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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Tuesday, February 26 2002

College daze

A visit to Berkeley on Sunday spurred thoughts of my first experiences of college. It was as a young teenager being driven past Mt. Aloysius on Route 22 and seeing some coeds playing tennis on campus that it dawned on me that I was going to go to college, no matter what it took. The first time I set foot on a campus was at Penn State, where my schoolteacher aunt was taking summer classes, and that too ignited desires to spend more time in that kind of environment. It's ironic that motivation to make a better life or even get an education probably had far less to do with my going to college than my desire to spend time among the ivy-covered buildings and parklike lawns, not to mention the coeds.

It's even more ironic when I consider that Johnstown College of Pitt, where I spent most of my college years, was just, at the time, a single former junior high school building in Moxham with no ivy and asphalt where the lawns might have been. But by that time it met my aspirations to go to college and I bought into President Biddle's sales pitches completely. I never regretted my choice of schools and considered it a great opportunity, as the first coalminer's son in my family to go directly from high school into a full-fledged college, even if it was as a self-supporting supermarket clerk. Pitt was, as Dr. Biddle repeatedly said, the second most prestigious university in Pennsylvania at the time (after Penn, the state's only ivy league school, in Philadelphia) and I was so busy in those first two years of college that it was easy to believe the fantasy aspects and ignore gritty realities.

After I became editor of the Journal at the end of my second year at JCP, I got to know Gerry Newman and Burt Aronoff, the Journal's and its "sister" papers' managers, fairly well. They had met in college and were in a fraternity together, and after reminiscing about those times over a 75-cent lunch in a Portage restaurant one day, Burt encouraged me to plan along those lines. "You'll never regret it and it's the best time of your life," he urged, referring to frat life. I smiled as usual, but wasn't really tempted. Possibly, borrowing money to enable a full-time college life would have made more sense, but not to me from my background. It was strictly pay as I went (with lots of help from scholarships on the way). And being editor of the Journal was as important as being a fulltime student, though I couldn't then nor even now imagine having been one without the other.

I have to acknowledge too the influence of Dick Millward, whom I got to know in the spring of my junior year at Blacklick High School. Dick was finishing his freshman year at St. Francis and by June I considered him my best friend. He was the first college student friend I'd had, and he was in many ways atypical, living with his parents, working every night and Saturdays at his dad's service station, still doing the rounds of all the teen dances from the Johnstown Canteen to Nanty Glo, Vintondale, Twin Rocks, Ebensburg and Lilly. I got to know him well enough to know that if he could do it, I could as well, knowing many ways in which he excelled my own strengths, but ones in which he often called on me for help, too. That was just as educational as either of the other big breaks (getting a scholarship to go to Pitt and being offered Andy Rogalski's job after he left the Journal).

—Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Adam's rib

At Sunday School they were teaching how God created everything, including human beings. Little Johnny seemed especially intent when they told how Eve was created out of one of Adam's ribs. Later in the week, his mother noticed him lying down as though he were ill, and said, "Johnny, what is the matter?"

Little Johnny responded, "I have pain in my side. I think I'm going to have a wife."

—Sent by Joe Pelayo

Live peaceably with all men

Strive to preserve in your heart absolute peace toward everyone, according to the word of the Apostle: If it be possible, as much as lies in you, live peaceably with all men (Rom. 12:18). This inner peace of your own soul serves as the best pledge or security that others will have peace and love toward you, and there is nothing higher or more honorable than love, as also the Apostle affirms, calling love the fulfillment of (all) law (Rom. 13:8) and the bond of perfectness (Col. 3:14) in the presence of which the peace of God settles in our Hearts (cf. Phil. 4:7).

—Abbess Thaisia,
Letters to a Beginner, 19th c. Russian

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