'Hardrock, Coco...' brings new
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Letter No. 326 | December 26, 2007

Here I am sitting here...thinking that I am the only one within MANY miles of where I am...that actually KNOWS where Nanty Glo is...let alone...has ever HEARD of Nanty Glo!

My name is Rob and I am a 45-year-old man living in Pittsburgh. I grew up out in the middle of nowhere...in between Strongstown,Vintondale and Dilltown.

I am one of the LUCKY ONES who had the fortune of growing up in an area and time when things were not as "BIZARRE" as they are now in this day and age.

I was a COUNTRY boy.

I LIVED in the woods.

I REMEMBER when there was ALWAYS snow on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I remember it taking nearly an HOUR to get to school...because of how far away school was...and because we had to stop at each individual farm house...and wait for the kids to run down the lane.

Quite a contrast from what I see now as I watch my kids wait at a BUS STOP in my development...where 20 kids are at ever corner!

I remember having to walk to the barn early every morning, to feed the horses and feed the dog...before I could feed myself.

I remember the CRISP...CLEAN country air.

I remember some CHERISHED Christmas Eve's sitting near the old pot belly stove...watching whatever was on WJAC TV...on a TV with Rabbit Ears and aluminum foil. A FAR cry from the 400 channels I now get!

But...speaking of WJAC TV...as a kid...I remembered every year at Christmas Time...seeing a short skit about three little dwarfs named Hardrock, Coco and Joe.

AHHHH...the memories.

That little skit simply MADE it feel like Christmas...and OLD TIME Christmas.

I was sitting and reflecting the other day...of how wholesome and SPECIAL Christmastime was as I grew up. I was trying to explain to my children...what it was like back then. How "different" it was...growing up in the "boondocks" and having a good, down home Christmas.

Lot's has changed over the years. People die...people move...etc.

I have lived in the city for over 25 years. I graduated from United High School...and realized that if I wanted to make something of myself...it probably wasn't going to happen in the "country."

Off to Pittsburgh I went in search of my future.

It's tough trying to explain to today's kids...what it was once like.

I TRIED to get them to FEEL what it was like on those Christmas Eve nights....the snow coming down...the AMAZING...peaceful CALM that one sensed as you would gaze out across the cornfields.

No noise.

No traffic.

No Christmas Commercialization...as it is today.

It was CHRISTmas...not "Holiday."

It was Hardrock, Coco and Joe riding across the Christmas Eve sky...with that WONDERFUL old time music in the background.

OH how I DESPERATELY wanted to be able to go back...and live one of those nights...just ONE MORE TIME!

"Hmmm"...I thought.

I wondered if an Internet Search would yield any information about those 3 little dwarfs.

I seriously doubted it.

But...to my AMAZEMENT...I typed in "Hardrock, Coco and Joe download" and found the words NANTY GLO...AND Hardrock , Coco and Joe...all at the same place!

I don't know who I am typing this to, and I don't know who is responsible for putting that clip on your website.....but I want to THANK YOU SO MUCH for making that available!

I watched it...and it took me back to a time and place that I miss and long for SO badly.

I hadn't seen that for over 25 years.

I teared up.

My kids didn't "get" it. It was just a dumb old video with some terrible old music.

But...I "got it"....

What I got...was a trip back in time...to a time and place that only those of us who LIVED it...and now DON'T...........................................can only understand.

I thank you SO much for giving me the opportunity to escape the reality of NOW...and allowing me to go back to one of those night's that I WISH I could "bottle"...and open up for the rest of the world!

I..."get it."

Apparently...you do too!

To be able to watch that after all these years...and to be taken away and be placed back in the farmhouse by the old pot belly stove......................was simply overwhelming for me.

Whoever you are....THANK YOU for making that clip available!

It will now be a once a year event. I will watch it on Christmas Eve...every year ...one time....and every year...this masculine, 225 pound man...will tear up...and that's just fine with me!

Rob in Pittsburgh

Hi Rob in Pittsburgh,

Merry Christmas, and thank you for the heart-warming letter. We probably grew up just a few miles apart, though I did so 20 years earlier than you. I grew up on Redmill Road, near Belsano, and as you describe your family farm, it must have been not far from the end of Red Mill Road as it continues on into Indiana County.

And yes, I too find that it's impossible even to share with my children and now grand-children what it was like to LIVE in the woods (as I did, too) and have such a relatively slow pace of life and experience of Thanksgiving and Christmas, much less ever "go back." I live in San Jose, Calf., and have been in this county since 1972, but still think of the Blacklick Valley and Cambria County as "home."

I found the clip of "Hardrock, Coco, and Joe," on a website of a television station in Florida, about five years ago, but ironically, as you may have noticed, it has the WJAC logo imprinted in its lower left corner! So someone "down there" must have had connections with WJAC years ago, or at least must have grown up in its viewing area and found it. I searched for it because a couple of readers of my Nanty Glo page, David Caldwell and his wife, wrote in wishing they could hear it, as to them, too, it had virtually "defined" Christmas in their childhood. I had forgotten about it but remembered once they mentioned it, and as I watched it, it all came back.

Thanks again for writing and sharing your much-enjoyed memories.

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

PS (12-27-07): It occurred to me today this would be a good place for a link:
Hardrock, Coco, and Joe



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