It was paved with bricks and cut through the center of a valley. Opossum creek ran along the west side. This creek was about 25 feet wide. The road was level, except for a small hill about 600 feet long that started just past our house. There was very little traffic and this hill was used for sled riding in the winter. Two railroad lines ran to the coal mines. The B&O on the east and the Pennsylvania on the west side of the creek. Mine drainage turned the rocks and pebbles and water sulphur yellow. Today after 70 years it runs clear. Farms surrounded the homes on the Pike except the Patch town of Leisenring was to the north. The Pike was the secondary road from Connellsville, passing thru several coal mining patches and ended in Uniontown. The West Penn Trolley ran parallel to the road. Our little section was called Rogerstown. It was a mile long with a Fleet Wing gas station on one end and the small grocer and Justice of the Peace towards the other. Most of the 40 or so houses were occupied by miners who moved out of the patches to escape the Company monopoly on housing, the Company Store and for a little breathing room. Thomas Donovan, my Grandfather, built the house himself on two lots. A lane connected the small Bell farm behind his house to the street. (Fred D. Scarry would later buy this farm.) The house had three bedrooms, a sewing – storage room, a large eat-in kitchen, dining room and parlor. Later a bathroom was added upstairs, with an open porch below according to a 1921 picture. Later the porch was closed in with windows and this became the laundry and mud room. There was an additional small lean-to shed attached to the house originally used as the laundry. Mary and Patrick Henry (Ma’ams sister) built a small bungalow next door. Most of the homes on the Pike were about the same size except for a few smaller single story homes, the store and the Rectory were quite a bit larger. These homes were larger than the Patch houses which had one master bedroom and one dormitory room for children and outdoor facilities. Patch homes were about 850 square ft. These homes were about 1400 square feet. The house initially was heated with two fireplaces down, two up, and the all important kitchen stove. The hot water tank was in the kitchen attached to the cook stove. Some time after it was built a hot water furnace was added to the house.
We had a wooden, egg shaped washer that rocked back and forth. On Monday you loaded it by carrying pails of water from the kitchen. Add the bundle of clothes and come back in a half hour. Next you ran each article of clothing thru the wringer into a rinse tub, back thru the wringer, then to the line stretched up the back yard. The cellar was used during rainy or extremely cold weather. Access to the cellar was outside. You washed the kitchen stuff first, then the whites and last load the colored stuff. The white articles had an additional rinse in blueing or starch. Work clothes were boiled on the coal stove in a large copper kettle shaped in the configuration of the stove’s heating area. The next day the clothes were ironed in the dining room. I was in charge of the handkerchiefs and pillow cases. Thursdays was bread making day. We usually had sandwich buns and cinnamon rolls. Saturday after Bible study we cleaned the house. I was in charge of dusting the dining room. Being a slow learner I usually had to do it twice. After the kitchen floor was scrubbed by hand, newspapers were spread over the floor to keep it clean till Sunday.
There was a Greek Catholic Church two houses up from us and a large cemetery behind that. The church had all-day fund raising picnics in the summer. There was dancing, a Polka band, bingo and Hot dog stand. They also sold beer, off to the side, in a separate shed. The Romza boys (the Priest’s sons) John, Bendy, and Victor and I spent the day there. The Monday after each picnic we would look for lost money on the ground. We never found any. The rest of the week these 14 acres were our play ground. We built huge wooden airplanes that never moved. Since aviation was in its infancy, many companies promoted their products on this theme. One such promotion was Heinz Rice Crispies. If you sent in several 57 circles from the side of the box they would send you a Pilot’s flight wings similar to those worn by Captain Roscoe Turner, to wear on your shirt. The Romzas ate this cereal and we all had our Lieutenant wings. John saved additional coupons and was promoted to Captain. We attempted a swimming pool but gave up after several hours digging in the clay. We had a very large spreading tree with many branches we used for climbing. We had to stand on a headstone to reach the first branch. We all felt a little guilty about that. The tree is still there today. One of the boys was allergic to cows milk so we built a large wagon to gather tall grass from the cemetery in anticipation of their getting a goat. We had visions of the first grade McGuffy reader stories of goat carts and us riding around the cemetery. The goat was gone within a few months. Three or four times each summer Father Romza would drop us off at Shady Grove Park. We could swim (wade up to our neck) all afternoon. It was never boring in the summer for us. We were going from dawn to dusk every day.
Parallel to the road and well behind the houses the mine dumped their waste from screening the coal. This was called the Slate Dump. It was 1000 feet long and 20 foot high and 50 foot wide. All of the older boys, including Fred and Basil and many of the fathers worked the pile reclaiming coal. Every one staked out their area and no one ever violated their diggings. After the summer of digging every morning they had enough coal to last the winter. Our house was one of the few that had a furnace. The others used Heatrolas, fireplaces, and kitchen stoves. Coal and wood had to be carried to the kitchen and basement every day.
Between the last house on the Pike and the mine were the beehive coke ovens. 150 ovens. These oven spewed fumes across the road onto a field that was turned into a six acre lot without a tree, bush or blade of grass. The Company houses were adjacent and beyond this desert. The rains washed deep inter connecting gullies thru the lot; some as deep as five foot. My friends and I being about 4 foot tall used these gullies to play in. They were called the Clay Ditches. The mine and ovens were not working in the mid 30’s. Hundreds of idle railroad coal cars were parked around the Beehive ovens. A elderly man, “Vinsect” converted two ovens into his home by removing the bricks between adjacent ovens. Each room was about 15 ft in diameter. Every one knew you never violated his privacy. Daily he walked slowly to Connellsville and back. He stopped in front of the Greek Church, which had a 15 foot tall crucifix in front of it, removed his cap,bowed his head and said a prayer every time he passed. I do not remember his talking to anyone except Mrs. Ann Matzko, who lived below us and fed him a meal every day. At most he spoke five or six words to her. He would not go into the house, but ate in the coal shed.
Of the forty houses on the pike three had phones that I know of. The Priest, The Justice of the Peace, and the Tax Collector. Everyone was poor but we kids didn’t know it. It was around this time FDR was elected and I remember putting a NRA sticker in the window. NRA meant National Recovery Act. I asked Uncle Joe what NRA meant and he said “Never run away”. I think this act was declared unconstitutional later on.
Milk was delivered every morning in quart glass bottles by the Model Dairy. In the winter it froze and had a 2 inch column of frozen cream on top. The cardboard lid of the bottle was sitting on top of the column. Some of the cream was always saved for coffee for the grownups. In the summer everyone washed jars during the season. First the Blackberry, which Basil and Fred picked at first light. If you waited till eight o’clock the berries would be gone. This was Blackberry Jam. Then wild Crab Apple and Elderberries. Vegetables were combined and canned as vegetable soup base. Tomatoes were next, then Grape jelly. In the summer at 80 to 100 degrees and with the coal stove going to boil the sterilizing water for the jars and cooking the mix, the kitchen became very hot. The vegetable garden was about one half acre in size. They raised tomatoes, peppers, corn ,cabbage, beans, onions, lettuce, radishes, and potatoes. In the early spring we smaller children watered the plants with a small can, running back to the end of the row after each plant was watered. We had no hose that would reach the interior of the garden. Many prayers were offered for rain. Basil and Fred did much of the work in the garden. We also raised chickens and several turkeys. I never liked gathering the eggs as I was told you could get lice in a chicken coop. The Ice wagon came by several days a week delivering 25 or 50 pounds of Ice. You put a card in your window if you wanted any with an indicator on the card for the quantity. The Ice Man would put the ice into the Ice Box. The Molinars ran a horse and van type wagon selling meat. My friend Sam Harry and I sat on the step to the door on the back of the wagon and rode up the street swinging our legs as we went along. We thought Mr. Molnar did not know we were there, but I am sure he did. Sam’s Grandmother was a customer and would buy a five cent box of animal cracker cookies from him occasionally. Sometimes Mr. Molnar gave us a hot dog, which we ate on the spot. This was the only time I ever ate a hot dog except once, I had a dime and bought one at the Greek Picnic. I didn’t understand the salesman and said ” yes” when he asked if I wanted onions. I ran home to scrape the onions off. I could not get the smell of onion out. I thought what a waste of money! Onions.
Our meals started with Breakfast which was Quaker or Mothers Oats from a very large box. The box usually had a premium such as a tin measuring cup, or ceramic cup and saucer. This stuff was cooked in boiling water till it turned into something like library paste. Then diluted with milk and sugar in your bowl. Sometimes we made toast in a large wire rack with handles. You laid the rack over the hot part of the stove lids and turned it several times. This rack was fine for home made bread of uneven thickness. This usually happened on Saturday. Weekends we also had French Toast. Sunday dinner which was usually a large beef or pork roast and mashed potatoes. Occasionally one of the chickens was roasted. For dessert we had many lemon meringue, coconut cream, and fruit pies. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday was always had hash made from Sunday’s roast. Spices and herbs used in the kitchen consisted of salt, pepper, onions and bay leaves. My mother never bought a clove of Garlic in her lifetime. We never ate spaghetti, lasagna or any ethnic foods except Halupkies, (Ground meat in a grape leaf) which the lady next door explained to her. If it wasn’t bland Irish, we didn’t eat it. One January Saturday when only Uncle Joe and I were home, I decided to make a cake with the new Hamilton Beech mixer mother received for Christmas from Joe. I decided on a Spice Cake as it had the most interesting ingredients. I added everything as it was listed on the ingredient chart, dry stuff first then the milk and eggs. I put it into the cold oven and waited. Later Uncle Joe came out and turned the heat on in the oven by shifting a lever on the back of the stove. About an hour or so later a nice cake came out about 1 1/2 inches thick. It was a good start. Else explained to me the instructions which followed the recipe. I made cakes every Saturday thereafter. Spice was my specialty but I tried others such as pineapple upside down. Another day Uncle Joe was home and was in charge of the meals. My parents were out. He put a can of baked beans in the oven to warm and forgot about them. As we were eating, the unopened can of beans exploded, blowing the Pin hinges off the door, and the door across the room. The door had to be welded together after that. There was a rocking chair in the kitchen next to the stove. I imagine my mother and grandmother spent many a winter day there enjoying the heat and rocking a baby.
Bill Swan Appliance was delivering a GE refrigerator one afternoon around 3:30. My father arrived as they were taking it off the truck. Swan sent it out without his approval promising easy payments. It went back on the truck. My father never bought anything except for cash. Later we did get a refrigerator and I made Ice Cream from heated Evaporated milk using the recipe in the GE pamphlet. Adding berries or pineapple improved it. By todays standards it was not much, but we enjoyed it. I had never tasted real Ice Cream.
None of us ever went to a Doctor. If we stayed home from school we got a dose of Castor Oil and an orange to wash it down. It was years before I enjoyed oranges after that. Believe me there was no malingering. If we had bananas I would always slice mine and eat each slice slowly. They lasted longer that way.
Every now and then a scrap man, again with horse and wagon, would come by, buying scrap metal the older boys collected. They made a few pennies. If you heard a ringing bell, you ran and told your mother the knife and scissors sharpener was coming. He walked by once or twice a year carrying his wheel on his back. Fridays a man in a truck came by selling canned oysters. My dad liked them. At Christmas the only houses I knew to have a tree was the tax collector and the priest. Everyone went to see the tax collectors. We had two Blue Spruce trees in the front side yard. Uncle Joe bought several strings of blue outdoor lights and trimmed one of the trees. The Greek Priest’s boys celebrated RC Christmas and Greek Christmas in January. They also had two Easters. I celebrated with them. The church put out raffle punch cards. The prize was a five pound box of chocolates. Each punch had a girl’s name beside it. Prices ranged from one to 12 cents. I sold one card every year. In return I received a five pound box of chocolates which I gave to Else as her Christmas gift. I was a nice kid. I was not fond of the cream or jelly candies and was not experienced enough to distinguish the caramels from their shapes. So every bite was a chance.
The Radio was a Cathedral type Philco that sat on a table in the corner of the dining room. Mary, T, and I listened to Jack Armstrong-the all American boy, Little Orphan Annie, and Tom Mix. Each program was 15 minutes long. They were always offering premiums for coupons clipped from their products, The aluminum seal of the Ovaltine bottle, the box top of Ralston or Wheaties breakfast cereal. I once got a live turtle similar to the ones that saved Tom Mix’s life by leading him to fresh water in the desert. Mary had a secret decoder badge from Orphan Annie and was able to decipher the secret messages broadcast at the end of the programs. Jack Armstrong, Buddy, and his sister Betty were forever trapped on a high plateau in darkest Africa, waiting for Uncle Jim to rescue them. Uncle Joe, Else, and Dad listened to the news with Lowell Thomas, Easy Aces, Amos & Andy, and Spencer Keen-tracer of lost persons. Lowell Thomas sponsor was Blue Sunoco Gasoline; Easy Aces featured Anacin-Aspirin plus a special ingredient to speed up relief. Gang Busters came on around 8:00 with a blast of machine gun fire, blaring sirens and screeching tires–I was in bed 30 seconds later. Occasionally I could hear a muted siren from upstairs.
On Saturday mornings we walked one mile or so to church, rain or shine, hot or cold for Bible Stories from 10 to 11. Then again after Mass on Sunday we stayed for one hour for Catechism classes. Our teacher was Margaret Sweeney. She also taught in the public schools. I lived to get the stickers; pumpkins, turkeys, rabbits depending on the season. Always a chocolate bunny at Easter. She was the only instructor that gave rewards. During Lent, while I was in first grade. Else and our neighbor Mary McQuade decided to attend Mass every morning before school. McQuades owned a 1929 Ford Sports Coupe. Mrs. McQuade drove, my mother beside her. Mary squeezed in between and T on mothers lap. I laid on the shelf behind the front seat. On Saturdays Fred and Basil stood outside on one running board holding on to the decorative handle of the sports coupe and the open window. Red and Larry McQuade stood on the other running board. They did not attend daily Mass as they were in High school or Trotter grade school. After a 20 minute mass, we were half the congregation, rushed out , and made it to Leisenring school in time for class. It beat walking to school. Chances were pretty good we never met any other traffic. During lent we also went to Stations-of-the Cross and Benediction on Wednesday and Friday evenings, late. 40 hours and spiritual retreats. At the end of the 40 hours about a dozen young Priests came and they led in reciting the Litany of the saints in Latin. I remember their singing “Ora ropa Nobis” over and over. I thought that was great. We usually walked and played all over the road on the way home. In the summer it was just about dusk. It was fun except in the winter. Other times of the year we went on Sunday evenings for Rosary and Benediction. While walking to church on Saturday we went out of our way to cross a long, high railroad trestle (20 ft high) which was near the church but went in the opposite direction. You had to step from tie to tie over the spaces between them. The older kids keep telling us if a train came we would all be killed unless we jumped or laid down in the exact center of the track. They debated that we would not die if we landed in the creek instead of the ground. There hadn’t been a train on these tracks in years, but they believed this.
One day someone at school gave me a voucher and told me to take it to the Company store. They fitted me with a new pair of shoes and a pair of black stockings that came up to my knee. These shoes were ugly, the stocking worse. They probably had them since WW I. They were black, had funny toes, came up over my ankles. I had to wear them till they wore out. I got used to them. What I wanted was the Hi-Top boots with a side pocket and penknife. And an Aviator cap with goggles and side flaps that came down over my ears that I saw in the Sears & Roebuck catalog. Miraculously, the next year at Christmas, I got both, but somehow the knife never showed up. I never did find anything to put in that pocket. The other thing I wanted most was a small car with a gas motor that was advertised every Sunday in the comic section of the paper showing a small boy driving around an estate driveway; in color. Here, 70 years later my four year old grandson has that car with an electric motor. So– my prayers were answered, but a little slow.
One warm Spring morning on the way to school with Mary and others, we encountered an angry group of Miners in several cars and a dump truck, some waving shot guns, near the Leisenring mine. One guy noticing I was hiding behind Mary shouted “Don’t be afraid kid, we won’t hurt you.” This may have been the beginning of the 33 coal mine strike.
I attended first grade at the Leisenring school, Mary was in third grade. Every morning some students received 1/2 pint of milk. I was not one except when one of those eligible was absent. I don’t know why I was not on the list as I was so thin you could see thru me. When I was ready for second grade we found out it was optional for us to go to the Leisenring or Trotter school. My mother wanted us to go to Leisenring as she was more familiar with it and probably taught there. We discussed (pleaded begged) this option all summer. As we left for school Else said we could do what ever we wanted, but she preferred Leisenring. We waved as we rode by on the bus. I was in Trotter school from second to sixth grade. Donny Sweeney drove the school bus. All of our classes had 50+ students. Trotter school had a large field as a playground. When it snowed Mr. Whitmore, the Principal made a hugh circle in the snow and about 50 of us played “Fox and Geese”. I forget the rules except you ran a lot. Our lunches were packed the night before and lined up on the window sill, oldest to youngest. In the fall we had an apple, tomato-velvetta sandwiches and cake wrapped in wax-paper. A single sheet of yesterdays newspaper as the wrapper and string formed a nice square package. The newspaper was also used as the table cloth on our desk. Later after the tomato season we switched to jelly sandwiches. As there were no sodas I ate a bite of apple and then a bite of dry sandwich. If any boy played hooky Mr. Whitmore met him at the front door the next morning and dragged him to his second floor office. The wrestling, walloping and wailing could be heard for miles. The truant would next be seen standing on the stage of the auditorium, reading the Bible during our lunch hour. I imagine he did not want to sit.
At the close of the school year the School District had an all day picnic at Kennywood Park. Admission was free and each student was given 10 free ride tickets. My brothers used my tickets as I was not allowed to go till fifth and sixth grade. We rode school buses to the Western Maryland/P&LE RR train station in Connellsville. We then rode the special train directly to the park. This was my first train ride. It was as exciting as the park. We packed a chip basket with our sandwiches and stuff and put the basket on a picnic table in the pavilion. We came back at noon and the basket was still there. My favorite ride was the Row boats. You could ride for an hour for two tickets. That seemed like a bargain to me. This was amazing with all these students and very few parents. Most of the teachers were around talking to each other. There were mirrors in one of the arcades that displayed a sign “see yourself as others see you” I put in a nickel and put my head in the hole. I waited and waited but no picture ever came out. I was up to 15 cents I wasted in my lifetime.
Every once in a while Uncles Mike and Tom would show up on a Saturday morning. They visited a while and left with Uncle Joe. Then to Connellsville to get Uncle Jack. They were all in trouble after that. One day Uncle Tom brought me a small red wagon.
1934 All of the older boys on the pike walked to Connellsville to swim in the Youghiegheny river. It was three miles each away. While returning from swimming at Flat Rock Basil, 12, is hit by a Train and suffered a head contusion. He was taken to the train station on the caboose and then to the hospital for stitches. At that time he was four or five years younger than the other boys. They probably ran across the tracks to beat the freight train, but Basil didn’t make it. He for ever after combed his hair in a pompadour to cover the scar. They took me once or twice. On hot days I wondered if it was worth it. They also dammed a creek on a nearby farm and had a moderate size hole for swimming. Smaller boys were not allowed near the hole. They also used old RR ties to build a cabin. I think I was allowed inside once. They had some kind of stove for heating. One night it burned down. They rebuilt it. They saved Octagon Soap coupons and used them to purchase a pair of clip-on Roller Skates at Loucks Hardware Store. Only two boys on the pike owned a bike. Half of the families owned a car. Uncle Joe had a Model T single seat black Ford. It was parked at the top of the yard by the lane. I never saw it run, but it made a nice play area. We had a small 29 Model A Ford Coupe modified by my father with a rumble seat. If it rained you rode inside with the lid closed. In 1938 after returning to work at the RR Fred bought a 1936 blue 4 door Ford V8. He sold this in 1943 as he could not drive because of poor peripheral vision after his cataract operation.
According to Mary this happened. I find it hard to believe, but maybe. Occasionally we were given a dime and Mary, Theresa, and I would go to Matzko’s store and spend the whole dime on penny candy. Three green leafs for a penny, or a small Tootsie roll, hard ball, or licorice whips. It would take quite a while to make the selection. John the owner was quite patient and the store rarely had other customers. We would take the poke of candy home. My Mother baked bread every week, but my friends, the Romza’s bought their bread. I loved it. One summer evening I was sent alone to the store for candy; I came back with a loaf of sliced white bread. I wonder if this is where the expression “The greatest thing since sliced bread” comes from.
The WPA sent Babe Lepara around recruiting girls from the area to take Tap Dancing lessons from him. The lessons were given at the Greek Church social hall for one hour every Saturday. Mary and about 20 others signed for the lessons. Twenty others watched. Cost was ten cents.
1936: Fred Donovan Scarry 18 enrolls in the Civilian Conservation Corps and works in Oakland, Maryland. He stays for three years. He earns $30 per month of which he keeps $5 and $25 is sent to his mother. This was a considerable amount of money being sent to his family. After his return he works at Anchor Hocking which recently reopened. He later goes to work for the Western Maryland Railroad as a Fireman.
1937: Frank 59 and family move to East Liverpoole, Ohio. Frank owned a early 30s Dodge with a Ram on the front water cap. In 1942 he worked in Warren, OH in a steel Mill. He later, at age 65, went to work in Newport News Boat Yard. The same place he worked during the first War. He was engaged in building Essex Class Aircraft Carriers.
1938: James Scarry dies at age 46. He worked for Stone & Work, a lumber & coal retailer at their Arch Street yards. He never owned a car, rode the Trolley which passed in front of the house, his job and the Elks Club. Joe Edward Scarry (me) lives with Attie for 9 months while he is in the seventh grade at Immaculate Conception School. Life couldn’t get any better than this. My personal concierge, valet, and cook. I had store bread, toasted in the gas range broiler every morning covered in real butter, not oleo, and packaged cereal from the store. I would go to Newmyers Ice Cream Parlor and bring back two cones covered with wax paper. Always Maple Nut for ATTIE even though the nuts got under her teeth plates. I joined the Troop 3 Boy scouts in January as soon as I turned 12 and became an Altar Boy. After Basil graduates from Dunbar Township HS in 1939 the rest of family moves to Race Street. Fred is still in CCC.
The B&ORR recalls my father to work after a 8 year furlough.
1939: Fred Scarry 50 and family move from Mud Pike to 1121 Race St. His first job is to paint the house. Basil sells Christmas trees at the corner of Pittsburgh & Green St for the proprietor of the Bar. Later gets a job as a Soda Jerk at the Rexall drug store. Jack Donovan also worked there before leaving for the Army. He is the first person drafted from Connellsville. Another job Basil had was driving an elderly Clothes Salesman to nearby cities. He spent all of his money on clothes from the man. Then he left for the Army in 42. I wore the clothes.
I got a job delivering the Pittsburgh Press. The route coveres half of the South side. I traveled about 3 miles delivering 30 papers for 3/4 cent each. The paper sold for 3 cents. We had to collect every Saturday and give our money to John White’s news agency. The first thing I did was save $27.50 for a red “Pilot” bike from the Firestone store. I then delivered the morning Post-gazette to customers in the center of town from Fayette St. to Fairview Ave, Water to Prospect. My last customer was Father Geibel, next to the school. I made about the same amount of money but had to pick my papers up before 7AM. I never received a tip from any customer even though I put every paper on the porch or inside the screen door if requested. I never collected from my mother. In the fall 1942 one customer, A. A. Clarke, offered me a job in his drug store. He needed two boys and my friend Sam Harry got the other job. I replaced Jim Mahokey (Mary’s cousin). In 1945 George Bailey (Mary’s brother) and Sally Swallop replaced me. Sally was the first female to ever work in the store since it opened in 1903. I worked from 4 to 10.30 MWF, 8AM to 10:30 PM on Saturday and the same every other Sunday during the school year. In the summer I worked from 8 am to 5 pm T-Th and 3 pm to 10:30 MWF, Saturday and every other Sunday 8-10:30. Summers I earned $16/week. The pharmacist earned $50. But I was doing better than the girls who worked all day Saturday in the 5&10 for $1.00. There were no paid vacations or holidays. In my three years I received a 10 cent tip. I worked there during my junior and senior years till I went into the Army.
During the war we had no automobile. My mother did the family shopping at the A&P. She would walk to the store and carry the groceries home on the Trolley. I do not know how she managed this. There were several other smaller stores closer to us but their prices were much higher. If you purchased anything at Troutmans Dept. Store they would deliver any package, no matter how small, the next day. During the war the Government issued ration cards for shoes, meat, sugar, and coffee. This added to the inconvenience of shopping but did not have an effect on our lifestyle. For those with a car, gasoline and tires were also rationed. They started to deliver milk every other day during the war to conserve gas. They never went back to daily delivery. The milk was the same price at the store or delivered.
After the War started we collected old newspapers for the “War Effort”. Sam Harry and friends built a huge wagon which we pulled around the neighborhood streets collecting the paper. We would spend all of Saturday morning on this project. One of his “friends” volunteered to store the paper in his garage till a collector picked it up in a truck. It was not till years later we found this “friend” was selling the collected paper. We were 15 years old.
In school we practiced for air raids, even though the enemy never had planes capable of reaching our shores. We would gather in the hallway on the first floor sitting with our backs against the wall singing patriotic songs such as “Wing and a Prayer”, “White Cliffs of Dover” and others. Several times a year the city would have air raid exercise. All lights had to be turned off and no one was permitted on the street. Volunteer air raid wardens would patrol the streets. I suppose they did this in London and they thought it would be good for us to do also.
Rose Brady (Mary’s aunt) at the suggestion of her brother, an Army Chaplain, organized a large group of ladies to meet all Troop Trains and regular passenger trains and gave the servicemen on board free coffee, sandwiches, cookies, cake, and fruit. These ladies worked around the clock and never failed to meet a train. Several younger women would take any serviceman who got off the train to their homes in the county. This organization required a large amount of work to raise the money, prepare the food and get the volunteers to the station. The troop train schedules were never posted in advance. These trains could have several hundred men on them and the volunteers would only receive several hours advance notice. My mother was one of the volunteers. No matter what the weather or schedule she had she would drop everything and walk the mile and a half to the station. She was 48 years old at this time. Weather in Connellsville could be severe, below 0-F in winter and a muggy 90 in the summer. Rain and snow came without notice, often.