Frank Charney

Frank Charney's Sunday Postcard

Interview with a former Nanty Glo senior/teacher

In recent months I've written about the background of several Nanty Glo seniors, namely, Bob Kelly (deceased in 2005), Victoria (Castelli) Law, and John Kupchella, all older townspeople who have lived most of their lives in the town. Now I finally discovered the reason why the Nanty Glo Journal published articles about these people in 2003. The Blacklick Valley Elementary School teachers had assigned students to conduct these interviews. The interviews were done in connection with the class having viewed the CD-ROM entitled "Life in the Valley," produced by the Nant-Y-Glo Tri Area Museum and Historical Society. These students wanted to obtain a knowledge of the rich history of Nanty Glo.

One such student, Alia Seeley, interviewed Augusta LaMantia, a retired teacher in the former Nanty Glo, Nanty Glo- Vintondale, and Blacklick Valley School Districts and a senior volunteer at the school. Alia titled her article "Nanty Glo Back in the Old Days." Alia's interview is very brief and is as follows:

"I interviewed Ms. LaMantia about living in Nanty Glo. She told me that the water was orange from the mine and it was called sulfur water. Students had to walk to school and back. They had to pull their feet out of the mud and snow, which is why they had to wear mudboots."

Alla Seeley (left) is pictured with Ms. LaMantia, a senior volunteer at the Blacklick Valley Elementary School.


Writer's Note: In the late 1940's, at noontime, I departed Nanty Glo High School, crossed the Chestnut Street bridge, and walked a good distance to my Dunntown home where my mother had lunch waiting. Many younger students attending the St. Mary's Catholic School and the Wagner's Public elementary schools were walking in the opposite direction for the same purpose. Students living at distant points like Lincoln, the far reaches of Cardiff Road, and Heisley Row returned home for lunch. And then there was the return trip. This journey and lunch had to be accomplished in about an hour's time. Car or bus travel commuting was practically unknown. There was no cafeteria at the schools in the1940's and 50's. Winter and snow was no bar for this daily routine. This era can almost be referred to as the "Dark or Middle Ages." When one thinks about it, unbelievable!

"When they were kids - again referring to Ms. LaMantia's generation - they used to take the streetcars. It was across the river from the school now, next to the bridge. Their school had no carpet on the floor. The teacher had to teach in one room. There were three theaters in Nanty Glo. There was no gym class and for fun kids would jump rope."

This final statement ended Alia's interview. Writer's Note: I recall Ms. Augusta LaMantia when I attended Nanty Glo High School in the late 1940's. Her looks and appearance have always belied her age and she could easily pose for "Oil of Olay" commercials.

— Frank Charney


Funny bones

An aged farmer and his wife were leaning against their pigpen when the old woman wistfully recalled that next week would mark their golden wedding anniversary."Let's have a party, Homer," she suggested. "Let's kill a pig."

The farmer scratched his head. "Gee, Ethel, he finally answered. "I don't see why the pig should take the blame for something that happened 50 years ago."

This Day in History

1817: The nation's first gas streetlights were lit in Baltimore.

1927: Home Page Country: Big Bend Fire Company bought a Chevrolet fire truck through Costlow Motor Co.

1928: Home Page Country: After a series of accidents, Southern Cambria Railway discontinues service.

1979: A Prairie Home Companion debuted on National Public Radio.

Images of America - Vintondale, published

Valley video page updated


Complete index of Jon Kennedy's Jonal articles


Today's chuckle

There's one difference between a tax collector and a taxidermist...the taxidermist leaves the hide.


Thought for today

America is the willingness of the heart.

— F. Scott Fitzgerald


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