Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Old and New Memories; Granny Busted

Bacteria is the only culture some people have

Clairton Culture: As cited in an earlier post, many sites include information of and about Clairton. One such site, Clairton Topix provides a forum that is rife with opinions about Clairton. As the forum topics moved toward reflections of good memories, I decided it was time to share with readers of the Clairton posts of this blog. We have not recognized the people whose memories have stimulated the items below because most posters to the blog do so under pseudonyms. That said see how many of these jog your memory:

Walnut Avenue School (see photo above)
The Corner Store (4th street)
Swimming Pool (Clairton park)
Fun loving KQV (audio 14)and 60's music
Weekends at the river (boating and swimming)
Rondinelli's Pizza
Pinball machines
Football - Bears/Panthers/Steelers
Community center (co-located with fire station)
Wilson Presbyterian Church
Delivering newspapers (Pittsburgh Press, Sun Tele, Daily News)
Cherry Bombs and Silver Salutes
Burgundy Benchwarmers
Rostraver Gardens ice skating
Pheasant and squirrel hunting
Eating chestnuts in the backyard
Catching nightcrawlers after a rain
Arrowhead hunting at the river

Classmates from Elrama, Pleasant Hills, W. Mifflin and Jefferson (before TJ)
Driving in the snow on 885
Train to Kennywood
Street football but also football in the cemetery on Worthington and Jacobs farm pasture at the end of waddell.

Walking down the woods and over the slagpile to get to Clairton park - before the Ravensburg bridge

Car dealerships - probably a dozen including Kaise, Frazer, and Hudson.
State, Capital, and Colonial movie theaters
Fifth Street Grade School
Walking to school

Les George’s Corner store at St. Clair and Worthington
Marracinni's not the one in Wilson
Hot Dog John's
Clairton Hardware
Murphy's 5& 10
Band marching from the school to the stadium
Hoops on the corner of Large Ave. & 6th Street
Midnight fries at the Blue Flame then all night bowling.

Cherry cola at the St. Clair Restaurant on Saturday afternoon.
The 5 & 10 office upstairs where they watched everyone like a hawk.
My blue suede coat from Cmarada's Dept. store on Miller Ave.
Being a Recrette (majorette and drummers too) at age 8.

Miller Ave and Fifth Street schools. We were told that a ghost named Maryjane lived in one of the bathrooms at Fifth Street school. Also told the principal had a paddle machine.

Playing carobs, baseball, kickball etc. in the summer at Worthington Ave. playground and never wanting to go inside.

Sledriding in the winter at Worthington playground and the alley in between 10th & 11th streets.

The seasonal parades in town. Halloween with the large talking pumpkin. Christmas with Santa, elves, CHS band and decorations as far as the eye could see up and down Miller and St. Clair.

Stitches candy store on Miller. Also Skips too. With all of the penny candy your heart desired.

The Honor Roll at the corner of Miller and St. Clair – across from the police station.

The rumor that our 7th grade English teacher moonlighted as an exotic dancer.
Good Friday, all of the stores in town were closed from 12-2.
Keenan field – baseball by day,” parking” by night.

The black soot that covered your car, porch furniture, etc. every morning when you woke up.

Toni's pizza after a football game
Ilkuvitz's store window that remained unchanged from 1948 until it closed in the 80s. Also had an X-ray machine that you put your feet into and looked to see how well they fit.

Swimming pool before it was remodeled.
Skyscraper cones for 10 cents at Isley's
Hearing tires spin on the "ash" during the winter.
Downstairs, at the Capital theater.
All meat burgers on Italian bread at Blue Bird(they still have them).
Duckpin bowling
The Wilton Hilton.

Sure, but what’s happened lately?: The Meadows Racetrack and Casino is the first to open in southwestern Pennsylvania. The state-of-the-art casino with 3,700 slot machines, an electronic table-games pit, premier restaurants with spectacular views of the gaming floor and the race track, includes a new racing grandstand, bowling center, simulcast area, and VIP super boxes. A loyal Meadows customer, Marjorie Harrigan of Clairton, Pa., joined Meadows officials in cutting a ceremonial ribbon to usher in the crowd. Two years ago, she was randomly chosen from the crowd to cut the ribbon to the temporary casino.

Granny is a lowdown lawbreaker: Ah the good old days of Clairton and surrounding communities. Churches played a big part in the culture. After every home football game First Presbyterian Church sponsored a very well attended “Canteen” dance. St. Clare’s had activities for the kids who went to Catholic School and Friday Fish Fry fundraisers. The churches were supported largely by donations and fundraisers, mostly in the form of food sales. Cakes, pies, and other foodstuffs were often prepared at home and brought to the church for sale. Little did anybody realize that they were aiding and abetting one of the longest ongoing crime sprees in Western Pennsylvania history.

State inspectors recently made their rounds to inspect church kitchens (dum-da-dum-dum). One eagle eye inspector, Friday, I think it was saw a pie that looked suspicious. The baker’s silver hair didn’t fool him and the inspector grilled the old gal who had grilled the food and soon discovered that perhaps Peter Piper had not picked a peck of pickled peppers, but in this palaver, home-baked pies for the palate that were perfidiously paraded for sale were being peddled illegally for $ 1.00 per slice Over at St. Cecilia’s in nearby Rochester Mary Pratte's coconut-cream pie, Louise Humbert's raisin pie and Marge Murtha's "farm apple" pie were immediately confiscated as contraband. Piegate had been uncovered at yet another church fundraiser.

No matter how you slice it, state inspectors would not give in. Cherry pies baked at home were the pits. Selling a homemade Pecan pie was nuts, and home-baked custard did not cut the mustard. The homemade pie and cookie caper shined a pilot light on an in-house underground dessert cellar seller. The Pennsylvania State Department of Agriculture declined to make the nosey inspector available for comment. But it seems beauty lies not only within the eye, but the nose of the beholder. Where hungry parishioners smell a freshly baked pie, the Inspector smells a rat.

A little blogging music Maestro... Don McLean singing, “American Pie.”

Dr. Forgot

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