Wednesday, November 21, 2012

My Alma Mater

It Ain't Oz, but it's Home: Clairton, PA. My hometown. I've written more than 150 blog posts about the community since its inception in 1906 to present. Today I am bursting my buttons with pride over the nationwide press coverage our town is receiving. I've been getting calls and emails al morning from CHS alumni from California, North Dakota, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Virginia, the Carolinas.... you name it. If there is a state there is a CHS alum.

What's the buzz? A couple of nights ago I co-hosted a radio show with Harvey Hyde. "Who the Hell is Harvey Hyde?" you might ask. He is a very successful former football coach who now does talk radio, pre game shows for the USC Trojans, and assorted other media activities. From time to time I co-host with him.  Last Monday we did a segment on the Clairton Bears and the Clairton community. Our guest was former AD at CHS and current Facebook writer for the Bears, Jim Wessel. The broadcast went worldwide and we heard from many states where CHS alumni listened. A couple weeks earlier sports writer Ron Kantowski, whose dad was a steelworker in Chicago, did an article on the Bears that featured me in my Clairton Bear regalia.

There have been articles in the local newspapers:

But today was the coup de gras. From Arizona resident and former Bear Bill Bennett: Here's a link to USA Today article with video to whet your appetite for the record breaking quest for #60 on Friday. Click the pic of Bears with caption "Made in America: Nation's Longest Winning Streak" to watch video and read article. Also read comments. I trust this will be in the hard copy of USA Today tomorrow, but I'm not sure.

To those who do not live in Western PA, remember you can watch the WPIAL final against Sto-Rox on Direct TV, channel 659 at 11:00 AM EST.

Facebook too: There are several Facebook pages for Clairton and numerous web pages. One that is particularly informative is: My blog can also be accessed through the site under the History tab. 

The football team: There are many stars on this years Bear team but the one who stands heads, shoulders, and thorax above the competition is Tyler Boyd. Google him to see snippets of him in action on the field. But "The rest of the story." is Tyler's mom, Tanya Payne. She has several sons, all of whom are academic achievers, college students, and college grads. That includes Tyler the football player. Tanya has the gift in raising boys. She posted Tyler's most recent report card on Facebook!!!! But she did not do that to humiliate him. The report cars contained  straight A grades!!!! Bravo to Tyler and all the other 50 or so seniors at CHS. We wish them success after high school, but back to the Bears.

What's all the fuss? The CHS Bears have won three consecutive state championships and more WPIAL championships than there are letters in WPIAL. They are currently tied for the most consecutive wins for a football team in the state of Pennsylvania. And if they beat Sto-Rox Friday, they will break that record.

Day of thanks: Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful for many things and blessings Ive enjoyed over seven decades. But I am also thankful for the squad of young men who proved to be the little school that could. 


A little blogging music Maestro... "It's Clairton High School, It's Clairton High School the pride of every student here (rah rah!)..."

Dr. Forgot

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Of Books and Weddings

Sweet Doings in Hershey: It is always a treat to get back to my home state of Pennsylvania. This time I missed Western PA and Clairton by a couple of hours and went to Hershey in the middle of the state. The occasion was to attend the wedding of a lovely couple. (Full disclosure; the bride is my niece).

Aimee and Scott are a "match made in heaven" couple. She was going to be a career girl, eschewing marriage and those traditional things women of a certain age are expected to do. Aimee was an iconoclast from her earliest years. She was a gifted writer and the editor of her high school newspaper. She went to Syracuse and majored in Journalism and Art History. Took a Masters degree at Bryn Mawr then returned to her hometown of Hershey to become an executive with the company that figuratively owns the town.

Aimee was a natural at putting things and people together and did so at her job in Hershey but eventually moved on to higher education development at a nearby university.

Scott attended the Milton Hershey School then went on to study government at Franklin and Marshall College. He too is a gifted writer and communicator and consults for several major corporations.

The wedding was a storybook affair with events at the Hotel Hershey, Hershey Country Club, and the ceremony took place at the beautiful historic Sell Chapel at the Masonic Villages in nearby Elizabethtown. And oh yes, there was nutbread, ladylocks, and plenty of Clairton food. May the happy couple have a long and prosperous life.

Writers from Clairton: As anybody who reads this blog knows, the City of Clairton, PA has spawned a myriad of people who have excelled in their fields. One such person whom we've written about before is Dr. William R. King. This high-falutin' professor might have the resume of a stuffed shirt but he is as down home as anybody who was raised in Elrama, a hop, skip and jump from Clairton. The rowdy kid from the sticks became a scholar while attending Clairton High School and went on to be one of the most prolific writers and professors at the University of Pittsburgh. In fact, so good were his writings that no bigger a celebrity than Vladimir Putin plagiarized part of one of his tomes.

With all that academic writing completed, the now-retired professor has written his autobiography entitled, "SCHOOL DAYS: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century." If you grew up during the heyday of the 1950s or attended Clairton High School or were from one of the many communities in the Mon Valley, you will love this book. Dr. Bill bares it all from his foibles to his awkward teen dating to his college and professional career. I recommend it as a great read.

Met another Clairton writer: Joan Angelo, nee joan Little, is also a Clairton grad from the 1950s. She ended up at Edinboro with her professor husband, also a writer. But I recently discovered Joan's series of five books that are written about our community and the Mon Valley. I just completed the first one, Blackwater Hollow, 1900-1929. It is the first in her Monongahela Chronicles series and tells the story of coal miners who eked out a bare existence in the Patch and hollows around Clairton, Wilson, and Coal Valley. What Joan does so masterfully is write in dialect when the characters are speaking.

An example of her writing in dialect comes when little Charlie sees a wash tub with wringers for the first time: "What's em big rollers for?" asked Charlie.

"Them's to rench ma clothes. It's called a wringer. See, all I gotta do is push ma clothes through this here wringer and the machine squeezes out all the water. Almost all the water.  Better n I could do by hand."

There are plenty of "younses" an 'at throughout the book. It is a must read for those who love history and certainly those from the Mon Valley.

That is the latest from Clairton, PA.

PS: CHS Bears just won #59 and tied the PA record for most consecutive victories. A win next week would set a new record and make CHS again the WPIAL victors. Next game, Friday 11/23 at Heinz Field against Sto-Rox.

A little blogging music Maestro... "Paperback Writer" by the Beatles.

Dr. Forgot

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Of Clairton, Bears, and Books

You don't know what you're missing: Many current and former Clairton residents "of a certain age" are yet  to be dragged, kicking and screaming into the technological era. On the chance that you do not Facebook, or even if you do, you might not be aware of two Facebook pages; Clairton Activists and Clairton History. Both help keep up on what is going on in our hometown these days and were developed by Joanie Jordan. From those Facebook pages flowed a website, I would encourage you to visit that site and see the fabulous photos of Clairton past. You will see Clairton Park in its early stages of being built, original photos of the pool and the diving board that once graced the second float,. You will see photos of the corner store across from Gumble's Chevrolet dealership, Vitori's Esso Station, and many other early pictures. And speaking of auto dealerships you will also see a photo of the Worthington Avenue Garage which at various times served as a Hudson dealership and became Johnny's Glass. And don't forget to peek at the Capital Theater in its early days. The site is a treasure trove of photos and information.

57 is more than just a Heinz logo: Congratulations to our Bears Football team that won its 57th consecutive game last Friday as the playoffs began. They defeated a respectable Frazier Commodore team that took a 6-0 lead. The lead lasted less than one minute and CHS  scored the next 58 points. Tyler Boyd scored his 100th touchdown and ran for over 200 yards on six carries. Next up is Brentwood. The record for consecutive wins in Pennsylvania prep football is 59.

Books by Bill: William R. King has been mentioned in this blog before. He is the Clairton high School kid who came from Elrama with a chip on his shoulder and with the guidance of several teacher-mentors, went on to college, got his Ph.D. and became a longtime professor at Pitt. He is also both a gifted and prolific writer, and that is not just my opinion. No less a celebrity than Vladimir Putin plagiarized one of Bills many writings and placed it in his (Putin') Master's dissertation.

Seems Bill just can't stay away from the keyboard. His latest book is  "SCHOOL DAYS: Coming of Age in the Mid-20th Century." Author is officially William R King. It's available on, and The e-version costs only $1.99. This would make a terrific Christmas gift for anybody who has any connection to Clairton.

That is the latest from Clairton, PA.

A little blogging music Maestro... "The Booklovers" by the Divine Comedy.

Dr. Forgot