Tag: Pennsylvania

Tales of a Second Grade Nothing

Tales of a Second Grade Nothing

In September while heading east on the Lincoln Highway in the Chambersburg area, I stopped to snap photos of two gas pumps that were part of the Pump Parade. The first was at Shatzer Fruit Market in Chambersburg. It features a Chambersburg peach motif.

A little way down the road was the “Nellie Fox” pump in St. Thomas, PA outside of the Oak Forest Restaurant. I just caught this pump out of the corner of my eye, slammed on the brakes and made a U-ey to take its picture.

The parking lot where I turned around at the Oak Forest had a row of buildings lining the edge of the property. They were small, bungalow-type houses. As soon as I saw them a flood of emotion came over me. This little cluster of buildings was similar to the place where I spent the earliest part of my childhood amongst the creeps, the drunks, the dregs and those of us with families who were just a little down on their luck at the time. And this, right or wrong, consistently fills me with a burning shame.

Why? Why should I care about something that was beyond my control as a child? I mean, I have come a long way from where I started. And yet, those meager beginnings still mark me with a stain that no one but me can see.

Growing up, our little bungalow community was bussed to an elementary school that intermingled us with kids who were comfortably situated in the middle class. We shabby kids rubbed elbows with the children of doctors and lawyers. But in school, kids were kids. We were all the same… until we weren’t.

In second grade, I got to invite a few friends over to celebrate my birthday. It was the first time someone from school who didn’t live in my neighborhood came to my house. My school friend walked into our two-room bungalow and said, “this is it?!” and incredulously noted that her living room was bigger than my whole house, which was true. I am 44 years old now and the sentiment still smarts. I didn’t know there was anything “wrong” with my life until someone else told me so.

I’ve been sitting on talking about my feelings after seeing those stupid little houses for months. And I’ve wavered on the idea that maybe there would be some kind of catharsis, or that I might absolve myself of the guilt of feeling bad about growing up poor. So far? Not so much. Now, I feel like I should be ashamed of being ashamed because as crappy as it might have been, there are people who are or were worse off.

It would be nice if I could adopt the wistful-sounding attitude of my mother. She talks of drying out teabags on the radiator and reusing them and being “as poor as church mice,” as an affliction that was triumphantly overcome. And I confess, in truth it was. But clearly, for me, there is a scar.

Get off the cross, we need the wood.

Photos: 2017 Post Office Pit Stops

Photos: 2017 Post Office Pit Stops

Stopping and snapping photos of post offices while traveling has become something of a habit. A post office seems to give clues about what a place is like. These snaps are some of the post offices I stopped at in 2017.

Rhodell, WV 25915

Helvetia, WV 26224

Vesuvius, VA 24483

North Matewan, WV 25688

Josephine, WV 25857

Onego, WV 26886

Rockfish, VA 22966 (former)

Fanrock, WV 24834

Cucumber, WV 24826

Odd, WV 25902

Rebersberg, PA 16872

Burke’s Garden, VA (former)

Panther, WV 24872

East Smethport, PA 16730

War, WV 24892

 

2017 in Review: Photos of Great Ghost Ads Seen in My Travels

2017 in Review: Photos of Great Ghost Ads Seen in My Travels

My love for the ghost ads of yesteryear is strong. While out and about in 2017, I saw some excellent examples: 

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Point Pleasant, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Layton, New Jersey

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Grafton, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Beacon, New York

Battle Ax Plug Tobacco – Pomeroy, Ohio

Cubanola – Radford, Virginia

Bloch Brothers Tobacco | Rohrbaugh & Co. Furniture & Undertaking – Buckhannon, West Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco  | Golden Rule Department Store – Belington, West Virginia

Bull Durham – Buena Vista, Virginia

Uneeda Biscuit – Poughkeepsie, New York

Sloan’s Linament for Rheumatism – Grafton, West Virginia

Uneeda Biscuit | Gold Medal Flour – Troy, New York

Coca-Cola – Orange, Virginia

Wine of Cardui & Cubanola – Radford, Virginia

Mail Pouch Tobacco | Coca Cola – Renovo, Pennsylvania

Mail Pouch Tobacco – Mill Hall, Pennsylvania


2017 in Review Round-Ups

Haaaaaay, Look at this Kickass School Bus!

Haaaaaay, Look at this Kickass School Bus!

I don’t have a unique method for finding oddball stuff. There is no special radar or a giant U-shaped magnet that draws me to it. But I do sit in front of a computer all day and I do mentally (and electronically) catalog things that interest me.

Map pins aside, I sure do stumble across a lot of neat stuff serendipitously – like this hay bale school bus in eastern Pennsylvania. Could it just be that I’m tuned in to seeing things that other people might ignore? Perhaps. Maybe it’s simply that when I’m riding my motorcycle I am hyperaware.

And really, stuff like this is just dying to be seen:

hay bale school bus

Awesome, right?!

hay bale school bus

 

A Surprise Roadside Animal Menagerie in Pennsylvania

A Surprise Roadside Animal Menagerie in Pennsylvania

While I was on my way to see the Snoopy barn in Nazareth, Pa. I happened to pass by this house with a great menagerie of critters in the front yard.

If I had just one of these animals, I’d be happy. But to have them all? Man. Sadly I can’t remember exactly where this place is. The only thing I know for sure is that I was between Belvidere, New Jersey and Nazareth, Pa.

I love the look on this guys face. It’s like he fell asleep on the train and woke up here and has no idea what’s going on.

Just look at this collection. That crazy bear who’s all hell yeah! about his fish? I mean, c’mon!

Can you imagine the conversation about the buffalo on the far left? “No, babe, let’s turn him around so everyone can see his balls!” I could absolutely imagine dying of laughter in the front yard while directing Kenny to turn Buff around. The people who live here are probably just the right amount of weird.

Relationship Goals:

 

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