Sunday, September 5, 2010

Another Clairton Blog Post

SHAHEEN FAMILY Shown in this picture taken in front of 633 Third Street sometime between 1910 and 1912.

Park every car in America end to end and you have Labor Day Weekend

Labor Day Weekend: According to the U.S. Department of Labor, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.” Labor Day was first celebrated in New York, September 5, 1882. By 1884 the first Monday in September became the designated day to honor the workers of our country. Over the next 125+ year’s celebration of the holiday has changed from picnics in inner-city parks to family gatherings and backyard barbecues.

Last holiday of summer: Labor Day is the last long holiday of the summer season and families with children often take advantage of the extra long weekend to visit family. In recent years more than 40 million Americans have taken to the highways, air, rail, and other means of transport – over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house they go. But this year the recession has AAA predicting that a mere 39.1 million will travel more than 50 miles. The Farmer’s Almanac predicts a long cold winter so enjoy the last days of summer and the fall, then batten down your hatches.

How ‘bout them Bears? The Clairton Bear football team travelled south to Little Washington for their first game of the season. We’re not sure why they call it that. It is highly unlikely anybody would get it confused with the other Washington a few hundred miles away. But the CHS defense put a big Bear hug on the Little Prexies while the offense ran wild. Final result? 41-0 Bears, and the Little Guys ran up a total offense of minus 56 yards and no first downs. Thanks to Cal Sabo for the report.

Clip, clip, snip, snip: Remember Clem Azzari? He was one of the icons of Clairton. Clem was born before the Great Depression and worked while in high school (Who didn’t in our hometown?). He worked in a barbershop doing odd jobs and when times were slow the old barber showed Clem how to cut hair. He joined the Air Force after high school. The War had just ended and during his stints in the Philippines and Okinawa he did some hair cutting of his fellow service men. After his discharge he came home, married local gal Cecilia Orsini, and opened a barber shop. It was slow at first so Clem took a job at Irvin works to supplement the family income and worked at his shop in his off hours. But persistence paid off and he became a world renowned sculptor of hair, competing in competitions in New York.

Clem’s little shop became Clement’s International Hair Design. Like so many Clairton natives of the day Clem was a first generation American of immigrant parents. Perhaps that is one reason he moved so comfortably among the international set. His clients included both locals and famous entertainers. Even after he closed his shop Clem often went to the homes of loyal clients to do their hair. He recently passed away at age 81. Clement Azzari, artist, hair sculptor, and Clairton boy.

Lighten things up: Thanks to blog reader and Clairton gal Carol W. for the following observations about mostly rural PA:

1. Let's get this straight: it's called a 'dirt road.' No matter how slow you drive, you're going to get dust on your Lexus. Drive it or get out of the way.

2. They are cattle. They're live steaks or walking milk bottles. That's why they smell funny to you, get over it. Don't like it? I-80 goes east and west, I-81 goes north and south. Pick one.

3. Pull your droopy pants up, you look like an idiot.

4. Turn your cap right, your head isn't crooked.

5. So you have a $60,000 car, we're impressed. We have $150,000 snow removal equipment that are driven only 3 weeks a year.

6. Every person in rural Pennsylvania waves. We think of it as being friendly. Try to understand the concept.

7. If that cell phone rings while an 8-point buck and three does are coming in, we will shoot it out of your hand. You better hope you don't have it up to your ear at the time.

8. Yeah, we eat scrapple, pot pie, funnel cakes, haluskie, pierogies, shoo-fly pie, apple butter, chow-chow, and schnitz un knepp. Don't like the sound of them or the names freak you out because you never saw a "Bon Appetit" article on them? Great, more for us!

9. The 'opener' refers to the first day of deer season. It's a religious holiday held on the Monday after Thanksgiving.

10. We open doors for women. That is applied to all women, regardless of age.

11. No, there's no 'vegetarian special' on the menu. Order steak, or you can order the chef's salad and pick off the 2 pounds of ham & turkey.

12. When we fill out a table, there are three main dishes: meats (includes fish), vegetables, and breads. We use four spices: salt, pepper, hot sauce, and Heinz ketchup. Oh, yeah...we don't care what you folks in Jersey call that stuff you eat. It's not real chili.

13. You bring 'coke' into my house, it better be brown, wet and served over ice.

14. You bring 'Mary Jane' into my house, she better be cute, know how to shoot,and have long hair.

15. College and high school football are as important here as the Steelers and Eagles and a lot more fun to watch.

16. Yeah, we have golf courses. But don't hit the water hazards---it spooks the fish.

17. Colleges? We have them all over. We have state universities, community colleges, and vo-techs. They come outta' there with an education plus a love for God and Country. They still wave at everybody when they come home for the holidays.

18. We have a whole ton of folks who have been in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines and Coast Guard - PA has one of the highest percentages of veterans in the entire country. So don't mess with us. If you do, you will get whipped by the best.

19. Turn down that blasted car stereo! That thumpity-thump-thump stuff is not music anyway. We don't want to hear it anymore than we want to see your boxers. Refer back to # 3.

20. Four inches isn't a blizzard--it's a flurry. Drive like you got some sense, and don't take all our bread, milk and toilet paper from the grocery stores. You're not in Alaska. Worst case you may have to live a whole day without your croissants. The pickups with snow plows will have you out the next day.

A true Pennsylvanian will appreciate this. Everyone else can leave town.

ADDENDUM: Was in the Reno airport last week and heard the familiar Pittsburgh area accent. I asked where they were from and Randy Lawson said, "Clairton. Grew up first in Millvue Acres then moved on up to Woodland Terrace." He now lives on the North Side of Phg. Small world.

A little blogging music Maestro... "Chains of this Town" by BR5-49.

Dr. Forgot

No comments: