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Random Thoughts from a Random Memory

Updated: Feb 3

By Edward Master

A natural facet of life is that people enter and depart our life on this earth, sometimes in a pleasant fashion, sometimes not so much.

One place to begin is in my immediate family. When my older brother Jack passed, my sister Shari and her husband Larry held a reception/memorial at their home outside of Eau Claire. I was sitting in the garage when a gentleman approached me and said "You don't know who I am do you?"

I replied "I have no idea." His name was Terry Blair and at one time he lived with an older brother Chuck and their mother just up the road about one-half mile away. I was in grade school when they moved to Butler. I later learned Terry had joined the Air Force, got a business degree, and was an accountant for the V-A in Butler.

Bill Cummings lived on the road up to Chestnut Ridge above Turkey City. I ran into Bill at Jim DeHart's funeral; Bill lived in Saegertown at the time; he had been in a motorcycle accident and lost part of a leg.

We lost Gloria, Ivan, and Denny DeLoe in grade school when they landed in New York state. Never heard about them or from them.

The only other total family who moved away from Turkey City proper were the Parkers. Sam and Clemmy were Mom and Pop; the kids were Yvonne, Judy, and Tommy. Yvonne was my brother's age, class of 1963. I believe those two were prom dates for each other. Judy was two years in front of me, class of 1965, the final ACV class graduating from the Emlenton building. Tommy was maybe three years after me and I heard that he had married a girl from Monroe, up on the hill.

Historically, the girls were never around in summertime. School let out and they departed to Youngstown, OH, to stay with relatives. They did the same after high school and I'm guessing they settled there.

In one way I've been lucky. I've had just two childhood friends pass away. One was Tom Hutchison. He died after serving in the US Air Force; I believe he retired with a good rate. Tom was a few years younger than me. The other childhood pal was my next-door neighbor, Dick McHenry. I was a pall bearer for Dick's funeral as was Tom. Dick was struck by a car at night, walking up the hill out of Oil City after a car breakdown.

Dick was struck down in December 1971. I recall the date as I was all set for him to begin classes for the Spring 1972 semester at Clarion U and I got the call. I had a small plan already for Dick (Dickie when we were kids). I would introduce him to my fraternity brothers and take him out to our clubhouse in Heufner. Three ACV alums were also members, Greg Whitmer from Emlenton, Gary McKinney from St. Petersburg, and Harry Roberts from near Kennerdell. I figured the four of us could really set him on the right path at Clarion so to speak--cough, cough.

Dick and I grew up playing catch with the baseball, playing in the dirt with trucks, and scattering toy soldiers over our yards. We lived in the neighboring creek. His two older sisters, Linda and Jane, were right along next to us. Linda was two years ahead of me in school; Jane was two years after me.

We caught "crabs" in the creek (they were probably crayfish, only small ones). We chewed on "tea." The tea was wild mint, which grew between the creek and the "sulfur hole." The sulfur hole was probably a spring from railroader days; railway workers had put a pipe in the ground to tap the water table; a square metal frame was sunk into the ground around a pipe. As far as I know it ran 365 days per year, and still runs today.

We played games like kickball, tag, and badminton. We ran through the puddles in the yard when it rained hard and got green feet from freshly mowed lawn. We caught "lightning bugs" (fireflys) at dusk. We fished with worms on safety pins. We watched milkweed fly when the wind blew.

I can't imagine having Dick in college with me for a semester. Every time I drove by his home I would think of Dick. I told my dad of the situation and his response was: "Well, you're old enough now where your friends or people you knew are going to die." Prophetically, he was exactly correct.

I've had just a couple fraternity brothers pass away, mostly from health reasons. Fortunately, only one from suicide. I've seen my folks others in my family go through the same periods I have, but like the saying "that's life."

Speaking on sports

Looks as tho the Steelers came back to life, at least for another week or so. Still don't have much confidence in Lily Tomlin at head honcho. I'm still out to lunch too on the Pens. Have some good feelings about the Pirates. Maybe turn a corner with new talent. Let's hope so!!

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1 Comment

I enjoyed reading your memory of the Parkers. My parents were Tommy and the girl up on the hill from Monroe. My father passed away in 2008 and I recently lost my mom, Mary Standish Parker Hissam, in August 2023. Ralph, Bernie, Marion, Bev, and Shirley are the older Parker kids of Sam and Clementine who were not mentioned and sadly all have passed away. Judy and Yvonne are the remaining siblings and both live in Florida now. I have shared your article with them. Many thanks! Melanie Parker

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