Showing posts with label New Kensington. Show all posts
Showing posts with label New Kensington. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Traveling and newer devices not working consistently

Who"d have thunk it....me with Carole Krasinski
Both in the same top Friday night,
hers from PA  and mine from MN.
We will seldom show up here, go on over to FB or to my GMail.  My new Samsung Tablet is a dog, taking it to a local Verizon store here in PA.  But actually, not minding  being off line because I have no time to get there anyway. 

We have been so busy here in PA with reunion (a 2 nite event) and recovery from which was a one  entire day for me--I can no longer dance all night without recovering the next day!  The reunion was the best event and the most fun ever for all of us.  Those who did not attend really missed out.  The memory books are so nice and those who did not submit their questionnaires or were too late, oh well, so  sorry for you.   Those of us who were there really celebrated.  The band rocked Saturday night and so did I!  Some only came on Friday some only Saturday and some missed everything with myriads of reasons.  There will never again be such an event for ourselves. 

Ray aka Finch and me.  40 years since we have seen each other
I think he has finally gotten over my putting mud pies into his new wagon.
He lived across the alley from us.  I recall he was short, how is he
taller than me?  I suppose he always was.
Most photos will not post here until after we return home because the Disk on a bigger camera does not download to the laptop nor dog tablet.  You can get the message, I am unhappy with the Samsung 7.0 tablet, boo hiss, boo. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

May Travels food, and WTH Post 2 of ????

After I departed to California from Pennsylvania in the 60"s as a young gal,  with stars in my eyes, on the wrong path impulsive first marriage that would come to naught,  I still knew for sure that  I would never again live in my home state.  That's become a complicated term to me, "home state"  where is my home state?  For example when folks ask where I'm from and tell me that I  have an accent  as happens at times in Minnesota where we reside and where they do have accents, I launch with a sigh into my history, "I'm from California and grew up in Pennsylvania.but now we live in Minnesota."   Being Minnesotans who never ventured  farther than Wisconsin, they silently roll their eyes and confirm, "oh a Californian."  Truthfully I  lived in California far longer (40+ years) than I did in Pennsylvania and now we reside in Minnesota, Jerry's home state, adding to the number of years I have been gone from home.  Because no matter that my primary relatives all now reside securely in cemeteries, Pennsylvania is still home. But I know I will never live here. 
 Home is always home and as Robert Frost told us, it's the place where when we go there they have to take us in.  Hmm,  maybe not so, except  that yes, my childhood friends in Pennsylvania still do take me in and welcome both of us.  And that makes coming home, home after all. 
Like my estate attorney and old school pal who just educated me in the appropriate purchase of Chianti wine.  I  gave up Chianti years back because I did not like the taste, but Richard patiently explained  to me that there has been a bastardization of true Italian Chianti and to get it right I must limit my purchase to  Chianti Classico.  The Italian government,  fed up with the inferior  variations, and semblances of Chianti established standards and so today real imported Chianti is the Classico.  And you know what, Richard was right and  so we have enjoyed excellent Chianti with the traditional , real Italian food I get only when I come home to Pennsylvania--Chianti, is the wine to accompany pasta's, the Italian sauces, provolone, Wedding Soup; it's the wine one almost eats not drinks.  Shades of  old Mr. Luigi DeSanto,  across the street who made his own wine---red, aka Dago Red.  And as always coming homes means getting authentic food--Polish, Italian, bakeries of pastries and breads galore, real provolone, real salami, real pepperoni,,,,,and even great steak houses.  Good food, and extra  work outs mandatory. People here like to eat and all restaurants are filled every day and night, every day not just weekends.  I don't think anyone cooks around here, families, etc. everyone is eating out--and yet they will complain about the economy--go figure.  My friends and I cannot understand this but we are the older generation now you know.
But enough of the food, we had an experience that confirms why I will never live in the rip off-aholic state of Pennsylvania, although it is not near the level of California, it has some annoying practices instituted to part the fool and his money  or to absolutely affirm, buyer beware.  Pennsylvania has toll roads as do many eastern states, not such a bad thing  because the users of the roads pay the  price, however many who live here assert they have more than paid for the highways, over all these years of toll collections.  To this lament, I think, wise up and "kwitcher bitchin" know that once a fee aka tax is enacted it never  goes away--just like government programs it takes on a life of its own, it is perpetual.  Well, there is something known as an I-Pass in Illinois and in  Pennsylvania, an E-ZPass and I don't know what the term is in other states.  We often have considered  buying one which  means placing money in an account, on deposit, which is withdrawn electronically to get through the toll booths more quickly without having to wait in cash lines and face the  toll takers. The device and account can be used on toll roads in 14 states.   Well, we think about it when we are on toll roads and then once home forget about it until the next trip. There is a way to prepay  this online, but we are ready to   depart it is too late because one needs the gadget to display on the windshield  for electronic  scanning,  But  not to worry, we are in my home state where they are ever anxious to part the contents of purse ($) from the person and in my home state they sell these EZ Passes at certain super stores like Giant Eagle, here in New Kensington. So yesterday, Jerry stopped at Giant Eagle, gave them $43.99 and triumphantly became the owner of an EZPass Device.  This will enable us to whiz along the toll road on our next leg of this journey to Gettysburg.

 Here is a lin http://www.paturnpike.com/ezpass/ezpassINTRO.htm

All smug until later, we read the tiny small print which stipulates the EZPass is only for vehicles up to 7000 pounds.  Wait a minute!  We  drive a 41 foot  motor home and tow a vehicle; we exceed that weight limit  more than thrice!  So we call the Pennsylvania Department of Turnpike and in no time do reach a real live person in Harrisburg, not some East Indian in Mumbai!  Aha, Pennsylvania employment at work.  Jerry reports our dilemma to which the  response is "well they should have told you that when they sold it to you.  You need a commerical EZPass."  Jerry explains we are not commercial.  but alas that is no one's problem but our own. So what can be done, not so fast, there Bunky. The device must be activated before it can be used.  Jerry explains we cannot use it because we are driving a motor home and exceed the weight limit.  "Oh right, then you need a commercial EZ Pass" comments the rep who goes on to explain we must activate it regardless, on line and then we can mail it back and get some of our $$ refunded. That's right, some of the $$.    By this time, generally patient calm Jerry has  lost all patience and  hung up feeling he has encountered Abbott and Costello's rendition of "Who's on First?"  But I remind him it's my home state--it's Groundhog Day for sure.  Well not to worry, I figure we have not even opened the sealed plastic container so we will just take this thing right back to Giant Eagle tomorrow, which is today now.  We have not used it and surely they can just refund the $43.99.   Wrong, they cannot do that and tell Jerry they will call the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for him---now he knows it's Groundhog Day stuck on the record and reel.  Same story, different day, and no way is Giant Eagle taking this EZ Pass back.  So we are stuck with sending it to Harrisburg, which we will pass on our way to Gettysburg; furthermore we are advised to send it registered mail at a higher cost to ourselves for proof of mailing and my home state will sometime when it is convenient for them or when the Groundhog sees his shadow refund a portion of the $43.99, etc. Yes that is right, this is Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth where I know for sure I will never be living.  Big rip off and another way to part the contents of the purse from the person.   Why don"t they publicize this EZ Pass is not for motor homes who must roll with the big rigs and purchase commercial EZ's. Likely they think we are out here earning big bucks in our rigs? 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sepia Saturday 110 Movie Theaters and how we were


About 1954 me and my Grandma
ready to go to the movies
 A challenge this week with Theater as our theme, but I think back to growing up in New Kensingon, PA in it's glory days when we had 3 movie theaters in a town that is all ashambles to the dregs today. Stroll along my memories with me to back before televisions became  a standard home furnishing, many Sundays, after mass and family dinner, from as early as I can remember, my grandmother,  Rose and I went to the matinee movies downtown and would stop for a big ice cream cone on our way home.  She enjoyed her movie theaters which she always referred to as just that, "movie theaters".  Some Sundays we'd  catch  two, a musical or drama  for her and cowboys and Indians  in technicolor for me.

Baba which I called her all my life, from the Polish word for Grandmother, made her money for our day out and about by playing the numbers at the local bookie who took bets at the butcher shop.  She was quite lucky most times and kept her stash for our treats, saying that was for us to have fun.  I spent lots of my time at their house and each morning when I awoke she'd ask me about my dreams and then get a small black book from the cupboard drawer.  I learned years later from her that was her Dream Book which translated the subject of dreams into numbers and those were the bets she placed,  always winning when she played Patty's dreams.  How I wish I knew what became of that book, imagine if  today I could use it for the lottery.


 I  learned that the reason we could afford two movies was we frequently got in free at the Liberty where her brother Bill worked as a projectionist, when movies came on the big reels.  I have shared photos of Bill before, here's a newspaper clipping she  saved of the  man at work.  Notice the name Walter Austin, somehow Bill came from Walter and he'd changed the  Polish Ostroski aka Ostrowski to Austin, generating much  fuss and disdain from his sisters.   But today's theater theme  showed photos of the buildings and I  had to dig and  search to find any photographs of the big time days in New Kensington when we had the Liberty, the Dattola, the Circle and the Ritz theaters.  I was amazed to find a Library of Congress photo of our own old Liberty theater which was demolished.   These movie theaters were grand seating from 700 to 1000 with more balcony seating, plush carpets, draperies, gilded to the max.  Wish I had photos of the insides, they sure don't make 'em like that anymore.  Todays movie theaters  use a sardine pack seating system,  superior technology does not make up for lack of grandeur and class. 

Downstairs  where I watch movies today
Back of my recliner looking toward the big screen
Today, I wait for DVD's and the latest Netflix offerings and take my self downstairs to our own big screen, surround sound put my feet up in the recliner and enjoy the movies, I often think how Baba would have loved this.   

A Westmoreland county historical site shows  that:  On May 2, 1921, the first of the new theaters, the Liberty Theater (demolished 1996) opened on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street and the Ritz Theater (958 Fifth Avenue) opened the next year.

The Liberty courtesy of the Library of Congress

Dowtown  Fifth Avenue as it looked when we walked to the movies
The old Liberty  is on the left

From a historic website the Dattola theater

The Dattola movie Theater on the other end of Fifth Avenue
Photo from 1969 coverage in the Valley Dispatch,
taken sometime in the  1960's.


The newspaper article tells the sad tale of the Dattola.


I have no photos of the Circle nor the Ritz.  At one time they had both become bingo halls and today that is likely gone as well.  Will New Kensington ever  be revivied to it's glory days when  we grew up in the  50's and 60's.  Who knows

To see more wonderful Sepia posts go to the Sepi site here:

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More vintage advertisements

This continues my previous post about neat vintage advertisements  rescued from the trash  at Uncle Carl's while clearing the place.  This treasure is  from Polack Furniture, a store I do not recall in New Kensington however it may well have been before my time as on the back someone wrote, "Antique 1937"    I am skeptical of that date because the phone is an EDison prefix, something from the  1950"s. LIkely during my growing up years I had less than no interest in furniture stores.  The Sun Drug soda counter or its  racks of comic books or the GCMurphy which was catty cornered across the street were my downtown haunts.   I  do recall seeing these types of  framed photos/thermometer advertisements while I was growing up.  A long way from today's digital thermometers.  What is perhaps even more amazing is that this thing works, the temperature reflects rather accurately.It is a wooden frame with glass, two photos and the thermometer.    Jerry rescued this from a pole in the basement. The colors in the print are vibrant.


Somebody's Sweetheart

While clearing my aunt's home in 2009  there were a couple of similar advertisement photo/thermometers from what was Eger's Jewelers in New Kensington.  I gave those to a friend who revels in all vintage and historical things from town.  I spotted one in the Kensington Court Antique Mall this last trip for sale at $55!  Wow, nice gift to Sam and it was not even his birthday.   Now that I have renewed contact with Harvey Eger, I wish I had that to display on Facebook. 

This second one, a silhouette photo which is painted on the back of the glass in the frame is unusual.  I have it in the motor home near the dining table as a comparison of the times; we travel in a house on wheels, using a microwave and convection oven while the era this reflects  cooking by fireplace.  We are a long way past that.  This silhouette photo is also from the same furniture company, according to the  labeling on the back of the frame.  Notice the long rifle above the fireplace and candlestick holders on the mantle.  This portrays a colonial or early settler  hearth in rust and beige tones..   
Silhouette advertisement
Both prints are about the same size, 5 inches  by 7 inches.  Blogger is giving me the runaround tonight, so I will sign off and leave these memories  of a time when merchants relied not on  TV or the Internet, but good old fashioned customer contact.  It was a time when keeping the name of the merchant in the mind of the customer was as easy as providing a trinket of these sorts. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Holding pattern waiting for others

So here we are in a holding, hovering, waiting pattern which does not match my personality, less type A in retirement, but still wanting to get things done, moving, over with.  Estate sale lady was not at the home yesterday and I wonder why she has wasted a day.  I really should not be here observing because I begin to wonder about too many things, such as how low will she price items?   Yesterday I saw the beautiful 24K gold coated McCoy tea set that she'd placed on the dining room table as she is staging the house.  I left her a note that it had to be sold at a minimum  $35 to $30  else I would keep it  and sell it myself.  This is just what I do not want to get into, still I am reluctant to give away items that I know fetch a pretty high cost in the antique shops. Better that a stranger pay more, especially a dealer who plans to resell it for a higher cost. 

July purchase at People's
We spent two hours in downtown New Kensington on Friday.  The first stop was  People's Library, for their annual book sale; as we parked in the  lot, a man noticed the license plate on our car and greeted us, "Wow folks are coming from Minnesota to our sale!"  People's  was/is my hometown library where I spent summers back and forth, checking out armloads of books that I'd take home and read and return for another batch. I grew up with my love of reading indulged by the library; we did not purchase books back then and I suppose this has led to my having an extensive home library still today.  To the left is the stack I purchased.  To raise funds they sell  the books by the pound, my stack coming to $14, but feeling philanthropic I gave them a $20 and told them to keep the change.  They were very pleased with the tip with  one lady commenting they had not been given a tip that she could recall.  Meantime Jerry remained outside in the courtyard eating a hot dog which they were also selling for the benefit of the Library.  After I staggered out with my armload, I too indulged.  This stack reminds me of checking out books in the summer as a teen, where I would take the limit, usually a large stack and never a thought to the heavy weight I would carry back up the hill.  No backpack and no cart, just my arms loaded.  Hearing of my purchase on Facebook,  my friend Patti, a Nook user when she does read, commented that my episode with the stack of books reminded her of Lucille Ball's Long Long Trailer.
Across from Kensington Court on Barnes Street
After the library we wandered over to Kensington Court on Barnes Street where two men have bought and are grandly restoring the building that many local friends conclude was the old Kenmar hotel.  It is now filled with lovely assortments of antiques and collectibles, some being sold by the owners and some  by other vendors who lease space.  It was a very interesting and I wish the owners well.  They live upstairs of the store and so far they have had no vandalism which is amazing with the status of downtown so declined from glory days. They shared that the Redevelopment authority is attempting to restore downtown with unique shops and another is scheduled to relocate soon from Lawrenceville, specializing in Steelers memorabilia which is to be manufactured there as well.   While there I found an armoire of magnificent purses and spotted  a Dooney Bourke purse for only $25; had to buy it although I know I need not another purse, but it was a buy I could not resist.  There are also two antique end  tables that we may return for to take home; Jerry believes they will be fine in our living room beside both wingback chairs. 

A Saturday gathering with some school friends
I've dubbed ourselves the Crew of 62
Dianne Boggs Cribbs, me, Rich Hemprich, Patti Drew Sasselli
My new Dooney Bourke purse to the right front 
 Uncle's home is now listed with the realtor, with whom we met yesterday and with whom I decided to be more aggressive as the customer by listing the home above her recommendation cognizant that  I can always decrease the price but cannot increase it.  The housing market here even in  Lower Burrell is way down from two years ago although the housing market and values in Pittsburgh have maintained their levels according to news.  I am sad to think about this home on the market but realize I  do not ever want to live in Pennsylvania and so will not keep it.



Which brings me to our holding pattern, everything waiting for the estate sale and ultimate clean out of the home.  The old carpeting needs to be torn out to show the good hardwood floors beneath and the kitchen and dining room need a coat of paint.  All waiting until......patience is not part of Pat's attributes.  Where is my magic wand when I need to wave it?  Have I misplaced it in a senior moment!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Gulf Station Men Sepia Saturday week 81 (Click here to get to the Sepia Host site)

Not on theme and not on Independence Day either, instead sharing some  photos of unknown men, from Uncle Carl's collections of photos.  I can guess that  he had a new camera and was out  on the town taking photos.  These are all  tiny originals  two by  three inches.  All were taken in New Kensington, PA, our hometown, about 1939-1940 and apparently men Carl knew.  I have no idea where in the town this  was but back then there was the town itself  was concentrated along the river and the family lived on Second Avenue.  Wealthier folks, business owners and professional types  lived up above the railroad tracks on the hills.   At first glance, I thought these were local firemen colleagues and they may be but after scanning and enlarging I discovered they employees of  what was a Gulf Gasoline Station.  Here they hold cans of Gulf Pride!

Gulf Gas Station Men New Kensington, PA
Back then I understand it was common for people to buy one or two gallons of gasoline; these photos document its price range from 18 1/2 cents to 22 cents per gallon!  I wonder  what coin they used for the half cent?  Check out the thin man in the middle above with coin holder to make change. so    I don't know that I have ever seen one of those before. Comical and yet sad to consider that back then change was useful as items were so cheap and people treasured each coin.   This first photo has the gas at 18 1/2 cents,  but watch that sign....

Gulf Station men at play

Above the men are clowning around and enjoying themselves, but dressed warmer, longer sleeves and a sweater.  There is that coin changer again and the thin man smoking a cigarette.  Gas is  22 cents by the sign here.

In front of the old Coca Cola machine
I am amazed at the hats and full uniform worn by the men. This man may be the same one on the right in the first photo and is possibly a young Ed Saliba, SR. He was slightly younger than my Uncle Carl,  longtime fire chief and friend and still living in New Kensington.  He and the firemen came to Carl's funeral.  Gas above is 20 cents per gallon.

Gulf Station Gasoline 20cents per gallon
Above you can see the sign showing the breakdown on the price of gasoline, 15 cents for the  gas, 4 cents for Pennsylvania state tax and 1 penny for federal tax.  The taxes remain the same in all these photos.  It sure was a different world back then!     The sign above the window on the storefront, reads Association, but in none of the photos does it show Association of what....

Coca Cola machine for bottles
 Gulfpride  oil stand to the right
This photo is darker but the one where you can clearly read the sign, "That good gulf gas..."  The bell telephone sign to the far  left corner reminiscent of the time when folks went to the store to use the pay telephones. 

I will tie this post to my Facebook page and perhaps some from the home town can tell more about the men and the place.  And they will likely be interested in the photos.  As always, visit the Sepia Site where others share in our international community.  I am posting later today because we had one hellacious storm  with winds at  60 miles per hour and more, last night and power was off until an hour ago.  But all is well around our homesite and we hope around town. 

Friday, August 6, 2010

My Unknown Bathing Beauties for Sepia Saturday Week 35 (Click Here)

Our heat wave has ended and I have spent many days at the pool, water aerobics and  swimming laps, always  having been  attracted to the water to cool off.  Others have shared great marvelous photos of the bathing beauties from times past.  I did not think I had any, so proceeded on my way with my other anecdotes.  This week while making some progress through sorting photos, I got to another box from my Grandma Rose and  found two tattered photos marked only by year, without any names to identify the people.    I do not  think they are my grandmother nor her sisters but likely cousins within that extended  Ostrowski clan.  My grandmother  was never a swimmer nor a water person and could not understand my absolute fascination with water, swimming and all such things. 

I recalled my grandmother talking about a ferry boat that used to transport them across the river  between our town of New Kensington and Tarentum on the other side before bridges.  This beach was on the New Kensington side. 
1920 Renouf Beach Allegheny River  New Kensington

The two children in the 1920 photo might be girls too with the get ups on their heads, I suppose it was to protect the hair. To their left there is  someone in the water and there is quite a crowd in the 1920 photo, maybe it was during a big holiday event or weekend. It looks like they are leaning on some type of floating raft.

To me  it appears that there are different folks in each photo.  In the  1917 photo, below  the people are close to the shore, it appears, but look at those dresses; I doubt they would have ventured very far into the water, surely that would hav weighted them down.. . The woman to the right appears to even be wearing some type of stockingn if that is a woman, I think they both are with children.

1917 Allegheny River Renoul Beach


When I was growing up in the 50's and  60's we would not have dreamed of entering the Allegheny river as the industries and mills had polluted the waters and the towns dumped sewage in there as well.  Today there is a total change with the lack of industry and there is even a marina in New Kensington.  Boats abound on the river, quite a different sight.  Someone even told me that they get mussels to eat form the Allegheny, so there has been  an entire about face of cleaning up. 


The only other river picture I have handy is this one of my mother, Helen,  taken in 1942, posed in the wind.  She never was a swimmer so I don't expect this was a bathing photo, more  like just walking along the river .  This is one of my favorites of her.

As always to view others posts in Sepia Saturdays, click on the title to this post, above...