Family Ramblings living in a Coal Patch by Jack

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Post by Den034071 » Fri. Apr. 03, 2020 8:16 pm

In the 1950's there were 6 twin houses, no indoor bathrooms & all heated by COAL. In the Spring I helped my Pop dig our garden. We planted Tomatoes, string beans, parsley etc. In the Fall Mom canned the veggies. Early Summer meant "fill the Coal Bin". Me & Pop picked small coal lumps from a nearby refuse culm bank & filled the coal bin for Winter. Also, us kids would swim at the #12 dam. The water flowed from the breaker into the dam. The only problem was that we returned home
blacker than coal & had to get hosed down in the back yard.
That year there was a Wedding in our patch, they were they were Polish. Bride & Grooms families built a dance floor in the back yard of the Brides mothers house. Saturday was the wedding & reception. All the neighbors were invited. Kegs of beer on tap and homemade Whisky. Lots of Polish food & Polka dancing. The reception lasted until Monday when all the Booze was finally gone.
During the Fall we had Halloween. No Trick or Treat with hands held out. In the Coal regions you performed a song or told a naughty Poem. Into the Bars we went & did our thing, 38 Bars by the way. In the end I made $15 bucks.
In the Winter I wanted to ski, like in the movie newsreels. I tore apart a big wooden barrel & fastened home made shoe stirrups, for my feet, to the barrel staves. Rubbed candle wax on the staves & down hill I would go with old clothesline poles to help guide me.
Making A Buck: On Saturdays in the Summer, the Junk man came to the Patch in his old truck. I picked some nuts, bolts & spikes from the nearby railroad tracks. Payoff was $ .35 cents. A buddy of mine had a racket. Flavio Parelli put his steel scrap, car parts etc. in a wooden box on the truck & got $ .50 cents. Before this Flavio also covered the rearview mirror on the truck. When the truck left, Flavio jumped on the truck & took off his box of scarp to be resold the next week.
Another Fond Memory: Mrs. Andolin was a widow in the neighborhood with 3 little girls. She had a brick oven in the backyard. This was shaped round like an Eskimo igloo. Each Saturday she baked bread & my job was to split firewood exactly 8" long & 1"thick. In the evening Mrs. Andolini came to our house with 5, still hot baked loves of bread. I spread butter on a loaf, cold milk from the icebox & I was in Heaven.
We were poor church mice but had great Patch Town memories. Enjoy, Jack

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Post by KLook » Fri. Apr. 03, 2020 9:23 pm

Great story Jack, Now there would be gov people coming in to get you everything you wanted.


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Post by CoalHeat » Fri. Apr. 03, 2020 10:14 pm

Thanks Jack, I always enjoy your stories.

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Hambden Bob
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Post by Hambden Bob » Sat. Apr. 04, 2020 4:39 am

I asked,and once again,You Delivered,Jack! Are You sure it's not Christmas,cause' that's how Your Stories make me feel! Good Show,My Friend! Thanx For Da' Lift!!

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freetown fred
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Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut

Post by freetown fred » Sat. Apr. 04, 2020 6:31 am

Nice, thanx my friend!! :)

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Post by lsayre » Sat. Apr. 04, 2020 8:35 am

Excellence yet again Jack!

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Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Anthracite Industrial, domestic hot water heater
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Coal Size/Type: Nuts !
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Post by Sunny Boy » Tue. Apr. 07, 2020 6:23 pm

Thanks Jack. Frank Capra could never come close to the wonderful, heart warming and humble American stories you share.

Reminds me of what a friend once said, "We grew up poor, but we were also rich in so many other ways."


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Post by hank2 » Wed. Apr. 08, 2020 2:43 pm

Great stories, Jack! Thanks for sharing with us. The part about the wood oven baked bread brought back some memories. If I bought 3 loaves, still warm, only two would make it home.

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