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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Wednesday, May 23 2001


Some of the more recent houses in my residential park are palacial compared with mine, but none of them have much of a porch when mine has a porch big enough for a swing and lots of chairs. And even though I seldom have time to sit on the porch, and no neighbors to sit with, I wouldn't give it up. A house without a porch is like an apartment...just a place to sleep between sessions at work, a temporary accommodation.

At first, the front and back porches on the Belsano farmhouse were just a roof and a floor of unpainted wood, like the house exterior, but Dad couldn't have that. The front porch had to have banisters built, and eventually both porches were enclosed with windows that could be opened for the breezes (Pennsylvania has a much greater problem with flies, mosquitoes, and bugs generally than California; enclosing my porch would be defeating its purpose). The wood was covered first with shingles and later aluminum siding. For years the swing was mounted in the back porch, but when it was enclosed that was replaced by a glider and an arbor just for the swing was built in the backyard. There was also a glider on the front porch, as well as soft-cushioned wicker porch furniture.

The front porch had an excellent view over the fields to the hills beyond Belsano northward. That's where sitting to enjoy a real rest or absorb natural beauty was done. If the sitter were alone, the porch might be used for reading the Reader's Digest, the day's Tribune-Democrat, or our family's weekend reading, the Grit. The backporch was for short breaks, confabs while coming or going (the backdoor being used for all normal egress), and for snapping beans, shelling peas, cleaning berries, or shucking corn.

The porches were the best places for being neighborly. Neighbors seldom came all the way inside the house, but often sat for hours on either of the porches, catching up or reminiscing. Anyone walking down Redmill Road, or driving by with windows down, was greeted aloud, and a greeting to a pedestrian might turn into prolonged conversation.

Among countless memories of incidents on the porches, one stands out. The Thompsons from across Redmill Road were over and we sat, the adults on the porch and the kids on the adjacent lawn, being neighborly. The general conversation moved to the County Fair and then ranged from the earliest and best fair recollections among us to the plans for the next fair: which rides to take and attractions to see, which exhibitions not to miss, even some philosophizing on fair-going: to "waste time" on agriculture or "invest" in games of chance. That evening-into-night gab session was probably as memorable as any day at the fair itself.

Swimming holes

An off-list correspondent replied to Monday's discussion of swimming holes: "Did you ever visit the swimming holes on Stewart's Run? This 'crick' crosses Rt. 22 by Frenchie's old ESSO station, and dumps into the sulpher 'crick' above Springfield. The two main swimming holes there were 'Bathtub,' 'Belly-button,' and for the less discriminating, 'Bare A... Beach.'"

Though "Bathtub" rings a bell as a swimming hole I'd heard of, I never knew before where it was. And I'm a bit surprised that Nanty Glo kids had those "facilities," knowing that lots of them used to go to White Mill and the Bare A... Beach just above it. Live and learn.

So what about it, Townies? Are the Stewart's Run swimming holes still in use? And Blacklick "kids": Did you know about them or were they kept secret from us bus riders/hitch-hikers?

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


"Actual" Answering Machine Messages Recorded and Verified By The World Famous International Institute of Answering Machine Messages:

3. Hi. Now you say something.

2. Hi. I'm probably home, I'm just avoiding someone I don't like. Leave me a message, and if I don't call back, it's you.

And the Number 1 Actual Answering Machine Message Recorded and Verified by The World Famous International Institute of Answering Machine Messages:

1. Hello, you've reached Jim and Sonya. We can't pick up the phone right now, because we're doing something we really enjoy. Sonya likes doing it up and down, and I like doing it left to right...real slowly. So leave a message, and when we're done brushing our teeth, we'll call you back.

Sent by Bob Kennedy

Remember when?

When a quarter was a decent allowance.
When you'd reach into a muddy gutter for a penny.
When your Mom wore nylons that came in two pieces.
When all of your male teachers wore neckties and female teachers had their hair done everyday and wore high heels.
When you got your windshield cleaned, oil checked, and gas pumped, without asking, all for free, every time. And, you didn't pay for air. And, you got trading stamps to boot! [And when there was more than one gas station in Blacklick Valley?]
When laundry detergent had free glasses, dishes or towels hidden inside the box.
When it was considered a great privilege to be taken out to dinner at a real restaurant with your parents.

Sent by Trudy Myers
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