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Random Thoughts from a Random Memory

By Edward Master

I like surprises, especially when they turn out to be good ones. To say I was pleasantly surprised recently is putting it mildy.

Patty Landers (nee Sheesley) and I had a luncheon meet planned for Foxburg pizza, or so I thought. Patty and I have been friends since grade school. Marriage took me to the other end of the state (actually Glassboro, NJ), while Patty set up house in the East Brady vicinity. I e-mailed Patty that I read that a Keystone High class was having a luncheon at the Allegheny Grille, but we shouldn’t have any worries about parking. She e-mailed back not to worry that we (she) had other plans. It would be a surprise.

Patty picked me up in her van. I didn’t think much of the surprise on tap as we rolled up to the Carriage Inn in Knox. I remarked that my wife and I used to take my mother to the Carriage Inn to meet Hannah Klingler for supper when Hannah was home from Oklahoma to visit. The surprise unfolded within minutes as I came through the doors to the dining area: first, some classmates and then some familiar faces from Turkey City-ites! Roberta Gates and Judy Dehart were in the same class with Patty and me. Judy Miller and Paula Dee were former residents from Turkey City. Holy reunion! It was indeed a surprise.

Roberta is from Alum Rock as was her late husband Bob. Bob was ACV class of ’65, as was Judy’s late husband Jim, who was a native of TC, growing up with Patty and me. Roberta was raised not far from Alum Rock and Turkey City.

Paula often spent some summers in Turkey with relatives. She got to know the locals with her visits and ended up marrying one, Gary.

We had a great time reminiscing and recalling exploits of growing up in TC. We entertained Paula’s son, Jonathan, and Judy’s daughter (whose name escaped me due to the din/noise in the restaurant, which I guess is good in a way). I have to admit though that I would not have recognized Judy if I had seen her on the street. This is a woman who is my next-door neighbors’ aunt, Linda (Fair) and Jane (Wile) McHenry. Judy just happens to be younger than both Linda and Jane. I hadn’t seen Judy in years.

I have stayed in touch with Roberta and Judy (Dehart) through class reunions and picnics over time, as with Patty. My sisters would often touch base with Paula. I don’t know if I can ever express my gratitude to Patty and the group for setting up the ‘surprise.’ Patty and I often relate how much we enjoyed growing up where we did and personally I’m glad I still have friends with whom I can enjoy those memories.

Speaking of sports

Just learned of the passing of “Double Zero” Jim Otto. 00 was an Oakland Raider. I’ve been a Steeler fanatic forever (I even go back to those horrible mustard yellow jerseys in the ’60s), but I admired Otto. My brother Jack was a die-hard Raiders fan; he was even had season tickets when he lived in the Bay Area. We often remissed the firing of Art Schell as coach and admiration of Otto, Schell, and Gene Upshaw. Those were classic confrontation days for Raiders/Steelers fans.

Have the Pirates turned a corner? Well, they’ve turned, but I’m not sure just and how. Beat ‘em Bucs!

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