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Random Thoughts from a Random Memory

By Edward Master

With the recent dedication/naming of the A-C Valley gym in honor of my former coach Ron Botz, do I know his players well enough over time to name an all-time outstanding players team? I’ve decided that I can’t, even if I had pages upon pages of statistics and info.

First, I’d have to omit too many quality players. The team I played on graduated the seniors in 1967 and, I think, we were the first squad to go undefeated on our home court with an overall record of 18-4. I’d like to think that we set the table for the following season’s District 9 champs and several outstanding teams that followed.

Budd Stewart, our school superintendent, later treated the team to an evening meal (was it Butler’s Horn of nPlenty buffet? Garden Gate?) because we defeated Union, which was in his home district of Sligo. I remember soon after defeating Union, the school aired the replay of the entire game as broadcast over WWCH Clarion radio). It was indeed a proud day to play for the blue and white.

In the years that followed for that ’67 team, we, as ex-players, often scrimmaged whomever the current players were at that time at the school, especially at ‘summwer rec.’ That practice carried on for a few years, but that was a different time, a different era. With some kind of all-time team I might neglect to include good, quality ACV Falcons such as Jimmy Alworth, Neil Clark, Eddie Rumbaugh, Spuds Rapp, Bruce Fisher, John Marron, and Fireball Truman. They helped provide Coach Botz with many victories and much excitement for the Foxburg-faithful fans. I’ve left out a ton of players, but it was unintentional; I’ll blame it on my memory.

And, on a personal note, I once spoke with Coach Botz at a basketball game in which either my nephew Brady Cullen or my niece Rachel Cullen was playing when he mentioned a game when he was the coach in which he played five boys from Turkey City all in one game—Jackie Klingler, Jackie’s younger brother Ronnie, Larry Myers (Jack’s, Ron’s, and my cousin), Keith McHenry, and myself. Five guys from Turkey City all on the court, all at one time. I guess all that time spent playing in the barn paid off.

All-Time All A-CV

I can’t pick an all-time favorites basketball squad, but I can identify, and thank, the three English teachers I give credit to for my knowledge of grammar and the English language which, in turn, provided my basis in becoming a technical writer/editor. Dorothy Tippery, Sonja Shoup, and Betty Shoup probably unknowingly served as my mentors of English usage and application.

I did get the chance to thank the two Shoup ladies since they were married to brothers and we often shared a meal at a local eatery on Sundays following church. Unfortunately, I hadn’t seen Dorothy in years to extend a thank you. However, I have carried one thought from Dorothy through the years: She once asked my class if we knew what the greatest invention was? She replied with her answer as “The sandwich... This way you can eat AND read at the same time.” We had Dorothy for a speech and composition class as seniors. I guess it’s fair to say I really never had a problem speaking in front of anybody at any time.

Education into Vocation

Looking back, with hindsight always being 20-20, my technical writing career evolved basically through the combination of an undergraduate science background, graduate study in communications, and teaching.

My college undergraduate studies were in the common ‘general’ sciences biology, chemistry, and physics. My concentrated effort was in geology-related courses, which amounted to being called a ‘mud major.’ By luck of the draw (?) I became interested in the communications field.

My fraternity’s faculty advisor was a professor (Henry Fueg) in the department of communications at CUP, plus at times he was a professional photographer. I often witnessed first-hand what Henry’s position required. I decided this is what I really want to pursue. I taught junior high earth science for two years in Kutztown, PA, and returned to CUP for graduate studies in communications. Little did I know I was preparing myself for a vocation in technical writing.

After teaching as a graduate assistant at CUP and then teaching physics (trade science as it was called then) in the apprentice training program at the Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, I secured a training position with a software company (technical writing/editing) on a government contract for the U.S. Navy. Bingo—it was all downhill from then on.

The Navy job was with a contractor (Planning Research Corp.) out of Maclean, VA. PRC at that time and place was called a “beltway bandit” since it was one of the many companies that fed off government contracts located on the beltway surrounding Washington, DC. The actual work sites were the Naval shipyard in Philly and a suburb of Philadelphia in Bala Cynwyd along City Line Avenue (to avoid Philly city wage tax).

We travelled back and forth between locations on the Schuylkill expressway (aka the Sure-Kill Expressway). So, moving to RCA in Camden, NJ, right across the river was a relief in driving duties. At RCA I was eventually assigned the task as being my lab’s editorial rep (no pay raise but a ‘leap of faith’ in my skills) for the ‘RCA Engineer’ magazine—a company-produced publication describing current engineering projects throughout RCA.

Doing editorial duties for the magazine proved quite interesting. We had editorial meetings three times per year at different RCA locations, which meant a rep from NBC would be there since RCA owned the network at the time. We, as editorial staff, got to hear the early announcements that NBC would airing new shows about two police officers in Miami (Miami Vice) and a sitcom about the patrons of a Boston tavern (Cheers). We also learned of a new technology involving laser-based recording for a US Postal Service project.

After a layoff at RCA/GE, I got into teaching writing and, eventually, editing and writing for several newspapers. I covered sports in Indiana, PA, for the “Indiana Gazette” and again later in Grove City, PA, for the “Allied News.” I was once considered the ‘beat’ writer for Grove City College; I covered lots of men's and women's sports for the GCC Wolverines.

I have received one honor for my work when I was awarded a Sportswriter of the Year (2001) award from the PA High School Swimming Coaches. I was nominated by Indiana High’s swim coach Mark Hess for my coverage via The Indiana Gazette. I am assuming I won out over writers from newspapers that were from cities such as Reading, Allentown, and Scranton.

I never wanted to take a chance of plagiarism in writing this column as I based it on a column written by a writer (of legendary reputation) in the “Philadelphia Inquirer” named Bill Lyon. He titled his column ‘Sudden Thoughts and Second Thoughts’ and so I wanted a different title (my own) but similar in nature.

I decided my writing focus would entail nostalgia, sports, and the political world. An event usually triggers a memory of a swimming hole, a community fair or get-together; the Steelers, Pens, and Pirates fill up the pro sports scene; local colleges and high schools compliment the pros; the political arena is awash in material. I think Biden would rather not deal with the troubles his son Hunter has instigated.


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