This page by Francis Charney
More sagas about Nanty Glo
(The years before rock'n'roll)
I spent my youth in Nanty Glo during, what I consider, its colorful and memorable past. The story of [Jon Kennedy's] younger days and experiences also brought back my past memories.
The Capitol Theatre operated by Mr. Thomas Bello was the showplace of Cambria County back then and played to large audiences on Friday and Saturday nights. Walking home alone on a dark night after seeing the The Mummie's Hand had one's imagination running wild. Also the Grand Theater, located on Shoemaker Street, featured cowboy movies almost every night. Forget the main movie feature, but the continuing chapters on The Shadow and Zorro every Friday night left you in suspense week after week. I acted in a Nanty Glo High School Minstrel Show there. That was my "15 minutes of success" in show business.
The gangs gathered around Andy Hagen's restaurant in the evenings. Anyone with a car was very popular; you were stranded in town if you didn't have a friend with a car. My friends included the Kelly boys, Don and Hugh (Red). Their father once operated the Nanty Glo Newstand. Others included Robert Lezzer, Ted Gebacz, Paul Phillips, and Robert Lekawa. (Remember Lekawa's Bakery and their gobs?) I can still visualize Pete Lanik in his white Cadillac cruising past the restaurant several times in the evening.
I attended St. Mary's Catholic School, and names like Father McCarthy and Father Bodenschatz should ring a bell with the real old-timers. I graduated from Nanty Glo High School in 1950. (The year 2000 planned reunion should really be a landmark occasion!) The class totaled 86 graduates and it was the largest up until that time. At least 13 members are deceased. We had a high school reunion in 1995, and it's great to see your old classmates and find out how they fared, and also be thankful to the Almighty upon making it to another reunion.
I attended the University of Pittsburgh back in the early fifties and my graduation gift was induction into the U.S. Army the morning after the commencement exercise. Four uncles of mine served in World War II and returned home safely, although two suffered wounds. One uncle was awarded the Silver Star. I retired from the Federal Government in late 1994 after working 32 years, mostly with the U.S. Navy as a ship design engineer. I now have time to browse the Internet and correspond.
I presently reside in Alexandria, Virginia. An uncle, Mike Bzdyl, a former Nanty Glo Journal employee, still resides in Nanty Glo. My stepmother, Mary Charney, retired from the U. S. National Bank and also lives there.
I keep abreast of events and happenings by subscribing to the Nanty Glo Journal. My wife and I maintain her Revloc homestead as a second residence, and we return frequently to distance ourselves from the Clinton scandal and escape the fast pace of living in the Washington D.C. area.
© Jon Kennedy 1998