Papa’s World – before there was STAND BY ME – ELDRED

In a little community five miles from the New York State border –

In North West Pa. – stands a village –

called Eldred.

Nestled in the Allegany hills by the river of the same name –

Home to me for my first thirty years of life.

The Allegany Mountains

With a population through out the years at 800 to 1000 people –

Everyone knew your name and parents !

And we had a CURFEW –

yes – the fire station siren –

would blast away at 10:00 every night !

It could be heard all over town –

Main street in the 1800’s

Many a night during the Summer –

sleeping out –

be it in my own back yard or front porch –

or that of a friend –

We found ourselves roaming the streets –

long after curfew !

We did not do anything wrong other than raid some gardens .

Smoke a cigar or cigarette

and later – up on the hill –

Drink some Colt 45 !

Rural Eldred

We had friends – from all parts of town –

I lived on North Main Street

A lot of my friends lived by the ballpark –

yes we had a ball diamond with lights !

And tennis and basketball courts !

Stand by Me

Grade school friends –

later High School –

There was a movie that came out

” STAND BY ME “

Well before that –

was “ELDRED” at least in my life !

My STAND BY ME FRIENDS – me second from left

We formed a group in my Freshman year –

one of my friends fathers named BUD formed it !

It was called “THE EXPLORERS” –

a step up from the Boy Scouts.

We did everything – raised money –

held the first dances in the area.

We went on trips – Pro football games –

And my favorite – a long weekend canoe trip –

down the Allegany River !

Here in this picture you can see our camp site by the river.

Streets of Eldred

We all played sports –

baseball – basketball and football.

It kept us busy and out of trouble –

It was our time in youth –

Some are now gone –

others I see once in a while –

But – all are memories of a time long gone.

ELDRED WWII MUSEUM

This little town has a big city Museum –

rather large –

thousands of square feet –

with life size displays of people –

trucks – jeeps – armaments –

and a TANK BUSTING THROUGH ITS WALL !

A must see on the history of this area and WWII

Part of the history of the area is that

manufacture of WWII bombs

and munitions

and bullets were made here.

It was a highly guarded site –

The museum has all

and more of the lore of the area.

Bus loads of people stop and tour it.

Work out center used to be Justice of Peace – before that – a grocery store – repurpose as the town ages

It is not a large town – small in fact –

the buildings from the 1800’s –

many are still there –

only in another form.

Main street has no red lights –

And in hunting season –

it fills up with hunters from the cities.

But it is a place where I grew up –

A place of friendship through the years

A place where NORMAL stands out –

and a place called ” ELDRED “

long before ” STAND BY ME “

TOM & SHERRY

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Papa’s World – The first time I met Bill – Sherry’s father.

We had been dating for a couple months – and now it was time

she told me – to meet her parents!

I had a 1977 Pontiac Grand Prix and this was 1981.

It was a burgundy red with a half white leather top.

All leather inside to match the burgundy and bucket seats!

My thought was maybe he would like the car

and then like me! LOL

So goes a nervous mind of a 31 year old!

Bill was a man – and a vet of WWII.

Serving in the war and told me a few stories.

Sherry told me he had been in a motorcycle accident some years before.

And had been injured really bad

to the point he almost died.

He was a master carpenter and did all the remodeling

on their home – building additions

and was currently building a chimney

and facing it with bricks as we drove up and parked.

She told me just be normal – but he was imposing – 6′ 2″

Sherry got her height from him and his personality

I was later to find out.

She reminds me so much of him.

We got out of the car

and he later told me he thought I was a State Trooper

because I looked like a State Trooper friend of his named Carl.

Sherry Debby Bonnie standing just to the right of the front porch he had put on and was facing the chimney with bricks

He stopped as we walked up and she introduced me and we shook hands.

It was a firm grip – a grip of a Vet and father if you know what I mean.

He had Three daughters – Sherry being the oldest.

We both had been married before

and man I was nervous.

Debby Sherry Bonnie

But – after a few words he made me feel at home

and ever since that day – he became a second father to me.

Teaching me all about construction –

I still can not master it but at least I know some things!

My own father passed when I was 19 and the last years of his life

he spent in a battle with lung cancer.

Bill loved to cook – as did Barb – but I remember him standing

in the kichen at the stove watching over the fry pan

making breakfast – smiling that crooked grin he had.

Sherry Bonnie Debbie Barb Bill

That first day back then started a friendship

that lasted some 18 or 19 years until he passed away.

He told me many a story – both about the War

and his early life growing up in Ludlow

where my brother in law Bill grew up.

Cindy Tom ( Papa) Sherry

We have been together 39 1/2 years Married 38 years

and every time I look at her

I see Bill – certain little things I notice.

And a lot of people tell her that I look like her father

some who did not know us asked if I were his son.

Tom ( Papa) Sherry

Yep – that day in 1981 I drove my car up the driveway

and by the way – he liked that car!

Just another day of memories

and one that I cherish to this day-

THE DAY I MET BILL!

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WHERE FRIENDS MEET THE FAMILY!

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Papa’s World – Growing up – Eldred Pa. part four

The men of Eldred

I remember each and everyone of these men –

This was the volunteers for the fire department –

In every facet of my life growing up –

I most likely came in contact with them all at one time or other.

GROWING UP ELDRED PA. part four of Papa’s World.

Fire department
just down the street from my house

This was a busy building – where the men came together –

all volunteers and the ladies auxiliary also met.

And just across the street next to the Post Office was “SLAVINS ” !

Local hangout bar and meeting place for most of these people !

Run by Russ and Tootie Slavin – a local family –

who in each Slavin branch – all very good athletes

and known through NWPA !

I can remember every year – the firemen would come along the curb

in front of our house on North Main Street –

and with chalk would write and mark where each unit was to line up

and this would go all the way back to the Kendall bridge !

The MEMORIAL DAY PARADE marked the end of the school year

and the beginning of Summer !

The Kendall Bridge

I was always told that this bridge was one of only two –

The other I think was in Japan.

It was a two lane bridge – with a road coming off in the middle –

Spanning a railroad track – another road –

and a river running under it !

I do not know if that was true or not –

with a gas station ( Kendall) across from the entrance.

but it is still there today !

The parade back then and today – is always led by the veterans of the town

It seems like that number down through the years never dwindles.

For such a small town – ( 800 to 1000) people

It has provided the military of scores of men

in all the conflicts fighting for their country.

Terry – Ron – Freddie -Paul and Skeet
my brothers close friends

Two are now gone – three remain – four played baseball with my brother

Freddie was in the little league World Series.

Four played for my father

Ron and my father
Clarence Russel Fitzsimmons
known as Bob or Fitz

I was too young – I never went –

But there were families of friends who went every year

To far North in Canada fishing !

We had a old red barn down back –

three stories tall and a stable underneath –

I can still see in my mind

The red front and the big sliding gray door –

and to the left

DOZENS of fish heads nailed up on the wall

Muskie – Pike

Fish that they caught and brought home.

Roger went but I was born ten years younger

I never went but looked at hundreds of pictures !

Thank you for reading Papa’s World part four.

Growing up Eldred Pa.

Part five is next !

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My email fitztdf@aol.com

SHERRY Certified Health Coach

For HEALTH & NUTRITION

http://www.sf.juiceplus.com

email

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where friends and family meet.

Papas World – some say I am not normal – & I know that!

Ever since I can remember –

the first bird chirping –

My bedroom as I got older after my older brother

left for college –

Was right in the front of the house –

Facing East and those first rays of the Sun.

GOOD MORNING EVERYONE !

I have always awoken either before those first rays

or shortly after!

I am up early each and every day –

first cup of coffee

BEFORE the morning paper hits the pavement!

And it is that way even if I force myself

To stay up and watch the BALL DROP for NEW YEARS!

My wife and I just had this conversation

About how over the years – we use to party –

Now it is CAN WE STAY AWAKE !

And – I am good with 7 to 71/2 hours of sleep –

BUT – it has to be when I am tired ( 8 to 8:30 PM. )

If I go to bed then – I SLEEP – solid –

seems in my later years –

I always wake up once to go to the bathroom! LOL

But – if I stay up –

I wake up the same time each day –

and then I feel terrible the rest of the day!

It’s like I have a internal clock

( I do not use a alarm clock)

If you tell me you want up at a certain time

I WILL WAKE YOU UP with NO alarm clock!

I do not know how that works – but it does for me!

THIS IS ME!
LOL

My wife is opposite ( we do attract each other)

She likes to stay up later – somewhere around 10 to 11:30 PM.

She will wake up from 5 to 6 am. and read her phone –

I think it is her phone –

She is the lead in our book club from church

and she reads the books on line –

BUT – after a half hour or so – SOUND ASLEEP AGAIN! LOL

7:30 to 8:00 AM. she is up and ready to go-

Me – I have done all my face book – email – and my writing

read the entire paper front to back

and had two cups of coffee & ready for shower!

Morning Sunrise
I get to see this
each and every morning

Life has it’s own schedule for everyone

mine happens to be EARLY

And I can remember those mornings back to my childhood

That bedroom not only faced East – but had huge maple trees

with lots of birds – all chirping with the first rays of Sunshine.

There was the main highway as we lived on the main street of a small town

In NWPA.

In the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains

I could hear the trucks going by –

and behind the house the railway tracks

The ” Click – Click ” as the wheels of the train as it passes

Lulled me to sleep each night!

Opposites attract

Yes – I am up at the crack of dawn –

The dawn gets lighter

That is just who I am –

I like my morning solitude

My quiet time – my time to write – think and read.

Thank you for reading Papa’s World

livinglifedoingitmyway.blog

Where friends meet the family!

Your day is just starting – mine is hours old –

So Sunday mornings – I get dressed and head to church –

8:15 AM. service

By that time – my day is well on it’s way –

AND I DON’T MIND AT ALL!

Thank you!