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

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