presbyterians (whose ethnic roots are Scots and Scots-Irish) live within a 100-mile radius of Pittsburgh (though I'm Eastern Orthodox now, I spent about 20 years as a Presbyterian minister). I'm always interested in more on this topic.
...Not a correction, but in answer to my question about Jimmy Stewart, Paul ceria wote: "Jimmy Stewart's father owned a hardware store in Indiana, Pa. It was still
open when I was going to college in those days. For a while, he displayed
the Oscar Jimmy had won in the front window of his store."
I've heard about the Oscar being in the window for a long time (it's a Hollywood legend), but although I was in Stewart's Hardware many times in my youth, sad to say I don't remember seeing it.
And Lou Hahl added this on that topic: "Regarding Jimmy Stewart, when I was a young child of 3-5 years of age, our family lived in Indiana. We lived just next to Jimmy Stewart's father, who ran a hardware store. My father (deceased) and Jimmy's father were good friends. We operated the Rustic Lodge."
Thursday, August 5, 1999
The Capitol - 2
Today's entry is a return to the Capitol Theater discussion of several
nights ago, contributed by Frank Charney, now of Arlington, Va.
My memories of the Capitol Theater were those rare occasions where
students from St. Mary's Catholic School were allowed to attend a movie on
a school day. As restless youngsters, the students always enjoyed the
brief escape from the strict discipline of the classroom, and there was
discipline in those days. The sisters marched the students as a group to
the Capitol Theater where the featured movie was either "Song of
Bernadette" (1943) with Jennifer Jones in her first film role (did any of
you know that the beautiful actress, Linda Darnell, was unbilled as the
Virgin Mary in "Bernadette?"), or "Going My Way" (1944) with Bing Crosby
and Barry Fitzgerald. There were no Bruce Willis-type movies in that era.
At the Capitol, many of the older generation also recall the many Abbott
and Costello movies that had you either laughing, or crying in a movie
with the East Side Kids (Leo Gorcey, Huntz Hall) when James Cagney had his
appointment with the electric chair.
Also, the Capitol Theater management (Mr. Bello) awarded an entire
dinnerware set, acquired one piece at a time, to women for attending a
weekly Thursday night feature. Many of those sets can be seen in china
cabinets in homes today.
More movie trivia. Most Cambria County natives are probably aware that
Charles Bronson (Buchinski) of Death Wish 10 fame is originally from
Ehrenfeld (South Fork). He visited the Ebensburg area about three years
ago. Charlie is 78 years of age.
Carroll Baker of '50s and '60s
movie fame was born in Johnstown. She is 68.
I once heard that Gene Kelly (now deceased), a Pittsburgh native and Penn
State graduate, had a dance studio in Johnstown and gave lessons in Nanty
Glo. I can't confirm this. And we all know about James Stewart from
Indiana, Pa., who recently passed away in his late eighties. Jimmy's
unique speech can be a good topic for area dialect discussion.
Best Regards, Frank Charney
Frank's description of the St. Mary's School outings to the Capitol
reminds me of a couple of vignettes. Students who attended first through
fourth grades at Belsano School, as I did, attended fifth grade in a
classroom in the Blacklick Township high school building, Red Mill Road at Rt. 271. When the high school had assemblies
with movies, which was also rare, we fifth graders got to attend, even
though the movies were usually over our heads. The year I was in fifth
grade, at Easter, the senior class sold raffle tickets for an Easter ham.
My parents, especially my Baptist mother, were very anti-gambling and
virtually never bought such tickets, but they bought one, only one, of
these to avoid offending the student and neighbor who came to the door
At the Easter week movie assembly in the school gym, who should Principal
Elmer Smith call to come up and pull the lucky ticket out of the barrell
but me. And whose ticket did I pull (and it was one of those rare
instances when I just knew this was going to happen), but, of course, my
parents'. Triple embarrassment.
I remember a school outing (when in junior high in Twin Rocks) once to the
Capitol. We saw Alexander the Great, with, I believe, Marlon Brando as
Alexander. I'd never heard of Alexander the Great, but it was an
impressive movie experience.
Does anyone have any memories, direct or indirect with local tie-in, of
Wednesday, August 4 1999
Nanty Glo "versus" Ebensburg
I've written elsewhere about my memories of Levinson's Department Store "in the dark
ages," my earliest specific childhood memory of Nanty Glo, and two days ago wrote
about my job at the Capitol Theater, my first long-term involvement in town. At that time
Blacklick Township and Nanty Glo were in a form of competition, having separate schools,
and many Blacklick Township residents considered Ebensburg, not Nanty Glo, their main
town. In fact, about half the township's mailing addresses (by my "guesstimate")
are Ebensburg R.D.2 (as was ours on Red Mill Road).
My first newspaper writing job (the humblest writing job there is, no doubt) was for
the Ebensburg weekly, the Mountaineer Herald, and whereas Ebensburg was a nice,
pretty, and white-collar town, Nanty Glo in those days was smelly, sooty, rough-edged, and
more black collar than blue collar. A highlight of my junior high years had been the
discovery that you can "tour" the courthouse, and I considered it a fascinating
place. My brother Bob had graduated from Ebensburg-Cambria High School and in his late 20s
(he was twice my age then) he dated an Ebensburg woman whom I also liked a lot. My primal
instincts were to cast my lot with Ebensburg. My own "girlfriend" (I put it in
quotes because it has a different meaning at age 13) was from Nanty Glo, but we saw each
other mostly in Ebensburg, at the roller skating rink.
During my 15th year, however, that changed. First, my brother Gary was killed, as
documented elsewhere in a Forum account, and I naturally wanted to learn as much about his
life then as I could. He had been more involved in Nanty Glo. A few weeks later the editor
of the Journal, Andy Rogalski, accepted my proposal to do the teen column for that
paper, after it had been turned down by the Mountaineer Herald, which was a major
step away from Ebensburg and toward Nanty Glo. I started hitchhiking to Nanty Glo
frequently, for movies and meetings with Rogalski, who took me under his wing ashe
actually used this term"his protege."
Then I got the job at the Capitol, which led to my friendship with John Golias, as
related earlier, which led to my getting to know a couple of dozen high school kids in
Nanty Glo and forming a circle of friends there that I spent time with just about every
day from age 16 until the group started dispersing for jobs in out-of-state locations in
their early 20s.
I've bored you enough with details of my youth, but thought the competition between
Nanty Glo and Blacklick Township, and especially Ebensburg, might spur thoughts from
others. I know it already has inspired more thoughts for me, but ones I'll save for
Tuesday, August 3 1999
More great emails
Today's mail brought four great responses, two offlist and two on. I'm not always sure,
incidentally, that offlist messages were intended to be offlist. Remember, if you want to
send to the whole list (which is the preferred way of participating), click "Reply
All" on your mail program, rather than just "Reply." ("Reply"
goes to only the writer of the message; "Reply All" goes to everyone who
received it.) Or you can just click on the appropriate option in the "signature"
at the bottom of the daily entry.
I'll let the offlist replies be the bulk of today's post.
Trudy wrote regarding "Pittsburghese":
I can't believe how this subject has changed my perception of listening closer to how
Friday night we stopped at the VFW in Nanty Glo to get some info we needed and I ran
into a gal that I knew. I heard her say something that I've heard hundreds of times
before, but never paid attention to. She said, "Behint" (long i) as in
"behint in my rent." I chuckled to myself. Furthermore, there is another oddity
which I always thought was just a speech impediment, until I heard it used in Johnstown,
too. Changing "th" from its correct sound, to "f". As in, "We bof
went wif her to the birfday party." Has anyone else experienced this?
I think some of these start as attempts to be cute, and just stick, or get picked up by
others who didn't know they were intended as "cute." One of the usages Flannery
O'Connor, the author I wrote about earlier, throws into her southern dialect is
"bidness," to mean business. I've heard that, and I don't think always with a
And Barb Hakanen shared memories inspired by the Capitol Theater entry:
I was one of the Popcorn/Candy Gals at the Theater for a while and still have a love
for popcorn to this day.
Every Wednesday Mr. Bello would go to Pittsburgh to get new movies for the following
week. It was then that the popcorn was the very best. We were only to put one and one half
turns of the crank (this was the way the oil got into the kettle) in the kettle. But on
Wednesday when he wasn't standing in the lobby watching everything that went on (like any
good boss should), we would give that old crank several spins until the popcorn was dark
gold in color and so rich in flavor. The oil probably was not a healthy item to be eating
but when you're 14 or so, who cares...?
The other memory I had was working the Midnight Shows on Friday Nights, then having to
walk home by myself. The movies were always the Frankinstein-type films. I lived on the
bottom of Caroline Street and at that time it was not only tree lined but like a tunnel
with the huge branches joining over the street. I would run as fast as I could down the
middle of Caroline Street and dash into the front door all out of breath but
"safe." Anyone remember the first "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"?
Oh the good old day's. LOL
I think the Friday midnight shows stand out the most in my mind, too. There was always
some concern about getting a ride home so late, but usually someone from out Belsano-way
would be there that I could ask for a ride or, better yet, would offer. I remember most of
the films as being from American International Pictures, which always seemed like a cheap
imitation of Universal-International (now just Universal). A-I was king of the
"B" movies, but compared with real B movies they should have been called
"C" movies. One that impressed me as head and shoulders above the rest, however,
was The Blob. It was Steve McQueen's first starring role, for one thing, but even the plot
is better than most of its kind, though it has a refreshing way of poking fun at its kind
all at the same time. It's definitely one to rent for some fun, and safe for the kids,
And if you think Caroline Street was tree-shrouded, try walking down Redmill Road from
271, through the woods with no streetlights in sight at 2 a.m. Many nights it was so dark
I couldn't see the road beneath my feet!
And there's a desolate cemetery just on the far side of the woods!
Oh, for the good old days, indeed!
Finally, I was amazed at Lou Hahl's letter. Lots of good material there, but what
impressed me most was that he was at UC Santa Barbara until 1969, and I arrived at UC
Santa Barbara to begin my four years of campus ministry there in January 1969! Imagine two
Belsano "boys" that close and not knowing it until 30 years later! I do remember
that it was "Hall's Hilltop Inn," but always thought it was spelled the way I
just did, not Hahl.
And...Paul Ceria's latest is the greatest. You want this job, Paul? Maybe at least once
a week? Read and respond to his walk down memory lane, everyone....
Monday, August 2 1999
The Capitol Theater
During my youth Nanty Glo had no institution it could be prouder of than the Capitol
Theater. Operating under the slogan, "The Showplace of Cambria County," it may
not have surpassed the Embassy and State theaters in downtown Johnstown, but it outshown
any other outlying town's theater in the county by far. The Capitol occupied a whole block
on Chestnut Street, the one now occupied by the Post Office. It was a massive brick
building which had a full highway-size billboard always featuring an upcoming movie on the
First Street end and large framed posters on the longest side, the one from First Street
up Chestnut to the lobby. The outside lobby itself had additional large posters under
glass, and inside there were numerous black and white movie stills advertising upcoming
features. The Capitol had a real marquee, with hundreds of lights, and the titles of the
movies were changed with each program change, of which there were usually three per week
(Sunday and Monday, Tuesday through Thursday, and Friday and Saturday...or was it Sunday
through Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday and Saturday?)
At the time, the Capitol was Nanty Glo's nearest equivalent to today's McDonalds', in
that, sooner or later, any youth in town would have a job there, if he or she wanted one.
Teens were hired to work the ticket booth, candy-popcorn counter, and serve as ushers,
girls for the former; boys for the latter. If memory serves, there were two of each at any
given time. Pay was a dollar a night and all the movies you could watch (the girls
couldn't watch many, in fact, as their jobs didn't give them the opportunity to slip into
the auditorium like the boys' jobs did.
The Capitol's manager was Thomas A. Bello, who was there every night, virtually 365
nights a year, until the theater started closing some nights as movies started losing
their appeal. That didn't happen immediately with the advent of television as many
predicted, but by about ten years later, theaters like the Capitol were having a very
difficult time. In the '60's the Capitol closed altogether for a while, then reopened part
time. Finally, arsonists struck (apparently; I'm not sure that has ever been proven, but
what else could have done it?), and the Capitol like most of its predecessors in Nanty Glo
movie history was gone, this time forever. So was a major part of the youth of many of us.
During the day Mr. Bello would be all over the central part of the county, delivering
handbill programs for the theater. You could find them in every service station and candy
store and who knows what else for miles around; no other theater did that. There were
always ads in the Journal, too, and if I remember correctly the Capitol did not advertise
in the Johnstown daily, out of loyalty to the home town. I'd bet that a deal had been
worked out between Mr. Bello and Journal editor Andy Rogalski about that...maybe Betty
Nedrich would know (surely no one else would, any longer).
I worked at the Capitol during the transition from age 15 to 16, just before getting my
first car, meaning I hitchhiked the four miles from the intersection of Red Mill Road and
what is now Route 271 every night, into town and back. Though I'd had a
"girlfriend" in Nanty Glo for over a year before that, it was on the job that I
met John Golisas, a frequent moviegoer. He recognized me from my picture being on the teen
column in the Journal every week, and we soon developed a fast friendship which, with some
ups and downs like most friendships, continues to this day, more than 40 years later.
We've discussed Nanty Glo's theaters on the other Forum (the Nanty Glo Forum, not to be
confused with this one, the "email forum") a number of times, but I thought the
topic might evoke some memories from those of you who remember the Capitol or its
predecessors, and some thoughts or questions from those who don't remember it. Maybe you
have another movie theater experience you'd like to share; that too would be appropriate.
Sunday, August 1, 1999
Legends; banner news
I'm already going to break yesterday's new rule about not reprinting posts to the list on
this page, not on topic, but because of the last sentence that sneaks into the paragraph
below from Sallie C. It should have been a banner headline across the top of the Journal
(and maybe it was for all I know), but I'm sure I'm not the only one who'll find this
banner news. Sallie said:
I did love to hear the Nanty Glo people speak of "younses," which was mentioned
by someone. I felt really connected, being a "you all" person, and they being
"you ones," both of which pronunciations of the you plural seemed to get slurred
after generations. I also loved to hear my mother-in-law talk about "the
pie-anno." The sulfur "crick" which ran behind their home on Cardiff
Road has fish in it now. [Emphasis added.]
"Joe" wrote offlist that he "talked to some people from Burkettsville, MD,
(and) they're not so sure the movie (The Blair Witch Project) is all fiction." The
local news here in LA headlined a similar possibility (though I missed the details).
I would sure like to hear from Leon Kania, after Scottie set us up for some
To clarifyjust because the "Jonal" topic moves on to something else,
don't feel you shouldn't write again on an earlier topic if you hear or think of
something, or if someone else's post jogs a memory.
Appropos of which, Trudy Myers, who works at the Cambria County Library in Johnstown,
had these offlist comments about our "Pittsburghese" discussion:
What does the word "lick" mean, as in Blacklick, or Black Lick? And why
black, not greenlick, or redlick?
Or how about, "redd up the house?"
Several years ago there was actually a little booklet called, "How to Speak
When my sister-in-law moved to Tucson, AZ, she worked in the ER of a hospital. One day
while speaking with a doctor, he interrupted her and said, "Are you from Southwestern
PA?" She said, "Yes, but how did you know?" He said, "Your accent and
how you speak. I'd know it anywhere."
"Lick," I've been told, refers to a natural salt lick, used by deer and other
wildlife. Why they're black, I don't know. Maybe something to do with coal? (Kidding.)
Redd is in the dictionary linked to our very own front page. It is thought to derive
from "rid," and my theory (or maybe I was told it by someone who knew) is that
it's a Pennsylvania Dutch term.
I had a very similar situation to Trudy's sister-in-law's. At work at the Los Angeles
Department of Water and Power last winter, a new guy about my age joined the team, and as
soon as I heard him, I suspected he was from Western Pa. I asked, but he's from Delaware.
Before that, the hard coal country in Eastern Pa. I kept pressing. Before that,
Johnstownwhere he attended Westmont-Hilltop. Bingo!
Lots of new stuff on the Home Page today, most important the beginning of coverage of the
Blacklick Township sesquicentennial.
Send me your comments and feedback.
Jon Kennedy, ye olde
Jonals: July '99
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