More bits and pieces:
A recent story about Charleroi’s Coyle Theatre brought a response from Janet Reconnu, of North Charleroi. Janet, one of four siblings in the Blackburn Family, spent her youthful days traveling the streets and avenues of Monongahela, where her father was a mortician for the Bebout and Yohe Funeral Home. In the story, I had reported that Monongahela had one theatre. Janet corrected me. She, her brother and two sisters had made the trip to both the Bentley, which was located near the center of Main Street, and the Anton, which sat where MacDonald’s now serves their Big Macs, on numerous occasions.
By the way, I was also incorrect in crediting Donora with two movie houses during that era. As of 1958 Donora sported three theatres – The Liberty, The Princess, and The Harris.
If we include The Belle in Fayette City and The Hollywood in California along with Belle Vernon’s 1, Monessen’s 3 and Charleroi’s 4, there were at least fifteen movie theatres in the Mid-Mon Valley during filmdom’s golden era of the fifties.
Don’t you wish we had at least one today?
My most regular correspondence comes from the weekly e-mails I receive from my long-time friend and former Rambler teammate, John Durbin Husher, aka, Jay Boy Husher.
Jay remembers the humble yet instructive demeanor of Corky DeMillion as he worked out at the Turner Club gymnasium.
“I liked him because he was a quiet yet a sure person,” Jay wrote. “He never downed someone if they didn’t tumble correctly. He would just show them the right way.”
Concerning Dolly, Corky’s younger sister and a classmate of Jay’s, he describes her as a “jewel”. Jay also remembers Dolly’s husband, Frank Gaudio, as one of the sandlot heroes we loved watching during those days of yore.
In reference to the mention of Page Park, Jay reminds me that in his first book, “By a River on a Hill”, he describes how the Monessen mills played a major role in the construction of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. All the cables for the bridge came from our Page Plant, the American Chain and Cable Company, while the metal parts were produced in western Pennsylvania steel mills.
Speaking of Jay’s talents as an author, I recently received a copy of his fourth and most recently published book, “The Wonder of Life.” For readers interested in gaining a greater understanding of the essentials of DNA and stem cell research, Jay’s book is a must.
Jay’s other publications include “By a River on a Hill,” “Heroes Afar”, and “Beyond Global Warming.” Any of his books may be ordered on line at www.iuniverse.com or through any Amazon, Barnes, or Noble book stores. A few copies of “By a River on a Hill” are still available at the Monessen Heritage Museum for a special sale price. My friend is currently working on his first fictional novel, which I am anxiously awaiting.
Finally, I am reminded that several faithful readers of this column are now transplanted residents of sunny Florida. Of course you can take the boy (or girl) out of the Valley but you can never take the Valley out of that boy or girl!
That’s why many of them will get together with local “snow birds” on Saturday, when the Monessen South Reunion will be held at The Hilton Garden Inn of Daytona Beach. It will mark the seventh such reunion to be held over the past nine years.
The reunions are attended by permanent residents of Florida as well as the several snow birds who migrate there. This year’s get together is expected to draw about 50 guests.
Much of the success of these reunions must be laid at the feet of Sandra Garofola. Sandra makes most of the arrangements and sends the correspondences for each of these celebrations. If there are any readers who would like to be included in Sandy’s mailing list she may be contacted by writing to her at 2849 Regent Crest, South Daytona, Fl. 32119; by phoning her at (386) 763-3138 or e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.