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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Jim Fogarty and Paul Gimbel - A Visit With My Two High School And College Buddies

Two Tamaqua deejays spun a few tunes for me.
Note the custom mechanical jukebox.
Two Coal Cracker Corvette owners.
One time Jim said to me -
Can your imagine me in a van?
I drive a Honda van.
I was sitting in the Tamaqua Train Station with Lulu and her aunt Dolores. Suddenly I got a message from Paul Gimbel. He said he would pick me up and we would go to lunch. Perfect. When he arrived - he announced we were going to Jim Fogarty's house for lunch. Jim's wife Mary Beth offered up a great lunch and we accepted.

Paul and Jim are legends in Tamaqua. The 50s - 60s - and 70s - belonged to them. They were some of the brilliant people that chose to live and die in the Tamaqua Area. They paid their dues.

Jim Fogarty sat behind me in many of my high school classes. Paul Gimbel took over that role at Kutztown State Teachers College. They were a big part of my life. Some of you may re-call - they also entertained Tamaqua on weekend as DJ's at WSVB-FM in Dutch Hill. They were full time colleges students but came home to Tamaqua on weekends to provide 12 hours of live programming every Saturday and Sunday. The skills they gained served them both well as educators. Paul was an Communications teacher at Lehighton. Jim was a principal at Schuylkill Haven and eventually the director of the Schuylkill County School System.

Jim has a beautiful home. We sat in his basement man cave for a few hours and just relived the past. We played records - talked cars - and reviewed our lives. Everything picked up right where we left off almost 50 years ago. We talked about our kids - and even some grandkids. There was no agenda - just stream of consciousness - from three 70ish old school marms.

Everyone has a success icon. To Lulu - it is a cement pond in the back yard. To coal cracker guys - it is a Corvette in the garage. Jim has a beautiful 1966 Corvette roadster in his basement. It is in better than showroom condition. Not be outdone - Paul showed me a phone picture of his 1964 red Corvette. Jim graduated from THS in 1966 - Paul in 1964.

Jim and Mary Beth's home is beautiful. But things that impress me would not get a second look from others. What impressed me most was Jim's heating system. He has a tiny furnace that runs on propane gas. The are 10 pumps and copper manifolds that send hot water to different places. Each room has a 3 inch concrete floor with copper tubes in it. Each room has its own thermostat. But the best part is zones running under the outside sidewalks and driveways. The heat melts the snow and ice of a Pennsylvania winter. No need to break your back shoveling snow or falling on an icy sidewalk. Jim always did/does a thorough job.

At our ages - you never know which visit is your last one. But you know - this one was a perfect ending. I love seeing these guys and hearing how things turned out.

Paul - my chair - Jim
He who has the most toys wins.
Can you imagine me in a Corvette?

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