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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, June 10 2001

Looking for Work

In one of his journals this week, Jon mentioned different areas of the country where men and women from the Nanty Glo area have gone to find work. After looking back, I began to think I had tried most of them. I always returned to this area. I told my wife that for going off in so many directions and then returning I was either a "scatterbrain" or a "yo-yo." She agreed to both.

In 1957, when I graduated from high school, both the mines and steel mills had cut way back on their workforces. I wasn't financially, intellectually or emotionally ready for college and I couldn't find a good job. I worked at several places locally and in Erie, but found no satisfaction.

My first venture outside of Pennsylvania was to Maryland where I found employment with Bethlehem Steel in Sparrows Point as a mechanic. I actually enjoyed the work. Many of my fellow workers were from the Johnstown area. However, after only three or four months, we went out on strike. That is when California first called.

I arrived there in the summer of 1959. Fortunately, some friends had gone there before me, so I had a place to stay in Burbank and a job in North Hollywood within a few days. I drove truck for a small plywood wholesaler. Of the 15 or so fellow employees, only one was a native Californian and his parents had come from another state. As I drove around southern California, I was constantly meeting people from Pennsylvania, even some from the Nanty Glo area. At that time, being from Pennsylvania was a definite plus on an employment application.

Within a year, I was laid off from that job so I returned to Nanty Glo. I still couldn't find suitable work locally, so before another year passed I was back in California and working for the plywood wholesaler again. My second California adventure wasn't nearly as pleasant as my first. The company I worked for was on the verge of bankruptcy, and many of the employees I had known before were gone, so I quit and returned to Pennsylvania.

My next venture out of the state for employment didn't come until I had attended Cambria Rowe Business College and served 10 months in the Air Force. I spent four years working for Sherwin Williams in Newark, New Jersey. There, too, I was surprised at the number of people from Pennsylvania. By 1968, my eyes were failing me to the point where I could no longer drive, so I returned to the Nanty Glo area and haven't left since except to attend college at UPJ and for a few vacations.

Each time I returned home, the experience was different. The dynamics and personnel of groups to which I had once belonged had changed so much that I felt like an outsider. Some of my friends had moved away to other towns and states. The ones who remained had other situations, such as marriage and children, and new friends that took them in directions away from me. I had to assimilate and adjust to the town just as I had when I moved to communities out of state.

The only difference was that the surroundings and some of the people were familiar. Gone forever were the carefree days and dreams of unlimited expectations. I have settled into life as best I can as each of you have, no matter where you are. Nevertheless, one of the joys of life is dreaming of the good old days even if they weren't all that great.

Bumper stickers seen along the way.

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.
2. A day without sunshine is like...night.
3. On the other hand, you have different fingers.
4. I just got lost in thought. It was unfamiliar territory.
5. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.
6. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.
7. I feel like I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
8. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say will be misquoted then used against you.
9. I wonder how much deeper the ocean would be without sponges.
10. Honk if you love peace and quiet.

Sent by David Caldwell

Five more to grow on

"Success is going from failure to failure without the loss of enthusiasm." Sir Winston Churchill
"Never underestimate the power of very stupid people in large groups." Phil Steffen
"Be funny. Be interesting. Be brief. Be seated." Doc Blakley (on the "4 B's" of speaking)
"My grandmother lived to be 98 years of age. She accomplished that feat by keeping her nose out of other people's business." Phil Steffen
"Always do right. This will surprise some people and astonish the rest." Mark Twain

Sent by
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