Search This Blog

Monday, October 31, 2016

FSU Breaks Ground On $65 Million Earth Science Building

The FSU Board of Trustees ground breaking
for the new Earth Science Building

For 33 years I taught Earth and Space Science at Panther Valley - a public school in Lansford PA. Every day from 8 to 3 - it was my job to get the 7th graders interested in the Earth and their environment. It was a lot of fun - but 13 years have gone by since I retired from the classroom. I was lucky to be studying and teaching during the Space Race and travel to the Moon. 

Friday- Florida State broke ground to build a new $65 million Earth Science. It is about 2 miles from our home here in Tallahassee. I am looking forward to following the progress. As I watch Lulu commute to work on her scooter - I am envious and wonder what would have been like to be a college professor and teaching older kids about Astronomy - Geology - Meterology - and Oceanography. 

During the groundbreaking ceremony - President John Thrasher announced that FSU made a big move in the US News national rankings of public universities. FSU went from Number 41 to number 38. No other school jumped so many steps in one year. The Seminoles are on the move. At a party the other day - the president stated - the football team better watch out - our academic program my soon outrank them. 

The next day - the Seminole lost to Clemson football just down the street. FSU football is now ranked Number 19. 

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Travel Trailer Sold Yesterday In Minutes

Travel trailer sold for $8000
Motor home sold for $46,500
Yesterday - I sold a travel trailer that had been sitting in our driveway for a few weeks. The deal went pretty fast.

But the whole series started out last June when our friend Joan asked me to sell her motor home. Her husband had died so the 2012 Coachmen with 15,000 miles on it had to go. It was a great motor home so we started out at $50,000 - it took over 3 months and finally left the yard at $46,500. It was purchased by Stuart and Sharon. The sale was held up by an upholstery job. I hired a man to completely redo the upholstery inside. Halfway through the job he became ill - and the job drug on for weeks. Eventually another shop - CoverTime -  finished the job. Our buyers loved the camper and waited patiently for the completion. I highly recommend CoverTime.

The new owners developed a trust with us - and asked me to sell their camper. This one was a 2010 Coleman travel trailer. This rig was kept under a car port and was spotless. If it didn't weigh so darn much - I would have kept it and pulled it with our Honda van. It weighs 4300 pounds and the Honda van pulls 3500 pounds. We started this sale at $10,000 and slowly moved down the line. At $9000 - a young couple put a deposit on it - but after a week of visiting banks could not come up with the rest of the money. We returned their $500 deposit - and waited for the next call. In the end - Harold came yesterday with $8000 cash in $100 bills. Money talks - the new buyer had the trailer all hooked up to his truck - even before Stuart arrived to sign the title over to him. It reminded me of the car thief movie - Gone in 60 Seconds.

The campers are gone. The driveway seems empty. Since I never owned these vehicles - they do not add to my list of 75 owned vehicles. The neighbors are taking bets on what you will see next in our driveway. I am betting a mobility scooter.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our First New Car - The Honda 600 - A 2 Cylinder Dynamo

Honda's first car - the Honda 600. 
In the summer of 1972 - Lulu and I bought our first new car together to celebrate our first anniversary.  In those days - on the last day of school in June - one was paid a big check that was supposed to last the whole summer. I was making $7000 a year then teaching - so the summer check was a giant one. We were all dressed up and nowhere to go.

Honda just introduced their first car to America - the N600. It had many innovative features for the time. It weighed 1100 pounds - had a 2 cylinder air cooled engine - front wheel drive - 10 inch tires - front disk brakes - The gear shifter was on the dashboard. It could sit 5 people tightly. You could not get air conditioning. It had 36 horsepower. Two features that caught our eye - it got 40 miles per gallon - and it cost $1473 brand new.

The top speed was 75 miles per hour - and it could go from 0 to 60 MPH in 19 seconds.

We went to a dealer near Philadelphia - and they easily pried that summer pay check out of our hands.  As we were driving home to Tamaqua PA - we realized that we had no money left for the rest of the summer. After some quick thinking we realized we could sit around town all summer doing nothing - or we could go on an adventure.

In the summer before - we honeymooned at Miami Beach. We decided we could return there - and get summer jobs. With gasoline at 25 cents a gallon - we made the 1300 mile trip to South Beach on $8. We rented a studio in an old home in downtown Miami for $70 a month. We got to attend the Democratic and Republican conventions that year that were held back to back in Miami Beach. We got jobs immediately.

Lulu ended up working for K Mart at the service desk announcing the Blue Light Specials. I got a job at the local Honda dealership - selling Honda cars. When September came - we drove back to Pennsylvania - Lulu commuted to Kutztown State College - I continued to teach in my only real job at Panther Valley.

We had a yellow Honda 600 - It cost $1473

Jack Cox - Number 28 - Tamaqua Eagles

In 1965 - Tamaqua fielded 4 Knee-Hi Football Teams. They also had 4 cheerleading squads of similar size for the girls.

Front row - Number 28 - Jack Cox - Lulu's brother.

Picture stolen from Whitey Williams page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Professor Lulu On Her Way To Work

Lulu travels all over the globe doing what library science professors do. In the top picture - she spent Feb - Mar - Apr in Berlin. She is taking the tram to work at Humboldt University where she had a fellowship with DAAD and the German government studying setting up school libraries in the country.

In the bottom video - she rides her scooter to work to teach a class of undergraduates this morning. We live about 2 miles from her classroom. Parking is terrible on campus - except for scooters - she can park right near her classroom door.

When we moved to Tallahassee 2004 - we bought the Vespa LX 150. Now it has 4000 miles on it.

Last night - form 8 to 10 - she taught a graduate course online with students from all over the world.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Our First Free Charge

Our Nissan Leaf plugged into the free charging station.
We bought our 2012 Nissan Leaf 2 years ago. Usually we charge the car every night in our garage. It holds 25 kilowatt hours of electricity. Since a KWH costs about 12 cents - that is a total of about $3.00 of power.

Today we went to the mall at about 11 AM for our normal 2 miles of air conditioned walk. After the walk Lulu decided we would have lunch at the Village Inn - a new restaurant near our home and also near the new Home Suites Hotel. To our surprise - there are 3 electric car charging stations there. I plugged the leaf into one - pressed the button - and it started to charge our car. I guess it was okay.

Our car can go about 75 miles on a full charge. We seldom go that far during one day. People say - why would you buy a car that can only go 75 miles. What they don't realize is that most of our trips are much less than 75 miles. In 2 years - I have never gotten closer than 10 miles to running out of power.

People that own electric cars talk about "range fatigue" which simply means you are scared of running out of power. The more you have the car - the less you worry about running out of power. It is a very dependable rig.

Let's see now - $3.00 a day times 30 days equals $90 a month :-)  It looks like we will be eating a lot at the Village Inn.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Pre-Game Party At FSU President John Thrasher's House

That white haired guy is FSU's President John Thrasher -
we just had a great party at his house before the game

Today we play Wake Forest (5-1) at 3:30. The president of FSU invited us to a tailgate party in his back yard. The band played - we ate - just had a nice time. After the party we drove home to change vehicles. Lulu and I take the scooter to the game for the free party.

We do not have tickets yet - but StubHub has tickets on the 50 yard line for $28. We hope to do better than that.
Here are a few pictures form inside the president's house
Bronze statue of a real Seminole Indian.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Dr. Susan MacManus Talked About The Election

One of the nicest things about living close to a college campus is being able to hear free speakers. Last night Dr Susan MacManus presented "2016: An Election Like No Other." She said Hillary Clinton should win according to the statistics - but this is an election like no other.

Homecoming At Florida State University

Chief Osceola on Renegade -
voted number one college mascot in the country
Grand Marshall Devoe Moore
2003 Stingray with 1953 Corvette body
50 years of Corvette history
What a beautiful day for a homecoming parade in Tallahassee. We enjoyed the parade today - volleyball and block party tonight - football game against Wake Forest on Saturday at 3:30 - and another volleyball game Sunday. 

It is hard to believe this is the 13th homecoming weekend for us - it almost feels like home. 

FSU President John Thrasher
Seminole Homecoming Princess
Seminole Homecoming Prince

Class of 1966 in a 1966 Mustang
Asian Student Club 
Chain gang cleaning up poo

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Eckley PA - Life in a Coal Patch Town

All pictures taken with iPhone 7.
Thanks to my Dad working in one of these - the
only dirt I got on my hands was chalk

Lulu loves shopping - I wonder if she
would have liked just one store

I am one generation removed from living in a coal patch. Both my Mom and Dad were raised in these tiny company-owned villages during their formative years. Mom grew up in the Vulcan - near Mahanoy City - and Dad forever called Seek - the capital of Coaldale - his home.

Patch towns were set up near the mine and breaker so that workers could walk to work and back. This was before automobiles were the normal way of life. When Ford made the car affordable to the masses - it took autos a while to hit these company towns. 

On my visit home to Tamaqua PA for my 50th reunion last month - we had a little time to spare. We were staying at a Residence Inn near Hazleton - so a visit to Eckley Miners Village fit the bill. It was a beautiful Sunday afternoon and I was really surprised when we found the village empty. The museum was open - we paid our $8 admission. But what we really wanted to do was walk the main street from end to end. 

Friday, October 07, 2016

My First Classroom - Dorset School in West Penn Township

Harry visited his first school - Dorset School near Snyders PA

Map of my house - Dorset School - Snyders PA
This pictures was sent to me by Luella Reed (the baby in the picture).
The women on the left is Leah Wertman Fritz - my
first grade teacher

Last week Lulu and I visited Tamaqua PA to see friends and family and also to attend my 50th class reunion. I really enjoyed seeing my old classmates. We also enjoyed introducing our friends and family to Max Everhart - our third grandkid.

We had a few hours to kill before our plane left Allentown - so we drove around and looked at familiar sites.

I first attended school in September of 1954. I was 6 years old and had spent the first 6 years of my life in the farm house I was born in. It was very common then to be born at home. Dr Weissner charged $15 to come to the house and deliver me. Dad tried to be a coal miner and also run a 10 acre farm.

At the time West Penn School District was made up of a series of one room schools. I remember that sometimes a teacher taught all 8 grades in one room. By the time I was in school - they decided to put all the first graders in one school - second graders in another and so on. 1954 was also the first year they used school buses to take the kids to school. So I never walked to school in the deep snow storms. The school bus picked me up right at my door.

Sunday, October 02, 2016

Volleyball With Our Friends

We love watching FSU Volleyball. After a barbecue supper - Josh and Melissa shared an FSU victory over Syracuse -  3-0. The event opened a busy Parents Weekend.

Today - Sunday - we play Boston College at 1 PM. What's not to like? Admission is free and pretty athletic young ladies competing for FSU.

Tully Gym holds about 1000 fans. At one time - this is where FSU played basketball.

Seminoles Come Back From Down 21 To Lead In Last 30 Seconds - Then Blew It

Chief Osceola on Renegade

After the flyover - it was all down hill.

Osceola planted the spear - but the last 30 seconds was all Tar Heels.

The baby blue North Carolina team has been coming to Tallahassee over the last 25 years - and have gone home usually black and blue. But this time it was different. The Tar Heels jumped out to a 21 point lead - only to watch FSU pull ahead in the last 30 seconds. But 30 seconds later - a 54 yard field goal put Carolina on top for good. The Tar Heels circled the field doing the Tomahawk chop as the ball easily clear the goal post from 54 yards away.

Our day started around noon as John - Michelle - and Kristine came to our house for a pre-game lunch. We watched a bit of the Miami game on television since they follow their hometown Miami Hurricanes. At about 2 PM - Lulu and I dozed off for a little nap - and we almost missed the game.

We had tickets that our good friend Marge gave us - so at 2:30 - we hopped on our scooter and rode over to Doak. We parked in the lot our friend Joe Shiver owns - and walked to our seats - plenty early for the band and kickoff. Our seats were in the corner - looking down on the goal line - see the horse picture above.