Your Online Class Reunion
Faculty & Staff

This will be our online discussion forum. We are inviting as many of you as possible to join us "around the table" and talk about anything you remember about our life together back in the fifties. Just remember, we're all friends and classmates. Some of the stories we tell may be funny, and some may be sad, but please refrain from remarks which might hurt or embarass someone.

What name to post under is something you may wish to consider. This is an open website and search engines will gather data from it. If you post under your real name, someone could google your name and your post may come up among other references to you. If you post under a screen name, knowing each other as we do, we may still be able to figure out who it is, but search engines will not. So use your own judgement.

We are not sure how much participation we will get on this discussion board. Message board modules come in varying sizes. The larger the module, the more space on the internet server we need, and we are renting that space. We had 103 in our class, and about 40 have turned out for each reunion. So we will begin with a small capacity : 500 responses. If this discussion becomes very popular and we reach 500 responses, we'll shift over to a much larger module, probably using Vanilla. This smaller module offers a single thread format, direct sign in and no peripheral data. The larger modules offer multithread formats, use passwords and screen names for greater security, and include dates, times and other data on postings.

So come on in, let's have a lot of fun, and let's all think back to the decade of the fifties...



Margie, I just love this. I have enjoyed so much looking through all the photos. Thank you so much. I wonder how many other classes have a website like this. When I think back to those days, what I remember most is the music. Elvis, Bobby Darin, Frankie Avalon, Ricky Nelson, The Everly Brothers. And I remember the dances. The Friday Night Club when we were in junior high, and the Saturday Night Club in high school. Every weekend. Even in the Summer. What good times we had.
BobbySox I agree, both about the website and about the music and the dances. Down there at the YMCA. Our parents ran the snack bar so they were sort of "around," but we were still pretty much on our own. Some of the guys were sort of klutzy, but they eventually figured out how to dance the various steps. There were a lot of romances that started on those nights.
BeBop Definitely. I remember we would decorate for the special dances, like Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's, and wasn't there always a "Snowball Dance" or something? Didn't we also have some sort of girl asks guy dance? And every once in a while, don't I recall us bringing in a live disc jockey to play the records?
BobbySox I do remember those special dances. Looking back on it, isn't it amazing we were only in junior high, but we ran the whole thing ourselves, doing the decorating and picking the music and hiring the disc jockey once in a while.
Bebop When my own kids were in school, they didn't have anything like it. Not ever. We did it every week, and now they can't do it at all.
Ponytail I really cannot remember what adult was behind it all. It seems like us kids ran everything, but there had to be some adult involved. Who was that?
BobbySox You're right. I don't remember the adults at all. Mothers took turns running the concession stand, but there must have been a teacher sponsoring us. I sure don't remember who.
Ponytail Whoever ran it, I think the secret behind it was they started just as we entered seventh grade. We were all prepared to move up to the big junior high, and we knew everything would be different, so when they said, ok, we're all going to learn how to dance, and everybody is supposed to show up down at the Y on Friday night, we just said OK, and showed up. And they taught us how to dance. We didn't know enough to be embarassed or anything. If they had waited until we were in high school, the guys especially would have said no way, they weren't making fools of themselves, and the whole thing would have fallen apart. But our guys, by the time they were old enough to feel self conscious, they had already learned how to dance.
BeBop Do you remember that first night? They taught us that box step, then they had every girl take off one shoe and put it in a big pile in the middle of the dance floor. Then each guy went out and picked up a shoe. And he walked around and found who belonged to the shoe. And that was his first dance partner.
Saddleshoes I still remember one guy who they didn't need to teach how to dance : Louie. Wasn't he incredible?
BeBop That's for sure. He'd already been taking lessons down at that, what was it, Barbara Ann School of Dance? I think a lot of the guys might have said, this is ridiculous, but when Louie got out there and made it look so smooth, they all figured, heck, if this guy can do it, so can I.
Ponytail Remember how we would all listen to the radio to keep up with music? Wasn't it KQV that did the Top 40 Countdown every day, and then every Saturday released the next week's Top 40?
BobbySox It was KQV. I remember they had The Wax To Watch. It was a new song just out that the Disc Jockeys thought had a good chance to do well.
Saddleshoes Yes. You'd watch a new song make it onto the Top 40, then week by week climb toward the top, then slowly fade back off again.
BeBop Isn't it odd the tiny things we remember? Sometimes I can't remember my cell phone number but I can remember things from 50 years ago. I definitely remember that Little Diamond was the only song that ever jumped from Wax to Watch to Number #1 in one week.
BobbySox This is embarassing. Because I remember that, too. How in the world would something like that stay with us all these years?
Blondie Hi Everybody. Can a newcomer join the party? This is great. But what I remember is buying the records. Remember we bought them one song at a time, except there was always another song on the other side. Before we came along, records were bigger with little holes in the middle, but ours were small with a big hole in the middle. And we had those little record players with the big thick post in the middle you fit the records down over. You could stack about six records on the post and it would change them one by one.
Ponytail I remember that. When we had slumber parties each girl would bring her own records and we'd spend all night playing everybody's
BobbySox Wasn't the main record store down on Fifth Avenue in the middle of town? I seem to remember they'd post fhe new Top 40 on a big poster in the window every week so you knew what to buy.
BeBop Didn't they also have a rack by the door so when you walked in you could pick up a copy of the Top 40 to take home? Kids today don't have any idea what the Top 40 is. There is no Top 40 anymore. To us, it was a very important part of everyday life.
Hot Rod Is this a sorority, or can a guy join in?
Ponytail Oh, please do. We need lots of people.
Hot Rod I can't believe they've got this website up and running. Where in the world are all these pictures coming from?
Bebop I don't know. But I'm going to have to get up in the attic and dig out my old photo albums and see what I have.
Hot Rod The thing I remember about those dances is how much nerve it took to ask a girl to dance. You had a few you always danced with but to ask a girl to dance you'd never danced with before was really hard. You girls just sat over there saying Yes but you had no idea how hard it was for the guys.
BobbySox Let me tell you it was hard on us girls, too. It would be sooo embarassing not to be asked for a dance, and if three or four songs went by and nobody asked you, you started wondering if something was wrong. I had friends who would go to the dances and in a whole night only be asked once or twice, or even not at all, and they'd go home and cry, and it would be all we could do to talk them into going back the next week.
Hot Rod Well, there were guys who would go, and pay to get in, and buy a few soft drinks, and spend the whole three hours there, and never ask a girl to dance at all. They spent their whole evening getting ready to, but never quite made it.
Ponytail I know who a few of those guys were. And the funny part was, there were girls who spent the whole evening hoping that guy would come over and ask her to dance. She was dying to dance with him, and he was dying to ask her, but he never could get up the nerve, and there was nothing she could do about it.
BeBop Then there were guys who only liked dancing slow songs, or only fast songs, so when one of the other kind came on, they'd just go sit down. They were fine about asking girls to dance, and they could dance ok, but they would end up only dancing half the songs each night. There were a bunch of guys like that, which meant each song a bunch of girls had to sit out because there were not enough guys for all the girls to get asked.
Dago You have got to be kidding me. A whole bunch of you are sitting around talking about stuff we did in junior high 50 years ago. I can't believe this. And I think it's great. But I have a question for you. How long after we left did the Friday Night Club and Saturday Night Club keep holding dances?
Ponytail I have no idea. That's a really good question.
BeBop I had a younger sister and she went to them. So it lasted at least a while longer.
BobbySox I had some cousins who were still going to them all through the sixties. I think they kept doing it until they merged Cory with Neville and moved the school over to the Island.
Hot Rod I never knew they moved to the island. I thought they just moved up to where we had the old stadium.
BobbySox No. When they first merged, the state decided the old high school was unsafe and would cost too much to renovate, so they closed it and used Neville High School while they built the complex up on the hill.
Dago Am I the only one who thinks it strange that they declared the buildings unsafe and too expensive to renovate, so they abandoned them, but then they turned them into the best apartments in town and they're still in great shape today?
BeBop I always have thought that was more than strange. Crooked, I'd say. Somebody got paid off by somebody. It's a ridiculous idea to have kindergarten kids and 18 year old seniors going to school in the same building.
Ponytail At the time, I thought it was an outrage that they demolished McKinley, Central and Lincoln. Those were beautiful buildings. They were built like fortresses. You could never afford to build anything like them today. If nothing else, they could have been converted to great apartments. Those high ceilings, huge windows, solid oak floors. I went to Central, and I went down when they were destroying it. They had this big crane and wrecking ball. They would swing the ball in wide arcs and smash into the walls to break them apart. I was hoping to buy a clock or desk or something as a souvenir. But they wouldn't sell one to me. They had contracted with some antique company, which was there loading everything into moving van size trucks. But I talked to the crane operator on his lunch hour. He told me the three schools were the hardest buildings to bring down of any he had ever worked on. He said their walls were so thick they withstood any kind of force. So tell me again why we abandoned them?
Dago Face it. We were just lucky. When we were there, the schools were pretty well run. After we left, different people took over, and they made some pretty bad decisions.
Hot Rod If they had just built a wing next to the high school with a decent gym and vocational rooms Cory would have been fine. And it would have been a lot cheaper.
Ponytail It was cool having those classrooms around the auditorium. We could go out between classes or on hall pass, or before or after school or at lunchtime, and sit in the chairs. A bunch of us gahered every morning in those balcony chairs. Plus you could sit there and watch everybody on the first and second floors. I think one of the reasons we all knew each other so well was because we saw each other all day every day. Nobody was disappearing down some long hall.
Dago Remember how we also used to come in from lunch and sit on the bleachers and watch the girls playing volleyball or basketball. What'd they call that bunch --- the GAA ? --- always had their games over the lunch hour. Getting to watch the girls in their gym suits was a good reason to hurry back after lunch.
BobbySox I don't even know who you are, but I need to straighten you out. I was one of those girls down there playing, and we weren't doing it to put on a show for you.
Dago Hey! No offense intended! I thought you were real cute.
BobbySox You don't even know who I am.
Dago Doesn't matter. I thought you were all real cute.
BeBop The funniest thing about that building was the guidance counselor's office. When my kids were in school, I went in to see their counselor, and they had this fancy complex with a receptionist and a dozen nice offices down a side hall. Ours was a closet. What was his name --- Mr. Reveler? --- sat against the wall, and there was stuff stacked everywhere so you could barely squeeze in and sit down in the one extra chair. Houses today have half baths bigger than his office.
Ponytail Revilia, wasn't it? Something like that. Ravilea, Ravelea?
Hot Rod Remember those big black iron gates they could pull shut to close off the stairs after school. We'd be down at basketball practice, and if we needed to get back up to our locker, we had to climb over top of the gate.
Dago God, that gym was awful. It had those two big posts and those circles intersecting. We had great basketball teams and they had to play in that gym. Other teams just hated coming to our gym. Oh, and that lousy scoreboard. Half the time the number lights on the visitor score would short out and make the image of a sailboat. And you had to plug the thing in before a game. A manager would have to climb up and hang onto the windowsill with one hand while reaching over and plugging in the scoreboard with the other. We'd have been better off playing our games at the junior high gym. Or the YMCA.
BeBop Does anybody remember we had the really bad storm one year and it tore the roof totally off the high school? We missed maybe a week of school while they put a new roof on.
BobbySox I don't remember that at all. Missing school was something I would think I'd remember.
Hot Rod I kind of remember something like that. I seem to remember it was actually a tornado and came through just as we were getting up one morning. It blew trees down and sucked windows out all over town. I'd forgotten all about it.
Ponytail I don't remember that. The storm I remember was The Big Snow. Remember from then on when anybody referred to it they always capitalized it. We were in grade school. We were maybe 10 years old, maybe in the fourth or fifth grade. And it started snowing and just kept snowing what seemed like forever. When it was done, we were just buried. That was the only time we ever missed school for snow. But nobody could go anywhere. All the streets were blocked. The men had to walk to work in the mills and the ones that worked out of town couldn't go. I think we missed a week of school. Then we spent the rest of our childhood wishing for another storm like it and one never came.
Dago Yea, I remember that. I seem to remember the snow was four feet deep. But some places it drifted a lot higher. At our house, we had to use a window to get in and out of the house until we could get the front door shovelled out.
Crewcut You people have been busy. It took me 10 minutes to read all the way down to this point. This is great. I wish I knew who you all were, but I sure remember the things you've been talking about. About The Big Snow, I remember them blocking off three streets and laying cinders at the bottom to stop us, and letting us sledride right on the streets. And that snow stayed a long time. For several weeks we'd go home from school every day and sledride, and on weekends, we'd spend all day out there.
BeBop They did that every Winter. We sure got to do a lot of sledriding. My own kids still got to do some, but my grandkids almost never get to. Whatever happened to all those snows?
BobbySox Global warming. What were the streets? In the middle was it Chestnut Street? I think over on the Lincoln side of town it was Vine. What street did they close over on the McKinley side?
Dago We also used to sledride up at the Cemetery. But we never went up there after dark. It wasn't like we were scared or anything. But we just didn't like it up there after dark.
BeBop We used to sledride on the long hill coming down from the stadium. Nobody ever went up there after football was over, until track started in the Spring.
Hot Rod We used to go up to Omlor's. They had the best hill in town, but it took forever to tow our sleds up Montour Street. But we would start right in their backyard and go down across their garden and into the woods and through the woods for a loooong time and come out down below Wildcat Rock. Then you had to haul your sled back up the hill. So you didn't get too many rides in one night, but the ones you did get were great.
Ponytail I remember going up there. They'd have the back porch light on, and his Dad hung a spotlight from a tree about halfway down, and the snow really reflected the light, so you could see. But it was still spooky way down in the woods.
BobbySox We'd go up there, too. We only went on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. The snow would melt off the streets but with all those trees, Omlors had snow pretty much all Winter, even between storms. One big advantage up there was that Danny's mother always made lots of hot chocolate and cookies so we could come in the house every hour or so and warm up. I remember sitting with my feet on the heater thawing out my toes.
Hot Rod There was a neat little trick to sledriding at Omlors. On the last run of the night, you didn't have to tow your sled all the way back up through the woods to his house. You just towed it down through the woods and then along the cinder street and up to Montour Street right at that little store. You came out at Vance Avenue across the street from Margaret Agostinelli's house. It made your walk home a lot shorter.
Blondie We came about as close to killing ourselves as we ever have one time sledriding up there. They had several sleds, and one of them was a big bobsled. Four or five people would ride it sitting up. You steered it by leaning. Danny's father showed us how to use it and made one run down the hill with four of us. Then he let us take it down by ourselves. It seemed to steer real nice when he was on it with us, but we must not have paid attention to something, because when we went down on our own, we couldn't make it turn. So the sledriding track slowly curved to the right, and we went off into the woods at about 100 mph. I remember thinking Oh God We're Gonna Die. If a low hanging branch or a dead tree would have been about four feet above the snow it would have taken off all our heads. Through some miracle, we didn't hit anything, and finally got to the bottom of the hill. We all just sat there for about five minutes while our hearts slowed down. We hauled that bobsled back up the hill and never tried it again.
Dago That's no worse than what all the rest of us dealt with every time we went down one of the blocked off streets. They'd put those cinders down at the bottom of the hill to stop our sleds. Ha. If you had a good fast sled you ran through the cinders. It slowed you down but didn't stop you. Then you shot out onto the cross street into traffic. This happened all the time. How a lot of us weren't killed I'll never know.
BeBop That was one reason we liked Stadium Hill. They didn't cinder it, but at the bottom you had a long level stretch, then it actually sloped back up before hitting Maple Street. Plus you had time to turn your sled to the right onto the parking lot. So we never had a problem with traffic. Our problem was making that right turn further up the hill. By the time you came all the way down the hill you were really moving, and that was a very sharp right turn. Lots of times we ended up off in the weeds.
Crewcut How many of you went out onto the river when it froze over in the Winter?
Ponytail Every time we heard of kids out on the river, my father would sit us down and tell us if just one time he found out we'd done that he would beat us until we couldn't walk. He said that ice was absolutely unsafe. So I never tried it.
Dago We did it all the time. I know now how dumb it was but back then we thought it was cool.
Blondie Not me. I don't think any of my friends tried it, either.
Hot Rod Yeah, we used to do it. We thought it was cool to walk around over top of those big bubbles and force the bubbles to move around.
BobbySox It's a wonder any of you guys made it through high school. I must have been pretty naive. I had no idea you were into stuff like that
Dago Oh, don't worry. We were into lots more dangerous stuff than walking on ice on the river. It was actually pretty thick.
BobbySox Thick. Sure. More dangerous stuff like what?
Dago Being out on the river at night in some little rowboat and not paying attention and suddenly finding out you're right in the path of a tow with barges. Let me tell you, when you're right in front of them, those barges are a lot further across than they seem, and rowing out of their way can be pretty hairy. And a whole bunch of us had lots of close calls with trains. There's nothing quite like being caught between two long trains moving at full speed in opposite directions on adjacent tracks.
BobbySox OMG
Blondie I had no idea guys I was dancing with, sitting in class with, cheering for in football and basketball, maybe even going out with, were this insane.
Crewcut We used to hike along the railroad tracks, especially the Montour Railroad. We'd hike way out there and camp out around the county line. It was a rather common occurrence to get caught either on a trestle or in a tunnel with a train coming. You just learned to hang off the side or jump, or squeeze real flat against the side of the tunnel. Beat sitting on the porch playing Monopoly.
Hot Rod Probably the closest any of us came to disaster was after we started driving. There were a lot of times members of our class were drinking and then driving, and lots of other times they might have been sober but were driving way too fast.
Ponytail Ahhh, Cars. I loved cars. Who was that guy a class or two ahead of us with the really hot car with the big fenders ?
Dago That would be Dominic Santucci. I think that was a 1940 Chevy. And you're right. Dominic was really good, and his car was Hot.
BeBop Anybody remember that old Chrysler Mrs. Crawford drove?
BobbySox I remember it. She only drove it to school, church and the grocery. She told us once in class it had 15,000 miles on it. It looked like brand new.
Ponytail I know driving to school was not easy. There was no parking. You had to park two blocks away unless you got there early.
Saddleshoes I remember how we all walked home for lunch all 12 years of school. Nobody does that anymore.
Dago Except Thursdays during football season. Then the Football Mothers Club had their Spaghetti Lunch at the YMCA so a lot of kids went there.
BeBop I do remember walking home for lunch. Heat, rain, snow, freezing cold, didn't matter. We slogged home, ate lunch and slogged back.
Crewcut Yes, but it was cool. We had 90 minutes. What was it, 11:30 until 1:00? You could walk home, eat lunch, have time to do something else, walk back, and hang out for 10-15 minutes before 5th Period. It was a nice break.
BobbySox If you lived reasonably close to school, you had time for a nap. What a luxury that was.
Ponytail What I hated were those days we had band practice up at the stadium. We had to bring our lunch, hike all the way up that hill, eat lunch, practice our show for that Friday night, then hike back down.
Dago You only had it once a week. If you played football, you had to get up there every day beginning in seventh grade, and then after practice, hike home in the heat, the rain, the cold. It's no wonder we were in better shape than any team we played. First you hiked home and back for lunch, then you hiked to practice and back. We did more hiking on steeper terrain every day than Boy Scouts in Summer Camp.
Blondie Some of us also hiked back to the junior high for Home Ec or Art and I guess for the boys Shop.
Hot Rod We actually had a lot of fun hiking home and back at lunchtime. We would toss a football or baseball back and forth across the street and have snowball fights in Winter.
BeBop Of course by Senior Year most of us either had cars or had friends with cars. Beginning with the last half of Junior Year, fewer and fewer kids were walking.
Ponytail I seem to recall we even hiked up to the stadium for Gym in good weather. In marginal weather we went over into that hole across State Avenue from the high school, down along the creek, where we played softball and a few other sports. It was only in Winter weather that we actually stayed in the gym and played basketball and volleyball.
Blondie We also hiked down to the YMCA for gym and had swimming lessons.
Crewcut I remember the way to do Gym class was to schedule it twice a week in two hour blocks. The kids who had it for one hour at a time barely got changed and out on the floor before they had to come back in, shower and dress.
Saddleshoes I agree. The ideal Gym class was two hour blocks 6th and 7th periods. Then you didn't have to go back to class after Gym. You showered and dressed and went home. For a girl, that meant you didn't have to worry about hair and makeup after Gym.
BeBop Can you believe we had Gym every year every day, unless you had those two hour blocks? No school does that anymore. Most kids now have Gym one semester during their entire time in high school.
Dago I always thought it was pretty funny how certain kids would just do anything to get out of gym. They always had some excuse. In junior high Mr. Holpfer made them stand over by the door with their hands over their heads for the whole one or two hours. By the time gym was over, their arms were so sore they couldn't carry their books. But they still kept doing it every day.
BobbySox That junior high gym was awful, too. Remember we used to have games in there, and we always had good teams, so there would be big crowds, and there were absolutely no seats, so you'd be standing or sitting all around the floor right against the wall, and lots of times they'd squeeze us in two deep, so the front person's feet would be on the floor. Players would be running into people every time they went out of bounds. It got hotter than anything in there and the screaming was so loud. It was awful. God we had fun.
Ponytail Now I'm going to tell you guys something that's been a secret for 50 years. I bet you guys never knew this because we all swore to each other we'd never tell. Here goes. You know where the Home Ec rooms were? You went in from the other end of the building. Well, if you walked through to the back of the home ec area, there was a door. It had a really big old fashioned keyhole. You could look through the keyhole into the boys dressing room. You guys have no idea how many of us girls got educated looking through that keyhole.
Hot Rod Right. Now I'm going to tell you girls something that's also been a secret for 50 years. I bet you girls never knew this because we all swore to each other we'd never tell. You know that keyhole? We all knew about it. Every day, we'd say, OK, who's going to give the girls a thrill today? Sometimes we'd flip a coin, or draw straws, or something.
BeBop LOL !!!!!!!!!
BobbySox LMAO!!
Crewcut When we played away games we always dressed in the girls dressing rooms. So we found out about your dressing rooms. You sure had a lot better dressing rooms than the boys did. In every school we went to, the girls always had better dressing rooms. We had these big open rooms and big open showers. You girls had those nice little private dressing cubicles and private little showers. You had little benches or chairs to sit on, and shelves and hook to hang clothes on. We had nothing. We had to change clothes standing up and leave our street clothes in a pile on the floor while we were out in gym or practice. Lots of times the water from the big open showers would run across the floor so our clothes would get wet laying there on the floor. And there you'd be with those nice hooks and shelves for your stuff. Whose idea was this?
Ponytail That was to serve you guys right for how mean you were to us all the time. We were delicate little things and needed pampering.
Saddleshoes Do you remember that painting in the junior high gym? Remember there was that little recess in the wall on the front hall side, and there was that scene painted there. I seem to remember it was an outdoor scene, with a tree and everything.
BeBop Wow. I do remember that. I hadn't thought of that since we left junior high.
Dago Did they do the rope climbing unit with you girls? In boys classes, we let the ropes down, remember they were attached to the ceiling, and we had to climb them to the top and slide back down. First we could use our feet and legs to grab the rope while we moved our arms up. Then we had to do it with just our hands and not use our feet or legs. It was tough. They put the mats on the floor in case you fell. Lots of guys fell.
BobbySox I don't remember anything like that.
LugNut Hey everybody. When Margie sent out that email, I was expecting a one page site with a few announcements. Nothing like this. It's taken me almost an hour to look at all the pictures and read all the stuff.
Ponytail Hey Lugnut. C'mon in.
Lugnut About those ropes. I remember our having war on the ropes. Two guys would climb up adjacent ropes. When Holpfer blew the whistle, you got the ropes swinging until they got close enough. The object was to climb over to the other guy's rope above where he was, so you could force him down. If both of you ended up way at the top, when one of you got knocked off, you fell a pretty good distance.
Hot Rod Looking back on it, I think Holpfer was evil. He was always putting us in some kind of hand to hand combat. Remember the boxing and wrestling matches?
Crewcut Yes. And he always liked to put the biggest kid in the class against the smallest kid. He liked to see quickness going against size and strength. He'd put the biggest kid against the little kid, then cheer for the little kid.
Dago I remember those gymnastics weeks. They'd haul those balance beams and things out and we had to get up on them. I never had that kind of body balance and I'd always fall off. And so would everybody else. Oh, and there were those rings, too. I couldn't do those, either.
Hot Rod I don't remember actually using that equipment. I do remember it being there. We'd have to move it around. Sometimes we'd sit on them, or lean against them. But I have no memory of getting up on it. I doubt I could do it.
BeBop I remember gymnastics. We always started off tumbling on the mats on the floor. Then we'd work up to the bigger equipment. It was my favorite part of gym.
Crewcut Hey. I hadn't thought about this for years. How many of you guys did tumbling down at the YMCA in grade school?
Dago I did. Didn't we have that every Saturday morning?
Crewcut Yes. I seem to remember having meets against other YMCAs.
Dago I guess this means you and I were both down there together.
Lugnut I was there, too. We had a lot of guys down there. Did they have a girls team ?
Crewcut I wouldn't think so. It was the Young Men's Christian Association. Not the Young Women's.
Saddleshoes Today that would be discrimination.
Hot Rod No it's not. You go to a YWCA. I think they had one over in Sewickley. I don't know if it's still there.
Saddleshoes How were we supposed to get over to Sewickley? Today it would be discrimination. There was a lot of discrimination back then. We just took it for granted. Then after we graduated they started fighting about it and changing things.
Dago Like for instance?
Saddleshoes Like for instance I couldn't take Shop. Manual Training. Whatever they called it. And we didn't have girls teams in anything.
Dago But it was equal. I couldn't take Home Ec, either. I couldn't go out for cheerleading. Why would I want to?
Saddleshoes Listen to yourself. This is 2009. Boys should be able to take Home Ec and be cheerleaders. Girls should be able to take Shop and go out for football. It doesn't matter if most girls want to. Or most boys want to. The few that do should be able to.
Dago It's odd Michael or Harriet or Janet didn't make a big thing about that.
BeBop Why list those three in particular?
Dago Because they were always the ones to stand up for stuff. In student council, or class discussions, or just out in the hall. Those three were always the ones, they'd stand up for stuff. It's a wonder they didn't all become big time lawyers.
Ponytail Let's change the subject. Way back in grade school, does anybody remember going to the plays?
BobbySox I remember that. Down at the high school.
Lugnut I have no idea what you're talking about.
Ponytail In grade school. Every year they had three plays. You bought tickets. They'd be in the afternoon. You'd go down and watch the play in the auditorium. You got to miss the whole afternoon.
BeBop I remember that. I loved those. I always bought the set of all three tickets at the beginning of the year.
Hot Rod I used to sign up to get out of class when we were in high school to help them haul the stuff in and set up and then take it all down and haul it back out to the van.
Saddleshoes Yes. I used to go. I hadn't thought of those in years. They were pretty cool. I always wanted to go down in the morning and watch them set everything up. I thought it was so incredible they would come in here in that big van, and set this whole thing up, and put on the play, and then just take it all away. To me it was like the circus or a carnival or something.
Lugnut Remember we used to have the carnival come every year down at the Armory. They'd set up and stay a week.
Ponytail I remember that. We always went. But my Dad never trusted the high rides. The TiltaWhirl and MerrygoRound were ok, but he'd never let us ride the Ferris Wheel or Octopus. He said that was what Kennywood was for.
BeBop I thought those carnival workers were really, really scary people. My Mom always told us they would kidnap kids and take them with them to work on the carnival. She said every so often after a carnival had been in a town some kid was missing and they never found them.
Dago I don't know about stealing kids, but I'll guarantee you they stole your money. Those carnival games were rigged 10 different ways. We'd go down and hang around the carnival in the morning, before they opened. We'd check stuff out. It was all crooked. They had the basketball shoot. The baskets were about half as big as a real one. They had stuff where you threw something at a pin or something to knock it over. It was glued down. Or nailed down. After I got out of high school, I haven't been back to a carnival since.
Crewcut We got on one of those big stainless steel cylinder rides one time where it turns you upside down. It was way at the back, in that corner by LaBello's Restaurant. The guy started it up and then walked over and started talking with this girl. He forgot all about us. We just kept spinning around and around and around and he was trying to put the moves on that girl. When he finally remembered and came over and stopped the ride we were all dizzy. I remember finding a place to sit down over by that chain link fence and just sitting there for a while until my head stopped spinning. Usually those rides last about two minutes. I think we were on that one for 15 minutes.
Blondie My sister and I used to go down in the morning and look through the fence at the carnival people. They were all living in tiny trailers. I felt sorry for them.
Hot Rod I remember the guy would come to town about a month ahead of the carnival and put those signs up on all the telephone poles. He had a big roll of wire on his belt. He'd run the wire around the pole through holes in the corners of the signs.
BobbySox I never was big on carnivals. What I liked was the circus. We went every year. Some years we went twice. Ringling Brothers and Barnum Bailey. Remember they set it up below the tracks. I think it was on Ewing Field. I loved it. I remember when they announced they weren't coming anymore. We were in high school, but I cried. I really missed it. If they came and set up anywhere near me now, I'd stil go. My whole life, I never have understood why they stopped coming around.
Ponytail I remember that. They quit coming to the small towns. They quit setting up the big tents. The circus still comes around, but now it comes to big cities and sets up in big arenas.
BobbySox What good is that? I went to it once in one of those big arenas. It's not the same. Those tents were special. And having it right here where you live, that made it special. It was like it belonged to you. Like they were coming to visit you. If you have to go see them in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia or someplace, it's just like any other business. There's no magic.
BeBop I remember they always came by train. They had their own train. Even the engines were decorated in circus colors. They'd pull the train in there by the field and unload. The circus train coming was like Santa Claus coming. We always knew when they were coming because they posted those signs all over town. So my Mom would take us down and we'd sit by the Mill Street station all night waiting for the train. Every time we'd hear a whistle in the distance, we'd hope it was the circus, but it wouldn't be, so we'd wrap back up in the blanket and wait. And somehow you could tell when it really WAS the circus train, because their whistle was different. It was the biggest thrill to see it pulling in. The elephants and lions and giraffes in their cages would be looking out and there'd be the big calliope car and all the passenger cars with all the circus people sleeping. And since it would be stopping it would be already slowing down, so we got a real good look at everything. God, I can't believe we're on this website talking about all this stuff I haven't thought about in years. I think I'm going to cry. Can we go back and do it all again?
Lugnut The guy used to come a few days ahead and sign boys up to work. We'd mostly haul stuff, like water for the animals or coils of rope or rolled up banners. Sometimes they'd give us long handled brushes and hoses and we'd help wash the elephants. We had to report down at the tracks early in the morning, maybe 8 or 9, then work til about noon. Then we'd get paid with free passes. So we could go to every show over and over. It was a good deal. We were in maybe fifth or sixth grade at the beginning, and I think we worked every year while we were in junior high. I seem to recall it was always in the Summer but I would have cut school for it.
Saddleshoes You said Ewings Field. I do remember it setting up on Ewing Field. But I also remember several years when they set up on that other field closer to the big passenger station. Last time I was down there there was one of those big block long stores in there, but remember when we were kids the whole block was vacant. But I remember that train parked there for the week they were here.
Blondie The circus was always sponsored by the Firemen. Our neighbor was a fireman and he always told us they made a lot of money every year off the circus. They ran the fire department all year with the money from the circus.
Crewcut Do you remember Halloween? I loved Halloween. I felt bad my own kids never had the kind of Halloweens we had. Remember the Halloween Parades? They had that judging platform set up in front of the borough building, and all the people in the parade had a number taped to their back. One by one, they would walk up the stairs and across the stage, and the judges would pick the best in each category. There were prizes, like $100 for first place, $75 for second and $50 for third.
Dago Yes. They had prizes for grade school, junior high school and high school. But the big deal was the adults. I remember some of our parents and the businessmen really getting serious about that.
Ponytail It's funny what we remember. I can still see that big Glow Worm with about five people under it, and that ciagarette package with legs walking down Fifth Avenue,, and that airplane with legs.
BeBop Don't forget that big silver robot. It was just cardboard boxes painted silver and maybe some stovepipes for arms and legs. But it was really something to see it clanking down the street. My uncle was always a car. He won third and second place a few times but never took first.
Lugnut The parade was great, but Trick or Treating was what I liked. We went all over town. Some years it was really cold and we about froze to death but we still went and we weren't about to come home early.
Hot Rod We always got the best stuff up on The Heights and up on Montour Hill. That area between Central School and Maple Street was pretty good, too.
BobbySox Halloween anymore isn't anything like what we had. It had fallen off a lot by the time my kids came along, and now with my grand kids it's almost gone completely. The big thing is, today it's supposed to only be for little kids. We could enter the parade and go trick or treating all the way through high school. All the best costumes were done by the high school kids, and we couldn't buy ours. We had to make them.
Saddleshoes How many of us made masks out of paper mache? Does anybody even know what paper mache is anymore?
BeBop We made masks out of paper mache. Where did we learn how to do that? Did they teach us in art class at school? I don't remember learning it, but we did it a lot.
Ponytail I think maybe we learned it in Girl Scouts. Or Brownies.
BobbySox I seem to recall learning it in Sunday School. Or Vacation Bible School. But I do remember doing it. It was so simple. You just needed newspapers and plaster of paris. Why don't kids do this stuff anymore?
BeBop Do they even sell plaster of paris anymore? I haven't heard of it for years.
Dago We made an awful lot of school projects out of plaster of paris. I remember making volcanoes, castles, mountain ranges, forts, all kinds of stuff, right there on our kitchen table, out of plaster of paris.
Crewcut Getting back to Halloween, I also remember always having Halloween in school. We'd wear our costumes, pick the best, make stuff in art class to put on the windows, make a big deal out of it. Didn't we always get out early for Halloween?
Saddleshoes I think we did in grade school. I seem to remember getting out at 2:30. We'd go home and decorate and get our costumes ready.
Lugnut I don't remember getting out early, but I do know these days they don't do anything at all with Halloween in school. I think they're trying to get rid of the holiday altogerher.
Dago It's scary to think about how almost everything we did that made our childhoods so special they're now trying to get rid of. What's the matter with everybody?
Hot Rod Another big deal I remember is the YMCA Fair.
BeBop Yes. It was kind of hokey, but we always had a blast. And it lasted three nights.
Saddleshoes I remember that big round water tank they'd set up, and there was this seat sticking out over it, and you threw a baseball at a target and if you hit the target whoever was sitting on the seat fell into the water. They'd get one of the coaches or teachers or players to sit up there. Everybody wanted to knock them in the water. They made a fortune on that thing.
Ponytail I remember they always started with a parade Thursday night. We always had to march in it.
Crewcut The Y gym was filled with game booths. The place was always jammed. They opened all the doors and windows to keep it cool.
BobbySox They always had a queen contest. Being named Y Queen was a big deal. They crowned the queen Saturday night.
BeBop There was always lots of food. For some reason, I remember always having a candied apple at the Y Fair. They made it right in front of you. I don't think I've had one since, but they were sure good. I can still taste them.
Lugnut I remember the pie booth. Mothers would bake pies. You bought it by the slice. I used to go by about four times a night and buy a slice of pie, a different flavor every time. My Mom wasn't big on baking pies, so that was my big chance to get some. I remember apple, cherry, lemon meringue, coconut cream, peach and some sort of real sweet brownish looking pie. Sitting here thinking about this, I don't remember the last time I had a piece of pie. My wife never bakes a pie. Is it possible I haven't had a piece of pie since the Y Fair??
Hot Rod Most of us guys would spend our time at the milk bottle booth. They had wooden milk bottles and you got three baseballs for a dollar to throw at them. They had the bottles stacked, with three on the bottom, then two, then one. If you knocked the whole stack over you got a prize. We didn't care about the prize. We just wanted to prove we were the best baseball thrower.
Blondie Most of us girls liked that booth where you had that bowling pin sitting on a table and a ball hanging from a string. You had to let the ball swing one direction, then knock over the pin on the way back. It required more finesse than strength. Boys had a lot of trouble doing it. Most of the winners were girls.
Ponytail It was always so crowded. Everybody in Coraopolis and most of the people in Neville and Moon were there. We'd go inside for a while, then get something to drink and go out in the nice cool and sit on the steps or the wall or someplace and just talk.
Hot Rod I remember they used to raffle off a brand new car at the Y Fair. You bought a ticket for about $5 and they announced the winner Saturday night just before the queen was announced.
Saddleshoes I remember we always bought a ticket. That was about the only chance we had to ever own a new car. But we never won. We weren't poor, but I was married before we ever got a brand new car.
Crewcut Remember how you could go upstairs at the Y and walk around the balcony looking down on the gym?
BobbySox Who was the Y Fair Queen our senior year?
BeBop Was it Ginger McFadden from Neville Island? I seem to remember she won it one of our years in high school. She was George Pessy's girl when we were juniors.
Blondie I don't think it was one of us our senior year. Maybe Claudia Eberle from Moon.
Dago How did they pick the queen? Were there judges or did everybody pay a dollar and vote, or what?
Ponytail There weren't judges. I think you paid a dollar and voted. It was a fundraiser. The whole Y Fair was a fundriaser for the Y.
BobbySox That would be why our girls didn't win. We had the prettiest girls but the outlying areas would get together and support one of their girls.
Lugnut We had an awful lot of gorgeous girls, but those ones you've mentioned, Ginger McFadden from Neville and Claudia Eberle--she was from down in Stoops Ferry in Crescent--plus Kathy Curry from Moon and Linda Chenoweth from Robinson, they were all really good looking.
Crewcut Don't forget Patti DeGiacobe from Moon.
Saddleshoes So you didn't think we had the best looking girls in the area?
Dago We had more good looking girls and ours were really intelligent and sexy and sweet, but what we're saying is Neville and Moon and Robinson had some, too. They had a lot more kids so obviously they'd come up with some good looking girls.
Hot Rod There was one coming up a few years behind us over at Neville who should have been Miss America. That was Janet Yuknavitch. She ended up being Miss Everything But Miss America, but she should have won that, too.
Ponytail I knew her. She was really pretty. But I don't think she was any prettier than the girls we had in Coraopolis.
Lugnut I certainly agree with you. Let me tell you what the problem was. All of those really good looking girls we had were too short. They were very, very atttractive, but that's not enough. I had two cousins who got involved in that beauty pageant business. They were taller than our girls, but not enough taller. If you notice, no girl wins any of those contests unless she's at least 5-10, and the really big contests, like Miss Pennsylvania, Miss Universe or Miss America, go to girls 5-11 or even 6-0. And it's not just tall. The height has to be in the legs. All those queens have incredibly long legs. Our girls just weren't tall enough, and didn't have the legs.
BeBop I know one thing. My granddaughters do not care one bit how they look. They go to school every day looking like homeless people. Back in our day, us girls spent quite a bit of time worrying about how we looked. Our whole identity was wrapped up in how we looked. It sure was a different time.
Crewcut You did a fine job. You made coming to school every day a lot less painful than it otherwise would have been. When we were really bored with algebra or history we could always just look around the room at all the girls.
BobbySox I hate to shatter your ego way back there, but we were not fixing ourselves up to impress you guys. We were doing it to impress each other. Us girls were our own worst critics.
Ponytail Speak for yourself. I was trying to impress the guys. Several guys in particular.
Saddleshoes These girls today don't realize how they have it made. They can ask a guy out and nobody thinks that's a bad thing. Plus, they have their own cell phones so their mother's not listening to every word they say because the phone's in the kitchen.
BeBop That's the truth. Any call I got, my mother would answer the phone, then hover nearby pretending to be busy with something, but still there.
Dago It was worse for us. We had our phones in the kitchen, too. Any girl I called, there was my mother listening. No telling how much better my social life would have been if I'd had a cell phone.
Lugnut Or a computer. Just email a girl. Or 10 girls. I could have played the numbers. Emailed 10 girls and asked them out and the first one to reply got the date.
Ponytail Oh, you'd have been real popular with that approach. Somehow I think getting a phone call was a bit more romantic.
Lugnut Since I don't know for sure who you are, I don't know whether I ever called you or not. But if I did, you would know my phone manner was not too smooth at age 16.
Ponytail No matter how much stuttering and stammering and beating around the bush, your phone call would have had to be more personal than an email message. I can see it now : "Hey Babe. Friday nite at 8. Hit me back." That's a sure way to a girl's heart.
Lugnut Even at 16, I think I could have done better than that.
Ponytail Well, let's hope so. Maybe sometime in the next 10 years they'll invent a time machine and we can all go back and find out.
Crewcut Hate to break up the soap opera, but while you were looking around at all these great women, who was your favorite teacher?
BeBop I liked Miss McClenahan. I had her for several classes.
Saddleshoes Miss Horton. I had her for Latin. She had a major crush on Julius Caesar. Latin was hard, especially second year, but she was great.
Ponytail Miss Griffith. I had her for three classes. Speech, Problems of Democracy, and some other class where we did a lot of discussion.
Lugnut Mr. O'Connor. I had him for American History. He was pretty cool.
BobbySox Miss Brunton. I had her for gym and health.
HotRod Mr. Rogers. He was the hardest teacher I had but I loved all those Physics labs.
Dago Miss Malter. Math was my worst subject but I thought she was a trip. The guys in my class used to call her Bat Malterson. Never mind who it was, but somebody used to come in early after lunch. She always left her gradebook out on her desk. He wouldn't bother doing his homework, so she'd leave the space blank. So he'd open up her gradebook and write a grade in for himself and several other kids.
Crewcut I have to agree on Mr. Rogers. He was the best. But there were three others that I really got a big kick out of. One was Miss Crawford. We all called her Mama Bear. Remember how every year she'd write the senior play herself. They were hokey and awful but she thought she was saving the school money by not buying a play. Remember how our senior year two of us snuck into her room and stole a copy of the exam. They would have gotten away with it but they made copies and handed them out to every body. That got them caught. The second teacher was Miss Pfingstlilil. She was a good enough teacher but she was so ditsy. And the third was Miss Beech, the librarian with the blue hair.
Ponytail My greatest memories of high school are the running adventures of Miss Beech and Nick. They could be a tv comedy series.
Saddleshoes OMG. I remember that. I thought I would die. Poor Miss Beech had that bad limp and after we read Moby Dick in Miss Donaldson's class Nick started calling her Lady Ahab. It was really tasteless but it was so funny.
BeBop I was in the library the day Nick did the scratching thing. She always made everybody stay so quiet. So Nick sat over there with his one hand under the table scratching the underside real loud. You could hear it all over the library. So Miss Beech would look all around. Then everything would get quiet. Nick would scratch again. This went on for a while. Miss Beech was patrolling around the library trying to catch the guilty party. When she was real close Nick was totally engrossed in reading the paper. When she'd be across the library, he'd scratch again. Finally about the dozenth time, Nick scratched real loud and looked up and said, "Miss Beech! Will you please stop scratching your wooden leg so loud? I can't concentrate over here!!" And as usual she dragged Nick down to the office. I think she dragged him down to the office every day all year.
BobbySox I was there the day he did the pencil sharpener trick. He would walk all around the library dumping the pencil sharpener shavings on the floor. Then he went over and sat down for a while. Then he pretended to be taking the newspaper back to the rack, and acted real surprised. "Miss Beech!!" he said. "Have you been shaving your wooden leg in the library again?" So she dragged him down to the office again.
Ponytail He was always pretty funny. I think the only time he was serious was in sports.
Dago He was pretty funny in practices and on the bus, too. The only time he was serious was when he was actually in the game.
Crewcut Does anybody remember the time Mr. Rogers and Angelo got into it -- I don't remember if it was in class, home room or study hall -- and Rogers took us all down to the gym, rolled out a mat, and he and Ange went at it. Rogers kept giving Ange the first move and then he'd use some karate move on him and take him down. After each takedown, Rogers would ask if Ange had enough, and Ange kept thinking, well, he was twice as big and next time surely he could get something done. After about six takedowns, when Rogers asked if he'd had enough, Ange finally said Yes. And we all went back to class like nothing ever happened. After that, Ange and Rogers got along fine.
BeBop I was in that class. Or homeroom or study hall, whatever. I don't remember, either, but I remember the scene down in the gym. We sat down along the left side of the gym, the side along Rogers' room.
Hot Rod My funniest memory is of waiting for basketball practice. Looking back now, it was mean and I'm embarassed. But at the time it was hysterical. The JV guys had to wait until the varsity finished. Meanwhile, the custodians were cleaning the rooms. They had Mr. Brown's, Miss Brunton's, Mr. Rogers' and that other room down near the gym. The custodians would drag this huge cardboard box around the hall and dump trash into it and empty their brooms into it. So they'd park the box in the hall and go into a room. We would steal the box, carry it upstairs and park it in a bathroom or somewhere. Then we'd all go back and lay on the mats waiting for the varsity practice to end. The custodians would come out in the hall, look around, and start cussing. Coach Letteri would hear them and come up the stairs and find out what was going on. He'd stomp down and confront us and make us go up and bring the box back down. What was funny was this went on all season. We'd steal the box at least twice a week.
Peggy Sue What are we doing here, writing our own novel? This is incredible. When Margie said we had a website, I expected a page of announcements. Instead, I've spent a whole evening looking at pictures, reading the captions and finally working my way down through these posts. How do you remember all this stuff? Now that you mention them, I remember all these little things, but I didn't even know they were still tucked away in my memory. I haven't thought about this stuff for 50 years.
Ponytail Well, just add yours. We need all the memories we can get.
Dago My funniest memory isn't of one thing, but of one person : Lucy. Remember how she was always fussing at somebody, usually one of us guys, about something. We'd say stuff to her just get her all riled up. She'd be fuming and stomping around and we'd just be dying laughing. I always thought the character Lucy in Peanuts was based on her.
Lugnut That's for sure. Do you remember the time Danny tried to convince her her feet were too big?
Dago Oh, God yes. She was so mad she could have chewed nails.
Blondie I must have missed that. What happened?
Lugnut She was sort of limping around and Danny asked her what was wrong. She said she had a new pair of shoes and they must be too small because they hurt her feet. He said, well, let's see, put one of your feet up here. So he slipped off her shoe and felt all around her foot and got this real serious look on his face and said, hmmmm, let's see that other foot. So he did the same thing with it, and then he looked at Lucy and said, No, the problem's not with your shoes, Stand over here. So she did and he pretended like he was studying her legs. Then he said, See, your shoes are fine and your legs are the right length. The problem is your feet are too big. And Lucy got this ferocious look on her face and said What??? And Danny kept a real straight face and said, your feet's too big. It happens with a lot of girls. Their feet grow too big, and until the rest of them catch up with their feet they have a hard time finding shoes to fit. And Lucy just explodes. She's ranting and raving about that being the dumbest thing she's ever heard and how dare he call her feet too big and she ought to beat him with a big ugly stick and anyway anybody with that stupid curl should keep quiet and on and on, and all of us were just rolling on the floor laughing.
Dago What was so funny was that from seventh grade on we were all continuously aggravating her. Danny, Ange, Nick, Dom, Dave, Bill, all the guys just loved getting her all riled up. We'd try to aggravate Janet but she was too cool. She'd just give us that Drop Dead Stare of hers. Marianne was too sweet to aggravate and Kloog would have beat us up. So we just aggravated Lucy.
Hot Rod Yeah. Every once in a while we'd try to aggravate Carol and she'd roll her eyes and give us that Oh God How Much Longer Do I Have To Put Up With This sigh. So we'd go find Lucy and bother her. She was more fun than anybody. God she could get mad.
Ponytail Were you there in the library the day Nick got on her about the drive in movie?
Dago You're going to have to remind me.
Ponytail Nick was sitting there in his usual chair over by the window. Lucy was in her usual chair by the newspaper rack. Remember 5th hour the same people came to the library every day. It's all quiet. Nick says, So, Lucy, how'd you like that movie Saturday night? Lucy says Don't bother me I'm doing my Trig. Nick says, Yeah, well, I could see why you wouldn't want to talk about it. Lucy just glares at him and keeps on working. So Danny says, Well, Nick, what movie did she go to? About this time Miss Beech tells them to be quiet. Lucy says, Just ignore him. I didn't go to any movie. I stayed home. Nick says, Sure, I could see why you wouldn't want to talk about it. Then he looks over at me and says, She and that loser boyfriend of hers went to the Kenmawr Drive In to see Closed For The Winter. Miss Beech is telling Nick to be quiet and we're all gagging to keep from laughing and Sarah says, I never heard of that, what's that about? So we all laugh again. Nick says Hey Lucy did you think it was strange there were so few cars in there with you? Lucy just lets out one of those big sighs of hers and glares at him, tapping her pencil. Nick says, And what did you think when you went to the concession stand and there was nobody there? So Lucy explodes and starts ranting about Are You Done Yet? Don't You Ever Shut Up? So Miss Beech takes Nick back down to the office for the 90th day in a row. So while he's being dragged across the library to the door, Nick says to Lucy, Hey, did they charge you full price or did you get a discount? And Lucy asks him if he doesn't have a football to go dribble somewhere.
Hot Rod It's a wonder they let Nick play in any games at all. He was always in the office. He was really funny but he would not shut up.
Peggy Sue You should have been in Yearbook 6th hour. Danny and Lucy would argue the whole hour every single day. I guess they were the first people to multitask. They'd be doing their work just fine, Danny over there typing stories and Lucy working on layouts. But they'e be arguing about something the whole time.
Ponytail What did they argue about?
Peggy Sue Anything at all. Bill or George would get it started and Lucy would go off and whatever she said, they'd take off on that.
Ponytail I'll bet those arguments weren't as good as the ones Bill would get into with Ann and Michael in Miss Griffith's class. They would get so mad at him Miss Griffith would have to call them down. But those arguments all had something to do with American Government. Ann and Michael would always take the liberal left side of things, and Bill was always such a conservative. I'll bet he's a Republican.
Crewcut Who were your favorite teachers back in junior high?
BeBop I thought Mr. Arndt was pretty good. I never did like math and wasn't good at it, but he seemed to make it real clear and I was able to get pretty good at it. From seventh grade on I never had any trouble with my math classes except for one.I really like him for that.
Dago I thought Mr. Caledonio was pretty good in mechanical drawing. That was my favorite class.
BobbySox Miss Dull. I always thought she should have changed her name. Her class was not dull. I loved Geography and I learned more of it from her than anyone. I thought all the projects we did were really interesting.
Blondie You're going to laugh at me. But I not only still remember one of those projects, I still have mine hanging on the wall here. It was that map of the U.S. on a sheet. Do you remember that? She gave us each a big map of the country. We had to trace it onto part of a bed sheet, then color it with crayolas and letter it. We put the rivers and lakes and oceans on it and mark the capitals. Then, I forget the details but there was some process with newspaper and wax paper and we either had our mothers do it or did it ourselves but we ended up ironing the sheet which sealed the colors on. Then we fringed the edge all the way around. When we brought ours all in to school and displayed them it was so impressive. Anyway, when we got them back and I took mine home, my Dad framed it. He put ir under glass and hung it on our wall. And when I got married I took it with me. It's hanging right here right now. So go ahead and laugh.
Hot Rod Nobody's laughing. The chair I sit in all the time to watch tv in the living room has an end table next to it that I made in Shop under Mr. Henry. I cut the pieces, notched everything, stained them, fit it together, glued it, varnished it, polished it and put in a few nails to make sure it lasted forever. It's a really nice end table. I'm real proud of it. I think I was in eighth grade when I made it.
LugNut I have a lamp on the wall over our kitchen table I made in Shop. I still remember making the wood piece on the lathe. I loved the lathe. Then we had to bend the curled metal frame, paint it, wire it all up, install the light socket, and add the hook and the shade. It was in either 8th or 9th grade, I don't remember.
Ponytail I'll tell you one teacher that was not my favorite was Miss Picard the librarian. She got off to a bad start with me and I never did forgive her. When we were in grade school I was a big reader and I had almost read the whole Nancy Drew series. So all Summer I was thinking Well I can get to that big Junior High library and check out the few books I hadn't read yet. So the first chance I got I went to the library and looked for Nancy Drew. When I couldn't find them I went up to the desk and asked Miss Picard where they were and she gave me this lecture. She told me Nancy Drew books were really childish and weren't literature at all and I needed to grow up and start reading some real books which she, of course, would be happy to recommend. I left the library in tears. I never did check out one of her books. I used the Public Library the whole time I was in Junior High. My parents bought me the last few books in the series for Christmas so I got to read them.
Saddleshoes I liked Mr. Snell. He was this big principal but he was always out in the hall when we were changing classes and he'd say Hello and ask all of us how we were and how things were going and everything. One Winter I fell on the steps and hurt my knee and he gave me a ride home. He was more like an uncle or grandfather than a principal. You got the impression he really cared about us. When my own kids were in Middle School I wish they could have had a Mr. Snell.
Crewcut Mr. Jewart was my favorite. I had him for History, but we also had him for seventh grade basketball. He was a good coach. I thought he was a lot better coach than Mr. Holpfer. I think I learned more basketball from Mr. Jewart than from any other coach we had. And I never had been much interested in history but he made it really interesting. I guess he was the best history teacher I had until I got to college.
Lugnut He was a good coach. I never had been much of a shot. I used to make maybe a third of my shots. In one year he taught me how to shoot. He straightened out my arm, showed me how to square up to the basket, how to flex my wrist, everything. After seventh grade, I was making about two thirds of my shots. The other coaches we had were organized and ran the program and could motivate us and keep everything disciplined. But Coach Jewart was a teacher of the game.
Ponytail My favorite teacher might have been Mr. Kelly. We had him for ninth grade English. He might have been the best English teacher I ever had before college. Up until him, all we ever did was grammar and spelling, day after day, and read those stupid short stories out of those stupid books. He had us reading novels and plays and then we'd spend class time discussing them. I remember doing Romeo & Juliet. That was the first time I had any exposure to Shakespeare. It was hard, but it was really something. I remember all us girls cried at the end and the boys made fun of us. And we read Treasure Island. I'd read a lot of books growing up, but they were like The Bobbsey Twins and Nancy Drew and Sweet Sixteen. I'd sure never read anything like Treasure Island. My Mom said Well, that's a boy's book. But Mr. Kelley was the first man teacher we ever had for English so no wonder. The guys all loved it.
Saddleshoes He was Dr. Kelley. He got his doctorate from Pitt.
Bebop He ended up teaching at the high school and won Pennsylvania Teacher Of The Year. Then he went on to teach at Penn State.
Dago I just remember his bowties.
Crewcut I remember we had to write a theme a week. Every Thursday night I'd be writing a theme.
Blondie I don't remember all the themes but I remember all the poetry. We had to read a bunch of it. I remember The Rhyme Of The Ancient Mariner. We had to memorize a part of it. Let's see...Water, water, everywhere and not a drop to drink. We memorized a whole section and that's all I can remember. And then we had to write our own poetry and stand up in class and read it and he put the best of them up on the wall for Parent's Night.
Dago Oh, Hell. Parent's Night. I'd forgot all about Parent's Night. Every year I'd get in trouble over Parent's Night. My parents would go talk to all my teachers and then come home mad. Then I wouldn't be allowed to watch tv or do much of anything until it all wore off several weeks later.
Saddleshoes This is embarassing. I can't remember the name of our art teacher. I can still see her in my mind. I remember her art room. It was along the front of the building, on the first floor, right under the library, with the windows looking out on the street. I remember the stuff we did in there. But I have no idea what her name was. Anyway, I liked her. I liked her class.
Bebop I remember the tree assignment. She took us all outside and we had to pick a tree around the school or across the street. Then we'd sit there the whole hour and draw the tree. God, that was hard. I remember the hard part was the branches pointing toward you. How do you draw a branch so it looks like it's extending toward you? Louie and Marilyn and David just thought that was the easiest thing in the world and I had to keep redoing mine every day for about two weeks until it satisfied the teacher and it still didn't look very good.
Lugnut The one I remember was drawing the Junior High building. We all went across the street to that big yard up from the library and sat there in the grass all hour and drew the building. What made it hard was we were looking at the corner so then heading off in both directions we had to get the angles right. Coming along the front, along Ridge Avenue, the roof, the windows, the bottom and the curb all had to be parallel. Then that side of the building heading up School Street had to have everything parallel. It was supposed to teach us how to draw perspective. The same week we were doing that in art class we were doing the same thing in Mechanical Drawing class, and I was having trouble with it both places.
Hot Rod I notice nobody's mentioning Dr. Jones as their favorite teacher.
Dago You got that right. She was my worst nightmare. Her and her subject : Algebra. In my entire life I've never felt so stupid as I felt every single day in her class.
Blondie You do have to give her credit, though. She really knew Algebra. She wrote the book we were using. The whole state used her book.
Dago That just made it worse. Somebody would try to say the book doesn't make this clear, could you explain this to me, and she'd get all defensive because you'd insulted her book, and instead of explaining it she'd tell you how stupid you were or how lazy.
Bebop She was the only teacher who ever made me cry. And she did it a whole bunch of times. She'd call on me, and even if I got the answer right, she'd cross examine me to try to trip me up, so she could see if I really really understood the problem. Well, I was always so nervous, she'd eventually trip me up just because I'd get flustered, so it looked like I didn't understand when I really did. I think between seventh and 12th grade, I made my lowest grade in her class.
Bobbysox What I remember is she wore the same dress all week. She'd lean against the board Monday and get some formula across the back of her dress and it would still be there Friday.
Lurk I was in trouble from Day One in there. First day of class, she takes roll and comes to my name. She looks up and asks me if I was Frank's son. Yes, I said. Oh, she says. That Oh was really dangerous sounding. It sort of echoed around the room. So then she says, I had your father and he didn't do very well in here. Then I had your brother and he didn't do very well in here. Then she just looked real hard at me for about a minute. So I was trapped in Hell. I couldn't drop the class and I had to have a decent grade. All through ninth grade, I probably spent half my time on all my other classes combined, and half my time on Algebra.
Ponytail I remember Binomial Equasions. It was like my whole world was just Binomial Equasions for most of ninth grade.
Blondie I remember spending two hours on homework, making it all neat and correct, and getting it back with red ink over every inch of it.
Saddleshoes My other nightmare was Mr. Rogers. And the thing was I really liked him. He would always say Hello to me and ask me how I was doing and when he was explaining something he'd stop and look around the room and I was one of the ones he'd look at when he'd ask if anybody had any questions, and if I did, he'd go back over it real thoroughly. So he tried to be good to me. But he must have thought I was a blithering idiot. I understood all the basic ideas, but that math. Lord, Lord, that math. When it came to balancing those equasions, I was just swimming in deep water. I remember Moles. I got all the way through college chemistry and still don't understand Moles. And it seemed like everybody else was just cruising along. I'd look over and Bill and Jim and Jan and Stan and everybody would be finishing up and handing in their work and I'd be on the first problem. And then we got to high school and they transferred him to the high school so we knew we'd have to have him again in 11th grade for Chemistry, and I was like, God, What Did I Do To Deserve This So I Can Never Never Do It Again???
Lugnut Well, I know Rogers was hard but I loved his class. Up until then, science had been just a bunch of reading the book and doing the questions and memorizing a bunch of stuff, but all of a sudden in his class we were setting stuff up and running experiments and I started thinking, hey, I can DO this. I still remember that salt experiment we did, and the distilling apparatus we rigged up, and the oxygen column. I remember doing stuff inside that bell jar. He was big on the bell jar. We used it again in Chemistry and Physics. One of my sharp memories of school was our going outside and picking a fresh rose, putting it in the bell jar, sealing everything, lowering down the pressure and temperature, then opening it up, picking up the rose and shattering it against the table. It splintered into a thousand pieces like it was made of glass. And I was like, hey, man, Science Is Cool.
Crewcut What I liked about Rogers was we used to go in after school and he'd help us just play around with the equipment. He'd show us how to rig different stuff up and run different experiments. It didn't have anything to do with class so there was no pressure but we'd spend like two hours and he was in no hurry to go home. I learned more science after school than I did in class.
Saddleshoes It must have been a guy thing.
Ponytail Well, I never went in after school, but I do remember the units we did in ninth grade on colors and vision and sound and stuff. I thought they were pretty neat. He had a bunch of prisms and tuning forks. That was just fascinating to me.
Hot Rod A bunch of us would go in after school and talk about cars. I learned a whole lot about internal combustion engines from him that I still use today. Remember he had that Briggs & Stratton one cylinder lawn mower engine to demonstrate compression and every thing. It broke it down so simple you could figure out the basic principles. I learned how mufflers worked from him.
Crewcut I remember going in after school and building a bottle rocket. It was a kit he'd got from one of those catalogues. Then four or five of us went with him up to the stadium, this was in the Spring, maybe May because we had to schedule it on a day the track team had an away meet, and we set up and launched that bottle rocket. Man. It looked like it was gonna go to the Moon. It finally topped out and the little parachute opened and it drifted back down into the woods over there past Wildcat Rock. We never got it back. But I'll always remember that.
Bobbysox What amazed me so much about his class was that he was this little short guy but his classes were the best behaved. It was all business in there. He just made it clear from Day One that if you couldn't behave you were Out. He had Zero Tolerance.
Bebop I remember a test every Friday. I remember studying hard for his tests every single Thursday night.
Dago I remember lab writeups. We did one lab a week in class and then had to go home and write it up. He graded those lab reports pretty strict, too. We had to spend a lot of time on those writeups.
Ponytail The thing I always gave him a lot of credit for was that he believed in us. The stuff he was teaching was hard. All that math. And especially us girls, a lot of us had trouble with it. And he would tell us a hundred times a day, Don't Worry, this is just new, you can do this, it just takes a little time and practice, you'll be ok, you're doing fine, it took me a long time to get it down, too, just keep working, it'll all start making sense pretty soon. He made sure we didn't think we were stupid or that it was beyond us. And we did finally catch on. He might not have been our favorite teacher, but he might have been our best teacher.
White Bucks I am absolutely not believing this. It sure beats How long have you people been at this? It has taken me two whole evenings to go through everything on this site. I'm just amazed. I wanted to join in this conversation but you've covered so much I don't even know what to add.
Saddleshoes Well, from one pair of shoes to another, welcome aboard.
Crewcut Yeah, we need another guy here. The women have us outnumbered.
Dago I want to change the subject but the memory I want to talk about is kind of nasty. Does anybody remember, I think we were in the ninth grade, when we found the dead guy at Lunch? We were all walking back from Lunch and this guy had died in his car right in front of Olinger's. His car was parked along the curb, the window was down, and his head was leaning against the window sill. As the kids came on up to school and told everybody, kids ran down to take a look, and pretty soon there were a hundred kids running down and back, so Mr. Snell and the teachers came out and called police and asked us all to come back to the school.
Bebop Oh, wow, I do remember that. I was one of the kids walking back from Lunch who first saw it. I about got sick right there.
Lugnut Yeah, I was already at school and was one of the ones who ran down to see. At first I was like yeah, right, how dumb do you think we are, but the girls who told us were obviously shook up, so we started believing them. That was awful. The poor guy.
Saddleshoes I don't remember that at all. I must have been absent that day. It would seem the kind of thing I would never forget.
Hot Rod Oh, I remember it. I ran down, too.
Ponytail I definitely remember it now that you mention it, but I had forgotten about it for 50 years.

I remember it. We barely made it back to class on time at 1:00. They said he died of a heart attack.

Saddleshoes We were talking about Dr. Kelley. I think his first name was Harvey. But anyway, we were talking about literature. I remember in 10th grade we had Miss Pfingstll. Her name was Isabella. I always thought that was a great name : Isabella Pfingstll. But anyway, I remember those two novels we read in her class : Silas Marner and The Mayor of Casterbridge. Wow, were they wierd. Way back there in England about a thousand years ago. I remember Ange would come in every day and bang his head on the desk and moan about how awful it was. And Jesse kept trying to argue with her. He'd come in every day and ask what possible use this could be, why in the world did we have to read these books? Some days we'd read parts out loud. I don't remember a thing about what we read in Junior or Senior English, but I can still see us sitting in Miss Pfingstll's class. Her room was right in the front of the building looking out on State Avenue.
Bebop Oh, I loved her. She was real ditsy, but real sweet. She taught typing and a lot of other business courses. You had to get used to her, but she was a good teacher. All the kids in the Commercial Track loved her.
Ponytail I had her for typing. I remember those huge old Remington typewriters. They weighed about a ton. Just think : we took Typing I and Typing II and now they don't even teach typing anymore.
Lugnut Or use typewriters.
Bebop One of my funniest memories of high school was the first day of Typing I. She would always stand out there at the door between classes, right at the back of the auditorium. So we all came in and sat down at one of those little typing tables. All the rest of us just sat there talking to each other waiting for the bell. But Danny came in and sat down and put a sheet of paper in his typewriter and started typing. He'd been working down at the Record for about our whole lives and had learned to type about 100 mph with two fingers. So we were talking and all of a sudden there's this loud clattering like some airplane flying low and it's Danny typing with two fingers. He's looking down at the paper and typing away 100 mph and Miss Pfingstll comes in the room and just spazzes out.She just kind of went AAAAArrrrgggghhhhh!!!! I guess he was breaking every one of her three thousand rules all at once. So she grabbed him by the arm and hauled him out of the room and down to Rovilea's office and made them transfer him to another class. I don't think she ever did let him back in Typing.
Saddleshoes Oh God I remember that. I asked him about it later and he said he'd never had a real class in typing and he'd been looking forward to learning how to do it the right way and now it didn't look like he ever would get to take the class.
Ponytail What I remember about Miss Pfingstll's English class was we read Julius Caesar. The guys didn't like that much, either.
BeBop Yes. I remember that line, "Et Tu, Brute." That's my total 50 year ago memory of Julius Casesar. I had no idea what it means. I read it again in college and understood it.
Crewcut It means "You, too, Brutus." Everybody else was stabbing Caesar but he thought Brutus was his best friend and then Brutus also stabbed him, so those were Caesar's last words.
Bebop Thank you. Where were you in 10th grade when we needed you?
Dago I can't believe you'd remember those two books and that Shakespeare thing from 10th grade English and not remember the really good stuff we read in Junior English. We had Miss Donaldson. We read Huckleberry Finn, Moby Dick, some play about witches, and The Great Gatsby. Now I remember that class like it was yesterday.
Bebop I don't remember anything at all about Junior English, except we had Mrs. Donaldson.
Ponytail Noi, I think we all had to have regular Junior English and then the girls in the Commercial Track also had to have Business English. I don't remember being in Junior English, but I remember having Miss Donaldson for something. That must have been it.
White Bucks Didn't we also read Our Town in Junior English? I remember thinking it was about the dumbest thing we ever read. Don't I remember the characters were all these dead people out in the cemetery talking about back when they were alive?
Crewcut Oh, I remember that. I agree. It was dumb.
Lugnut Hey, guys, that's us. We're the guys in Our Town.
Crewcut Huh?
Lugnut We're the guys in the play. Here we are, on this website, talking about back in our previous life.
Saddleshoes Oh, that's all we need. Lugnut the teacher to show us the inner meaning in our conversation.
Lugnut Hey. I'm just saying.
Hot Rod That play about witches was The Crucible. That was the best thing we read in school. They hung all those people. It was cool.
Crewcut I liked Huckleberry Finn. He wrote like I wrote.
Dago I liked that book, too, because he didn't like school.
BobbySox Well I remember one book we read in there that was the worst experience of my life. It was Moby Dick. This guy was chasing this whale. it was stupid to begin with and it just went on and on and on. I didn't think we were ever going to get to the end of it. I kept wanting the whale to show up and eat him and end the book.
Lugnut The thing I remember about Miss Donaldson's class was we had to do all that writing. We had to write about the books we read, write something funny, write about something at school, write about last Summer, it was always something. I think I used up a pack of paper writing all those assignments for her.
BobbySox We had to give speeches in there, too. I didn't like to get up in front of the class.
Ponytail When it came to speeches I remember Miss Griffith's class.
Crewcut Now, I remember that. That was one of my favorite classes.
Bebop It was over in the corner by the stairs.
White Bucks I remember Kitty Lou and Al were the best speakers in there.
Lugnut The ones I remember are the How To Do It speeches. People did their speeches on how to ride a bike, bake a cake, build a bird house and so on. I remember somebody---I think it was Jesse---did one on how to make a double play in baseball. I seem to remember Ange and maybe Nick doing one on how to hand off a football. Every day for about two weeks we got to go to class and just sit there and listen. Of course, then we had to do our own. That was never fun.
Ponytail I remember after each one finished we had to go around the room and list what we thought was the biggest strength and biggest weakness of each one.
Dago Yeah. So we'd all say like what a great voice or he was enthusiastic or he was real sincere. Then we'd say but he didn't know what he was talking about or I couldn't understand a word he was saying.
Ponytail You're mean. Or at least you were mean 50 years ago.
Dago I'm just telling you that's how it was.
Ponytail Miss Griffith also taught her other classes in Problems of Democracy or something like that. That was the class Bill, Michael and Anne got into such huge arguments in. I mean knock down, pound on the desk, jump up and down type arguments. Bill just made them so mad. Michael or Anne would make some outrageous statement and they'd sit there looking all smug, and Bill would stay real calm and give them that big ice cream eating smile of his and real patient like say, "As usual, you're confused. Now let me explain all the different logical fallacies behind your thinking on this..." and he'd talk to them like they were in about third grade and the girls would get so angry.
Bebop I remember we'd be coming out of Miss Horton's class right next door and Miss Griffith's class would just be letting out. Bill and Michael and Ann would be coming out the door still yammering at each other. They'd all three be talking at once heading down the stairs, the ones further down looking back up the stairs. It's a wonder one of them didn't trip and fall and break their neck. And this would happen at least two or three days a week all year.
Lugnut There was a class I didn't look forward to. Miss Horton. I liked her. She was cool. And she was a good teacher. But I just hated all that translation. I had her for Latin. The clock moved slower in that class than anyplace else.
Dago When we got to where we couldn't stand it anymore, we'd ask her something about Julius Caesar and she'd go off on about a 20 minute tangent. She could have written a book on Julius Caesar.
Saddleshoes Do you remember when all the St. Joe's services were in Latin? If you didn't know Latin you never knew what was going on. So we all had to take Latin.
Dago I took Latin two years and worked my butt off and still never knew what the priest was saying. I was glad when they finally started preaching in English.
BobbySox Does anybody remember Father Healey?
Hot Rod Oh, God Yes.When I first moved to Coraopolis I thought he was some Satanic agent of God. He'd look at me and it was like he was possessed with the Evil Eye. I'd be like, Here It Is, I'm Going To Hell in About Five Minutes And I Don't Know What I Did But He Does. He was like a whole third parent. Everywhere you went in town there he'd be, spying on you. And you had to go to Confession every Saturday and you knew he'd been watching you all week.
Lugnut I think the worst trouble we ever got into was the time we played a joke on Father Healey. We thought it was hilarious. He thought it was disrespectful. We got about six guys together one Saturday. The first guy went into Confession and you know how it went. Father Healey would step into the little box and you'd step in your side and he'd do that little opening chant, and then you'd say Father, Forgive Me for I have Sinned. And he'd ask what you'd done, and you'd tell him. So the first guy said, Oh, Father, I threw Peanuts in the River. And he said, and is that all, my Son? And the guy said yes, but I am so sorry. And so he'd say God Forgives You My Son Go Forth And Sin No More. So the guy left and the next guy came in and said the exact same thing. And we kept running guys in and finally the sixth guy came in and we had him all fixed up in wet clothes and old tore up clothes and he said Father Please Help Me I'm Having A Terrible Week My Name Is Peanuts And The Guys Keep Throwing Me In The River. We really thought it was funny. And man did he get mad. He said we were disrespecting the rituals of the church and God would not look kindly on us and he called all of our parents and they all about beat us to death.
Saddleshoes I remember none of us girls could ever go into the church without covering our heads. It's amazing to think how the Catholic church has lightened up over the years. My grand kids have no idea.
Bebop You guys were a bunch of delinquents. It's a wonder God didn't strike you all down with lightning.
Lugnut That's what my mother said.
Saddleshoes I remember we all had to give up something for Lent. Every year. Lent was a big deal back then.
Dago Remember Ash Wednesday?

Sure do.

Lugnut And fish on Fridays.
Saddleshoes The Protestant kids had no idea how easy they had it.
Bebop Oh, sure. They just tried to drown all the Baptist kids when they were in about 8th grade. I had a few friends who talked about it.
Ponytail About gave us double pneumonia.
BobbySox Speaking of religion, I got to thinking today about school at holiday times. We would decorate windows and classroom doors, have a Christmas tree, and have assemblies just before we got out early for Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. By the time my own kids got to school, they didn't decorate anymore or have assemblies but they still got out. Now, my grandkids don't even get out for Easter, not even for Good Friday, and they still get out for Christmas but they call it Winter Break, not Christmas Vacation.
Saddleshoes I loved Valentine's Day. In grade school we would decorate a big box with a slot in it and put it on a table in front of the room. We would use Art Class for several weeks making valentines. Day by day, we'd put them in the box. Then on Valentine's Day we'd have a Valentine Party all afternoon and the teacher would open the box and hand out all the valentines.
Bebop Yes. We would even have a few minutes right after lunch where we could go visit other classrooms and drop valentines in their boxes, since most of us had friends a year or two older or younger.
Dago I liked Halloween. We would use Art Class and make decorations for the windows, doors and walls. When somebody drove past the school they knew what season it was by what decorations were on the windows.
Lugnut I still remember wearing our costumes to school. We'd go normally dressed for the morning session, then change into our costume at lunchtime. We'd walk back with our mask in our hand so we could see, then put it on as we reached the school ground.
Ponytail We'd read or hear about a lot of Halloween traditions but the only place I ever did some of that stuff was at school. We bobbed for apples in a big tub. I never bobbed for apples anywhere else.
Crewcut You know, I haven't thought about this until right now, but something interesting has happened. As best I can remember, no one at all decorated their houses for Halloween. We'd put out a pumpkin the day of Halloween and maybe put a cardboard witch on a broom in the window, but all the real decorating went on at school. We worked hard on decorating the school and decorations were up for a couple of weeks. Since the schools quit doing it, it seems like the decorating has all moved to the homes. Now, people spend lots of time and money decorating their yards, trees, bushes, porches, rooftops, windows and doors. It's almost like we have this need to decorate, and the school provided the outlet for a long time, but if they're not going to, well, we're going to do it some where.
Saddleshoes These school administrators need to get a life. They don't like Halloween because they think it's Satanic. For Heaven's Sake. We'd dress up like Cinderella, Tinker Bell or Walt Disney characters. Boys would come as Pirates, Cowboys or Soldiers. Where was the Satan in that? Mr. Houtz and our teachers knew we worked hard in school and every once in a while we needed to have fun.
White Bucks Maybe that was why we all liked school. I mean, we might not have enjoyed arithmetic, but we liked coming to school. Today I hear kids all the time talking about how they just hate school. It's painful for them. They see it like jail. That's sad.
Bebop It was more than fun. It was educational. Halloween, Thanksgiving, all those holidays, they had a history to them. There was music and art and whole bunch of stuff to learn about. We used the holidays to do art, sing songs, talk about where way back there in history the holiday began, how it had changed. My grandkids today don't learn anything about Christmas, Easter, or any holiday. So I tell them, and they get all wide eyed and ask, Granma, how do you know all this stuff. And I tell them I learned it in school, and they can't imagine that.
Hot Rod People ask me, wouldn't I like to go back and be a kid again. And I always say, absolutely, who wouldn't, BUT I would only want to if I could go back and be a kid again in Coraopolis in the fifties. I definitely would not want to be a kid today. I don't think they have it near as good as we did. They have more STUFF but we had more fun.
Natalie So much. So much. How long have you been at this? I've been working two whole nights just to look at this whole website. I got so inspired I went up in the attic and dug out my old trunk and got out my record player with the big thick center post and the tiny records with the big holes, and I've got it here on the table playing --- can you believe it still works?? --- and now every night I'm going to play the Everly Brothers and Ricky Nelson and read your posts.
Ponytail Welcome. Don't just read ours. Make your own.
BobbySox I remember our mothers baked for Halloween. You'd go to different houses for about a week and get to eat good stuff. They made all those sugsr cookies in the shape of black cats, witches, crescent moons, ghosts and tombstones, with colored icing and sprinkles on them. And there would be candy apples, popcorn, and pumpkin pie. Then most mothers would set out bowls of that candy corn they'd buy down at the Giant Eagle. It's a wonder we didn't all grow up fat we ate so much.
Bebop We couldn't grow up fat. We had to walk and ride our bikes everywhere. My grandkids spend all their time watching tv and on the computer. We were outside. We were even outside when it was cold.
Saddleshoes And when we were inside we were helping our mothers vacuum, wash dishes, cook dinner, do laundry, scrub down the kitchen or bathroom or windows, or dust, or make the beds or whatever. It was always something. I don't remember ever just spending an evening laying around. We'd watch a little tv, but maybe two shows in a row. Not a whole evening.
Crewcut Count your blessings. At least you were inside. Us guys had to cut the grass, rake leaves, shovel snow, carry out the trash, trim the hedge, weed the garden, I don't even remember all the outside chores. We'd be out there all bundled up with our gloves on and our collars up and our Dads giving orders.
Natalie But after you cut the grass we had to sweep the sidewalk and porch.
Ponytail I think my mother swept the sidewalk and porch every day. Then she'd take a bucket of water out there once a week and give it a total scrubbing. Our sidewalks and porches were as clean as the kitchen floor.
Lugnut Our Dads had us out there helping them wash and wax the car every week from when we were old enough to walk. And we'd rig up the vacuum cleaner with an extension cord and vacuum out the inside. We'd polish the chrome. We had our cars shining.
Dago I remember raking the leaves up in a huge pile and then jumping in it. Fall was my favorite season because we got to jump in the leaves.
White Bucks One of the good things about working outside in the cold weather was we got to come in and warm up with hot chocolate. My Mom always put marshmallows in ours. Hot chocolate these days is never as good as what ours used to be.
Lugnut Turtle Wax. I remember we used Turtle Wax. First we put on the wax, then we had to polish it off.
Natalie I was sitting out on the porch today thinking about this website and all the stuff you've talked about on here. It was odd, but you know what I suddenly remembered. Tablets. They gave us tablets. I still remember those tablets. They had a big picture of the state of Pennsylvania on the cover with all the counties and county seats. We would all color in the counties different colors and make a mosaic. And they gave us a new one every six weeks. Didn't cost us a thing.
Bebop And book covers. Remember those brown heavy paper book covers. They had a picture of the Statue of Liberty on them. You had to fold them around a certain way and then they lasted about three months and you could get new ones whenever you needed. The teachers all kept a box of them.
Ponytail And pencils with red erasers. We popped the erasers onto the tops of the pencils. When you wore down the eraser you got a new one.
BobbySox My kids had bookbags to haul their books around in. We had to carry ours. I remember everybody used what we called a knapsack when they went hiking. So why didn't we use them at school?
Saddleshoes Mainly because if you'd shown up with one you'd have been made fun of.
BobbySox But why?? They would have made perfect sense. I'd get home from school and my arms would be so tired from carrying books.
Ponytail You just needed to be sweet and lovable so one of the boys would carry them for you.
Lugnut Yeah, right. We had our hands full with our own books. If I'd have carried some girl's books I'd have needed a shopping cart.
Crewcut Remember when we got older we got those plastic blue and white book covers with the big blue devil on the front? They lasted a whole year.
Dago I guess I used to sweat pretty heavy, because I'd always wear holes in those paper covers right where my hand gripped the book. I never had that problem with the plastic ones.
Blondie Are you people all retired? Do you just sit around all day and post on here? I have a hard time finding time to get on.
BobbySox I've started doing this instead of watching tv. I've had about all the reality shows, talent contests and CNN I can take. I like this better.
Saddleshoes You know what my kids and grandkids had but we never had? Lockers. They had lockers all the way through and we never did.
Bebop Yes, we did, too. We had them in junior high. But not in high school.
Natalie In grade school we had cloak rooms. They had hooks for our coats and cubbies for our stuff.
Ponytail I don't remember where we hung our coats in high school. We couldn't have hung them out in the hall, but we didn't have cloak rooms.
Blondie You know, I can't remember. We had to have hung them somewhere because I don't remember wearing them to class.
Dago I don't know. We had to have had cloakrooms but I can't see them in my mind. But I can see those long hallways on the second floor going toward Miss Donaldson's room and Miss Malter's room, and I know there weren't a bunch of coats and hooks along there. So the kids in their homerooms had to be hanging their coats inside their rooms, but I can't see any cloakrooms in my mind and I know we had blackboard or windows all around so there could not have been hooks. I don't know. Isn't that odd ?
White Bucks Am I imagining this, or was the hallway down in the gym, the one that ran along the back of the bleachers where the coaches had their offices, lined with hooks. Do I remember walking to class along that hall with everybody's winter coats hanging there?
Dago I sure don't remember that and I spent a lot of time down there.
Crewcut There were bathrooms right up against Miss Griffith's and Miss Crawford's rooms, so they couldn't have had cloakrooms. And there were blackboards and windows all around in there, too. So I don't know.
BobbySox Maybe we laid all our heavy coats on seats in the auditorium and in warmer weather just carried them with us and hung them on the back of our seats in each class.

I thought maybe that was possible, so I just went back and looked at all the classroom pictures on this website. There's not a single seat in any of them with anything draped over it. So I'd have to say No.

Natalie Isn't this something? Everybody on here has such a good memory and a lot of the little details you came up with I remembered after you mentioned it, even though I haven't thought about it for 50 years. But this high school cloakroom thing is a mystery. I can't remember it at all. I have no idea where I hung my coat every day for three years. How could a person forget such an obvious thing?
Bebop I've been sitting here thinking hard about this. Don't I remember a double row of hooks all along the hall just outside the library? I seem to see walking to class past all those heavy coats hanging there.
Blondie I don't know. My mind's a blank on this.
White Bucks If I'm right and the kids in homerooms down around the gym hung their coats in that hall, and Bebop's right and the kids upstairs hung theirs along the library, then where did the kids on the main floor hang theirs?
Dago I can't remember, but I know this : I know it was a different time, and I know we all got along pretty well, but if we were so honest we could hang 300 coats out in the halls and no one ever had anything stolen while the whole school walked past their coat eight times a day, think about what that says about how much integrity we had. Today, not only would kids go through pockets, but the whole coat would be gone.
Lugnut That's true.
BobbySox My kids had lockers and still had stuff stolen. Other kids would break into lockers. You're right. It was a different time. I liked our time better.
Natalie You know, this is such a little thing but such a big thing. A huge thing. If we just hung our coats out in the hall and didn't worry about it until the end of the day and all of us kept our hands off everybody else's stuff, doesn't it just make you want to cry? Not for us, but for what this country has come to. Because these kids today can't ever know what we took for granted. I want to go back.
Dago Well, speaking along those same lines, how about how we all teased each other all the time and nobody ever got mad? By the time my grand children were in school, everybody was so touchy. Nobody could say anything. Even if you didn't mean any offense, somebody out there would take offense anyway. They'd make an insult where no insult was intended.
Lugnut Oh, it never stopped. Remember capping? We'd stand around at lunchtime and make fun of each other's mothers. If you tried that today you'd be arrested and expelled.
Hot Rod Especially in sports. On the bus on the way to away games, we'd insult each other all the way there and all the way back. And you know we loved each other. We would have died for each other. That was just the way we were.
Crewcut Teachers, too. Remember how we used to make fun of Miss Malter, calling her The Bat and BatLady, and referring to her room as the BatCave?
Bebop I remember you guys going on and on about that and I never did understand it. How did that get started?
Dago There was this tv show on about Bat Masterson. So we transferred the name to Bat Malterson. And then there was this Saturday Serial down at the movie about Batman. So the whole Bat thing got all mixed up together. It all made sense in a looney kind of way.
BobbySox I remember everybody called Miss Crawford Mama Bear.
Ponytail And don't forget Nick calling Miss Beech Miss Bleach because she overdid it and had blue hair.
Hot Rod One of my funniest memories from high school was our sophomore year. Somehow one of the guys had gotten his hands on a box of YMCA pins. They had that triangle symbol and YMCA on them. So he brings them on the bus on one of our away basketball games. He hands them out to everyone, so we all have these pins on. So they form this imaginary club called the YMCA Club, but they pronounce it like it's a real word, YumKah. The Yumkah Club. And they elected Bob Croasman, Bill Brenneisen and Due Walker officers. Well, this goes on for a while and pretty soon we're all signing the YMCA Song. Riding down the highway, on our way to a game, singing the YMCA Song, with Puddn Wilson and Due Walker back there standing up in the aisle dancing. And Coach Milanovich and Frank Letteri sitting up front, just behind the cheerleaders, just rolling their eyes.
Dago Almost everybody on the basketball team was a character. Stan must have wondered if he was the only sane person on the whole team. Even the cheerleaders were characters. Janet and Grace were always funny.
Hot Rod People had no idea. We'd be getting on the bus and Due would be laying back there all the way across the back seat. So Nick would get on in the dark and be walking toward the back. And he'd say something like, "Are those two golf balls floating around back there or is that somebody laying there looking at me?" And Due would say, "Are you just standing there or are you practicing your white boy dance steps?" And Nick would say, "Don't you have a watermelon to go steal?" And Due would say, "That's why you're so short. You eat all that spaghetti. You come with me, start eatin lots of watermelon, someday you can grow up and be a man like me." And this would go on and on. Today they'd be accused of racism. But we all got along. We liked each other enough to tease each other.
Ponytail They could have filmed a tv sitcom about our class.
White Bucks But we lost several of the funniest guys in our class. Kenny, Chuck, Dale, Vite, Joe, they were all comedians.
Ponytail I never knew the Lincoln guys.
White Bucks You missed a great time in grade school. The funniest thing I remember about my whole growing up was the time Kenny and Chuck rubbed Ben Gay on Mrs. McGillicuddy's cat. I didn't even live up there, but we all used to go up and visit Danny and play in the woods. Well, this one day, we'd been up in that hollow by Grace Street, and we came out of the woods down at the Pump House. We all sat up on the hill cooling off in the shade and we saw Chuck and Kenny down below on Cliff Street crawling back along the fence by McGillicuddy's. Now, you have to realize everybody hated that cat. It was the biggest, fattest cat you ever saw and it was arrogant. It would be out in the yard and you'd come walking by and it would puff up and and hiss at you. Obnoxious cat. Well, I don't know if you girls remember it, but when we would strain or over use a muscle, we'd use Ben Gay on it. In high school they called it Analgesic Balm, but it was just Ben Gay. You rubbed it on the area and it created heat which helped heal the muscle. So Chuck has this string and some catnip with him. They get to the side gate and he opens the gate and throws the catnip out in the yard. As the cat comes over, he slowly reels in the string until the cat gets real close, then Kenny reaches out and grabs it. The cat, of course, is yowling, but Chuck squeezes out a big handful of Ben Gay and rubs it on the cat's butt. Real thick. So then he tosses the cat back in the yard and closes the gate. Then he and Kenny scurry back along the fence, across the street and sit in the grass down of the bottom of Pumphouse Hill, down below us. By this time the cat is starting to sort of dance around faster and faster and let out little yowls. Pretty soon it starts running. Then it disappears down along the side of the house. In a minute it comes up the other side, across the front and back down the side. On the front porch of the next house over, Old Sam is sitting there. We never did know his last name. Just Old Sam. So he notices the cat start circling the house, faster and faster. Pretty soon as the cat rounds the corner by the porch it drops its butt down into the thick grass and drags it across, then resumes running. Round and round, dragging its butt every time. About this time Old Mrs. McGillicuddy comes out on the front porch, sees the cat burning a path around her house and calls out "What In The World Is Going On Here?" Old Sam calls over the fence, "Looks like your cat got rabies." The old lady puts her hands on her hips. "My cat does NOT have rabies." Here comes the cat, a blur racing around the house. "Once they get it, can't do nothin for it," Old Sam says. Mrs. McGilliciddu just glares at him. "Have to shoot them." She throws her hands in the air. "Ain't nobody shooting my cat." Cat comes around again, dragging its butt through the grass. "I could do it for you," Old Sam says. She makes a shooing motion at him. "You ain't shooting my cat" she says. She's looking around for something to use. Cat comes around again. "Stuff just happens." Sam's talking. "Sad. Can't help it. Just get a new cat." By this time Mrs. McGillicuddy has stomped down her steps and turned on the garden hose. Next time the cat comes blazing around the corner she turns the hose on it full blast. The cat lets out a big yowl and the water rolls it over several times. The cat is laying out there on the front yard, soaking wet, exhausted. Old Sam is over there just shaking his head all disappointed looking. The whole time we're up there on the hill across the street just dying laughing but gagging to keep from making any noise.
Bebop You guys were all delinquents. All these years and I never knew until now. I went to school with a bunch of delinquents.
Dago We weren't delinquents. It was a CAT. We were good to dogs and little kids. But cats think they're better than we are. They need to have an attitude adjustment every once in a while.
Saddleshoes If you did that to one of my cats I'd call the police.
White Bucks If you had a cat that ate too much and then came out and hissed at passersby it would deserve it. The police would understand. I think they call it Justifiable Felicide.
Blondie OMG
Lugnut You would have really had a hard time with us tying two cats' tails together and hanging them over the clothesline.
Saddleshoes Please tell me you never really did that.
Lugnut Of course we did it. We did it more than once. A whole bunch of us did it. You gotta keep cats under control. Otherwise they get Uppity.
White Bucks We never tied their tails together. We used to see guys doing that but we never did it.
Saddleshoes Well, that's good to hear.
White Bucks We always thought it would be too easy for them to get loose. We preferred to stuff two cats in a burlap sack, tie it shut, then hang the sack from the clothesline. You could hear them fighting inside there for hours. It was really entertaining.
Saddleshoes NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!
Blondie LOL
Hot Rod We fed Old Lady Dinardo's cat a whole box of X Lax once. THAT was really entertaining. Now that was another cat weighed twice what it should have. It was a wonder it could walk it was so fat. It sure slimmed down for about a week after the X Lax feast.
Ponytail So did you guys just roam around town looking for cats to torture?
Dago Of course not. We only adjusted cats' attitudes when they got Uppity, like Lugnut says. We usually had lots more important stuff to do.
Ponytail Like what for instance?
Dago Oh, you know, guy stuff.
Ponytail Hm-mmm.
Crewcut Do you remember the time we pumped Ed Braun's tires full of water?
Dago Heck yea. I think that's one of our better pranks.
Blondie I just know this is gonna be good.
Crewcut Remember Ed Braun had that 1938 Plymouth in mint condition. He only drove it to church and the grocery. But he was a grouch. He had that huge garden up there on the hill and he was real picky. Just because we'd borrow watermelons and stuff out of his garden in the middle of the night, he was always fussing at us.
Ponytail Oh, well, I mean, how unreasonable. Why would anyone mind people stealing stuff out of their garden?
Crewcut That's what we thought. So this one week everybody had their garden hoses laying out after watering their yards and gardens and we thought, hmmm, we can use these. So we went down to the hardware and bought one of those little fixtures, and around midnight we replaced the nozzle on the hose with our little gizmo that fit over the tire valve, and we filled all his tires with water. We did that on a Friday night because every Saturday morning about 11 he'd drive down to the grocery. So we were all lined up the next morning down at the corner, and sure enough, here he comes out the driveway. Now, with your tires full of water, the car doesn't drive any different than usual. Until you try to turn the wheels. So he gets out of his driveway and tries to turn left to head down into town and the wheels seem like they weigh a ton. He ends up crossways in the street. So he gets out of the car and walks all around looking at the tires, and they all seem ok, not a flat or anything, so he gets back in, and still can't turn. He wrestles with both hands on the wheel and finally gets the car turned enough to head down the street. So we manage to hold it in til he's past and then we all lay on the grass laughing. Well, we're walking back downtown and we get to Bill Graf's gas station, and Bill motions us over. He says, now you guys wouldn't have had anything to do with why I had to pump 300 pounds of water out of Ed Braun's tires a little while ago, would you? So we all burst out laughing. Bill Graf tells us Ed pulled in and said, you've got to find out what happened to my steering. It feels like this steering wheel weighs a ton. The spindle must be broken or something. So I get in and turn the wheel a few times and there's obviously nothing wrong with the steering wheel so I get out to check the tires. I kick one of the tires and it sloshes. I reach down and push an air needle into the valve and water spurts up. So I look up at Ed, who's standing there watching, and he just gets this ferocious look on his face and clenches his fists and says "Them Damn Kids!!!!!"
Bebop Delinquents. Every one of you. Delinquents. Should have been locked up. I went to school with delinquents.
Ponytail Did you really stuff out of people's gardens? I mean, c'mon. Really?
Dago Well, not a lot of stuff. Mainly watermelons. And cantaloupes. But we was real good about it. We just stole what we needed.
Bondie Needed.
Dago You know, six or seven guys on a hot August night need a good watermelon. But we would only take one. We warn't greedy.
Bondie Oh, well, I feel a lot better knowing that.
Ponytail Did you just steal watermelons all over town or did you have certain gardens you liked more than others.
Dago Well, now, I don't want to sound prejudiced, but the truth is, everybody raised watermelon but most people didn't do a very good job of it. Old black guys and old Italian guys raised the best watermelon. They just had a talent. The only exception to this rule we knew was Ed Braun. He was an old German guy but his watermelon were right up there with the best.
Ponytail So you would roam all over town in the middle of the night looking for the best watermelon?
Dago Not exactly. We had ethics. The old black guys, we pretty well left their gardens for Due and Puddn and their buddies. And they pretty well left the old Italian gardens for us.
Saddleshoes So you were a bunch of racist watermelon thieves.
Dago I bet you never had a good piece of watermelon at midnight out in the woods under a full moon, have you?
Saddleshoes Can't say that I have. Nor do I remember any of you guys in high school inviting me to stop off on the way home from a dance or a movie and share in one of your little feasts. What would you do---take us girls home, then all meet at Ed Braun's garden and get on with your melon stealing?
Dago Sometimes. But actually, even though Ed raised good watermelon, as long as Old Man Sabbatini had any spares ready to pick, we preferred his.
Blondie Spares?
Dago Like I said, we had ethics. If a guy only had one or two watermelon ready to pick, we'd never take one. Those were for him. But most of these guys, they'd raise way too much. So there would be seven or eight laying out there. Well, some of those would just rot, because one old guy couldn't eat them all. So we just sort of helped him out and harvested a few so he wouldn't feel bad. You know, a guy spends all Summer raising watermelon, down deep inside he wants them watermelon to be appreciated, loved, eaten.
Saddleshoes Even if it's by a bunch of racist middle of the night hoodlums.
Dago Well, just to keep up appearances, those old guys would usually fuss about us, but we knew down deep inside they liked the fact we preferred their watermelon over anyone else's. It was a matter of pride.
Saddleshoes This is just a real insight into the teenage male psyche.
Dago Well anyway, we'd carry a pair of pruning shears so we could clip the watermelon real neat and quick like, then we'd get over the fence and off into the woods. From Mr. Sabbatini's garden --- remember he lived up there on that hillside below the Girl Scout lodge, kind of halfway between Nick's and Tom's houses, with the woods all around him on three sides---we'd follow the trail around to Wildcat Rock. It was pretty hard getting that watermelon up the steep climb, so we usually just sat down on the rocks at the bottom and cut it up and ate it.
Ponytail And he never had you arrested for this?
Dago No. He'd come out and shoot at us every once in a while. We had to drop the watermelon a few times so we could get away.
Blondie Shoot at you? OMG. Are you serious?
Dago Yea. He had worked down at Forgings apparently since they opened, and before he retired he brought home some old machine they were throwing out, and he had it rigged up so it would cut up pennies into little tiny pieces. He had that old garage out there that was too small for a car and he used it for a workshop. So during the daytime every once in a while we'd go by and visit and he'd be working in there, so we got to see the machine. Anyway, he'd cut up a bunch of old pennies and then use them in his old shotgun. Usually he'd shoot at groundhogs or raccoons or whatever was stealing his tomatoes or peppers, but every so often he'd shoot at us.
Ponytail Did he ever hit any of you?
Dago No. The worst we ever got was up at Braun's. He rigged up an electric fence all around his garden and down through his tomato and watermelon patch, and hooked it up to several car batteries. We got pretty good shocks from that thing several times. We knew it was there and in the moonlight we could be real careful, but sometimes on cloudy nights we couldn't see as well so we'd touch the wire.
Bebop Delinquents. I went to school with a bunch of delinquents.
Lugnut Oh, heck, stealing a few watermelon was pretty harmless. We come a lot closer to getting in trouble over dragracing on Neville Island at 3 in the morning.
Ponytail WHAT???
Lugnut Well, the longest straightest no intersection stretch of road in the whole area was the Neville Island Straight from the Stowe bridge down to Dravo. So we'd go over there to drag race in the early morning when there wasn't any traffic
Ponytail At 3 in the morning?
Lugnut We didn't have a lot of choice. During the day and the evening there would be traffic on the road. After about 2 or so it got real empty. We'd have an hour or so before it started picking up again.
Blondie And how many times did you get arrested over there?
Lugnut Not very many. But we got real good at avoiding it. The trick was, if the Neville Police showed up, we'd cut our lights. Then they couldn't see us. Then we'd duck into one of the driveways and slip in behind one of the mills.
Bebop Did you bunch of criminals do anything in broad daylight, or is that when you slept?
Dago That was when we slept.
Crewcut Not all of us. I was never into the 3 am dragracing. My parents had this notion they wanted me home in bed. But we got into lots of stuff during the day. Like the Lynette Air Raid.
Ponytail Oh, No. I don't like the sounds of this.
White Bucks I remember that. It definitely makes the Top 10.
Crewcut I don't know. It might have been Nunber One.
Lugnut God, she was gorgeous. I think every one of us in her part of town was secretly in love with her.
Bebop Then why would you do something mean to her?
Crewcut It wasn't mean. It was funny.
Ponytail Are we going to find out what you did?
Crewcut Well, a lot of afternoons in the Summer she would go out back and lay on that chaise lounge and work on her suntan. We knew that. So you remember Michael's? It was that hobby shop just up from Cahen's. He was especially big on model airplanes. So he got this new model in that actually dropped bombs. It had these little claws hanging down and you inserted one of these little balloons full of water and flew the plane somewhere and by remote control released the claws and the balloon dropped and "blew up" on the sidewalk. As soon as we saw it, we just knew how great this was gonna be. So we put our money in together and got the plane plus a really expensive muffler for that little tiny internal combustion engine and several extra packages of balloons. Then we went up to the Stadium and practiced flying the plane and releasing the balloons until we had it down pat. We even practiced aiming the balloons at targets and retrieving the plane in midflight so it wouldn't actually have to land. That muffler was great. We could fly right up behind a bird and not even scare it.
Bebop I just know where this is heading.
Crewcut So --- never mind who but you can probably figure out who since we all know where we all lived --- the next time Lynette went out back and set up her chaise lounge, our spy next door called us and we got down there right away. We'd filled the balloon with water and kept it in the refrigerator for several days, and as soon as we got over there we put it in his freezer compartment to chill it down as cold as possible without freezing it solid. So after about half an hour Lynette put down her magazine and laid down for a nap and a suntan. We waited another 15 minutes until she was really enjoying that nap. Then we real quiet like went outside and launched the plane. One of us ran around the other side and waited in the street. We flew the plane over, not making a sound, released the balloon, and it was perfect. It exploded with a burst of ice water right on her belly button. You never heard such a shriek in your life. She jumped up, looking around. But the plane had already disappeared over the shrubs. We flew it low skimming straight over the next yard behind her, and as it came out on the street we just scooped it up, wrapped a towel over the propeller, and ran.
Bebop Delinquents. I went to school with delinquents.
Crewcut What was really funny was we waited about two weeks and none of us said a single word to anyone. Then we went back and did it again. And we waited another couple of weeks and did it a third time. We got away with it all three times. We considered trying a fourth time, but decided we'd better quit while we were ahead. But it was worth every penny we paid for that plane and muffler.
Ponytail Poor Lynette. Don't you guys feel bad now that she's not here anymore?
Crewcut I definitely feel bad she's not here anymore. I'd rather see her at reunion than anybody else. If she wasn't the most beautiful girl in our class she was sure one of the top two or three.

Hey Everybody : I'm impressed. And amazed. We thought maybe we'd get 500 responses by July 2010 and instead we've reached that number in August 2009.

Ponytail Marge, can you fix us a fireplace and a snack bar here? We could just curl up in a big comfy chair on a rainy or snowy afternoon and get all nostalgic. I swear, I'm getting more enjoyment out of this website than I've managed to get from anything else on the computer.
Bebop You're right. Could we make this a girls only chat room and keep that bunch of delinquents out?
Crewcut Hey! We were not delinquents. We just had a lot of fun. We were fine upstanding citizens.
Bebop Oh, right. Down there tormenting poor helpless Lynette, who was just innocently trying to take a nap on a hot Summer afternoon.
Crewcut Don't hand me that. She loved every minute of it. What good does it do a girl to be beautiful if nobody pays any attention to her? If we had all ignored her, she would have been looking in the mirror asking what was the matter with her. Instead, she knew we all had the hots for her because we spent good money on that airplane, spent all that time learning how to fly it, and then gave up a whole Summer afternoon to come down and play with her. All that screaming and shaking her fist at the sky was just an act. Down deep inside, she was thinking, Gee, they love me.
Bebop Hmmm. Now, let's see. Where have I heard this before? Oh, now I remember. It was some line about how stealing some poor old man's watermelon was really doing him a favor because he could feel his whole Summer's work would be worth it when a bunch of delinquents had something to eat in the middle of the night. The teenage male mind is a maze of convoluted logic.
Ponytail It's interesting to wonder what might have happened if you had just walked into the yard, sat down on the grass next to her and said, "God, you sure look good in that swimsuit."
Crewcut Oh, sure, that would have been smooth. And after she threw her book at us, she would have told every girl she knew what dorks we were, and we would have been laughed out of town. I can see it now, having to transfer to Neville Island.
Bebop So did any of these escapades of yours ever backfire? Did you ever really get in trouble, or have something really go wrong?
Lugnut Hey, gang, this is great. Bebop : Yes, we did get picked up a few times over on the island in the middle of the night. My Dad was particularly irate one time when he had to get out of bed and come over and get me. The second time it happened, he told the police to just lock me up and he'd be over when he had time. He got there after work the next day. He reminded me of that pretty often for the next 30 years.
Crewcut We never got in trouble with the police but we had one close call. We were sleeping out in a couple of tents in my backyard. One of our older brothers or fathers who worked as a security guard in one of the mills brought home an old spotlight when the mill bought them new ones. The old one was still pretty impressive. So we had it out there around midnight shining it around. That thing had the most powerful beam on it any of us had ever seen. We'd shine it way down the hill on a few church steeples, way up in the trees, all around. Well, you remember how the planes used to fly low coming in toward the airport. So every so often one would come over. We shone the light up on the bottom of the plane. It actually reached up that high. We were amazed. Most of us eventually got tired and climbed into our tents and sleeping bags and got ready to go to sleep. But one of us was still out there fiddling with the spotlight. The next plane he saw way out over the river heading our way, he aimed the light on it and sort of absentmindedly started pushing the on off button. Short, short, short, long, long, long, short, short, short, long, long, long, and so on. Of course, if we'd been thinking real clearly, we'd have remembered from Boy Scouts that was morse code for S.O.S., Help, Emergency. As the plane approached the hill, all of a sudden its lights swung down right on us. I mean, it was like daylight. Those lights were incredible. Dogs started barking all around. The plane flew on over the hill and disappeared, but it scared us, so we all slid down in our sleeping bags and pulled them shut over top of us, and one of us happened to think maybe we ought to get rid of that spotlight, so he took it and ran over and put it way in the back of the garage and put some boxes over it. So we were drifting off to sleep. Maybe 10 minutes went by. Then we realized there were lights flashing out on the street. The police were coming up the street real slow, shining their lights all around. Their lights flashed across our tents and one of the officers -- it wasn't Whitey, but I don't remember who it was -- walked down our driveway and knelt down in front of our tents. He wanted to know if we knew anything about anyone sending an emergency signal not too long ago. We all looked real sleepy and shook our heads. He asked if we had flashlights with us. So we all handed him our little flashlights. The officer turned each one of them on and shone it around for a minute. Obviously, none of our little flashlights could have sent a signal high enough for a pilot to see. So he said for us to mind our own business and go back to sleep. And he left. We stayed in those tents the rest of the night.
Bebop Delinquents. I went to school with delinquents. Even the good guys were delinquents.
Ynottony It will be so good to see all of the class again next year. I hope everyone understands the significance of 50 years and attends. But speaking of getting trouble, a carload of us tried to burn a "C" in Moon's football field the night before our big game our senior year. We got caught by the Moon Police and were not allowed to attend the game. But we won the game.
Hot Rod Well, we got caught out on a few trestles and in a few tunnels hiking the Montour Railroad tracks. You'd be amazed at how fast you can run with a train chasing you.
Saddleshoes Changing the subject, does anyone remember Riddle's, the best restaurant in town?
Ponytail I do. I loved going there. Not that I got to do it very often. But in my family, when we had birthdays, we would go to Riddle's. That was where I learned how to behave in a real restaurant.
Blondie I do, too. I got taken there by a few guys on special occasions. It made a big impression on me.
Bebop Who were these guys you were going out with? I got taken to Hawkins Drive In and over to EatnPark in Bellevue.
Ponytail I got taken to 4th Avenue for Pizza.
Dago I just got taken for a ride. And I was the one driving.
Bebop You should have been taken out and beat. You were a delinquent.
Dago I'm betting I know who you were. You sound an awful lot like a certain girl who was always abusing us guys. Every day. Innocent teenage males being abused by out of control uppity girls. It's wonder we didn't all grow up warped. I think you had hairy legs.
Bebop You DID grow up warped. You were ALREADY warped. Stealing watermelons, air bombing helpless girls, interfering with air traffic, filling nice old men's tires with water, torturing cats, and racing up and down Neville Island at 3 a.m. You can't get any more warped than that.

You're going to be grossed out when you find out I was your prom date, aren't you?

Ponytail You two can dance together at the reunion. Getting back to food, I loved Isaly's. In my whole life, I have never found any place else that serves the ice cream and chipped ham we got at Isaly's. I'd give anything today for a package of that chipped ham. And those cones and milkshakes. MMMMM. I can STILL taste them. No place else has ever matched Isaly's.
Ynottony I remember the National Restaurant and their French Fries with gravy on them. MMMMMM.
Bebop Oh, Yes! I LOVED the National. They weren't as good as Riddle's but we went there more often. They were a lot less expensive.
Saddleshoes Corey : So how is it you know how to set up this website? Where exactly does one learn how to do this?
Corey Saddleshoes : You take classes. You could take them at Robert Morris, Allegheny County Community College, Point Park, Pitt or Duquesne. You learn HTML code, which is a language, just like learning Latin or French. Then you specialize in one of the shells. I specialized in Dreamweaver. It's a pretty steep learning curve for about three months. In our class Danny can do it, since it's part of Journalism. Janet can do it, because she runs a photography website. I think maybe Bill can do it. But nationwide, 90% of the people who do it are in their 20s.
Saddleshoes So you make a living doing this?
Corey Most people do it as part of something else. Danny's the Editor of two magazines. Janet has that website. Bill uses it in his businesses. It's like typing or photography, a tool to use.
Natalie Hey, this is nice. Wonder how many other classes have a website with their own discussion board? This beat all to pieces.
Crewcut You people get up too early in the morning for me. It's Saturday, for crying out loud. But I agree on the food posts. Riddles, Isaly's, the National. Who was it wanted to get in a time machine and go back? I agree. Let's go. One more weekend of eating in those places. And then drive down to Hawkins Drive In. Life Was Good.
Ponytail Remember going to one of the drugstores and ordering a "mixed drink" ? We could get a Cherry Coke, Lime Coke, Chocolate Coke, Cherry Root Beer or Cherry Phosphate. Or a Root Beer Float with a scoop of vanilla ice cream in it. And then we sat there on the rotating stools and sipped our drinks through a straw. Them Was The Days.
Bebop Remember the old red Coke machines? You put a dime in and turned that grey lever around to the right and the bottle came out the bottom. Little bottles sort of hour glass shaped.
Dago I used to love going to other homes and sampling their food. We were Italian, so I liked going to the German, Greek, Polish, Hungarian, Black and Jewish homes. Mrs. Bliwas made something called Blintzes. I can still taste them. Mrs. Ostepochanka made that Baclava. Geez, that was good. Mrs. Reinhardt and Mrs. Omlor made those Anice cookies. Hmmm. All over town. It was all good.
Lugnut Especially at Christmas. Everywhere you went there were trays of homemade cookies and bowls of homemade candy. I think all our mothers would have died of embarassment if they'd had to buy something at the bakery. They liked to show off their own cooking.
Blondie If they fed kids that much today, it would be child abuse. The kids would all be fat. But they had to feed us to keep us going. We walked all over town. To school and back four times a day. To the Y, uptown, to our friends houses, to the movie, to the parks, back to school for games, all the time walking. It would have been interesting to have worn pedometers and measured just how far a day most of us walked. It had to be at least five miles, because we put in four miles just back and forth to school. It was probably eight or nine miles. Every day. For 13 years. There wasn't one fat kid anywhere in town.
Saddleshoes My granddaughter whines when she has to walk out to get the mail.
Crewcut Dago is right about all us kids liking to taste all that ethnic cooking. But you know who else always had good food : Coach Milanovich's wife. They were Serbian. We got stuff at his place I can't pronounce or spell and never had anywhere else. Of course he lived down in Hopewell on Kane Road, so we didn't get to visit there very often.
Dago The thing I remember about visiting Coach Milo was his daughter. Geez was she drop dead gorgeous. We had some awfully good looking girls in our class but she might have had them all beat. She was tall, athletic, blonde, really cute face. Breathtaking.
Lugnut That's for sure. I made about as big a fool of myself with her as I've ever made with any girl. I was helping him at the end of school in 10th grade haul some stuff back home for the Summer. We drove out to his place and I was carrying this load of books and stuff and she walked out of the front door. It was the first time I'd ever seen her and so I had a complete meltdown and fell up the steps and spilled everything all over the place. So there I lay on the steps with books and everything all around me looking up at her. And he introduced me. And she looked down at me with this smile that said if you can't walk up the steps how can you possibly play sports? So then two months later in August she was at practice one day and I came out from under the stadium and said Hi Remember Me? and she said Oh, Sure, You're The Guy Has A Hard Time With Steps.
Hot Rod There were several girls down there on Kane Road who were really hot. There was Peggy Sloppy, Bobbi Zubasic, Linda Tutwiler and Milo's daughter. Wow. So many fine girls, so little time.
Bebop Yeh. Right. You guys had all you could handle right here in Coraopolis and you had enough trouble taking care of us, let alone worrying about the girls in surrounding towns.
Saddleshoes I was out in the garden this afternoon working and thinking about this site and about Coraopolis and suddenly this memory popped into my head. Now I can see this just as clear. I remember, way way back, when we were in grade school. Next to the high school, where that big teachers parking lot was when we got to high school, there used to be a building there with a teenage hangout inside. I think it was called The Blue Devil. It was painted blue and white inside and out. You went inside and there was a long counter with rotating stools at a long counter, a bunch of tables, and a huge juke box. I seem to remember when we were in sixth or seventh grade it burned and they never rebuilt it.
Blondie I don't remember that at all.
White Bucks I haven't thought about that for 50 or 60 years but I do remember it. I don't think I was ever inside. It was a Big Kids Hangout.
Natalie I remember it real faintly. It must have burned when we were real young.
Ponytail Wow. I hadn't thought about The Blue Devil forever. I do remember it. It was THE place for the Big Kids to hang out when all of us were way down in the grades. I got to go there with my older cousins. I remember it being pretty cool. The whole place was like a shrine to the high school. They had the walls decorated with photos of players, teams, coaches, teachers, the band, students on field trips, anything to do with the school. They had Coraopolis pennants hanging up. I remember feeling big time sitting up there on the stool at the counter just spinning round and round while my cousins put coins in the juke box. I remember them taking me there right after basketball games and it was like the whole school was crammed in and when players came over after getting dressed everybody cheered. I just loved it. Then my cousins graduated so I didn't have anyone to take me so I never saw it for several years, and when we got to high school it was just a parking lot. I don't remember it burning.
Bebop Now THAT would have been cool. I can see it now. Instead of walking home for lunch, we would all have gone next door and hung out, had a milkshake and cheeseburger, listened to good music, danced a little, talked a lot, done our homework, flirted with the guys. Then after school we woiuld have dropped in for a little while before heading home. And I can REALLY see all of us crowding in there after big home games. How great that would have been. Wonder why they didn't rebuild it after it burned. Surely with all those kids in there every day the place was making a profit.
Dago That is so true. It would have been like our cafeteria. I can see it, too. Back there by the jukebox would have been the cheerleader table. Over there along the wall would have been a real long table where the football players sat. Lynette, Honey, Elaine, Kloog and the other hotties who were not cheeerleaders would have been up on the stools where they could look out over the crowd. Bebop would have been roaming from table to table doing her Lucy thing. Bill, David, Bobby and Pete would have been at the table up front by the window arguing about how to do the trig homework. Ann and Michael would have been trying to start an argument but nobody would have paid any attention to them. And Tucky would have been sitting at a table all by himself tapping on the table pretending he was drumming to whatever song was on the jukebox. I agree -- whoever did not rebuild that place made a huge mistake.
Blondie I'm just clueless. I don't remember this place at all. Either you're all hallucinating or I spent my grade school years wandering around in a fog.
Lugnut I don't remember it, either, but it all sounds pretty good the way you have it imagined. Whether or not it DID exist, it SHOULD HAVE existed. And it should have stayed there until the high school closed.
Bebop I sure hate to throw cold water on your fantasies, but I'm not Lucy.
Dago Of course you are. You had hairy legs in junior high.
Bebop AHA!! I know who you are!! You're Nick!!
Dago Nope. Guess again.
Hot Rod We sort of tried to make Kaler's into a hangout. At lunch and after school we'd all try to go over there. But they didn't want us. I remember they posted some rule that only five students at a time could come in, so we had to wait until someone left so someone else could go in. And they didn't want anyone sitting at the counter. You had to place your order, take it and leave. No wonder they went out of business. They had the whole second section they could have opened up and made into a replacement for The Blue Devil. They would have made more money with that than they did with the drug store.
White Bucks You know what I remember? Patrol Boys. How many of you guys were patrol boys? Seems like we got recruited by Mr. Houtz to be patrol boys as we entered fourth grade. I don't know whether teachers recommended us to him or what. But it seems we had to go down in August and spend a day at the police station being trained in traffic and pedestrian laws and regulations and how to do our job. I've got my official written examination here in my trunk of old school stuff. I made a 90. Seems like you had to make a 70 to pass. Then they issued us a white belt and silver badge. I still have mine right here. It has Coraopolis Police Department and Coraopolis Public Schools and Patrol Boy printed on it in raised letters. Pretty nice badge. I seem to recall we had to go to school early and be at our posts maybe 30 minutes ahead of time and then stay on duty in the afternoon 30 minutes after. I don't recall if we were assigned our street corners or chose them ourselves, but I remember where mine was and I had the same corner for a couple of years. And I recall every once in a while the police would have us all down from all three schools for some sort of party to let us know how appreciated we were. I remember they always had a really big Christmas party for us, and at the end of the year took us all to a Pirate game.
Dago Hey I remember that. I haven't thought about Patrol Boys for 50 years. But I was one, too. I was going through my stuff the other day looking for old photos and yearbooks and came upon my letter from Mr. Houtz thanking me for my service. I remember those police parties, especially those Christmas parties. I remember we had special privileges. We got to come in late every morning and afternoon, because we stayed at our corners until the final bell rang, so it would take maybe five minutes to walk to school and get up to our rooms. And we got to leave early, because we had to be at our corners before the bell rang to dismiss everyone else. We thought we were pretty cool. We'd all be walking down the stairs, pulling on our white belts and adjusting them, then heading out in all different directions to our corners. And then we'd all be coming back in, climbing the stairs and pulling off our belts. There we were, 10 years old and already Big Men On Campus
Crewcut I was a Patrol Boy, too. I remember we felt like Mr. Houtz's elite corps. Whenever something happened, he'd call us into his office for a private conversation and ask us what we'd seen. Like, if there had been a fight down toward our corner, or some vandalism report from a neighbor, or some kid who was always late, and he wanted to know if the kid was coming past our corner on time and then dawdling out on the playground, or if he was late coming past our corner. He treated us like real police officers, like he trusted our reports and our opinions. I was real disappointed when we got to junior high and found out they didn't use patrol boys.
Lugnut Gee Whiz. I didn't get picked. Guess I wasn't a Big Man On Campus until later.
Bebop A lot later.
Hot Rod I didn't go to grade school in Coraopolis but I heard stories about it. The guys all told me it was mostly about keeping track of all the out of control women. Mr. Houtz used to call them to his office every day and ask about what girls were causing disturbances. The guys all said he asked about Lucy every day. Apparently, he had one file for all the other girls in school and one file just for her. He considered her a real problem.
Bebop The only disturbance I ever caused was telling annoying boys to go away and leave me alone. I seem to recall having to do that six or seven times a day.
Hot Rod But you were doing it all the way across the playground. The guys told me you'd be standing out there screaming for them to go away and leave you alone. The neighbors were complaining.
Ponytail I can't wait to see Bebop and all you guys at the reunion. It's going to be real romantic. Her husband's gonna be jealous.
Dago He'll probably be glad to see us. We can let him know about all the methods we developed to keep her under control. I bet after all these years he's about run out of strategies. He'll be glad to learn about some new ones.
Natalie Do you people actually know each other or are you just making this up as you go along?
Dago Oh, we know each other. Since Kindergarten. We know enough stories about her to blackmail her for the rest of her life.
BobbySox Good Heavens!! A girl goes out of town for a few days and comes back and it takes her half the afternoon to catch up on the website. You people have been busy!!
Ponytail We were beginning to worry about you. Welcome back.
BobbySox You know who I wish we could look up and invite to next year's reunion? Jerry Amerando. I just loved him. I mean, really. Knowing that he became a priest, I know it sounds a little kinky now, but remember in 7th and 8th grade we didn't know he would do that. I had the biggest crush on him. I thought he was the sweetest, classiest, best looking guy in our class, and it didn't hurt he was a straight A student and a great dancer. We went out a bunch of times to dances and movies and stuff. I think most girls in our class had sort of a crush on him, too. (C'mon girls, admit it!!) And then he just LEFT. I still remember being sad for the whole Summer. If he had transferred to Moon or Neville, it would have been OK. But it was like he died. I mean, the priesthood, for God's Sake. He was never coming back, couldn't write, could never date, just...gone. It really seemed sad. Anybody know what ever happened to him?
Saddleshoes It didn't surprise me when he started talking about becoming a priest. He was a great guy, but he was always so squeaky clean. Any time any sort of trouble started developing, he just disappeared. He could be in a class and the whole class would get in trouble and somehow he'd be in the library or someplace and not get in the trouble. He had the greatest knack for staying out of trouble of any guy I ever knew. It got to where teachers or Mr. Snell wound find out Jerry was in some group, and they'd say, Oh Well They Must Not Have Been Involved, because if Jerry was with them, it just didn't happen. It was unreal.
Blondie You're right. He just disappeared. Somebody on here must know something. His family obviously kept living in Coraopolis. He surely must have come home to visit. Somebody had to have seen or talked to him. Like you say, he was involved with a lot of clubs and had lots of friends. During a visit home, surely he called a few people. Anybody know anything?
Natalie I don't think a lot of girls had crushes on him. We all liked him as a classmate and a friend, but he was almost too nice. You know how we were. We had pretty poor judgement. We all liked the guys who were always on the edge of trouble. It was like there was a hint of danger about them and we thought that was exciting. The class clowns, the party guys, the jocks. Jerry didn't fit that image.
Ponytail 4875 East Grant Avenue. Fresno, California 93727.
BobbySox What's that?
Ponytail His address. Write to him.
Bobbysox WHAT?? How is it you have his address??
Ponytail I've always had it. We kept in touch.
BobbySox I'll be damned.
Bebop I'm starting to really love this website. The things we find out.
Hot Rod You know who I hope makes it to the reunion? Ruck. I wanta talk to Ruck.
Lugnut Yeah. Ruck was The Main Man.
Blondie Whatever happened to him?
Dago He went in the Army and ended up playing basketball in Europe for a team in Germany. Then he came back to the States and worked for Verizon for a long time. He's retired now.
Crewcut He was incredible. He got robbed. He absolutely should have made All State. We played all those guys who made All State and Ruck scored over top of them, outrebounded them, and shut them down. He might have been the most underrated player in the whole state our senior year. God he was so quick and had such instincts and timing.
Hot Rod I've always believed Ruck saved our season. We were playing Upper St. Clair at our place. That big David Montgomery was averaging about 30 points a game and had that beautiful hook shot and had Pitt, West Virginia, Ohio State and Syracuse recruiting him. They had us beat. It was 69-63 with 2:00 left and they had the ball. If they had scored, they would have gone up eight and the next several possessions they could have held the ball. We would have lost the game. These days, you can come in second in your section and still go on to the playoffs, but back then you had to come in first. If we'd have lost that game, we would have ended up tied with Upper St. Clair and Avonworth would have finished first and gone to the playoffs. Our season would have been over. No championships. So here they come to clinch the game and they go to their All State stud in the lane. He goes up for the shot and Ruck crams it down his throat. Montgomery scrambles for it and picks it up and goes back up and Ruck swats it out toward center court. Their guard gets it and passes it back in and Montgomery goes back up and Ruck slams it down to the floor. Montgomery gets his hands on it, I still remember this, he fakes to the baseline, reverses, and sweeps back to his right with that unstoppable hook shot and Ruck steals the ball and fires it out to Nick, who lays it in at the other end. We came back and won 72-69 and started out our run. IO swear that one play was the key to our whole season and Ruck saved us. He never got the credit he deserved.
Bebop How in the world can you guys remember scores and times and plays 50 years later?
Hot Rod How could we NOT remember? You're talking about events which defined our whole lives. Don't you remember little details about your wedding day?
Bebop OMG!! I think someone'e wedding day is a little more important than a ball game.
Hot Rod Well, that's just silly. People get married every day. You only get one chance to win a championship.
Saddleshoes I'm starting to really love this website. The things we find out.
Crewcut Ruck saved us over at Avalon, too. That stupid gym was like playing in a bowling alley. It was extra long and extra narrow. We couldn't hit and the refs had Jay and Stan in foul trouble by halftime. So we came out in the third quarter and Ruck just went to war on both ends. I think that was the best game of his career. He led both teams in rebounding and scoring. We ended up winning by 10, so it wasn't close at the end, but Avalon was ahead at half, and we could easily have lost if it hadn't been for Ruck. And that was another game where if we had lost our season would have been over.
Dago I'm sitting here watching Penn State beating Akron. God, I miss football. They say growing old is Hell because of all the stuff you used to do that you can't do any more. But all the other stuff we used to do I don'rt miss a bit. Bowling, baseball, dancing, getting drunk, hunting, giving Lucy a hard time, I can live without all that. But football. I'd give anything to be able to go back and play football again.
Ponytail What IS it with guys and football? All the guys I ever went out with, all the guys I ever knew, they all have this obsession with football. They can play baseball, golf, basketball or poker and it's a game. But football is just an obsession. It takes over their lives. They never stock up on drinks and food and invite guys over to watch baseball, golf or basketball. But any time there's a football game, it's like a religious occasion.
Hot Rod You got that right. There's something screwed up with the way God designed the universe. We spent from age five to age 18 working to become the best football players we can be, and then just when we finally get good, they tell us we can't play anymore. The way it ought to be we can keep playing football until we're about 70 and then at the end of the season we just drop dead.
Blondie Well, that's a little extreme. But I have to admit, I miss those football games. We always had fun, whether it was basketball, sled riding, dancing or whatever., But those football games were special. The nice cool nights, everything dark and the field all lit up, walking around, the big crowds, the band shows at halftime, hot dogs, hot chocolate, all of it. We had so much fun. And I've been with my husband and sons to Steeler and Pitt games, but it's never again the same when the guys out on the field are not the guys you grew up with from Kindergarten and sit next to in class.
Natalie I remember all three years, but our senior year was the greatest. The excitement would begin to build around Wednesday. Thursday they'd be selling those ribbons with "Mash Montour" or "Crush Crafton" on them. All day Friday I don't know how we got anything done in class. I REALLY don't know how the players got anything done. They must have been so psyched up.
BobbySox I loved the football games, too. But I've also seen all my life all the guys I ever knew either play football or wish they played football or regret not playing football. When my son was playing, I hated it because every single day from August to November I was scared to death he'd get hurt. I mean, guys DIE playing football. Guys end up in wheelchairs for the rest of their lives. Guys get injuries they have to deal with the rest of their lives. What is so irresistible about this? Why would you want to risk your lives out there?

First of all, you can't live paranoid. You can get killed by a falling tree branch or a runaway vehicle. Remember Neil, Donnie's brother, our eighth grade Summer. He was walking down Maple Street. Coming down Maple Street, a big truck had the front right wheel just snap off the axle. The truck swerved over and stopped. But the wheel broke away and rolled down the street. It was one of those big truck tires. I think Neil was listening to KQV on his portable radio. He never heard the tire coming. It hit him from behind and killed him instantly. People go to the beach on vacation and get caught in a riptide and drown. Stuff can happen any where, any time, to any body. So if you're paranoid, you have to stay home in bed. Now, hundreds of guys play football and only a few get injured and maybe one a year in the whole nation dies. If you're worried about stuff like that, you can't ever drive a car, go sledriding or go for a hike in the woods.

As for why we all love football, I think it's because it's so HARD. It's PAINFUL. Like the coaches used to tell us, pain was weakness leaving the body. Everything about it was hard. Getting in shape was hard. Running the fundamental drills was hard. The physical contact was hard. It was all hard. In my whole life nothing else I've ever done has ever been that hard. So the odds were you couldn't do it. You wouldn't pay the price. So you were competing against yourself. And by actually doing it, getting good at it, beating other people at it, you proved something to yourself.

I have to tell you, no job I've ever had has ever brought me as much pride and satisfaction as playing football. And all that hard work paid off our senior year. Football and my kids have been my finest achievements.

Bebop Well, I think that's sad. All you guys were good guys and I loved you being my classmates and all, but you're saying except for your kids, the highlight of your whole life came when you were 17 years old playing a game? That's sad.
Lugnut It's not sad at all. I've had a good life, a good marriage, made good money, been blessed with good kids, and have had some great experiences. But you don't understand. Nothing --- nothing --- compares to working so hard for so long with a bunch of guys and coaches to achieve something and then actually achieving it. You are on such an emotional high. Those teams we beat? They were good teams. That was not a soft schedule. That was one of the toughest schedules any high school in the country played. And we won the championship. Most people lead pretty grey lives. They go to school, get a job, get married, and get old. They never get to the mountaintop in anything. We got to spend a whole year on the mountaintop and it was great. I would go back in a heartbeat and relive it all --- even the famous rain game and the crooked refs against Rox and the Moon game, when we were down several players and let them make it close before finally winning. It's not sad at all. There are thousands of high school football teams and only a few ever have the kind of year we had. I have thought back on that season a million times and I treasure it more and more the older I get.

Hi All. You people have got quite a concept going here. We could form a company and market this to other high school classes. This blows out of the water. We could make enough money doing these for other classes we could fund the greatest reunion in rthe country.

Corey : Are you going to sell ads on here once you get the rest of the pages finished?

Bebop Oh My God. I know who this is. It has to be. Welcome to the party.
Dago Bebop: You were never a guy and you never played football. You don't understand. When guys are growing up, they need to prove themselves physically. They're not men until they can hold their own against other guys. Football is the most physical sport there is. The confidence you get from playing football is more than you can get from anything else. You know darn well you treasure your photos and memories of prom, big dates, and your wedding. That's how we are with football. Somebody else said it and I agree. It defines who we are. I loved it. I still love it. I loved to play it. I love to watch it. I love to talk about it. I think every boy should play. I think schools should run a whole bunch of teams so guys who can't make the varsity can play on the B team or the C team or the F team or as many as it takes. Even if you have a bunch of slow, skinny, clumsy guys out there playing games against each other, it's a great experience for them.
Bebop I went to every single football game. I got there early and stayed til the end. I sat through the heat and rain and cold and cheered myself hoarse every Friday night so for three months I couldn't talk all day Saturday. I loved you guys because you were so good. However, I'll bet if you took a poll of the girls in our class not a single one of them went out with a guy or married a guy because he was a football player. It was just like playing a musical instrument or making furniture in shop class. If you did it well and enjoyed it, good for you. But it didn't define who you were. When you asked a girl out, you better have something going for you besides football.
Saddleshoes Let's talk about that asking a girl out business. Whatever happened to that? Remember guys asking girls for dates? Asking them to go to the dance or to the movie? Has anybody noticed kids don't do that anymore? My grandkids don't ever have dates. They just "hang out." A bunch of kids go somewhere as a gang. They don't even have dates to the prom. They just go. Like several girls will go, or several guys will go. It's sad. I feel like my granddaughters are missing out on something important.
Ponytail That's for sure. Teenage romance is dead. When I tell my granddaughter about our years in junior and senior high she envies me.
Blondie True. Remember how we talked? It was a big deal who "liked" who that week. We all had crushes on guys. Remember trying to "fix each other up." Somebody who was good buddies with a certain guy would talk to him and sort of hint that so and so would be very receptive if he got around to asking her out. Our lives were full of drama week by week. Today, they not only don't "like" a particular guy, they don't like guys, period. I'll ask about whether there are any guys they might be interested in and my grand daughter and her friends will just roll their eyes and spend five minutes telling me stories about how stupid all the guys at school are. You're right. There's no romance. There is contempt.
BobbySox I have to give our guys credit. I think this current generation of teenage males are a complete waste. I don't know if they're ever going to get their acts together, but if they do, it'll be sometime in their 20s. The girls today are so much more sophisticated than the guys. 50 years ago, our guys actually had their acts pretty together. Even the ones who were sort of socially clueless were basically pretty nice, and if you asked them for a favor, they'd be happy to help. A girl could see hope for the future. Today's guys are so out of it a girl can't imagine them ever being potential mates. You see a guy on drugs, with rings in his nose, cheek, chin, tongue, eyebrow and belly button, flunking out of high school, with green hair, it's no wonder the girls are just waiting til they get to college and hoping the guys there will somehow be better.
Smiles Hi. I'm new to this discussion, but not new to reading it. My fellow classmates, you are awesome! I am proud to be a Coraopolis High School graduate. Many of the fondest memories of my Coraopolis years begin and revolve around Lincoln School, in and out of the classrooms. I especially remember "story time," during the last half hour of the school day. If our class had been good, the teacher would read a chapter in an age appropriate fiction book. I just loved the Bre'r Rabbit stories that Miss Gormley, our second grade teacher, read to us. In sixth grade, Miss Larson read mysteries and suspense stories. Another great memory was riding my bike after school and of course we all headed back to Lincoln School where we played ball, jacks, used the swings, or just rode around the playground. Some kids walked back to school, across streets, but we all arrived - all ages, to play together. The school was the center of our lives and a safe place to play with our friends. There were no fences, no signs restructing our activities and no supervision. The playground was open and in plain view of the many houses that surrounded it on all sides. By 5 pm we left the playground to return to our homes to have dinner with the family. What a great life!
Natalie Welcome to the party, Smiles. Good to have you. I didn't go to Lincoln, but I remember some of the same stuff. We had the same story times at the end of each day. And those of us who lived close enough would come home and then go back to the school grounds to play just like you said. But a lot of our kids lived down below the tracks and they'd just go to the Ewing Field play ground. But either place, like you said, we had no supervision and we could organize our own games and play until time to go home. So Much More Freedom. I wish my own kids could have grown up in such a place and time.
BobbySox Welcome indeed, especially to a Lincoln School classmate. We're not 100% sure who's who on this board, but I think most of us have most of us figured out, and if we're correct, I think you're the first Lincoln School contributor we've had. The posts have definitely had a Central and McKinley flavor. So your perspective should be interesting. When we were in grade school, the Lincoln School neighborhood was a remote, unknown place, sort of like Crafton or Carnegie. We heard of it, and knew approximately where it was, but nobody we knew ever went there. Those of us who lived at the other end of town were actually closer to Mooncrest, Moon Township and Sewickley than we were to Lincoln. I remember going to Pittsburgh on the train with my mother. We'd get on at the main Coraopolis station, and then we'd ride for a little while, and stop to take on more passengers at the Montour Station, and my mother would explain to me how that was the station for Lincoln School neighborhood people. It all sounded cvery exotic. I was a little older and instead of the train we'd ride the trolley, and finally the Shafer bus, and they would stop at the Montour Street stop, and if there were any kids getting on I'd always study them real carefully, wondering what they must be like, how different from us. Sometimes we'd venture way over to Maple Street, near Karen's or Nancy's, and look across the dip toward the Lincoln part of town. It seemed like you had an awful lot of trees over there, and a lot of green. We imagined you were out in the country.
Blondie I agree. Please feel welcome, and although I didn't go to Lincoln, I sure remember playing jacks at our own schoolyard. I gotta say, I was a Cracker at jacks. I wasn't so good at Hopskotch, or jumping rope, or Chinese Checkers, or Pickup Stix. But oh boy did I love jacks. I had quick hands and I could clean up those jacks. The guys used to hike back and forth across town and play each other in baseball, football and basketball. I don't know why us girls didn't do that. We could have walked or ridden our bikes over to Lincoln or you could have come over to Central or McKinley and we could have played jacks, Hopscotch, Chinese Checkers and Pickup Sticks against each other. It would have been great.
Dago Come on in, Smiles, and have a seat. I remember when we were in grade school, playing your guys from Lincoln. Wow, they were tough. They'd have Vite, Chuckie, Jimmy and Donny on the line, Danny back there at quarterback, and Dale, Kenny, Bo and Ed either going out for passes or running the ball. We thought we were pretty good, but Vite, Chuckie, Jimmy and Donny would knock us on our butts, Kenny and Ed always seemed like they had glue on their hands, and Dale was really hard to bring down. Whether up there at that Montour Street field or over at our own place, we always had good games with those guys.
Lugnut I remember those games. We used to get so mad. Danny would never run the ball. He'd just pitch it out to Dale or Kenny or pass it over us to one of those receivers. We'd tell ourselves all the way walking over there how we had to tackle him really hard four or five times and shake him up. So we'd finish the game, and we'd be all dirty, muddy, sweaty, with grass stains all over our clothes, and he'd look like he just stepped out of the house, since we never could get past Vite, Chuckie, Jimmy and Donny to get to him. If all those guys would have ended up playing for the high school, we would have ended up with a lot more depth, and could have had an offensive line and a defensive line instead of everyone having to play both ways. So by the second half we would all have been fresher. We would have been twice as good.
Bebop I remember when Lynette transferred over from Lincoln and we all became friends. She used to talk about how SMALL Lincoln School was, how lost she felt for a while at how much bigger our building was and how many more students we had. But she always talked about how nice it was going to Lincoln, how much she loved her teachers and how nice all the kids were and how much better behaved. She never came right out and said so, but I got the impression she liked her teachers over there much better. I think she kind of missed living over there and going to school there. She was apparently real close with one of the boys over there and talked about how they'd go hiking in the woods, and pick wildflowers, and go sledriding on some trail that went down through the woods. The way she talked about it, it sounded like a really nice school and neighborhood.

Smiles, good to add you to our group. I, too, loved that time of spending time at the playground playing jacks, swinging, jumping rope, playing hopskotch, riding our bikes, or watching the boys with their marble games. I was so disappointed and saddened and frustrated when by the time my own kids were going to school they ordered them home after school and wouldn't allow them to come back to school and set foot on the playground, like it was some sacred ground only for looks or something.

I didn't go to Lincoln. Did you also play huge Hide and Go Seek games with kids franning out all over the school grounds? And in your Hide and Go Seek games after people were captured and brought in to "jail," could someone still free sneak in and touch the jail and yell "Free" and all the prisoners fled in all directions, which basically meant the game started all over again?

God, them was the days.

Lurk After we got old enough to go from one end of town to another, my favorite place to sledride was always Vine Street over past Lincoln School. The other streets the borough blocked off were straight and usually brick, with sidewalks on both sides and houses all along. But Vine Street was kind of wild. It wound around past cliffs and woods, the top half of it wasn't even paved, it was longer than any of the others, and there was a long two block stretch with no houses because you had cliffs going up on one side and woods on the other. It was really a ride.
Ponytail Smiles, so wonderful to have you. I, too, remember the Brer Rabbit books, although I don't remember which teacher read them to us. I read some of them myself, but like you, I loved sitting there with my head in my arms on my desk listening to the teacher reading to us. I don't think teachers read to kids anymore. We all seem to have grown up reading really well and loving to read and reading a lot. My own kids didn't have that kind of school experience. I tried to compensate for it at home by reading to them every night and having them read to me and taking them to the library and encouraging them to read, but it wasn't the same. Whatever they did to us or for us in grade school back in Coraopolis, they sure did focus a lot on reading. I have always been grateful for that.

Oh, Smiles! Finally a thread I can get into! I've been reading along here since Margie put us all onto this website in September, but I thought I was the only Lincoln Schooler present. Maybe I just never grew up, or maybe I did grow up but got too cynical when I did, or maybe I just loved Mr. Houtz and Miss Richards, Gormley, Clark/Tucker and Larson and never loved Mr. Snell, Mr. Johnson, Mr. Daviess, Miss Jones, Piersall, Malter or Crawford, but for whatever reason, all my cvery fondest memories are of Lincoln, not junior or senior high.

The thing we took for granted at the time but nobody ever really thought about was how many kids lived so close together. The reason we could all use the school grounds as our personal playground was that we all lived so close to it, and to each other. Not one of us could step out on our front porch and look up or down the street without seeing somebody else our age in our grade out playing. And if we expanded our world to include kids one or two years older and one or two years younger, we had a whole society of grade school kids within an area of several blocks all surrounding Lincoln School. And our parents all knew each other. And even the neighbors who didn't have kids liked kids and knew all of us by first names. So it sounds hokey here 60 years later but we really were like one huge sprawling family.

And when we all started school there was no TV, so we HAD to go outside and play, and we HAD to interact with and rely on each other, and not ever seeing any other kids, among our little world of 20 or so kids, we formed REALLY deep and long lasting friendships. We saw each other in our good moods and bad moods, we knew all of everybody's faults and talents, we knew who was good at hopskotch but not at dressing dolls, and who was good at jumping rope but not at Tag.

I'm really looking forward to this Class of 1960 Reunion, but I wish sometime we'd have just a Lincoln School Reunion. Yes, it would be small, and some of us are sadly not here anymore, but I think it would be just a wonderful experience. We were blessed and were totally oblivious to how blessed we were.

Tinker Bell

I agree. I'm also a Lincoln School graduate, have been reading along for several months, but for the first time just have to get into this thread about Lincoln. So many dear friends : Ann, Carolyn, Carol, Marilyn, Charlene, Margaret, Lynette, Bonnie, Sarannah, and from up on the hill Sharon and Jean, and after they moved in Mary Kay, Joyce and Judy. And the guys. We had the most wonderful guys. Dale, Dickie, both Davids, Donnie, Vite, Philip, Bo, Albert, Eddie and Alex, and from up on the hill Danny, Patrick, Tom, Jimmy, Nicky and Kenny. And I'm probably leaving somebody out.

My two best friends were Lynette and Bonnie. Kindergarten was a big struggle for me, but by first grade I finally had my little girl world all figured out and organized, with Bonnie and Lynette like bookends, always there for me. When Lynette moved across town it traumatized me. We could still talk on the phone but it wasn't the same. And then when Bonnie moved away, I thought I was going to die. I sure wish Lynette was still with us and that she and Bonnie could come to this reunion.

Such nice people. I've seen an awful lot of people in my life who are just not very nice. We were so lucky to spend our first years in school surrounded by such nice people all our own age. No wonder we all developed such self confidence and trust and out going natures and did so well. Today I see my grandkids not liking, not even trusting, the kids they go to school with. Sad.

Natalie Even though Central and McKinley were larger, we all shared some of the same advantages, just maybe not to the same extent. The big thing was our grade schools were neighborhood schools within walking distance. We ran no buses. They were small schools so we knew everybody and everybody knew us. We could stay after school for help or to work on projects or play with friends, or go home and come back. I used to grind my teeth every single morning when I watched my own kids get on those stupid buses and ride 10 miles to school. How idiotic. We should pass a federal regulation banning buses for kids below 7th grade. Maybe --- I'm not sure but it's faintly possible --- we need big junior highs and high schools, but I am absolutely positive we don't need one thousand student grade schools 10 miles from every student's home.
Tinker Bell

Looking back on it, we were so funny with our little romantic fantasies. We were always talking about "liking" some boy, or "like liking" him, or about which girl "liked" who. Lynette, Bonnie and I all had our eyes on Dale. But in all the sophistication and maturity of our little selves, we decided that we were not going to let some guy interfere with our friendship. So we all agreed that we'd all do our best and whichever one of us won Dale, the other two would compete for Danny as a consolation prize. The only problem with this arrangement was that as far as Dale and Danny were concerned, we were just furniture. They recognized the fact that we were there, like tables and chairs, and they would talk to us, but the only girl they were interested in was Carol. They were like a threesome. They'd go over to her house. She and Ann or she and Carolyn would hike out to Danny's house. She'd go over to Dale's. The three of them would go to movies, with Carolyn or Ann tagging along as a kind of chaperone. We'd look at each other real critically but as near as we could determine Lynette and Bonnie were tall slender blonde beauties and I was a little shorter and brunette but still pretty cute and all the other guys seemed to think we were hot stuff but the only two guys we wanted would look right through us like we weren't there. We would get so mad at Carol. But how could we get mad at her? She was so sweet and so pretty and so nice to everybody and was our friend, too. It was those two guys who were so frustrating. OOOOh, we could have wrung their necks. Carol, Ann and Carolyn had a problem in that they couldn't stop whispering to each other in class, so they had to stay after school about every day. I lived up the alley past Dale, so he somehow developed the habit of walking me home every day. I thought I was making great progress and was thrilled with myself for several months. But I finally realized he was just killing time until Carol got out of detention. Then the three of us also realized that in addition to all their other hanging out together, the three of them actually got to remain at school and ate lunch together every single day while all the rest of us had to walk home and eat lunch and walk back. Aha! So that's where all that close bonding occurred. Which is how we got ourselves into one of the great misadventures of our grade school years. We requested a meeting with Mr. Houtz. About a day went by and Miss Clark called us up to her desk after recess one day and said we were to go to the office and see Mr. Houtz. Now, if you remember, going to see Mr. Houtz was a very serious matter. We all loved him, but only derelicts or people who had won some honor got called to the office. And here we were, shuffling into his office. I remember Lynette sort of backing up into Bonnie, and Bonnie backing up into me, and me backing up into the wall, like some TV sitcom. And he sat there at his desk, looking official, asking us what we wanted. So we explained to him that we had heard that some students were allowed to eat lunch at school and we wanted to do that, too. So he put his hands up to his mouth like a little tent with all his fingertips touching and looked at us real serious and asked did we have any sort of injury or medical condition, and of course we said No, and did our mothers work or were they home during the day, and of course they were home during the day, and did we live especially far from school, which of course he knew we didn't because he knew where we all lived. So then he explained patiently that unless we met any of those conditions we did not qualify to eat lunch at school. So what were we supposed to say : But it's not fair, your own daughter is using lunchtime to steal our men? Or how about : If these three need someplace to eat lunch, they can come home with us. We'll rotate around, so Dale gets to eat with each of us every third day, and in between we'll host Danny and then Carol. That would have been fair. Each of us would then have had the same number of uninterrupted lunchtimes with Dale and whichever one of us won him would just have been the better girl. But No, we didn't have the nervc to say any of that. We just trooped dejectedly back to Miss Clark's classroom and got ready to hike home for lunch while Dale, Danny and Carol unpacked their little metal lunch boxes and ate lunch there at school, plotting who knew what romantic adventure.

It was right about then, on the cusp of my 11th birthday, that the idea began growing in my mind that I better be developing some special talent or intellect because just being cute wasn't going to be enough. And if Lynette or Bonnie weren't good looking enough, well then there was no hope for relying on beauty. Somebody should write a book called Everything I Ever Needed To Know About Life I Learned At Lincoln School.

BelAir Speaking of broken hearts and frustration, what about when at the end of 4th grade they told us Lincoln had become overcrowded and we had to transfer from our beloved school and go to --- yuk --- Junior High for 5th grade and Central for 6th grade? All these years later I still resent that. Why couldn't they have remodeled the basement or put two portable classrooms out on the parking lot or done something so we could finish up at Lincoln? We were only going to get to go there seven years of our whole lives anyway, so the least they could have done was let us have our seven years. But No. That would have been too much trouble. Talk about Everything I Ever Needed To Know. That was when, at the age of I guess 10, I figured out the world was not operating in my best interest, that there were people or forces out there which were either evil or at least uncaring. Every time some little corner of the world by coincidence becomes a tiny bit of Paradise, forces conspire to crush it, wipe it out, prevent people from enjoying it. There's no telling how much richer all our lives would have been if we could have salvaged those last two years at Lincoln. Those were really critical years. It made me so mad. I'm still mad. I've never forgiven them. I loved that school.
Duckpin After reading all these comments, I got to thinking back on my own memories. Does anybody else remember flying kites? I don't remember doing it in high school, but I remember kite flying before that. We would buy a basic kite for 50 cents at Michael's or the 5 & 10. It had those two sticks and then you stretched the thin paper over it. You made a tail out of old rags and tied it to the bottom. Then you hooked up the string and went up to the stadium or somewhere else where trees would not interfere and launched it.
Crewcut Sure do. Remember Box Kites? You had to have a little experience with the basic model. Box Kites had four long sticks, six cross braces, and two strips of paper, one at each end. They were harder to launch but were just so cool to watch up there.
Natalie We did kites in Girl Scouts. They would bring some father in who knew something about them and he'd teach us how to build them. We'd lay everything out on big tables and build our kites and then decorate them. Then we'd go up to the stadium and fly them. It was neat. I'd forgotten all about that. I don't think my own kids ever flew kites.
White Bucks You could tell how high the kite was by how much string you'd let out. We would usually buy three spools of string and tie them together so we had 300 yards, and we'd put the big spool on a big stick. So when we let out the whole spool our kite was 300 yards out there. It wasn't 300 yards straight up, because the string went out at about a 45 degree angle. But considering we were up at the stadium and the cliff already rose pretty high from the valley, we imagined our kite looked pretty high to someone down in the valley.
Hot Rod And every once in a while you'd be flying your kite on a real windy day and a big gust of wind would come along and snap the string. And there would go your kite, sailing off into the distance, spiralling down. We watched a few of them go down. Then we'd ride our bikes over and try to find them. But we never did. So we'd have to go buy a new kite. If you had one last about a month, that was a good kite.
Ponytail I was never big into kites, but my cousins were. I remember them throwing away the string that came with them and using strong fishing line. They always talked about other kids losing their kites using cheap string but my cousins' fishing lines never broke.
Hot Rod Well. Whaddyaknow. All these years and I finally find out the secret. I think I'll go buy a kite and fly it with fishing line. Where were you when I was 10?
Dago If you're off to buy a kite, brace yourself. Kites have changed. I decided to spend a day kite flying this Summer with my grandson. You can't buy them at neighborhood stores anymore, so we asked around and made a few phone calls and ended up at Robinson Town Center at sone hobby shop. Ha. Forget diamond and box kites and cotton string on a spool. Kites have gone high tech. Now you spend $60 on one. It takes an engineering degree to put it together. You need lessons to know how to fly one. We didn't take lessons. We figured we could figure it out for ourselves. I mean, it's a kite, right? No. Instead of paper now they're made of nylon. Instead of wood there are carbon fiber frames. Instead of string and spools there are wires and control bars. In each hand you hold one of these grips with four wires going up to the kite. So you have eight wires. You learn to twist your wrist and turn the bar side to side or up and down. You can make the kite do tricks. The big thing now is dueling kites and stunt kites. My grandson and I finally figured it out and had a great time and now he's always wanting someone to take him somewhere he can fly his kite. But it's not something you make yourself on your kitchen table anymore.
BobbySox Do kids actually MAKE anything from scratch anymore? Is EVERYTHING plastic and high tech now?

Hi all. A little late to the party but hopeful of being admitted. This is a marvelous site and I spent half a day yesterday going through it and reading all of the comments. I was in tears by the time I reached the Cat Torture. This is truly book material.

A few observations and memories of my own. My proudest moment in junior high was getting expelled and kicked out of almost every class, but particularly Mr. Letteri's. I would tell you more but then you would figure out who I am. I remember Grace would always put a fresh stick of Juicy Fruit gum in her mouth before going into his class. He would, of course, smell it and root around in her mouth with a pencil trying to find it. He never did and as soon as he turned his back she would chew it again and everyone would crack up. Another time Grace was sitting in the very back of the class and raised her hand to say she couldn't hear all the way back there. He asked who else couldn't hear and I raised my hand. I was sitting right in front of him in the first row. We both got sent to the office. Sweet looking little Grace --- such a prankster. Remember the notebooks we had to keep in Mr. Kelly's class chronicalling all our work. We had to turn them in before every grading period. Once when Grace and I were mouthing off we had to turn ours in the next day. Fortunately we kept ours up to date so it was no big deal. I don't remember a lot of the things that have been mentioned here. I do remember sledding on Wood Street. And, for the record, no one has ever carried my books home. Thanks for all the memories and I am looking forward to seeing everyone next Summer.

Ponytail Welcome. And stay with us. We need all the good memories and you have probably have lots that we've forgotten, too.
Bebop Oh, I agree. Please feel welcome. We also need all the help we can get helping straighten out these confused males.
Dago Why you poor neglected thing. Once we get this time machine built and go back for a couple of weeks, I'll be happy to carry your books home for you. And don't pay any attention to Lucy. She's still frosted because we all found out she and Lovey Honey spent the night at the drive in and didn't notice it was closed for the Winter.
Bebop I've told you how many times now that I'm not Lucy. Jitterbug, see what we have to put up with on here with these guys?

I've noticed. But "I Love Lucy." She was one of the wisest teens I knew. Her prophecy "Be glad you're young" has been demonstrated to be right on target based on these posts. Coraopolis was a wonderful place to live. I got back there for a brief visit last Summer and was appalled at how steep the streets were. I had truly forgotten. And we walked up and down those hills every day. One of the best memories I have is being out on our bikes in the Summer in junior high. We used to gather on the street corners. I wasn't allowed to go to the Friday Night Club the first half of the year. The Christmas Dance was my first. But I used to sneak down there anyway. I also remember Gilberti's for pizza after games and dances. Best place ever.

BTW -- Dago is a good disguise since you could be about 90% of the male population of Coraoplis in those days. Always liked to go to my friends' houses on days their mothers made bread and we would have fried bread dough for lunch.

Do you remember the Ouja Boards we used at slumber parties to see who we were going to marry?

Natalie I remember those. Do they still sell Ouija Boards? What was really funny was that when the Ouija Board would predict who Grace was going to marry, and when we predicted who she was going to marry, the only guy neither the Ouija Board or any of us ever predicted was Ange.
Hot Rod Us guys usually relied on the Magic 8 Ball. It gave us answers a lot quicker. And they were just as accurate as the Ouija Board. I remember a couple of you girls were out on the porch one afternoon and got me talked into using that stupid Ouija Board. I sat there for about two hours while it tried to spell out some name. I could have been playing football. The only reason I kept with it was it gave me an excuse to sit there on the porch with you. I never did give me an answer. You told me it wasn't working because I didn't believe in it. You got that right.
BobbySox Jitterbug, how were you not allowed to go to the Friday Night Club all first semester? After reading through this website, I got out my old school papers and was going through them and found the note that was sent home where Mr. Snell "strong urged" parents to "encourage" their children to attend the Friday Night Club dances. I recall that our parents saw this Holy Quadrant as ruling the universe. There were Harry Houtz, Herbert Snell, Father Healy and God. Any time they got a note from Houtz or Snell it was like The Word. Mr. Houtz "strongly urged" our parents to send us to the three times a year Pitt Travelling Theatre Productions at the high school, and they just asked how much. Mr. Houtz "strongly urged our parents to enroll us in Band, and they asked where and when. Mr. Snell "strongly urged" our parents to send us one field trip or another, and they signed us up. So when he "strongly urged" that we be at Friday Night Club, there we all were, that first night, with a big pile of shoes in the center of the floor, and the boys went out and picked a shoe, and the owner was their first dancing partner. So how did you manage to not be allowed to go?
Jitterbug Mom had some funny ideas. I think she was trying to put off dating and thought 12 was too young to go to dances. Once it started it was OK then.
Smiles Memories come flooding back of beginning fifth grade with Mrs. Gray by walking across town to the Junior High instead of my short walk to Lincoln School. BelAir, you are right, I believe we all resented and were truly sad about leaving our special little Lincoln School. It was during the Summer that Mr. Houtz began calling parents of my class to talk about overcrowding at Lincoln and his solution. Even his own daughter would be among those making the trek each day. However, as the school days came and went, it turned out to be a fun adventure --- at least for me. We walked in a large group to and from school, talking, laughing, singing and certainly messing around. I can remember several times that Mr. Houtz drove by and stopped to yell at us and keep us moving along.
Tinker Bell

Mrs. Gray was my least favorite grade school teacher. I remember her classroom was at the back end of the junior high building. We were supposed to only use the rear entrance, the one that opened directly to Central School and the grade school playground. I suppose she was a good teacher academically because we covered lots of material and she kept everybody in order, which must be tough for a bunch of 11 year olds. But she was such an old frump. The main thing I remember from her class were all the spelling bees. I think we had one a week. I never did last very long in those. I don't remember any of the girls lasting very long except Bonnie. It would usually be Dale, Danny, David and Bonnie at the end and either Danny or Bonnie would end up winning. I remember Mrs. Gray chose Danny and Bonnie to represent us against the other schools in Coraopolis and he won that and went on and won in Pittsburgh and went on and won in Harrisburg and she made a big deal out of it. And all the rest of us would study and study and I don't think either Danny or Bonnie ever looked at theirs --- they just showed up.

It's funny what you remember. I remember Mrs. Gray's class for the inkwells. Each of our desks had a glass inkwell that sat down in a hole in the desk in the upper right hand corner. There was a little cover that swiveled back and forth so usually the ink dipping hole was covered but when you wanted to stick your pen in you swung it to the side. We didn't always use the inkwells. On the days when we studied penmanship Ann would come around and fill each inkwell with just enough ink that we would usually use it all up that one session. If somebody ran out of ink Ann would come back and add a little more. I remember Mrs. Gray making a huge deal out of each student having proper penmanship. We had to learn to turn the pen point one way or the other to make wide or skinny strokes, and how to use a blotter, and how to lift the pen between strokes. All of that she insisted was going to be critical in our future. Of course, I think her class was the last time in our whole lives we ever used an inkwell or a real ink pen.

BelAir I despised that year in the junior high building. Our classroom was so much smaller than the huge rooms we had at Lincoln. And at Lincoln every room had a cloakroom. We did all sorts of things with the cloakrooms. We hung our coats and set our boots in the cloakrooms. We could store posters and projects in there. There were always two doors, so when we put on school plays we could use those doors as entrances and exits. When somebody misbehaved they could be sent to sit or stand in the cloakroom. Our junior high classroom had no cloakroom. So we had to use lockers wayyyy down the hall. They were too small and we couldn't fit big Winter coats in them, or keep posters or projects in them. We had no stage entrance or exit. And I didn't like going wayy down the hall and around the corner to the bathroom, and then when we got there Big Kids --- Good Lord, they were like 14 or 15 --- would be in there. And the staircases were awful. They were cramped little things like you were going downstairs inside a closet. Nothing like those beautiful big staircases with the wide bannisters and wide landings at Lincoln. I also didn't like the small junior high windows along part of one wall after our huge windows at Lincoln that went around two sides of the room and went all the way to the ceiling. I thought our room at the junior high was dark and gloomy without all that sunlight. I was just not a happy camper at all. It made me feel a lot better the next year when for 6th grade under Miss Larson we got to move over to Central, which wasn't Lincoln, but at least had big staircases, big windows, big classrooms, cloakrooms and bathrooms without Big Kids.
Tinker Bell I remember a lot of the boys started riding their bikes to school when we moved to the junior high. I can clearly see in my mind Kenny, Danny, Jimmy and Nicky riding theirs and locking them in the bike racks out behind the building. And I remember boys carrying our books home in their baskets and dropping them off on our front porches. I remember Kenny hauling Bonnie's home every day, Danny hauling Carol's, Jimmy hauling Caroyn's and Nicky hauling Sharon's. I would have ridden my bike to school, too, but my parents wouldn't let me.
Smiles Cloakrooms!! I have moved around the country many times and as I met new friends and talked about experiences in grade school not one person had ever heard of cloakrooms. I can remember shaking my coat to get off the black soot in the cloakroom. Once school began and everyone was in their seats, the janitor would come by with his broom to sweep the soot off the floor. With all the steel mills we sure needed cloakrooms.
Hot Rod I never got to go to Lincoln. But I went in the building a few times with friends. It wasn't much from the outside, but inside --- Wow. That surely had to have been one of the most beautiful grade schools anywhere. Those big staircases with the big bannisters and wide landings, the big center halls on each floor, and those huge classrooms with their huge windows. I wish I had taken photos of the inside. They don't make schools like that anymore. They didn't even make very many schools like that back then. People should have laid down in front of the bulldozers and not allowed them to demolish the building. And whoever came up with the idea to demolish the building should have been shot.
BelAir And after everything else, the great teachers and great classrooms and great classmates and closeness to all our houses, after all the advantages, the icing on the cake was Mr. McBride. He was just the Custodian but what a wonderful old man. He was like all our honorary grandfather. He'd let us hang on the bell rope and ride it up and down, he'd help us on or off with our coats, dry our tears or warn us when we were about to do something which wasn't a very good idea. He'd dress up like the Headless Horseman for Halloween, like Santa Claus for Christmas, and like Father Time for New Years our first day back from Christmas Vacation. And although us girls weren't much interested, he had a black and white TV down in the basement, and every October teachers would let the boys go down for one inning at a time and watch the World Series. They played all the games in the afternoons and none of us had TVs at home anyway. I wish we'd had a grade school yearbook so we had pictures of all our teachers and Mr. Houtz and Mr. McBride and the classrooms.
Tinker Bell I remember those great classrooms. We had a full sized sandbox right in the room. In one corner we had a little circle of chairs for reading. In another corner we had mats for our naps, which were pretty funny, because none of us actually slept. We'd just lay there and pass notes back and forth. And then we had the official rows of desks where the back of one seat was the front of the desk behind it, and the kids in back of the room would put their seats up and sit on the edge so they could see. And we were always decorating the windows with stuff we made in Art classes. We'd cut them out of various colors of construction paper. I remember those lights. They were big white bowls that hung from real long black pipes from those celings that seemed about a mile high.
BelAir I remember those slanting doors along the side of the building. They opened to expose a staircase down into the basement but mostly they had a big padlock on them. But they came up at about a 45 degree angle from the ground to a point above our heads. There was a little shelf at the very top, maybe a foot wide, so if we could climb up there we could sit on it while we tucked our legs under us. Then we could slide down the slope. Kids had been sliding down those cellar doors for a century by the time we came along so the wood was worn smooth as glass. There was no way anybody could pick up a splinter because the wood was so smooth. I think they must have painted the doors every Summer because they were always a nice pale blue, but the wood was still smooth. I remember, especially when we were real little, sliding down those doors was one of our main activities. But it was funny because climbing up the doors was not the easiest thing in the world. Some times you'd get halfway up and slide all the way back down backwards. But the doors were like our own miniature sliding board. Lincoln never even had an official big sliding board because we didn't need one. We had those doors.
The Dead End Kid

Ain't this somethin!! Margie says go check this out I'm thinkin yeh ok a page and a few pictures. Instead you've got like Disney World here. Cool. Wish I knew who I was talkin to, but it sure looks like the gang's all here.

At Lincoln. Remember the restrooms were in the basement. Even at Central, they were in the basement. So remember we didn't say, "May I go to the restroom?" or "May I go to the bathroom?" No. We'd say "May I go to the basement?" For six out of seven years (junior high was different in 5th grade). So all the way through junior high and high school and for several years after high school when I was in the Navy, I always referred to the rest room and bathroom as a basement. I'd ask a teacher if I could go to the basement. I'd ask someone where the basement was. Like I'd stop at a gas station and ask the guy where his basement was. I finally broke the habit by about 20 or 21 because ships and submarines don't have basements but it was pretty funny for a long time there.

Smiles In First Grade, Miss Richards used to punish students who were naughty or disruptive by assigning them to an after school reading session. Since I am a very social animal, I was often assigned to extra reading after school! Maybe that is why I learned to read so well. Because of all of these sessions, I memorized our reading books. My Mother was amazed because I could pretend that I had a book in my hand and read the pages to her.
Tinker Bell Who was that lady who lived on the corner and kept calling Mr. Houtz every time we cut across her yard, which of course was every time we walked to or from school four time every day? I seem to remember it was Mrs. Pugh, but I know we had Miss Pugh as our third grade teacher, so do I have the names confused? Were there two Pughs, one a grouchy old crone who would peek out from behind her white lace curtains and rat us out, and the other a young single teacher? I recall the old lady had an ugly Chow dog who would bark at us but would never come down off the porch. She'd call Mr. Houtz and tell him exactly what we were wearing so he could either come to the classroom and call us out or just go down to the front steps and wait for us to arrive and nab us. That old lady was a pain in the butt the whole time we went to Lincoln. It wasn't like we picked her stupid flowers or anything. We just walked across her yard. We didn't even bother her dog. Chuckie and Jimmy would run up to the stairs and snarl at the dog just to get him all worked up, but us girls never did anything like that. But it didn't matter. We'd get called in and fussed at, and after so many times he'd start calling our mothers and then we'd get home and get fussed at again, and then next day we'd get called back to the office and fussed at, so basically our whole week became getting fussed at multiple times a day over the same stupid yard. I hope wherever that lady's buried people walk across her grave every day. I wonder if the dog is buried right next to her.
Dead End Kid Yeh, I remember her. But we never worried about her or that Chow. The dog we really had a probloem with was Dogerocious, the one that lived at Tompkins Corner. It was a black and white mongrel and it hated everybody but most especially it hated us kids. It certainly did come down off the porch. It would come all the way across the street or down the alley or anywhere within half a block that we were trying to detour around. And it would nip at us and jump up at us. Remember us boys all carried sticks to school to jab at it to keep it from biting us. We'd bring those sticks into school and set them in the cloakroom. Every year the teachers would view our sticks rather skeptically, but we'd explain, and a few times Mr. Houtz would walk over that way with us after school, and he'd see Dogerocious coming after us, and he'd just nod, and we were allowed to keep bringing our sticks. There were girls who would wait to walk to school with us and I know the only reason they wanted us along was so we could protect them from that dog. (That was OK --- at that age that was about the only way we were going to get to walk to school with a girl.) This went on every day for years. We finally went off to junior high and that dog was still terrorizing Lincoln students.
Smiles I do remember the probloem with Mrs. Pugh. I came from a different direction when I walked to Lincoln, but remember those who got into trouble because they crossed Mrs. Pugh's yard --- she lived next door to Lincoln and her daughter (who seemed VERY old to me at the time) taught third grade. I always liked Miss Pugh as a teacher until she failed my very good friend Dicky Van Balen. In retrospect, it was probably the best thing for Dicky, but I sure missed my friend in fourth grade.

I hadn't thought about Dicky for years. Van Balens Laundry closed last Summer. I was real sad when I saw it was closing because it was one of the last places that was in business when we were growing up that was still there. Now, there's just the two hardware stores, Deramo's Beverages and Segneri's.

I seem to remember Miss Pugh failed quite a few kids. Third grade was like a big hurdle to clear as you moved up through the grades. She was the one who failed Chuckie, Kenny and Jimmy, which was how they ended up in our grade for a few years, until Chuckie and Jimmy failed again. Looking back on it, we would have been better off without those two. We all really liked Kenny, though, and were glad he was kept back and became part of our class.

Dead End Kid I never got the impression Miss Pugh liked us. I always thought Miss Richardson, Mrs.Gormley, Miss Clark and Miss Larson really liked us, but I never thought Miss Pugh or Miss Gray did, and I thought Miss Neely was pretty skeptical, too. I don't remember any of those three ever smiling.
Tinker Bell My mom told me once Mr. Houtz told her the classes ahead of us and behind us were very easy to manage. They just did what they were told. But from the start we were famous as the class who questioned everything and always had several alternate ways of doing everything and was always "pushing the envelope," as Mom said he said. I can still remember Danny always asking questions about Who Says? Why? How Come We Do It THIS Way Instead of That Other Way? and so on. I remember we'd be putting our books away just before lunch and Danny would be asking questions and Dale would be rolling his eyes and telling Danny to shut up so we could get out of there. I always thought it was funny because they were best friends but Dale still got aggravated with him.
Dago I still remember Dogerocious. Damn him anyway. Several of us got bit by that dog as we'd be walking up to Montour Hill to play those guys in football or sledride or hike in the woods. If it was just some of us who lived in the upper part of town, we'd either go through the Woods or up Montour Street, but if we had guys from below the tracks with us, like we usually did, we'd be starting from Fourth Avenue, and it made more sense to cut across and go up Vine Street. Except for Dogerocious. And I swear he would lay for us. We'd think, well, we'll cut up through the alley. And then we'd see him sneaking across the yard to the alley way ahead of us like some lion out of the jungle. Or we'd try to cut up that sloping path to the back end of Jean's place and walk down her long driveway. And he'd come charging up through the berry bushes and underbrush and catch us on that path. The only thing I have to say is sefveral of us carried scars from that dog for years, but he carried some scars, too. We'd grab some old broomsticks or pipes of whatever from people's trash cans out in the alley, or pick up some branches from the hillside below Ford's, and when he charged us we'd get in our licks. It wasn't like we were helpless first graders. We were in 4th, 5th and 6th grades and we were quite capable of defending ourselves. But next week or next month, he'd be back out there prowling the neighborhood again, looking for us or anybody else in a four block area walking through. And he also used to lay for sledriders coming down Vine Street or that long trail from Ford's. And kids on bikes. And even cars. He was an equal rights dog. He hated everybody.
Lugnut I remember Charlene telling me one time that dog affected the way kids in the neighborhood lived. I was complaining to her about another one of our run ins with that dog and demanded to know how she and her friends put up with it, and she told me she could go for a walk or go bike riding anywhere across from her house or down from her house but could not go up. So she could never walk up and visit Jean or Danny or Nicky or anyone that would require her to walk up Vine Street or up George Street. And those were the only two streets that went from where she lived up to Montour Hill, without her having to walk all the way over to either Montour Street or the Cinder Steps, which would have been about a mile out of her way, quite a ways for a 10 year old. So she could walk all along Vance Avenue to Marilyn's or Mary Kay's or Carol's or Joyce's, two or three blocks, or walk down and come across Ridge Avenue or State Avenue, four or five blocks. But she couldn't go half a block up because of that dog. And she said the dog lived there forever as far as her growing up, since from the time she was old enough to walk there was the dog and it was still there even when she was in junior high. There were some pretty mean and clever guys who lived over there. Dale, Danny and Kenny were clever and Chuckie and Jimmy were mean. I don't see how all of them put together didn't take care of that dog. If it had lived in our neighborhood I'll guarantee you it would have just disappeared one night without a trace.
Dead End Kid You don't know the half of it. That dog would steal our baseballs. We used to walk to and from school in the Spring throwing a baseball back and forth across the street. It was a way to sort of work on our timing and reactions so when we tried out for Little League everything would be second nature. But of course we'd miss the ball every fifth or sixth throw and have to go retrieve it. Well, that dog would lay for us, and if we let a ball drop --- gronch!! --- the dog scarfed it up and ran off with it. Now, if you recall, baseballs weren't cheap, and we weren't rich. So losing a baseball was a Very Serious Problem. So we would have to get the baseball back. But the dog would gallop off down the alley and jump the fence and put the baseball under his doghouse. Well, now, this meant we had to sneak into somebody's backyard that had "No Trespassing" and "Trespassers Will Be Shot" and "Stay Out" and "Keep Away" and "Private --- Especially Kids" signs all along the fence. But that was our baseball in there. So somehow we were faced with the challenge of climbing over the fence, running across the yard, getting down on our hands and knees and reaching under the doghouse for the baseball, pulling it out, standing up, running back, climbing back over the fence, and getting the Hell out of there while all this time Dogerocious was trying to eat us alive. This was a really big problem for 10 year old kids. The worst part of the rescue mission was trying to kneel or lay down on the ground and reaching for the baseball while being attacked by Dogerocious. Several of us already had scars from just walking down the alley or street and carrying a stick for protection but being attacked anyway, and now we had to lay or kneel down right in front of its doghouse? Geez. But that our baseball in there. So we would come up with all sorts of diversionary tactics. The most common was for two guys to jump the fence from opposite sides and run around the whole yard in a big circle staying close to the fence, then when Dogerocious gave chase to those two intruders, the third guy would jump the fence and head for the dog house. But sometimes we'd catch one of the neighbors' cats and put it in a burlap sack and throw it in the yard, and when the dog attacked the sack and it and the cat got into a civil war, one of us would jump the fence and head for the doghouse. The greatest showdown was the time the dog grabbed one of Chuckie's baseballs. He understood junkyard dogs because he was one, so he got real serious real fast. He and Jimmy took one of those poles with a loop at the bottom and a rope you use to catch raccoons and stuff, and went down to Mrs. Pugh's and roped her Chow and dumped it in one of those slatted boxes and carried it up to Tompkins Corner and dumped the Chow over the fence. I can still remember that VERY clearly. I know everybody from Route 51 to the Cinder Steps must have thought they were filming a new movie Godzilla vs. The Beast From 20,000 Fathoms. You could hear those dogs snarling and going at it. Chuckie got in there and got his baseball and we all ran like Hell. The next day every boy who lived east of Lincoln School was summoned to the office one by one. Mr. Houtz wanted to know what in the world had gone on up at Tompkins Corner. After he'd heard from all the witnesses he could find, he suspended Chuckie and Jimmy for about a week. While I was in his office he confided in me that Mrs. Pugh was madder than he'd ever seen her. Apparently she'd come all the way over to the school and stormed into his office and accused the whole fourth grade of dognapping her dog from its own porch. But By God We Got The Ball Back.
Bebop I hesitate to even ask this question, but you keep referring to Tompkins Corner. Surely Dogzilla didn't belong to our classmate?
Dead End Kid No. Alex lived in a little house right where Vine Street makes that extremely sharp turn, so sharp we always had trouble with our wagons and sleds and bikes coming down the hill. So since from Kindergarten we knew Alex, we always just called it Tompkins Corner. But a few doors down the alley was the guy with all the Keep Out signs and the huge yard and Dogerocious.

What a hoot your online class reunion who woulda thunk it? Counting the number of people in most of those class reunion shots and then counting the number of people posting on here, it looks like we got about as many on here as usually show up at the reunions except you get down to a lot more of the good nitty gritty on here than all those Hi Long Time No See Good To See Ya Bye Now passing in the night encounters at the actual reunions which is one reason I've never been big on reunions class or other wise. Sure wish we could dispense with these screen names but knowing the kooks who hang out on the internet I sure see why nobody wants their life histories broadcast.

Lincoln School you're sure right them was the days nothing to worry about parents paid the bills nobody had jobs except paper routes, babysitting, snow shovelling, leaf raking and lawn mowing heck them warn't jobs they was just another way of having fun. Just go to school read a little do some math answer questions in science and history then go play. The H-Man knew our names teachers loved us cutest girls ever best bannister for sliding down three floors and got to hang on the bell rope and watch world series on TV in October how could you beat it? Days just went on and on full of bike riding and sledriding and building camps in the woods and swimming in the creek who thought it would ever end and all of a sudden we woke up one morning and it was all gone and no way to get it back Paradise Lost for sure.

BelAir I'm out of breath just reading that.

We war a bunch warn't we?
All decked out in shorts
and collared shirts
the girls in their pinafores
all of us smiling and eager
and totally out of control
little gremlins run amuck
Hell's Angels on three wheels
playing for high stakes
with our cat eye marbles
the girls over there
flouncing up and down
with their jump ropes
Cheshire Cat Carolyn
biggest smile in town
and The Ice Princess
every guy's heart throb
under White Horse's
watchful eye
Green Eyed Blonde from
Highland Avenue
and sultry Marilyn
too hot for us to handle
We were sent too soon
floundering afar
beyond the "dip"
We only got five of our years
going to Central robbed us
of being patrol boys
of putting Mrs. Pugh
in her place
of conquering Dogerocious
and hitting the home run
over Van Balen's fence
Unfinished business
lingers heavy
as age closes in.

Bebop Well, that's it. Hell can now freeze over. The crack in the sky is clearly visible. When we have a classmate writing poetry on our message board we have certainly crossed ocer some sort of line. Who in the world can you possibly be and what rock could you possibly have climbed out from under?

Wow! I am blown away by Critter's talent, insightful thoughts into our five years at Lincoln, but especially the power of his or her words that evoke memories with each line. Bebop, your comment is special as well, makes me chuckle! Each morning I eagerly go to the computer to open up this discussion and find it so entertaining! When this website was started, I never dreamed my interest would be aroused or tht I would be happily participating in these discussions.

Remember the Peterson Writing System that taught us cursive, the teacher saying "round round ready round" to us as we made those Os across the page --- using three lines on our paper? Years ago I was approached by a man who recognized my cursive, just like his own, and knew that we must have both grown up in the Pittsburgh area. I can remember the representative from Petersen coming to our classroom to critique our writing papers and as a result we all took writing very seriously.


Hey Bebop Lady
Poetry Gits It Done
When I gradeeated
I had no funds
like hifalutin folk
to go to college
so I signed on with the gas company
and got sent to Texas
and then took a job
with Occidental Petroleum
riding pipelines
out across the open range
I was herding pipes not cattle
but it's about the same
and lots of nights
I'd come across the real thing
herdin their cows
and campin out
so I got invited
for some coffee and talk
and found out
cowboys write verse
to express themselves
all alone
out there
just them and the sky
so I started writing it too
not the fancy stuff
like we read in school
where rhyme is the thing
but just words and phrases
artfully put
and when the company
sent me to school
at Texas A & M
I took a class
and got addicted
so when the oil played out
and the job went away
I came home
with my college degree
and took a job
on the towboats
from here to Orleans
or Minneapolis
and back
two weeks on the river
and a few days off
writing poetry
headin down the river
still under the open sky

But what's cool
is that the little guy
who went to Lincoln
when the world was new
and wide open
and we could be anything
we wanted to be
that little guy
is still hiding inside
this geezer with gray hair
and occasionally
he speaks up
and we talk about stuff
like how come things
turned out like they did
and how come
we made the choices we made
and how come
time flows by so fast
that we can still hear the bell
from the Lincoln Tower
and the voices down below
Firrrrrst Bellll
and then five minutes later
Seeeecond Belllll
and then five minutes later
it clangs out again
but there's no chant
because everyone's inside
and if you're not
you're late.
I was late a lot:
a minute late
and a dollar short
turned out to be
the story of my life.
Somebody real smart
could have predicted our whole lives
based on
what we did at Lincoln School.

Tinker Bell I think this is sweet. I wish some guy had written me poetry when I was going to Lincoln. He would have swept me right off my feet. It wouldn't have mattered what kind of poetry it was. Cowboy or Riverboat or Briarpatch. Any of them would have swept me off my feet.

Guys didn't write you poetry while we were at Lincoln? Gee, I'm sorry. They wrote me poetry all the time. I don't know if it could be considered sweet, though. It would go like this.....

Roses are Red
Violets are Blue
Ann's Funny Looking
And so are you.


As you slide down
the bannister of life
don't get a splinter
in your career.

They would slip this little gems my way while we were laying there on our mats during Nap Time.

That was another one of those times I started figuring out life was not going to be fair. Carol and Bonnie and Lynette were laying over there getting notes passed to rhem about how guys liked them did they like them back, and I was getting notes, sometimes from the same guys, telling me I was funny looking or would get a splinter in my butt. I realized then there were varying levels of romance and I was going to be on one of the lower rungs.


Hey, Jitterbug. Welcome. Things get a little wacky around here sometimes, but it's a lot of fun. Please stick around. Don't mind Lucy. We still love her. Just like always.

Speaking of Lucy, how many of you remember the time when we were in 10th grade when Nick had her convinced for his science fair project he was doing research to prove dogs were smarter than girls? I never thought Paul Brown had much of a sense of humor but for some reason he thought this was really funny so he played along with it. So Nick had this whole bogus science project drawn up where he was going to scientifically prove the superior IQs of the average dog when dogs and girls were given the same task. Well, Lucy was just incensed. Smoke was coming out her ears. So she'd go to Mr. Brown and demand to know if he was really going to allow Nick to do something so preposterous. And Mr. Brown would real serious like explain to her that it seemed like a perfectly legitimate study, with a control population and careful data collection and everything. Meanwhile, at lunchtime every day, Nick would confer with Bill and Danny and Jimmy and David, who were actually designing the project, since Nick had no clue what was going on. Remember in Biology Class we did those projects in little steps, each day one more step due So Nick would show up and have his day's assignment laying ourt on his desk and Lucy would come by and see it and start fuming and fussing and ranting about how some things out not to be allowed what a male chauvinist pig he was and how if she were the teacher he'd get an automatic F and on and on. Of course, what he was actually turning in was something totally different, but he'd turn them in together, and Mr. Brown would put a big A on top of Nick's fake assignment and then actually grade the other one, which was usually a C- or D. So Nick would get the fake one back with the A, obvioualy in Brown's hand writing and red ink, and show it to Lucy and she would do another slow burn. They kept this up for about three weeks until we had to bring in the project and display it. So then Lucy realized she'd been duped all along and she was madder than Hell.

Eve While we're on here reminiscing we all ought to think about Jimmy. I was reading about him in the Post Gazette last weekend. He won a football scholarship to Harvard when Mr. Rovilea said he would never get in. He played football all four years and then graduated with honors. He got his MBA at Carnegie Mellon and became a Venture Capitalist. He married a girl from Pittsburgh who is a famous artist and whose paintings hang in museums and buildings worldwide. Jimmy now has homes in San Francisco, Park City Utah, and Martha's Vineyard. He got interested in sailing and has a sailing yacht which he enters in races worldwide. He's won big races up and down the Atlantic on both coasts and as far away as Australia. Jimmy has recently met with the Coraopolis Borough Council about his intent to invest significant money in Coraopolis to create a sort of business incubator which will encourage small startup businesses. I remember him as a straight A student and football hero but none of us realized how successful he was going to become.
Jitterbug Wow. That is impressive. We have a lot of very successful people from our small class in a working class town. Not just successful with degrees and careers but just as good people. I don't know that there are many bad eggs among us.
Blondie That is impressive, and doesn't even mention his role in the U.S. Olympic administration. When he comes back to town you would never know he achieved all that.
Lugnut Jimmy never did get the credit he deserved for the success of our football team. He got his share of the headlines and obviously went to college on a football scholarship, but he still didn't get the credit he deserved. The defense could never key on Nick or Stan or Bill or Jerry because Jim was a threat on every single play. He was a smart, quick, strong, fast runner that would have been the star on any other team but had to share the spotlight on ours.
Dago I'll guarantee you he was hard to bring down. By our senior year we were usually on the same unit, but earlier than that I used to end up facing him in lots of drills and it was tough. I got my butt chewed out by Letteri lots of times because I either didn't bring him down at all or let him grind out an extra yard or two before I did. People said he was too small to play at the Division I level. I knew better than that. I knew he'd make it. He could have gone to a bigger time football program than Harvard but he wanted that name behind him and he got it. He used football instead of letting it use him like a lot of these kids do today.
Crewcut People think football is sort of a brutal game, but it's amazing to look back and realize how much brainpower we had on that team. Guys ended up with college degrees, MBAs, doctorates, books published and companies founded. I know we won some of those games because we just outsmarted our opponents. Our offense was more sophisticated than their defenses and our defense was more sophisticated than their offenses. Our offense and defense required us to make decisions on the field as the plays unfolded, which required not only some intelligence but quick intelligence. Other teams were bigger and deeper but we outsmarted them. People who don't know much about football might assume everyone on the field makes adjustments in midplay but that's not true. A lot of teams run the play regardless of what the defense does, and if the defense anticipates what they're going to do they just run into a stone wall. Stan, Jimmy and Nick were especially good at pausing for a second or two to see what the defense was doing and then running toward the open hole no matter what the original play called for.
Saddleshoes I do remember that science project scam. Lucy would leave class ever day steamed. I remember her saying one day she was never going to get married, she was going to become a nun, that boys were absolutely not worth it.
Ponytail I always thought she should have married Nick. That would have been a marriage made in Heaven.
Bebop That wold have been a marriage made in Hell.
Natalie It would have been fun to watch.
BobbySox Not for long. They would have killed each other.
Jitterbug Amen to that.
Saddleshoes Jitterbug : There was a lengthy discussion on here a few hundred posts ago where no one could remember where we hung our coats during high school. we had cloak rooms in grade school and lockers in junior high but neither in high school. But where did we hang our coats every day during bad weather? You weren't on here then. Do you remember where we hung our coats?
Corey Just a gentle reminder : We want to avoid last names on here. With search engine bots and spiders crawling over every line of the internet, anything we say is fed into their database. Somebody could type in one of our classmates names and the search engine might list comments made on here. This might not bother some, but others may be concerned for their privacy, and we don't want to deter anyone from posting. It's true we have multiple Bills, Jimmys, Toms and Davids. But from context most of us can figure out who we're referring to. By leaving off the last names we prevent the search engines from processing the information. Kind of like locking the car. We didn't used to have to worry about this, and now we do.
Blondie Right after we married Lucy off to Nick we could have married Michael off to Bill and had the two couples live in a duplex. It could have been either a sitcom or a reality show. If it was a reality show the big competition would have been to see which wife murdered her husband first.
Ponytail My money would have been on Lucy. I can see the headline now : Newlywed Slays Groom With Cast Iron Frying Pan.
Natalie Michael wouldn't have had to kill Bill. She would have just driven him crazy and he would have killed himself. It wouldn't have taken more than a few days.
Dago There were a few days during some of those knock down drag out debates in Miss Griffith's class when if I could have gotten my hands on a cast iron frying pan I'd have killed both of them. And then I would have killed Anne. She was always Michael's side kick. It was really comical. Both of them argued the same things, so it didn't matter who was speaking at the time. And they'd be all breathless with intensity and wildly gesturing with both arms and giving us these facial expressions. And there Bill would sit, like the adult supervising children. He'd let them run out of breath. Then he'd say, "No, no, no. You're obviously confused. Let me explain how this really works..." and he'd go into this very monotonous technical explanation of nine ways they were wrong. And Michael and Anne would be over there just heaving with big sighs of exasperation and rolling their eyes and making all their other nonverbal expressions. I wish we had a videotape of one of those classes we could show at the reunion. Or post on here.
Jitterbug The coats were definitely hanging in the basement if you had homeroom in one of the basement rooms. I distinctly remember leaving notes to certain people in their coat pockets. But I don't remember where the students with homerooms on the first or second floors hung their coats.
BobbySox The thing I remember about Mr. Brown's Biology class was the unit on heredity and genetics. I don't remember a thing about birds, frogs or fish, but I remember like it was yesterday when we talked about inheritance. Remember we checked everybody for those odd little things. Some of us had earlobes which dropped straight down, and some had earlobes with little notches. Some of us had a first finger which was the longest and some had a longer second finger. Some of us could roll our tongues and others couldn't. Some of the guys had hairy ears and others were smooth. And we had to make a chart showing which of our parents and grandparents had the same characteristics we did.
Bebop I hadn't thought about that forever, but now that you mention it, I do remember. What I remember distinctly is the tongue roll. I was one of those who could not roll mine. We had a lot of fun laughing at each other during that unit. We kept wanting Mr. Brown to let us check out each other's belly buttons for variations. Grace Ann kept saying we could chart innies and outies. But Mr. Brown wasn't having any of that. No belly buttons.
Hot Rod Oh God. That brings back one of my all time favorite memories of high school. That was the unit where Nick, Tom and Shirley got into their dialogue about watermelon stealing. Remember after we did the unit about inherited characteristics we talked about inherited vs. acquired characteristics. So then Mr. Brown held this discussion about which of our characteristics were inherited vs. which were acquired. So then Nick raised his hand and says, "Like how Blacks (we didn't say Blacks back then but I'll use the current word) can run faster and jump higher." Remember Nick, Tom, Ange, Ronnie and Jesse used to sit way back along those big wood cabinets with the glass windows where you could look in and see the jars of preserved cow eyes, cat brains, a small octopus and other wierd stuff, which Brown would bring out and show us to illustrate some point he was making. They usually just sat back there and slept or looked out the window. Mr. Brown shoud have known better, but he would have occasional failures of instinct. So instead of brushing Nick off with a quick "Yes, I suppose," and moving on to David, Bill or Jim, he made the fatal error of asking Nick what he meant. Well, about once or twice a month, Nick would drag out that watermelon stealing routine of his and fit it into some conversation or another. So Nick says, "Well, those are acquired characteristics. As soon as Black males are old enough to walk, they start training them to steal watermelons. They start off having them carry bowling balls around the house and jumping over the couch with them. Then pretty soon they work up to jumping over fences and running with actual watermelons. By the time they get about 10 years old, from all that fence jumping and running, they're just better at it. So we call these acquired characteristics." Well, you remember Shirley was the dearest, sweetest girl in the whole class. And she's sitting right in front of Nick and while he's still going through this explanation she gets this look on her face like her dog just died and wheels around and starts protesting and trying to slap at Nick to shut him up. And Tom is sitting right next to him and first he rolls his eyes, then he buries his face in his hands, and then he straightens up and puts on his real serious face. Now, remember, Tom was one of the funniest guys in our class. But he had this real dry sense of humor. He'd never laugh or even smile. He would appear to be totally agreeing with you and it wasn't til later you figured out he'd been making fun of you the whole time by just drawing you out. So Mr. Brown tries to expose how absurd this is by letting Tom and Shirley corredt Nick. So first he calls on Shirley, who goes into this rant and probably says more words at one time than at any other time the whole time we were in school with her, about how her grandmother had told her there were people who still believed things like that but Shirley never believed her until now and Mr. Brown should make Nick wash his mouth out with soap. And then she turned back around and looked right at Nick and waved her finger in his face and said "'re prejudiced!!!" And then Tom starts. He motions for Shirley to calm down and turn around. He turns to Nick and asks him how he found this out, since it was supposed to be a secret and nobody was ever supposed to let any white folk know about it. And Nick tells about how nobody told him, he figured it out all by himself. So Tom nods real serious like, and says Well now that Nick knows, they might as well bring him on into the secret and let him learn all the tricks and then, of course, in the process, after a good season of watermelon stealing, Nick would be able to run just as fast and jump just as high as he, Tom. So Tom suggests Nick start hanging out with Tom and the guys from down below the tracks. They could teach him the fundamentals and then at midnight take him over to a few good gardens and five him a good knife and he could go in, cut the watermelon, jump the fence with it and run off with it. And Tom and the guys they'll watch and sort of critique Nick on style and speed and technique, coaching him so to speak, until they get him up to their high standards. He'd probably have to steal about 30 or 40 watermelons out of various gardens until he got good at it, but Tom thought he had potential, and they'd be willing to give him time to develop. And Tom is saying all this with a straight face and is so serious and looking straight at Nick. And Shirley is sitting one row in front of Tom and she can't believe it. She was expecting Tom to back her up and accuse Nick or being a racist and here Tom is apparently agreeing with Nick and continuing with all this foolishness, and the look on Shirley's face while Tom rambles on is just as funny as what Tom's saying.

Oh, I rememberr that. I'd pay $100 for a videotape of that whole class hour. Nick and Tom could have worked that up as a comedy routine and gone on TV. All this time, Ronnie and I are absolutely on the floor laughing but trying not to do it out loud so as not to interrupt Tom. I remember holding my stomach I was in pain from laughing so hard. But meanwhile, Shirley is up there having a conversation with herself and anybody else who would listen. She's babbling on about how people actually believe this nonsense and this is the problem with the world and some people just need to be taken out and beat. And Mr. Brown is up in front of the room trying to break in and change the subject. He's up there going "Yes, well, uh...ok, that's enough...ah...pardon me but we need to..." and nobody's paying attention.

There were so many comical parts of that scene I don't know what was funniest. We hadn't heard Shirley say 10 words all year and here she was going off on a Lucy style rant. Mr. Brown knew he had to somehow stuff this back in the bottle and didn't know how. I was practically suffering a heart attack from bottling up my laughing. And here's Tom like he was laying out a business arrangement.

Why in the world didn't we record some of this stuff at the time?

Saddleshoes I missed that. I wasn't in that section. You had to be in the right place at the right time to catch a lot of this stuff.
Blondie If anybody said anything like that today they'd be suspended. They can't even teach Huckleberry Finn anymore because some Black might be offended by the character Jim. Nick was just joking but you can't joke anymore.
Natalie There were a lot of things said, though. It's a wonder we didn't have a lot of fights.
Dago I'll tell you what the difference was. We liked other other. We all knew we were teasing. Tom or Shirley or anybody else knew that if they got in serious trouble they could call Nick or any of us at 3 a.m. on a cold snowy icy February night and we would have gotten out of bed and shovelled our way out of the driveway and gone down and helped however we needed to. We were lucky when we were in high school that we didn't have any floods, fires, tornadoes, big train wrecks or any other disasters. But if we would have, one phone call from anybody and we would have all been there for any one of us. I think everybody knew that in sort of an unspoken way. We used to aggravate Lucy all the time but she knew we were on her side if things ever got serious. Today, in these big high schools, I don't think kids feel that way. They're not interconnected. We were a big 100 member family. Kids today don't feel like their classmates are family.
Crewcut One reason for that was we grew up together from Kindergarten. It takes a long time to develop deep, rich, solid relationships. We played together from the time we were five years old. We rode big scary rides at Kennywood holding onto each other. We learned to dance together, helping each other figure out the box step and the jitterbug. We were in Scouts together. We went to horror movies together. We helped each other pull our sleds back up the hill on cold January nights sledriding. We helped each other on projects and whichever class one of us was good in we helped the others on homework and studying for tests. We rode the bus together on those long field trips. So by the time we got to high school we had had an awful lot of shared experiences. We'd made fools of ourselves together, suffered really heartbreaking disappointments together, celebrated big successes together, and learned each others' strengths and weaknesses together. We'd all been playing ball with Tom for 10 years --- 10 years, Geez --- before we got to high school. He knew none of us were racists and we knew he wasn't one. We all knew Shirley was sweet, pretty, smart and classy and she knew we felt that way. And the other thing was, we could tease each other all week long but By God nobody else better ever say or do anything or we'd all come immediately to their defense. Nobody from McKees Rocks, Moon or Crafton could make any remarks about Tom or Shirley or anybody else.
Lugnut There was something else, too. The guys who did all the teasing only teased certain people that they knew ahead of time knew how to take it. Most of the teasing was from one ball player to another. We knew each other from all those years of playing and practicing together. And when somebody teased somebody else, it was carefully targeted. We teased Lucy all the time because she enjoyed it. We could tease Grace Ann or Janet or Kitty Lou because we knew they were quite capable of retaliating. Nobody aggravated the real shy girls or the touchy guys. In that Biology class, Nick wasn't targeting Shirley. He was targeting Tom. Shirley just happened to overhear. Even David. Nick used to tease him relentlessly. But Nick knew David would retaliate in lots of very clever ways, and watching David nail Nick in some clever way was part of the show. I recall one time on a test Nick whispered for David to whisper to him some answers. So David whispered him some answers. A few days later we got our tests back. David got his usual 100 and Nick got a 0. How Can This Be, Nick demanded. So they checked his answers. They were all wrong. Nick confronted David. How come you gave me your answers and on your paper they were right? David said Oh, I didn't give you the same answers I wrote on my paper. You just said give you some answers. So I did. You didn't say anything about giving you the right answers. Another time over in American History, Nick wanted some answers so David whispered him some. Again, Nick failed the test and confronted David. David just shook his head. Do You Not Know Mr. Letteri hands out different tests so we can't copy off the people sitting next to us, he asked Nick.
Jitterbug I don't know how you remember all this. I sure missed a lot. Great, great stories. I can perfectly visualize every person in the stories as they were then. Dago --- I certainly agree with you. I don't remember anyone in school I did not like or who I felt did not like me. What a great way to navigate the horrors of adolescence except I don't think most of us felt that there were any horrors.
Grits This is a great website! Thank you Marge. This typing reminds me of Miss P's typing class. Bobby C ("Snaps") sat on my left and during a timed test would reach over and whap my keyboard and all the keys would be stuck upright. Will miss seeing he and Paul at the reunion and especially Lynette. According to my sister (class of '56) there was a snack shop next to the high school called The Blue Devil. She also remembered when they would freeze over the tennis courts behind the Y for ice skating. I remember going to the Duck Pond out by the airport.
Jitterbug Yikes. What happened to Lynette? I must have missed that.
Ponytail Sadly, she was the first of our classmates that we lost. It really hit a lot of us hard, and it's been quite a while ago. I still miss her.
Jitterbug I'm so sorry to hear that. I didn't know.
Crewcut Agreed. We had a lot of really attractive girls in our class but a lot of the guys thought Lynette was the best of a great group. I think everybody would agree she was one of the top four or five just in beauty. Not to mention she was smart, classy and sweet. Not having her at reunions is a real loss.
Lugnut I think for a lot of guys in our class Lynette was the fantasy girl of their childhood. From grade school on, a lot of us thought she was just special. Some of us guys got to go out with her, but even the ones who never did still carried a little crush on her all the way through. I think that was especially true for the guys who got to go to grade school with her. We had an incredible number of really attractive really nice girls for a class of only 100 students, but somehow Lynette was always over there in a separate category. There were all those other girls, and then there was Lynette. I think a lot of us thought it was just unreal when we heard he had died. It was like an injustice or something.

The interesting thing was all the other really gorgeous girls in our class all established their identity at something. They were athletes, cheerleaders, dancers, honor students, class officers, something. But Lynette was just Lynette. That was all she did and we were happy to have her. I honestly thought she would end up being a movie star. If she hadn't gone to Hollywood on her own, I figured some talent scout would have picked her out of a crowd somewhere and talked her into it.

Grits I was very fortunate Lynette was the first girl I ever asked out. We went to a movie but being naive and shy I asked her to meet me there. No problem. She was there and we saw the movie (Unchained Melody) but on the way home she said her brother Dick would appreciate it if I would pick her up at the house the next time. She was so nice about it.
Natalie What grade would that have been?
Grits 7th or 8th cannot remember for sure.
Natalie That was one of the really cool things about growing up in Coraopolis. Long before we could drive, we could have real "dates" and walk to the movies, to the dances, to Isaly's, or whatever. If we'd lived on Neville, in Moon or Robinson or anywhere around the area, we could not have done that. No telling how many early romances blossomed which somewhere else would not have been possible.
Grits Was really impressed with the accomplishments of Jimmy. It's neat to google the Carnegie Mellon and yachting websites to see how well thought of he is. Also was impressed with Bill P. receiving his degree in Forestry from Vermont and now superintendent of Tongass National Forest in Alaska. Met Bill N. after the 40th reunion He's bcon his way back to California dressed in his warmup suit to play tennis. He's become a real athlete. Danny O and all that he has done. It's great to be a member of this class.

I certainly agree with Grits. It would be interesting to compare the achievements of our class with the achievements of all other Coraopolis classes combined. We may very well have been the greatest single class in school history.

But I want to talk about something else. Does anybody else remember the Monday after we finished the football season unbeaten and won the championship and we had asked Mr. Johnson and Dr. Davies if we won that last game to give us half a day off and they refused so all the seniors took the afternoon off anyway? We piled into everyone's cars and drove all around town honking our horns and shouting out the windows and waving shakers and flags. I seem to remember a lot of us got in trouble for it at home so Johnson and Davies must have phoned all our parents. But I don't remember what they did to us at school for punishment. We sure had a good time, though.

Ponytail Not only in town. A lot of us made it a point to circle past the high schools we beat : Moon, Montour, Quaker Valley, West Allegheny, etc. It was sort of a party on wheels. We were lucky no cars had any accidents.
Duckpin I remember that. I also remember that four months later, when we won the basketball championship, they gave us an afternoon off and hosted a celebration in the gym.
BobbySox I remember my Mom was mad at both me and the administration. She called Mr. Johnson and fussed at him for not giving us a celebration at the school so we would not be out driving all around the area. He told her they never dreamed we would actually do what we did. My Mom told him he should have known we were a tight knit class with lots of leadership and enthusiasm and organizational skill, especially when we had representatives approach him a week ahead of time and specifically ask for some sort of half day celebration. She was still mad at me for giving into peer pressure and leaving school but from that day on she thought he was an idiot.
Jitterbug We were a gutsy group and stuck together. I agree, as a group of students we may have been a very unique group. I think it is amazing that 50 years later we all have so many fond memories. I can't think of any other of my contemporaries who are able to do the same. And certainly not younger people. For them, competitions and divisions have only become worse over the years. We were very lucky.
Hot Rod That incident really highlighted two things. First, it showed how Johnson and Davies were so condescending. I always felt they talked down to us. They made the decisions, they gave the orders, and we obeyed. What was worse was that when we really were kids, Mr. Snell treated us like adults. He asked us what we thought and talked to us like equals. Then, when we were 17 and 18, and were less than a year from college or the military or the business world, Johnson and Davies treated us like we were grade school kids. The other thing it showed was that we were outgrowing high school. We were capable of making our own decisions even knowing there would be consequences. I remember kids saying Well, they'll do something to us tomorrow if we do, and thinking about it for a few minutes, then saying, Well, what can they do, keep us after school? Let's go.
Saddleshoes I agree. Mr. Houtz was like our grandfather. He had that white hair and always dressed so formally and looked like he should have been President or something, and then he'd drop down on one knee and talk to us at our own eye level. I know he also went over to Lincoln and McKinley and with all those kids he couldn't possibly have remembered us all individually, but he made you think he knew you personally and was interested in your specific situation. Then Mr. Snell was like our uncle. He could listen to your opinion and sometimes even smile or say something funny. You felt like he knew you. He always called us by our first names. How could he remember all our names? I don't know, but he did. It seemed like you mattered. Then we got to high school. I never thought either Johnson or Davies knew my name, and most of the time when we passed them in the hall they didn't even speak. I know for a fact that Mrs. Donaldson and Dr. Rogers had several huge arguments with them when they wanted something for their classes and the administrators wouldn't approve it.
Grits Another memory from the past! Before we went on the 9th grade trip to Harrisburg, Miss "Edduy-cut" gave us a lesson in table manners. When you were finished eating put your knife, fork and spon together on your plate so the waiter would know. One night when we were out to dinner my wife asked why I always did that. I told her I was taught that in junior high. She had gone to school elsewhere and never knew that. We learned "big things" in our small school.
White Bucks I had forgotten all about that but now that you mention it, I do remember. The girls might have learned all that in Home Ec, but since us guys didn't take Home Ec, that might have been our major education in Etiquette. I still use some of what we learned.
Bebop One of my funny memories of that trip was that Danny had somehow gotten it into his head that he was going to create his own comic book, so he'd gotten this huge cartoonists pad with the little frames already printed on the page. So all the way across the state of Pennsylvania he sat there drawing frame after frame of this cartoon adventure. As we got on and off the bus each stop, we'd all check on the progress of the cartoon. We'd ask him what was going to happen next and he'd say he didn't know, he was just the artist, the characters were the ones having the adventure and he was just doing what they told him. He was as much of a trip as the one we were on.
Ponytail I seem to remember we were all well behaved on the whole (except for staying up late in the hotel rooms), but once we got on the buses for the long drive home, it was like the adults were exhausted so they sort of relaxed in the front seats of the buses and things got a little wild in the back. That was when Jesse threw the pickle out rhe window and got us pulled over by the state trooper and the girls started flirting with all the boys, especially in the tunnels.
Jitterbug Yep, I remember that trip very well. It was a little racy on the way back. It was a long time before I could stand the smell of chocolate after the Hershey tour. I'm glad to say I've gotten over that.
Duckpin I remember there were quite a few kisses in those tunnels. Most but not all were between willing parties. I distinctly recall one very loud slap you could hear all over the bus. Ronnie had leaned over and kissed Carol in the dark and she had rewarded him with one very powerful slap. He told us later it had been a pretty good kiss and well worth the slap and he would have gladly traded a few more slaps for a few more kisses.
BobbySox It just occurred to me that for all the travelling I've done as an adult, I've never been back to Harrisburg or Hershey. Might be a good time for a return trip. Sort of nostalgic. If the school hadn't taken us, I would never have seen how they make chocolate or where the state legislature meets.
Blondie It was funny how much fun we could have doing basically nothing. I remember what a great time we had at that rest stop along the turnpike. It was just a Howard Johnson's restaurant with a gift shop, but we all crowded in, ordered milkshakes and sat around for a while drinking them, then browsed in the gift shop for a final souvenir of the trip, then walked around the parking lot. I have a photo of all of us lined up just outside the bus. I need to send it to Corey. It was like we knew it was our last stop, the next time we stopped would be back in Coraopolis, and we didn't want the trip to end, so we were trying to milk every last drop out of the experience.
Lugnut It's also funny what details stick in your memory. I hadn't thought about that trip for 50 years, but now that I think about it, my most vivid impression is of those huge stainless steel vats in the Hershey factory with the liquid chocolate swirling around in them. In my whole life I've never seen anything like that anywhere else. And, like Jitterbug says, I can still smell that chocolate smell that was everywhere in the factory, the town and the park. I sure wish I had taken a lot of pictures back in those days. Remember all the streetlights in Hershey were like those Hershey tinfoil wrapped kisses?
Hot Rod That's what we should do for next year's reunion. Rent two Greyhound buses and reenact the Hershey trip. After we go through the factory we can spend the afternoon at the park. Dago and Bebop can ride the roller coasters just like old times.
Bebop Bebop's roller coaster riding days are long gone.
Hot Rod Aw, c'mon. It'll get your blood pumping. Put some excitement back in your life.
Bebop Give me a heart attack.
Saddleshoes Roller coasters. God. I remember the first time I let Lynette talk me into riding the Pippin up at Kennywood. I knew I was in trouble halfway down the first hill but it was too late to get off. I just closed my eyes and hung on for dear life. I kept telling God if he'd please let me live I'd never do this again. Lynette was over there with her hands over her head screaming and asking me Isn't This Great isn't this the most fun you've ever had and I couldn't get enough breath to say anything. And they lie. They say the ride only lasts about two minutes but I know we were on there about half an hour. And almost all of it was straight down. When we finally got back to the station Lynette had to help me peel my fingers off the handlebar. I had to stagger over to the nearest bench and lay down for about 10 minutes. I swore never again. And then, you want to know how incredibly dumb I was, the very next year I let Paul talk me into riding it with him. And I still kept my eyes closed through the whole thing and Paul was as bad as Lnette he kept putting his hands above his head and here I was holding on with both hands and scared to death. That was why we only went to Kennywood once a year. It took us a whole year to get over it. Then the next year we were so dumb we'd let our selves get talked into those same rides all over again.
Ponytail I was fine with the rolley coasters and the flying rides like the Rockets and Flying Scooters. What messed me up were the rides that spun you in tight little circles. The Octopus and TiltaWhirl. I never did get to where I could ride them without having to lay down for a while, and I had to make sure I hadn't eaten anything for half an hour or so before I rode them or I'd get sick. I think my favorites were the fun houses. We'd go in there and scream our heads off.
BobbySox I have fond memories of The Old Mill. That was the first place I was ever kissed.
Blondie I liked Noah's Ark. When I went back with my grandkids they'd changed it and taken out a lot of the old stuff, but they used to have that big barrel you had to walk through while it spun around. I remember Elaine got down in there and she about never got out. It kept spinning her around and around and she was trying to stand up or crawl out and it would keep taking her up the side and then she's fall back down and she was asking us to help and we were all laughing so hard we couldn't do anything. Finally a couple of the guys coming along behind us pushed her on out. And there was that place where the whole floor was spinning around and you had to try and walk across it and people would be falling down all around you and once you fell, it was hard to stand up, so you just kept going around and around until you finally crawled over to the edge.
Dago When we were in grade school we used to stand down there along the fence by the Flying Scooters and watch the girls walking along the deck of Noah's Ark where they had those air jets blowing up from the grates in the floor. It would blow their skirts way up above their heads. When we were in about third grade it was very educational.
Bebop Delinquents. I went to school with delinquents.
Dago Oh, lighten up. You know you loved it. If you hadn't wanted anyone to see your patootie you would have worn pants, or else just not gone through Noah's Ark. Anyway, seeing your pink panties wasn't any worse than seeing you in a swimsuit.
Crewcut Definitely the rolley coasters. I used to love the Jackrabbit with that dip in the middle of the third drop that always lifred you out of your seat. If you sat in the last seat it would almost throw you out of the car. I can remember taking girls on there and having to help hold them in.
Natalie I liked the Racers. We'd get a whole gang to ride together and get in separate trains and slap hands coming around the bends. Whoever was in the lead train would hoot and make fun of the slower train. Then when they passed us they'd do the same. As we went around the course, each train would pass the other, then fall back, then go ahead, so we all had plenty of chances to hoot and make fun, and then boo and hiss. Sometimes we'd just keep getting back in line and riding it over and over.
Bebop I thought the Scooters were the best. We'd get a bunch of us on there and just bump and bang our way around for the whole time. One time when the ride started Paul got in a car right in the corner. So we all motioned to each other and as soon as they turned the power on, we all turned our cars heading straight into his and had this huge traffic pileup wedging him in the corner. He kept trying to push us out and of course we were jammed in three or four deep and he couldn't. He kept getting madder and madder and saying You're Missing The Whole Ride. And we were just laughing hysterically and the more we laughed the madder we got. Then the ride was over and he hadn't moved an inch. So he told the ride operator he ought to get his ticket back because he never was able to actually do any riding. And the attendant told him we were his friends, so maybe we would give him one of our tickets. Paul just stomped off. We laughed about that all Summer. Every time we saw Paul we'd ask him if he was still stuck in the corner.
Dago My favorite was the Pippin. Straight down over the cliff. I loved it. One year Bobby and I rode it together maybe 10 times in a row. The best seats were either the very front or the very back. In the front you had the best view of the straight down drops, but the back seat got whipped around a little. Some of the girls would try to keep their eyes closed but that wasn't smart. It made it a lot worse. You had to keep your eyes open so you could see which way to lean and anticipate what was coming or you'd get knocked around.
Lugnut I agree. To be a real man, you had to ride the Pippin. Then, a year or so later, you had to ride the Pippin with your hands over your head, meaning no hanging on. Those were the tests.
Bebop You guys sure had a lot of tests. You had to play football, you had to ride rolley coasters. What else did you have to do?
Dago You had to aggravate Lucy. That took courage because she could beat guys up.
Bebop It never stops. Delinquents.
Jitterbug But doncha just love 'em?
Grits Was thinking about the time we had for lunch since we had no cafeteria. Sometimes we would go to Laverns. Don's Mom owned that. At one time we took turns at each others' homes once a week. The Key Club guys were saved on Tuesdays as we brought our sandwich etc. in a bag then got a quart of chocolate milk from Kaler's to go with it (great for cholesterol).
White Bucks I guess you could say lunchtime was really our extracurricular time. Not only Key Club but all of our activities : Newspaper, GAA, Chess Club, Student Council, Band, almost all the major clubs and activities held their meetings or practices one day a week at lunch.
Crewcut Remember during football season every Thursday the Football Mothers Club held their Spaghetti Luncheon at the Y and we all walked down for that. They raised a huge amount of money. All the businessmen and their secretaries and employees came to the Spaghetti Luncheon during September, October and November. Remember they had a special line for us students since we had to get in there, get our food, eat, and get back to school.
Lugnut It's hard to believe we actually had an hour and a half for lunch. All my life, whenever I talk to friends or relatives about school, they can't believe we had that long. No one else ever had 90 minutes for lunch. Most of them had 30 minutes. I've talked to a few who swear they had 20 minutes. If you lived within a few blocks of school you had time to go home, eat, then take a nap or play basketball or do your homework for your afternoon classes. Unbelievable. Another way we were all really lucky.
Dago Good Lord. I just spent the weekend at a soccer tournament with my grandkids. What a ridiculous sport. Final proof that Cory was a really good school was that they had enough sense not to bother with a soccer program. I suppose I'd rather my grandkids be out there running around than inside watching TV or playing Nintendo. But I'd a whole lot rather they be playing a legitimate sport.
Lugnut I agree. I have a theory. I think the same people who finagled soccer into the schools are also the people who believe no student should receive an F and every cheerleader should make the tryouts, meaning we have 30 cheerleaders now at a typical game. Quality has no meaning for those people. So now they have this activity where you don't have to have any skill at all. Everybody just goes out there and runs around for an hour, every once in a while kicking the ball. Yes, I know, at the Olympic level, there are some good athletes from Peru or West Boogaloo or somewhere. But in America, all the good athletes are playing team sports like football, basketball or baseball or individual sports like swimming, track, field or golf. It's only the leftovers who play soccer. It's a complete waste of time.
Saddleshoes Don't be silly. It gives them something to do. Keeps them out of trouble. It's good exercise. With these big high schools, everybody can't be a football player or cheerleader. There's only so many spots. Why not offer something for the other kids?
Hot Rod Sure. Offer them something. We should offer cross country, swimming, tennis, golf, softball, volleyball, track, field, archery, rifle, or bowling. Heck, set up a bicycling team. Anything but soccer. Dago and Lugnut are right. It's a fake sport. And the kids know it.
Dago While we're on the subject of high school sports, I went to my usual Friday night football game this week. I watched two highly rated teams play, both undefeated coming in. They looked well coached and ran their plays smoothly, the quarterbacks threw some good passes, the receivers ran good routes and had good hands. It all looked good. Except. Geez, these kids are little. It was like I was watching two reallty good JV teams. Whatever happened to all those big, broad shouldered, thick necked, thick thighed well muscled Italian kids? Some of these kids were so thin I was afraid they were going to be busted up. And these are big high schools. I'm not just saying we at Coraopolis had bigger players. I'm saying EVERY school had bigger players. These teams absolutely could not have competed back in that Big Ten Conference we were in. If I'm a college scout these days, I'm not seeing anybody I think I can recruit. They'd all be killed.
Ponytail Well, obviously, somebody's producing those players. There's a lot of colleges on TV every weekend. I have to go out back and work in the garden to get away from football.
Lugnut The difference is when we played western Pennsylvania was the number one source of football players in the country. Every college was in here recruiting. Miami, Arizona State, Harvard, Mississippi, Duke, Alabama, Tennessee, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt, Army, Navy, ALL of them. That's just not true anymore. We don't have the population. Look at Coraopolis. We had 103 in our class. Now Cory and Neville have merged and together they only have a little over 100. McKees Rocks and Stowe were big schools. Now they've merged and a few years ago they had to forfeit a few games because they didn't have enough players. NONE of these schools have the students they used to. So with so few kids to pick from, coaches can't find those big kids anymore. And all the colleges are recruiting down in Florida, Geoergia, South Carolina and Texas. That's where the population is now. That's where the big kids are. Back in our day, EVERY YEAR Cory players went on to Pitt, Penn State, Maryland, Duke, Air Force Academy, Army, Navy, Notre Dame and so on. Now, Cory players go on to Clarion, Slippery Rock, Waynesburg, W & J, Carnegie Mellon, Indiana (Pa.), California (Pa;), Edinboro, Marietta, Muskingum. They're just not Division I size.
Crewcut You can tell by the crowds. We had big stadiums and we filled them. Now teams don't have near the crowds we used to. A lot of schools have newer stadiums and they're way SMALLER and they still don't fill them. Moon has had some top ranked teams in recent years, and they just did not draw many fans. West Allegheny won the state championship a few years ago and I went to a few games. They didn't have big crowds. When Stowe or Rox used to play, you had to park a mile away and then hope to get a spot standing in the end zone. Now the schools are merged, the stadium is smaller, they were undefeated, and I went and sat on the 50. We just don't have the people. And a lot of the people we do have are older, their kids long ago grew up and left home, and they don't want to sit outside on bleachers on cold Fall nights.
White Bucks Yeh, I've thought for a long time high schools should install chairback seats in both their stadiums and gyms so they could draw older fans. Back in our day people went to games. It was just part of the culture. But now, football fans can sit home and watch a good game on TV. So if you want to get them out of their living room, you need to offer comfortable seats.
Blondie You guys just need to let it go and join Ponytail and me out in the garden. It's time to put in the Fall garden. I spent all weekend out there in this beautiful weather. I planted Beets, Kale, Turnip Greens, Carrots, Spinachm, Onions, Radishes, Lettuce, Broccoli, Brussell Sprouts and Potatoes. And, of course, we're still getting Peppers, Tomatoes, Watermelons, Cantaloupes, Zucchini and Beans from the Summer Garden.
Natalie Garden?? That's not a garden. That's a farm! Are you planning to feed the whole town?
Bebop Now, see, that's a good test. A person isn't cool until they prove they can raise a nice garden. That's a lot better test than playing football or riding rolley coasters.
Dago Hey! I have news for you. I have a fine garden. And I raise the best watermelon in the area. I quit raising the really big ones and now I juat raise those little basketball size ones, but they're really sweet.
Bebop Oh, Boy! Girls, we have to get together. A bunch of us out there at midnight stealing Watermelon out of Dago's garden. We have GOT to do this.
Dago Big News. I have this shotgun. I might have to fill it with chopped up pennies. These are beautiful nights, and I could imagine myself sitting out there on the porch just keeping my eye on my garden, enjoying the cool breezes. I wonder how fast Bebop can jump over a fence?
Bebop You don't scare us. You can't see from your porch to your garden.
Lugnut I'm sitting here on my front porch right now, not with a shotgun, or guarding my garden, but reading the paper, and I got to thinking back to the good old days. Do you remember the time Lucy started getting mail from the Future Fussbutts of America?
Bebop Alright Now. How come it is everybody seems to have all these funny Lucy stories? How come nobody ever has any funny Dago stories? Or funny Jim stories? Or funny Marianne stories? Or funny Nick stories? Or funny Carol stories? It's always Lucy.
Blondie Oh, God, I remember that. That had to be one of the all time great snow jobs.
Natalie I don't have a clue what you're talking about.

It was senior year. Everybody was getting mail from colleges and various honor societies and everything. Most of it came to homes but some of it would come to school. They'd get the mail in the afternoon and Vivian Spangler would send one of her office aids around with the mail. Lucy had yearbook last hour. So she's sitting in Mrs. Donaldson's room working on some year book page and this envelope comes to her. She opens it up and there's this letter inside which congratulates her on being nominated for membership in the Future Fussbutts of America. Well, of course, Lucy is pretty suspicious. It sounds like some sort of prank. So she looks over at Bill and Danny and Louie, but they're busy and not paying any attention. This letter comes on this official looking stationary in an official looking envelope with a New York City address and a New York City postmark. So she goes over to Bill, Louie and Danny and demands to know if they know anything about this. They all look at it carefully and shrug their shoulders No, they don't, but it seems legitimate. Danny offers to go down with her and call Mrs. Tussey at the Library and have her look up this organization and see if it's real. So they go to the office and call Mrs. Tussey and she looks it up and sure enough, it's real and has its office in New York City. So Lucy just doesn't know what to think. Now, of course, Lucy was real bright about most things but sometimes she was also pretty gullible. She should never have let Danny actually make the phone call to Mrs. Tussey and simply relay the information to Lucy. Anne or Michael or Carol would have seen through that in a second. But a few weeks go by, and Lucy gets another letter telling her her nomination has been confirmed and her membership card and certificate will be mailed shortly. Well, Lucy is confused. This just has to be a scam, but nobody's laughing at her, and that New York postmark and address are hard to deny, and the stationary sure looks official. So another few weeks go by and she receives this beautiful certificate in the mail, professionally printed in several colors, embossed in nice letters, stating that she is indeed a member of the Future Fussbutts of America. And there's a credit card sized membership card to go with it. Everybody in the yearbook class admires her nice certificate --- it's even nicer than the National Honor Society certificates --- and congratulates her.

Well, of course, the whole thing was a scam. Nick, Danny and Bill dreamed this up in the Library one day. Danny had been training down at the Record in how to use the printing equipment, so he had the envelopes and stationary printed up and spent a whole Sunday afternoon printing that one multicolor certificate and that membership card. Nick had a cousin in New York City and used their address and Nick would send the letters to them and they'd put them in the mail so it got a New York City postmark. The key to it was they had to keep quiet. They had to get their fun from watching Lucy asking everybody what the heck was going on. Nick usually couldn't hold a joke in very long, but he did a great job on this one. And they kept at it. They send her notices of possible college fussbutting scholarships and Hall of Fame selections and various other totally fake promotions. They never did tell her. Way at the end of Summer, Vince told us Lucy had framed the certificate and hung on it on a wall.

Bebop Really funny. Hysterical. Delinquents taking advantage of an innocent, defenseless teenager. Vince finally broke down and spilled the beans just before Lucy started college. She should have sued for Mail Fraud or Impersonation or something. Only twisted, evil minds would have come up with such a conspiracy.
Jitterbug Gardens? You have gardens? I just have friends who have gardens. Much easier. Dago, Lugnut --- How do you remember all this stuff? How in the Hell could you remember Mrs. Tussey's name?
Lugnut Jitterbug --- I assume you mean me, since I'm the one who told the Fussbutt story. As for Mrs. Tussey, how could any of us forget Mrs. Tussey? She was the Librarian from Kindergarten until we graduated. Didn't you ever go to the public library? Don't you remember she was always the one making us be quiet?
Ponytail What a devious bunch. Here we were, sweet lovable innocent trusting high school girls just looking for a guy to appreciate us and take good care of us. Instead we were surrounded by devious manipulators, constantly plotting ways to embarass, humiliate and abuse us. We need to go back in that time machine and beat the crap out of the whole bunch of you.
Dago I don't want to hear that. Lynette, Janet, Grace, Marianne, Honey, the whole bunch of you were professionals in the art of devious manipulation. We were just bungling amateurs trying to survive. From seventh grade on all of you were continually messing up our male minds. Here we were, struggling adolescent males trying to play a little football and basketball and pass our classes, and we were surrounded by conniving women trying to shatter what little confidence we managed to develop. And it would have been bad enough if all of you had been butt ugly. But No. Instead, we're surrounded by this whole population of gorgeous women. It's a wonder we didn't all grow up warped.
Bebop Oh, But You Did.
Crewcut How well I remember. Little 13 year old seductresses roaming the halls all day, spinning their webs just like Spiders, luring us in, weaving their magic spells. So we'd take three or four days and get up our nerve and finally ask her out. And then she'd kill us with a single word. No. Just like plunging in the dagger. She'd usually attach some other words to it, like No I'm going out of town, or No I'm grounded, or No I already have a date. We never heard any of the rest of it. Just the No. So we'd limp off into the darkness to nurse our wounds and try to salvage some shred of our ego so we could show up at school the next day.
Natalie Give Me A Break. More like the poor neglected unappreciated girl sitting home by her phone all week and it never rings. And all day long she exchanges glances with the guy and tries to talk to him as sweetly as possible, and walk way out of her way when changing classes just so she can walk alongside him in the hall, hoping maybe he'll ask her out. And nothing. So she's laying in bed at night wondering Does He Not See Me? Does He Not Like Me? Does He Have Another Girlfriend? What's The Matter With Me? Broken hearts and dreams littering the hallways and all the guys think about is football.
Jitterbug Oh, the devious games we played. I bet we all went down plenty of alleys on the way home from Friday Night Club. I went to the Library but I wasn't studying. LOL. Actually we all went to the Library hoping to meet someone to walk us home or walk home with. And I did the call and hang up thing if a mother answered. Of course girls were not supposed to call boys. It was always a hassle. As someone said back a ways, there was only one phone and it was on a little phone stand in the living room. I remember when we got our first extension phone. What a luxury. Naturally, it was in the parents' bedrooms. Also planned my routes around the school and around town looking to bump into someone special who was the boy/flavor of the day.
Blondie And I bet we've all done the five block walk out of our way just to walk past his house hoping he might be outside cutting grass or sitting on the porch or something and then we could say Oh Is This Where You Live?
Saddleshoes Don't forget the endless matchmaking. One of the girls trying to fix somebody up with somebody. We started with that in junior high ("Did you know so and so likes you?") and continued it right on through high school.
Dago Oh boy I remember that. This girl would slink up next to us and put on hr whispery voice and say I Know This Reeeaaaalll Sweet Girl Who Is Sooooo Cuuuuute And Would Reaaaallly Like To Go To The Dance With You If You Would Ooooooonly Ask Her. And it was like the kiss of death. Every single time we let ourselves get sucked into this nightmare, it turned out to be her cousin visiting from Monessen or Aliquippa or the hills of West Virginia who was Dog Butt Ugly and dumb as a rock and had a voice that would freeze beer a block away and spent the whole evening talking about Elvis. By high school we learned to run the other way every time someone whispered the fatal phrase "I Know This Girl." As a matter of fact, we even got to recognize the slinky approach and whispery voice. The only time they ever put that act on was when the Dog Butt Ugly Girl was lurking in the shadows somewhere. Run, Boy Run!!
Ponytail Oh, don't be silly. Most of the time we were trying to fix you up with one of our own classmates. You guys were so clueless. You all assumed that just because a girl was attractive and intelligent and sweet that 30 guys were tying up her phone every Monday night trying to get a date with her for that Friday and Saturday. The problem was ALL of you assumed all the other guys were calling her, so in fact NO guy was calling her and by Wednesday it was obvious she was going to be either sitting home alone Friday night or, the ultimate embarassment, going to the dance alone. So we all tried to let a few of you clueless ones in on the big secret. Hey, Dummy, She's Still Available!!
BobbySox And you never realized how much time we spent on our front porches, at lunch, walking to and from school, and on the phone at night carefully analyzing all you guys and figuring out which girl in town you really ought to be going out with. We had YOUR best interests at heart. There were some girls and some guys who went through high school without much of a social life and they SHOULD have been going out with each other and having a great time. We tried.
Saddleshoes Yes, and while we're on the subject, you know the thing that really frosted us was that some of you guys were so backward about asking one of us out that you would drop down and ask out one of the girls in the grades below us. As long as we had cute, sweet attractive girls in our class sitting home it was ridiculous, a crime almost, for you to be dating some little bird legged thing just because you felt more confident with her.
White Bucks As lovable as you all were, you didn't exactly have a monopoly on cute. There were some really nice girls in the grades just below us.
BobbySox Of course there were. And we loved them and wished them well. But there were boys in their grades. We had more than enough girls in your own grade to keep you busy.
Dago That's ridiculous. Where do you think we got the idea? Elaine, Janet, Marianne, Margaret, Lynette, some of the top girls in our class were going out with juniors and seniors when we were sophomores and juniors. Then all your boyfriends went off to college and you started looking aroind in our own class. But the reason we had started dating girls a grade or two below was that you were not available.
Natalie Hello? The reason we started going out with older guys in the first place was because you guys were wandering around lost in a fog instead of asking us out and we chose not to sit home on Friday and Saturday nights.
Lugnut I don't believe it. From seventh grade on, the top couple of dozen girls in our class had guys in our class lining up to ask them out. Their mothers were telling our mothers that they couldn't get on the phone at night because it was always tied up with all the guys calling their daughters.
Ponytail You are so confused. The reason the phones were all tied up at night was because all of us girls were calling each other asking where all the guys were. Has anyone called you yet? How about you? Well, where ARE they? Do they KNOW there's a dance this Friday? Like there is EVERY Friday?
Crewcut Not true. I'll just cite one example. There was one girl who had just moved to Cory as we started seventh grade. I asked her out several times that first semester. She said she wasn't allowed to date. By the time she was allowed to date, there were so many guys calling her I never could get through. Then we got into high school and and she was going out with one of my older team mates. So except for Lynette, she would have been the girl in town I would most have wanted to go out with, and I never did get the chance , and it wasn't for lack of trying. I always had other girls to go out with, but I've always regretted not getting together with this one we're talking about. And there were several other guys who had the same experience with various other girls in town. You were a lot busier than you're letting on.
BobbySox No. The problem was with your turnaround time. You tried to call a girl and got a busy signal, then you waited for three weeks before you tried again. Or you asked a girl out and she already had a date so you waited a month before asking her again. In between there, you could have gotten a date because she was available for one or two weekends but you were still getting back in the mood.
Natalie One reason we all know how missing in action you guys were is that we spent so many weekend nights together. We'd either get together at one of our houses, or we'd all go somewhere together like a movie. Do you REALLY think we would have preferred to spend Saturday night with each other if each of us could have been out doing something with one of you? But No, where were you? Down at the Y playing pool, at one of your houses playing Electric Football, or roaming around stealing watermelon or pumpkins out of somebody's garden.
Crewcut I seem to remember a few exciting Saturday nights when a bunch of us came looking for all of you at one of your slumber parties. It was too bad Mom was home, but we had the right idea.
Natalie But if you'd had the right idea Wednesday instead of waiting to get the idea after dark on Saturday, it would have been a lot better. That was another problem with lot of you guys. You were a little slow on the weekly schedule. Most of our mothers would not let us go out with a guy who waited until Thursday or, especially Friday, to ask us out. They said accepting last minute invitations like that made us look desperate. Of course the truth was we WERE desperate, but our mothers weren't about to let us broadcast that fact to the whole town.
Bebop Crewcut : The girl you were talking about was a cheerleader, wasn't she?
Crewcut Yes
Bebop Then you don't have anybody to blame but yourself. She was a friend of mine and I can assure you that during our senior year she was quite available. You just needed to get off your butt, dial the phone and ask her out.
Jitterbug I remember we spent a lot of time trying to find her a date. LOL.
Lugnut I'm about 99.9% sure I know who you're referring to and she didn't need anybody spending any time trying to find her a date. She could have gone out with any guy she wanted to between East Liverpool and Pittsburgh. She rode all over Allegheny County on the basketball bus with us for three years and everywhere we went there were guys on the other teams asking about her. As a matter of fact, all three of our senior cheerleaders were considered pretty hot by the guys everywhere we went. They could have dated anybody they wanted. All of us needed beat for not having the good sense to take advantage of the fact they were right there on our own bus all those hours and we weren't smooth enough to make a move. Except Stan.

Here's a trip down memory lane. Who sang these?

Misty, Three Coins in The Fountain, Chances Are, Bebop Baby, Rock Around The Clock, Love Me Tender, I'm Spinning, Yellow Rose of Texas, Rockin Pneumonia, Jim Dandy Got Married, Johnny Angel, Unchained Melody, Twilight Time, I Only Heve Eyes For You, Venus, Bo Diddley, Lonely Teenager, Jumpin Tonight, Tutti Fruiti, Rock n Roll Music, Sleepwalk, Tequila, La Bomba, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Sincerely, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Love Potion #9, Two People In The World, Let The Good Times Roll, Peggy Sue, Long Tall Sally, Only You, Diana, Sh-Boom, 60 Minute Man, Party Doll, Little Star, Little Darlin, To The Aisle, and Come Go With Me.

Dago Wow. What a walk down Memory Lane. My favorites off this list were Come Go With Me, Party Doll, Peggy Sue, Why Do Fools Fall In Love, Venus, Johnny Angel, Yellow Rose of Texas and Rock Around The Clock.
Saddleshoes I always liked the slow songs. I liked dancing to them. When I was listening to the radio or records, the rock n roll songs were great, but Friday or Saturday night at the dances, I preferred mostly the slow songs.
Jitterbug How about Louie Louie?
Ponytail Do you mean the song or our classmate we all preferred dancing with?
BobbySox That's for sure. If we'd had some sort of dancing competition, like they did on Saturday Night Fever, he and whoever his partner was would have won. He was our 1950s version of John Travolta.
Natalie Or Patrick Swayze. By our senior year, some of the other guys had begun catching up to him, so the distance wasn't quite as noticeable. But in Junior High there was no comparison. In seventh grade they were learning to do the box step and he was twirling us around the floor like somebody in a movie.
Bebop Six years of professional dance lessons can do that for you.
Blondie Watching him and Harriet dancing together was certainly a show.
Dago I'll have you know Lynette herself told me in eighth grade I was a good dancer, too. She said we could go a whole song and I wouldn't step on her feet more than twice. She called me Twinkletoes.
Bebop The music was loud and you didn't hear correctly. She said you were a Twinkie and to keep off her toes.
Saddleshoes We sure found out a lot about guys by dancing with them. Remember the guys with sweaty palms? And the ones who held you too tight? And the ones who held you at a distance like they were afraid of you?
Lugnut That worked two ways. Remember the girls with a big wad of chewing gum who smelled like Double Bubble? And the ones who never quit talking from the beginning of the song until the end?
Ponytail It was always interesting to see how much territory you'd cover. With some guys you'd dance in the same corner all song. Other guys would move you all the way around the floor and sometimes start on a second revolution.
Dago Then there were the girls who hung on you. Some girls were real light on their feet and they were in contact with you but just barely. Some girls would get real close sort of romantic like. But then there were the sacks of flour. They HUNG on you. You felt like you were carrying them around the floor, like maybe they'd gone to sleep or something. It was bizarre. And you couldn't say anything. What could you say : "Ah, honey, stand up, willya?"
Crewcut But then there was our one dearly beloved girl, and we all used to laugh about it when we got together later, she put her hands in our pockets. Some girls put their arms around our backs and some put them around our necks and some did the classic way with one hand out there in ours and the other around our waist. But then there was The One --- I know you guys remember who it was --- who would put both hands in our pockets. We were never sure what she was doing down there --- checking for loose change, seeing if she could borrow our handkerchief, trying to keep her hands warm, something more sinister that our 13-14 year old minds could hardly imagine, who knew?
Lugnut Good God I Remember That. I know she's been happily married for about 45 years. At the Reunion we ought to ask her man if she did that with him.
White Bucks Then there were the girls who would hum the song in your ear. They had every note to every song memorized. It was like an early version of stereo. You had the song playing in the distance coming in one ear and her hum coming in the other ear. You kept hoping maybe they would nibble on your earlobe or something but they never did. I guess they figured it would throw them off their rhythm.
Saddleshoes Another one of those little comedy routines involved the lights. Dave or George would slip over to that dial by the door back to the concession counter and real subtle like, over about two minutes, ease the lights down. That would last about one song. Then one of the mothers would come over from the counter and real subtle like over two minutes ease the lights back up. A couple of songs would go by and the concession would get busy. There would be Dave or George easing the lights back down. This would go on all night. The lights never got real dark or real bright. They just kept easing up and down in the middle of the range.
Even More Discussion