Monday, July 11, 2011

That Was Then, This Was ... Well, Then, Too

I often think I had a charmed life as a child. Everything was as it should have been: Nice home on a nice-sized lot in a nice-clean neighborhood where everyone knew everyone and watched out for everyone else's kids. Summer days were "da-bomb", and could be straight out of an Erma Bombeck book (Rest in Peace, Erma).  A typical late summer day might look like this:

8:00 a.m.: Up, eating breakfast and getting swim clothes together.
8:30 a.m.  Waiting in the Farthings' driveway, waiting for a ride to Niagara Wheatfield High School pool for swim lessons.
9:00 - 12:00: At  NW pool.
12:30:  Back home to scarf down some breakfast.
1:00 Walking to the park at the end of the street for softball practice or game.
3:30 Back home to watch tv, play with the other neighborhood kids, or just hang out.
500: Eating dinner with the family
6:00 - Whenever: outside playing "Tag", "Spud", "Hide and Seek", "Search" or "Ghost in the Graveyard" with the neighborhood kids.

Unless it was Friday during summer, which would mean eliminating everything past 1:00 and substituting "packing for and driving to the weekend camping trip to Bedford Beach, Arrowhead, or Rainbow Lake (or, God Forbid, Mockingbird campground). With, of course, the Barry's, Hughey's, Sayers', Curry's, and anyone else who cared to join our caravan.
 (Ray Barry firing up the Hibachi during one of our neighborhood camping trips. I think this was at Bedford Beach Campground in Western New York, a site we frequented for years). Photograph in the collection of Colleen McHugh.

Tonight as I was searching the Pennsylvania Digital Repository for my dad's uncle, John HODICK (1900-1978), I found the following article:
( Courtesy of Access Pennsylvania Digital Repository,
In case it's hard to read, it describes my great-uncle's "well-handled" baseball game and standings of teams in his area of Northeastern Pennsylvania. 

For some reason, I always find articles like this -- ones that describe life outside of the coal mines, railroads and other labor industries -- rather comforting. I've read so much about life in the coal mines and rail cars of NEPA and I've researched enough about how hard people had to work to earn a measly buck that I enjoy reading that my ancestors, too, had time for family, fun, games, and relaxation.

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