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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Friday, May 25 2001


Wednesday's entry about porches and swimming holes has generated the most enthusiastic response of anything recent, harkening back to our discussion of "the woods." (To recap that or see it for the first time if you haven't been reading that long, click here and scroll down to July 27 1999.) Thanks to all who've sent in recollections and/or observations.

Those of us who spent many hours on porches as part of growing up are likely to have fond recollections and the swimming holes were either in the woods or at least required a walk through the woods to access, so there's lots of overlap between the topics of this week and July '99.

I suspect, too, that this time of year, just before Memorial Day weekend, is a special time for memories of youth spent back home, whether "back home" is both a time and a place far away or just time away. Memorial Day was always a climactic day for me while growing up, and probably for everyone in our part of the world. It was often the same week as the last day of school, within a week or two of graduation ceremonies, shortly after the prom, and in my case, when it was observed on May 30 (as it was for over a century after the Civil War, for those of you too young to remember) it was always the day before my birthday. By this time in May there's no danger of seeing snow flurries one more time. The trees are quite green, lots of flowers are blooming. At our house there was a "spice bush" just outside the kitchen that was blossoming by now and its fragrance was everywhere, as the name suggests. (It's the only plant I've ever known that had as its main purpose just smelling good for a week or two per year. It had no edible fruit and the blossoms were not particularly beautiful.)

Memorial Day was often targeted for the first trip to the swimming hole and getting wet in public, so that's another reason those memories get stirred this time of year. How exhilarating to have three months ahead for such days, hours to laze around, explore or even blaze trails and read, daydream, and hang out with friends, days climaxed with a hitchhike to town (or a walk downtown) and perhaps a movie or a piece of pizza and sodapop at Harry's or...? Or just hanging on the parking meter or sitting on the steps under the alcove of the (old) Journal Building (now it would be the former Nanty Glo News building, I suppose). (From observation, actually, the hanging out these days is not on Roberts Street at all, but rather on Chestnut, at the benches across from the Firehall...understandable since most traffic now goes up Shoemaker without turning on Roberts.)

Probably the greatest pleasure, and the least appreciated, of youth is hanging out. In fact, lots of hanging out is probably considered boring, nothing to do, when in retrospect it's the best thing you could possibly do at the time!

Today's assignment: Get out the tape of American Graffiti and watch it again. Then write 300 words relating it to the days of youth spent in the Valley. Alternate: play the tape in your mind.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy


There was a painter named Jack. Very interested in making a penny where he could, Jack often would thin down the paint to make it go a wee bit further. And, as it happened, he got away with this for some time.

The local Baptist Church decided to do a big restoration job on the painting of one of their biggest buildings. Jack put in a bid, and, because his price was so low, he got the job. Jack set to erecting the trestles, setting up the planks, and buying the paint—yes, I am sorry to say, thinning it down with turpentine. Well, Jack was up on the scaffolding, painting away, the job nearly completed when suddenly there was a horrendous clap of thunder, and the sky opened, the rain poured down, washing the thinned paint from all over the church and knocking Jack clear off the scaffold to land on the lawn, among the gravestones, surrounded by telltale puddles of the thinned and useless paint.

Jack was no fool. He knew this was a judgment from the Almighty, so he got on his knees and cried, "Oh, God! Please forgive me! What should I do?" And from the thunder above, a mighty voice spoke...

Repaint! Repaint! And thin no more!

Sent by Virginia in Millville


Remember when?

Remember lying on your back on the grass with your friends and saying things like "That cloud looks like a ...."
And playing baseball with no adults to help kids with the rules of the game.
Remember when stuff from the store came without safety caps and hermetic seals because no one had yet tried to poison a perfect stranger.
And with all our progress...don't you just wish, just once, you could slip back in time and savor the slower pace...and share it with the children of today?

Sent by Trudy Myers
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