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             Tuesday, March 11 2003  

Where are they now? Nanty Glo native, Lori (Swartz) Oldham

Born August 8, 1964, Lori is one of 11 children born to Raymond "Ray" (deceased 1987), and Wilda (Delehunt) Swartz. Lori's brothers and sisters include; Madeline Martinazzi, Nancy Thomas, Janice Deetscreek, Linda Lonesky, Lisa Simasek, Brian, Larry, and Raymond, who all live in the local area. Her sister Brenda Mackanick lives in the Pittsburgh area and her sister Susan Calander makes her home in Chicora, Pa.

Lori (Swartz) Oldham
recent photo

A 1982 graduate of Blacklick Valley High School, where she was a cheerleader, class secretary, homecoming queen, and member of the National Honor Society, Lori is a 1986 graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with an undergrasuate degree in business administration. Like many youngsters from homes of modest means with a desire for a college education, Lori obtained grants and student loans and held a job to pay her college expenses."I went to college because I knew I had the potential to improve myself," she says. "And my parents were very encouraging and supportive of my efforts." 

Married to her childhood sweetheart and recently elected Nanty Glo Boro Councilman  Herb Oldham since October11, 1986, she and Herb are the parents of Christopher, 14; Lauren, 11, and Caleb, 7. "Herb was my first love," Lori says, "We've been a couple since we were 14 years old." 

These days, Lori works as a substitute teacher for several local school districts along with St. Mary's parochial in Nanty Glo and the Cambria County Christian School. 

Young, vibrant, and dynamic, the Oldhams have purchased the Finklestein Building on the corner of Roberts and Shoemaker streets. According to Lori, the old landmark building was built in 1914 and was originally designed to be a bank, but through the years, was used as a clothing store, a restaurant, a dentist's office and most recently was the location of a beauty salon.To get a glimpse of Nanty Glo in 1914, click here. Lori hopes to eventually  convert the old historically rich building into a combination gift and antique shop where, as Lori says, "The shop will have an old country store atmosphere but stocked with new artistic treasures.... A place where local artists can display their talent and sell their creations. I would also like to feature gift baskets, candy, and possibly an ice cream bar."

The Oldhams hope the opening of Lori's shop, which is tentatively scheduled for late this summer, will draw patrons of the Ghost Town Trail and generate a measure of interest and business in Nanty Glo. The renovation process is progressing slowly, however, as Lori hopes to maintain the antique and historic integrity of the building. "We've uncovered an old tin ceiling," she says. "That's a wonderful find!" According to Lori, the owners of the land under the building, like much of the local landscape, can be traced through records dating to the days of William Penn.

Reflecting back on her "growing up days" in Nanty Glo, Lori recalls that "Nanty Glo was a safe place to live. I grew up on Lloyd street where you could see the coalmines from our front porch. I remember sitting on the cellar steps waiting for my father to come home from work; he would have chalk and goodies for me in his lunch bucket, and he would have black rings of coal dust around his eyes. He used butter to clean it off because, 'Butter works the best,' he said." Lori says she would have liked to have grown up in Nanty Glo when  the town  had its movie theaters, record hops, and the many other things to do and enjoy. "There wasn't much to do in town when I was growing up, so most of my activities were centered around school." 

As the child of a coalminer, Lori's interest in Nanty Glo and its history as a mining town has led her to seek help in securing the $5000 needed to pay for the transport of a railroad caboose that has been donated to the borough. According to Lori, the caboose made regular trips through Nanty Glo during the days when trains made their runs through town. "It's part of our  history and it belongs here," she says. The caboose is currently in Johnstown and, according to Lori, "The owners have given it to us...we just need to get it here."

In summing up her hopes for Nanty Glo: "It would be nice to see the town come alive again by attracting speciality businesses," she says, "I can picture it as a cute, quaint, beautiful town based on its rich and wonderful ethnic history, and  would like to see an annual Nanty Glo Heritage Day to celebrate  and honor our ethnic history. Nanty Glo was and still is a wonderful melting pot of different ethnic groups."

"If you think about Nanty Glo, we have a fantastic history...we played an important part in this country's industrial revolution, and a lot of us don't appreciate it," she says. "I would like to see a museum and a memorial dedicated to the miners...we owe something to the people who worked...and died...here."

Anyone wishing to contact Lori can find her at CREATE48@aol.com.

If you have a suggestion for a subject for Where Are They Now, please write Judy Rose.

Click here for an index of all Where Are They Now profiles in this series.

Mind-blowing realization

The day after tomorrow is the third day of the rest of your life.

—George Carlin

Lenten thought for the day

Christian "faith runs hard against the grain of the spirit of this age. It doesn't ask us to come under its authority so that we can find a warm, comfortable, meaningful faith that fits our lifestyle. Instead, it calls us to fast, to weep bitterly for our sins, to deny our personal pleasures and comforts, to yield to spiritual authority, to mistrust our own judgments, to genuinely forgive the unforgivable, and to honestly love the unlovable. In short, it calls us to live a life that is entirely 'not of this world' (John 18:36)."

—Matthew Gallatin,
Thirsting for God
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