Papa’s World – attending school in Eldred Pa. – little community in the Alleghany mountains!

One thing I learned

My very first memory of school – sitting on my grandma’s lap on the front porch –

“Grandma – when can I go to school”? I asked.

We had just watched a neighborhood boy walk past on the other side of the road –

His name was Denny and I later found out he was two years older than me!

So – I am thinking I was about four years old and I can still see him in my mind and me asking her.

The old Eldred school

I attended this old school until the fourth grade!

It was at that time – we merged with Duke Center – Rixford and Eldred to form OTTO-ELDRED.

At this time a brand new elementary school had been built right across the street from the ballpark!

I would not have to walk a mile to school in the mornings!

But – I remember that old school and my teachers and the classrooms.

The very first class was in the front and face the main street and I had Mrs. Shields.

We started off spelling the normal way – sounding out the words –

but soon after – we switched to the new way – MEMORY!

That went on for a couple years but it left me and others I know – very poor spellers.

The Alleghany River
The floodwaters of 1972

Across the main street and the railroad tracks – lays what we called THE FLATS!

And just beyond that the Alleghany River!

It seemed growing up part of life in the Spring were floods!

In 1954 or 1955 or thereabouts –

I was told not to go near the water flooded on the main street – I was maybe 6 years old.

But – I had made a raft and was sailing it on the main street – standing up and poling my way around

in about two feet of floodwater.

Unbeknown to me – a photographer from the local Bradford Era Newspaper – took my picture!

I was caught – standing on my homemade raft – poling my way around the main street –

ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE BRADFORD ERA!

But – I also shared that front page later in life with my dad!

He made a bet on the heavyweight champion of the world fight and picked

FLOYD PATTERSON – the bet – the loser would wheelbarrow the winner down Mainstreet

To Slavin’s Bar – my dad won and made that same newspaper front page being pushed by HERKY!

A WWII bomber pilot who had been shot down and made it to the allies’ lines!

The brand new Eldred Elementary School

This sits right across from the ballpark and tennis courts –

I was the first class in there in the fifth grade – Miss Cawley!

Mr. Harrington was my sixth-grade teacher and Principle!

Many games of RED ROVER RED ROVER please send ???? over!

Was played right there on that circle drive in front of the doors.

Later in life – I walked my youngest son down to those front doors and inside to enroll him in Kindergarten – and standing in the lobby with all those parents he reached into his pants pocket and pulled out a bunch of dirt and worms!

He had stopped on our walk and without me knowing – stuffed his pocket with dirt and worms!

THAT I shall always remember!

OTTO – ELDRED H.S.

We were bussed every day from the seventh grade on seven miles to school in Duke Center, Pa.

Three communities combined to have one single H.S. but each community had its own

grade schools and one township grade school.

We had to find our own way home after sports practices if we did not ride the bus.

My good buddy and I – later in H.S. road with his dad to school.

We had a science teacher called CB SAWYER – who had his own music system in his lab.

He would play up to date 45 records of music between classes all day long.

His favorite back then was PAUL REVERE AND THE RAIDERS – “GLAD ALL OVER”

and it was everywhere in the hallways – piped through the loudspeaker system!

OTTO-ELDRED H.S.

I have always said someday I would like to go back and rewalk those halls to that blast of music!

It was across from here I watched a fight between two seniors – and I was one of a hundred people!

I still see it in my mind and they were about three years older than us.

Their names were Ron and Jim!

My senior picture

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My yearbook the year we graduated – June – 1967

Papa’s World – in this little town – Eldred Pa. – is a big WWII museum – tours stop all the time.

Main Street – just above the white truck to the left – is a brick-red building – with a huge Army Tank coming out the side – this is the ELDRED WWII MUSEUM!

When I was growing up – this was Fisbees Insurance and the Electric Company in the Cellar –

and right next to it was Slavin’s Furniture store and gas station.

I would roller skate down to the bays and Jack would sometimes buy me a glass coke out of the machine that stood there between the bays.

I do not remember his last name – but he was a really nice man and lived in Bullis Mills.

We also would come down here and ask for old cardboard boxes –

they all had a heavy layer of wax on them and were perfect for grass riding down the hill opposite of our front porch.

WWII MUSEUM

Today – both buildings are joined and form this fantastic museum – dedicated to WWII

and the munitions plant that made explosives for the war.

It has a full-size ARMY TANK that looks like it is busting right out the wall of the side of the building!

My stepfather – John Soules – who was decorated FIVE times with Purple Hearts and Bronze Stars

Once gave me a revolver he was given permission to bring back to the states

He had all the signed documents from the government –

Before he passed away – he asked for it back so he could donate it here!

A few years ago – I walked down and asked to see it once again.

They had it in a safe – and was told it was worth 30 to 40 thousand dollars!

He took that handheld automatic machine pistol off a NAZI OFFICER he had captured who was dressed as a civilian trying to escape.

I was told this pistol was not from WWII but from WWI and was very rare –

one of the first automatic machine guns ever manufactured by the Germans for WWI!

I got to once again hold it!

A reenactment of women working at the munitions plant outside Eldred during WWII is part of the museum.

As you walk through you come upon room after room of scenes such as this.

This MUSEUM is like something you would find in Washinton DC. yet it is here in the very small town

of ELDRED PA. in the mountains of the ALLEGHANY FOREST in WPA!

I do not know the full story of why it is here – but I do know before the PANDEMIC

regular busloads of people would stop every day.

It sits on North Main Street right across from the old fire hall.

A must-see!

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Memories of my life growing up in a small town in NWPA called ELDRED!

WHERE EVERYONE KNEW YOUR NAME – the ’50’s ’60’s and ’70’s.

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Papa’s World – to my son – Happy birthday Troy!

Third row down – third picture – 3rd. grade – my eldest son Troy Fitzsimmons!

Blong hair – holding my hand as we walked up the street –

every morning for those early years –

I would take him and go to my parents house –

just him and me to see his grandma.

Troy – a few years ago at my youngest sons wedding
Troy – a plaque – for his best friend – who passed away there in a four wheeler accident

Troy has always had a heart of gold – never married –

but raised children not his own.

Today they all call him – still keep in touch with him.

He is a very special man!

He can construct and build anything – a house from the ground up!

Outdoors man – hunter – kind – gentle –

and a beard – a full beard!

A man you want on your side

covering your back

but also a man who would give the shirt off his very own back!

He has heart and soul!
Today with his lady friend – Andrea – they make a wonderful pair.
A die hard Steelers fan

Wishing you my son – a happy birthday – the little guy with blond hair no more – a man all grown up – proud – my son.

” I see before me a man – a child – a son – that I cherish”

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WHERE FRIENDS MEET THE FAMILY

FAMILY MEETS FRIENDS!

Papa and Son

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Papa’s World – into our lives – FRIENDS!

Our volleyball team after I quit playing softball – Back row – next to me – Steve and in front of him next to Sherry – Elaine. This couple are some of our oldest friends – and we still stay in touch today.

We are blessed in that we have so many dear friends.

Some – for me – go back to childhood.

Sherry – Papa – PJ – and Bob!

We have been friends since first grade – Bob and I.

We played sports together – stayed at one anothers homes.

Ran the streets after dark – drank a few beers together

and still – to this day – meet up and share old memories.

They will stop in on their way back home to N.H. in May.

HUGS TO P.J. and Bob.

Fred and Lynda – Sherry!

Freddie and I go back to 7th. grade

Playing sports together – card games – there were four of us that paled around

Freddie – Bobby and Jon ( deceased)

Lynda and Fred are the oldest couple still together as our friends.

Sherry – Buck – Cindy and Papa.

We have traveled the World together –

Spain – Gibraltar – Morocco – Canada – and numerous states on the East coast and the West coast

and in between.

Always planning new adventures.

Friends as neighbors since 1987!

Papa Jim Sherry Dottie – they have been married 40 years – and I knew them both before that – Jimmy and I played softball together for two teams in the late ’70’s!

Jim – Dottie and I all grew up in the same town in Pa. called Eldred.

Jim -Sherry and I all worked together in Olean N.Y.

It has been a long and rewarding friendship all these years.

When all the kids were young – we would vacation together at the beach.

Carol and Mike John, neighbors for 12 1/2 years in WNY!

We were neighbors and they were Buck and Cindy’s friends.

We lived beside them for 12 1/2 years

We would race our ride mowers up and down the street! LOL

We would play jokes on each other.

It was a great time in our lives and the McBrides and us left the hood

shortly after they left and moved South.

The John’s own a painting corp that travels the USA

painting various structures and energy companies pipe lines.

We will spend a long weekend with them at the lake house in WNY!

The Browns and McBrides also.

Jo Paul Peterson and Sherry

Jo graduated one year behind me

Paul graduated with Sherry from Smethport.

We got to know one another through reunions

and have traveled to their home in Phoenix and them to ours before the pandemic.

We have maintained that friendship for the last ten years or so.

Here we are at the WALL in DC.

Reflections of the soul I call this.

Gerhard and Jennie – our son in laws parents

For the last 14 years or more – we have bonded with his parents.

Always visiting them when we lived in NVA.

They have come down to visit us in North Myrtle Beach.

In laws and friends – FAMILY!

Our little group get together to golf.

There are times we try to bring us all together to golf.

Wish it would happen more often.

But when it does – it is fun and guys vs. gals!

If we are not on our game – they will beat us! LOL

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WHERE FRIENDS MEET THE FAMILY

FAMILY MEETS FRIENDS!

Sherry’s FAMILY & FRIENDS of Juice Plus. Her network marketing business – http://www.sf.juiceplus.com SSC QMND

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Papas World – Growing up in a little town – my family.

We did not know that we did not have much!

We never talked about it – we had a black and white TV.

We had numerous cars – first one I remember was when we

brought my baby brother home from the hospital in 1954?

It was a green color and I remember being in the back seat

The upholstery was a fuzzy feeling

and Mom was in the front with Mike and dad driving.


We had the old rotary phone on the wall by the steps to the celler.

Back at that time – it was a “PARTY LINE”!

And you called the operator and gave her I think three numbers.

Then it changed and we got our own number

to which I still know to this day!

And next door my sister lived and I know that number today!

I remember riding with my father and little brother

Across the state line to NY State and to Portville

some maybe 8 miles away.

To a place called “WILSON’S FRUIT STAND”!

It was a treat for us as we always got something

maybe a apple or orange

And my dad always bought a case of Carling’s Black Label

once a week!

Mom and dad drank beer –

There was a group of friends

The Framptons up the street – the West’s out on the South of town

The Howells also on the South of town.

The Petruzzi’s – ( sp ) who was my dads best friend Elmer and Angie.

The Marones – they all bowled together – played cards

and went for vacations to fish in the far North of Canada.

That was before I was old enough to go

and then my little brother came along

But I saw the pictures – my older brother – not my sister –

I do not know why she did not go?

But – my brother was friends with Ron and his father and mother

Elmer and Angie and they remained friends until he passed away

four years ago.

We have our friends today just as they did.

We never had a color TV until 1968 – after I was gone.

I actually had roller skates for a long time before

I got my first bike – a Western Flyer

Then I was off to the park and all points of the town.

My mom was small – maybe 5’2″

and my dad just shy of 6’0

Back then that was tall.

But she ruled the roost so to speak.

We did not have much – no spending money as kids.

My older brother worked and my sister baby sit.

But – I did not know what I did not know.

My memories are good ones.

I remember the very first time I heard

” I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND”

It was the H.S. cafe and a childhood friend

from when I was perhaps 10 or 11

came into the cafe singing this song as he got in line.

But that is another story for another time

We did not have much in growing up

But I retained a load of memories rich in thought!

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Papas World – a small kid in a small town – growing up!

There is a small community
in North Western Pa.
Just a few short miles
from the New York State Border
Situated in what are called
THE ENCHANTED MOUNTAINS
of The Alleghany Mountain Chain

Rolling green hills now -once as large as the Rockies

millions and millions of yearsago

now considered as just “Foothills”

Back in the late 1800’s
or early 1900’s

The small community is well

a place where every one knew your name

you parents and exactly where you lived!

Coming into town on North Main Street
from the border of NYS
sits a junction known locally
as The Kendall Bridge
The Alleghany river runs beneath it
as does the Rail road tracks and trains
A span comes off it
and a road runs under it.
The Kendall Bridge
looking Northward
to the foothills of the mountains
and New York State

The age to drink was 21 in Pa.

But 18 in NYS!

Traveled this road many times

to legally have a beer! LOL

And believe me – the adults knew!

Main Street
Eldred Pa.
and one of the reasons
we moved South
SNOW !!!!!

The post office to the left – the old red fire hall

to the right as I grew up.

And the building up farther in brick

The doctors office & the dental office

and also the Masonic Lodge!

I spent a lot of time there

Dental and Doctor!

Today the leading business
of incoming funds
The Historic World War ll Museum

A full size tank bursting through the wall

a Museum that also encompasses the next large building

Tour buses stop every day!

It is a quality sight to behold!

This little town had many WWll heros

Purple hearts -medal of honors

And I knew everyone of them!

King Street
my stomping ground
when we slept outside
after curfew at 10 PM.
Running and hiding
raiding gardens
Just growing up!
The park where I played baseball
tackle football
and flag football
Softball
And everyday rode my bike to!
The park below the tracks
where in my 20’s
we all chipped in and helped to get it started
and mowed and tuned into a softball field!
Playing our home games here
and holding many tournaments
The Catholic church I attended
as a small child
confirmed in
Another small church
on King street

My older sister Donna on the right and my cousin Patty

Donna helped raise me

as she was 15 years older

and lived right down the street

and later on next door!

My best friend
Bobby Goodman’s house
spent many a night there
on the porch sleeping out
and he at mine
we did not want to sleep inside!

My sister Donna -caught us one night

we had gotten into my parents whiskey!

And she came outside and there we sat on the curb in front

of her house and mine.

After so many questions

I had her almost convinced we were not drinking

Bobby not saying a word!

A car came down the street and we were in its headlights

And that is when Bobby got sick

and threw up in front of her!

Later she laughed and laughed

and always reminded me we did not fool her!

My brother in law Bill – was the police chief

and always took care of me and my friends

as long as we did not get into trouble or do anything bad.

Back after the war
Eldred had a top notch
soft ball team
made up of many who came back
from the war.
My best friend Bobby’s father
is at the bottom right
I knew almost all these men
later in life!
They almost were all my fathers friends!
Most of us joined The Explorer’s
when we were 16
and took many a trip
to Pro games
here we took a three day canoe trip down the river
which when I was in my mid 30’s
I – along with our pastor
took a youth group down the same river
Bobby – far left and then me
Oak hill cemetery
Where in winter
we would ride our sleds
down the hill
between and around
the tombstones!
The high school
where I graduated in 1967
Known then as it is today
OTTO – ELDRED H.S.
Home of the TERROR’S
Our team on the varsity
Bobby is number 83
and I sit to his left
number 65
Those were the best of years.

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livinglifedoingitmyway.blog

A small town growing up
ELDRED PA.