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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
     Friday, September 26 2003 

Jon Kennedy, webmaster

Keep a good thing going

Who'd have guessed our wandering into the subject of department stores and five and tens of yesteryears and current days would turn into the most actively discussed topic on this forum since our memories about playing in the woods in the first weeks after the list was launched? If you don't receive all the mail from the Nanty Glo list on Yahoo, you can check it out at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nantyglo_list/. I have been learning from many of the posts. For example, an unsigned note told us that in the 1930s the greatest department store ever in downtown Johnstown, Penn Traffic, had a food department and a high-quality restaurant.

George Dilling confirmed that the restaurant was there even in later years. Some of what I learned was almost pulled out of my own grey matter, like, "wasn't Nanty Glo's Shadden's Department Store actually owned by Newmans?" George also confirmed that; Mrs. Henry Shadden Newman was the owner and her husband was its manager. Paul Simendinger recalled all the members of the Levinson family and shared the "fun fact" that the parents of the family used to have the practice of being the last people to arrive at the Capitol Theater when Paul was working there and that Mr. Levinson always fell asleep while his wife watched the movie. And Paul Ceria related a hilarious incident of a cousin of his taking refuge from the priest from St. Mary's when he cut school...in the store run by a Jewish man, Mr. Book...turning the tables on those European Christian heros who hid Jews from their persecutors during the Holocaust.

One of the most surprising factoids, to me, was learning that I am not only the only member of the list who knows what the Grit is, or more accurately, it was, but I'm not even the only one to have been a Grit boy. I think, but will have to depend on my brother Bob to confirm or refute this, that all four Kennedy boys took their turn as Grit boys; that is, as peddlers of that nationally circulated weekly newspaper originating in Williamsport, Pa. Jim Martin and Rich Dilling also share that distinction. Both of them recalled that the Grit was popularly nicknamed "the Pennsylvaqnia Liar." This was also our understanding, and we attributed it to the fact that it had many headlines and stories that seemed too wierd or "tall" to be true. The one that stuck in my mind was a little piece about Ebensburg's Lake Rowena, in which it referred to that pond behind the auto parts store as "the beauty spot of the Alleghenies." See why they called it the Pennsylvania liar?

It was, editorially, something like a cross between the Reader's Digest and the National Enquirer. Its headlines weren't nearly as far out as the Enquirer's were in those days (remember full-page titles like "two-headed baby from outer space" in the tabloids of the '50s and '60s? The Grit tried to cover everything from world and national news to small town tidbits, styling itself "America's hometown newspaper." I wouldn't have thought a town like Nanty Glo with a paper like the Journal would have been a market for a paper like the Grit, which I always considered the weekly paper for the areas that didn't have their own weeklies. But the Grit's best feature was its longer features, even short (intentionally) fiction stories and serialized stories that continued from week to week, things normal hometown weeklies didn't have room for, even then when there were two or three department stores even in small towns, a half-dozen groceries, and seven or eight auto dealerships, all buying some advertising space, and enough movie theaters to take up a half page of entertainment ads in each edition.

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Puppy love

Three dogs were walking down a street in their neighborhood. A German shepard, an Irish setter, and a Mexican chihuahua. As they are walking, they spot a beautiful white French poodle at the end of the street. Each one, hoping to be the first to talk to the poodle, runs to the end of the street and they all arrive at the same time. The poodle says, "I'll go out with the first one of you to use the words 'liver' and 'cheese' in a clever way."

The German shepard says, " I just love liver and cheese."

The poodle says, "that's the most juvenile thing I have heard. Go away!" The Irish setter says, "I hate liver and cheese," and the poodle says, "that's as bad as what the shepard said; go away!"

Finally, the Mexican chihuahua says, "Hey, you guys, liver alone! Cheese mine!" And he and the poodle strolled away.

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz 

Thought for today

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.

— Mother Teresa 
Sent by Judy Rose 

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