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Monday, June 29, 2020

Spending The Day With - Ben and Mike Turrano - My Former Students - Motörhead's in Common - Owl Creek Dam

Ben Turrano lives across the street from Lulu's old homestead. Ben and his brother Mike were my students in 7th grade. Ben loves old car - planes - boats - trains - and buildings. Ben is a Renaissance Man. He is an admission counselor for the local community college. He also worked as a Realtor and a haberdasher at Ted Block's Clothing Store. But his real love is restoring cars and buildings. He can wield a hammer or a wrench as good as anybody.

OWL CREEK RESERVOIR - A couple years back Ben salvaged an old cabin from his childhood camp. They cut it up into pieces and moved it to the Owl Creek Reservoir. There they assembled it like an erector set. They added a metal roof - a deck - and paint. It looks great.

When I was a kid - Owl Creek reservoir was the water supply for downtown Tamaqua. Later is supplied the Atlas Powder Company. Today the reservoir has been drained and restore. It is now a recreation site for the town. It was being used by the Boy Scouts when I visited. I met Chris and Mike  Conville. They are now adults with kids of their own. It was fun getting the VIP treatment from them. 

MIKE TURRANO'S GARAGE - Next we went to visit Mike Turrano. Mike lives by the White Birch Golf Club. He has a 10 acre farm - but also two big garages full of wonderful relics. The first order of business was to pay Mike a $2 bet I owed him. When Mike was in my classroom - I bet him $2 that he would have a car wreck in the first year of driving. I cheated a little because I knew statistics that 80% of 16 year old drivers get into a fender bender at least once. I had two or three. Mike assured me that he would never wreck. He didn't. I believe him - and I am happy he didn't. I made that bet with many kids - and have seldom paid off. 

Mike was in the middle of a 1938 Packard restoration. Then someone saw it and offered him $8000. The guy was picking it up today. I guess he saw no harm in offering me to drive it - and I was ecstatic. It is a flat head 6 with three speed on the column. I drove her down the road - and Ben was amazed when I did a double clutch to shift it into first gear while moving. He never saw that before - and I was amazed I didn't "grind me a pound." The new owner plans to remove that engine and put a high performance V8 in it. 

Mike also had this beautiful 1955 Chevy - two door wagon - not a nomad but more of a work versions. It is presently a lovely painted body with no engine. 

How about this 1962 Chevy II Nova in excellent shape. 

The 1939 Buick is Ben's. His grandfather gave it to him on the condition that he gives it to his grandson. 

Time flew by. It was time to go home. What pleasure it is meeting my old students as men - with families - jobs - homes - and dreams. It makes me feel that my life was not wasted. Each one of my students could rattle off about 10 quotes from my classroom. We laughed until I nearly cried. 

We flew the drone - took some pictures - but that it for another story. We have 4 days left in coal cracker land. 

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