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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Where In The World Is Harry ------ Tampa - Fort Myers - Atlantic City - Philadelphia - Tamaqua - Centralia - Knoebels Grove - Baltimore - Morgantown WV - Washington

The Class of 1966 from Tamaqua - met us for lunch downtown. Bruce Everett - Barbara Neifert - me - Branda Hurting - Fred - Karen Eva hidden - Barbara Kunkel.

I wanted to go north for my sister Judy's 70th birthday. Lulu wanted to come along but she had several things in her schedule that could not be moved. So I had to stay silent for a while. 

Our trip started in Tampa - where we spent a night with Marylou and Carl. Then we drove to Fort Myers where Lulu was on secret business. From there I caught a plane to Atlantic City from Fort Myers - it was the only non-stop flight we could find that fit - it was Spirit Airlines. The seats were tight and you had to pay for all bags - but it was a nice Airbus 320 - you know the plane that blasted into the mountain last week in the Alps. 

In New Jersey - I convinced my high school valedictorian friend Fred DeStephanis to spent 48 hours in Tamaqua with me. He has not been back for a serious visit in 50 years - yikes. We drove to Betty's to stay there 2 nights. I think it is the first time she ever had a house alone with no kids or grandkids there. It was nice having 2 free bedrooms. 

I wanted to show Fred everything I could. So we went all over town - all over the Valley - and all over the Coal Regions. When our classmates heard we were coming they arranged a gathering at the Tamaqua Diner. It was so much fun seeing these folks - some we have not seen in 49 years. We found out that 30 of our 200 classmates have died. I expected more. 

After that we went to Knoebels Grove to look for a decent cottage to visit there this summer. 

We stopped to see Lori and her new home in Coaldale. It is very nice - all renovated. 

I was very sad dropping Fred off back at his home in Palmyra NJ. More on Fred later. 

I had ot sneak into Delaware where we were having a party for sister Judy. She was 70 on Tuesday. It was a surprise for her - and we did what everyone does. I love her and miss her. The worst part of living in Florida is not having old friends and family close. We wish they could come down more - and we could come up more. 

My next adventure was driving to Morgantown WV to visit a factory that builds several models of electric scooters. All day Tuesday they allowed me to sample the scooters to ride all over town and West Virginia campus to evaluate the bikes. The campus is on the side of a mountain - and the streets are very steep.

Last night I arrived at my son and daughter-in-law's house in Washington DC. They bought a beautiful house on Florida Avenue and both walk to work. The house has a separate apartment in the basement that they rent out. I have a nice guest room - and I love sitting here typing among all their Danish modern furniture and appointments. I'd show you the beautiful skylighted staircase and the 16 foot side glass doors in the living room overlooking the city - but I do not want to be put out :-)

Tomorrow - I fly home to my lovely Lulu. She booked everything for me. She would have come along but it would have meant one of her favorite students not graduating with her PhD. I am flying on FF points so I will go from Washington to New York City to Charlotte to Tallahassee. I have tons of pictures to post and story to tell.

Fred in front of his old home on Union Street

Fred went to Penn State and got a degree in petroleum engineering. He worked in New Orleans for a year. Then he enlisted in the Air Force and became an officer. He flew in tanker airplanes filling up the F-4 fighters over Vietnam. He stayed for 10 years in a regular and reserve capacity flying all over the world. He went to Rutgers for a law degree for 3 years - then worked for a big construction company. He helped build big projects like the Fort Myers Airport and the Chunnel - yeah the tube under the English Channel. He married Luan about 10 years ago and lives in New Jersey. He is retiring soon and may move to Thailand. 

The blue door house was Lulu's grandmother's house. they were neighbors to Fred.

That is Fred looking down into his old yard.

We had ice cream at Heislers. Lulu and I worked there.

Fred and I had cones.

I spent 33 years in that top middle classroom - if you count sabbaticals and sick days. 

The place has been empty now and it is falling apartment. It would probably take a quarter million just to tear it down.

It was a good job for the Coal Regions - steady work - no weekends - no holidays - summer off - no heavy lifting. 

Philip Ginder discovered coal here. The junior high I did my student teaching in was here to - until someone burned it down. 

We visited Marylou's place and the camper in her yard. 

Our old hot tub is at Marylou's - 25 years old and going strong.

St. Nicholas Breaker near Mahanoy City -was one time the biggest in the world. Simply you pour big chunks of coal in the top - it separates out the rock - and grades the coal in size. In the bottom it is dumped into train cars.

In Girardville is Black Jack Kehoe's Bar. This was a secret meeting place of the Molly Macguires - one of the first miners's unions. 

What many people do not know is that the bar/hotel was the former Saint Jerome's Church from Tamaqua. It was taken apart and carried here. Kehoe was eventually hanged for murder and buried back in Tamaqua at the Old Saint Jerome Cemetery. 

Ashland honors Mothers with a statue. 

Supposedly there is a plaque around with Roy Everhart's name on it. We could not find it. He died in WWII.

Carl Zimmerman drives these trains in the summer at Knoebels Grove.

This park is ranked in the Top 10 in the USA. Great rides. Fantastic food. No admission. Free parking. Cottages among the rides.

This is a large wooden coaster - moved here piece by piece form another park.

Cottages right among the rides.

This Knoebels coaster is new this year. It already hit someone - when it was testing. 

These swings are nuts. 

Flume ride

Rent a cottage - we might rent this one - sleeps 13.

More cottages

Office at Schuylkill Mall.

Schuylkill Mall is dying.. That was Sears. 

Book fair at mall.

For 25 years - I loved this Sears store.

I stayed in Lulu's old room for 2 nights.

Melanie and Ben's house across the street from Betty's - 2 of my favorite students.

Lulu's old home. She gave this up for me.

Betty and me. 

Speeders visiting the train station.

Fred - we met PAul Gimbel at the station for supper.

They seem cool until you realize you only can use them for parade on train tracks with permission.

This one broke down.

Dining room in train station.

Lori's new home in Coaldale. My former students lived here.

Renovating the bathroom.

The new Panther Valley Middle School - looks like a coal breaker. 

Note the cute keystones in the chairs on the PA Turnpike

Sister Judy and the birthday candles - the reason for my trip.

I will post the party names later.

I love my sister Judy - she is always so good to me. She supported all of my ideas and dreams.

I coveted one of Judy's horse collection - Robert E Lee on Traveler.

Judy' has a horse to this day - a real horse. 

Shooting the Gap at Cumberland crossing the Appalachians.

The grass was super green on the Vest Virginia campus.

All over cmapus WVU has this people mover - really great for a hilly campus.

One of my electric scooter in front of Old Main at WVU.

The Monongahela flows north form Morgantown to Pittsburgh.

This is me on the scooter I prefer. It goes 70 mph for 80 miles on a charge. 

Today Keith an dI are going to Lincoln's Summer Cottage in Washington. He spent 1/4 of his term there - during the war. It was 150 years ago today he died. 

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