ON THIS VETERENS DAY

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Here I am!  This Image was taken in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii sometime not too long after I reported aboard my Destroyer in November of 1965.  The Image does not show that I’m half scared to death.  I’m right out of High School, in a strange place, have no idea where I’m going, or what is in store for me.  I’m like most others that can’t see what is in my future.  I had to learn fast.  I had to grow up quickly.  I always wanted to be in the US Navy to see the world.  I did just that.  I sailed all over the Pacific Ocean from Hawaii, Japan, Phillipense, Okinowa, Vietnam, Pago Pago, New Zeland and Austraila.  I came home a different person.  There was one thing that I was never told about after I enlisted and that was there was a War going on that I knew nothing about.  I found out!

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Here is my Destroyer that I was aboard for 3 yrs.  It was my Home.  This Image was taken as we entered Sydney, Austrailia coming off the gun line in Vietnam for 4 day’s of R&R.  The Opera House in the background was just being completed then.

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This is a Image that I took while on the Port Side.  We just got done taking on amunition, stores, and fuel from the USS Pontchatula, a supply ship.  The Carrier is the USS Ranger, I think.  Don’t quite remember.

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Here we are at the Floating Gardens in Hong Kong.  I’m on the far right with my NEW camera that I bought here.  I just made E-3 and we were all out celebrating.  The Floating Gardens were a outstanding place to see and eat in.  I could not read any Chineese, so we ordered what looked good!  We were given so much food that it was not all eaten!

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The Ribbons that I earned for my Dress Uniform which still hang in the closet draped in plastic.  From left to right is the Good Conduct Ribbon, the Vietnam Service Ribbon, with one Bronze Star, and the Vietnam Defense Ribbon.

Now, I just want to say that I’m not “tooting my own horn” here.  Just wanted to show what was part of my Life.  Being in the Navy during those years opened my eyes to many things in the world.  I’ve seen things that most people will never see.  Some of it was not good, while others were interesting and eye opening.  Coming home on leave in 1967, I had bottles, coke cans and was spit at in Travis AFB in California.  Just because I was a Vietnam Vet.  We we not cared about back then, like now.  People just did not care about what our Marines and our Armed Forces went thru.  No parades, no Welcome Home, no nothing!  Most all of us never knew that was going to happen.

After getting out of the Navy, I used to have some bad dreams about seeing Dead bodies of Vietcong in the water.  Their “Junk” was fired on by my Destroyer for carrying arms back and forth to North Vietnam.  There was not much left.  I won’t go into detail.  It was not pretty to see.

In closing, I would like to take time to say “THANK YOU” to all our other Veterens that are out there.  Some of you endured more than what I had to.

From a Grateful US Navy Vet.

Thank You.

A POEM FOR MOM

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I had lost my Mother on Dec. 22nd, 2004.  She was born on May 24th, 1919.

At her Funeral I read aloud this Poem for her.

Ever On-ward, Ever Up

Let me Reap and Hold Thy Cup

Where life’s Fertile Rivers Flow

Let Me Reap and Let Me Sow

Help Me Give to God & Man

The Best of All, The Best I Can

                                               Author is Un-known

This is what my Mother was like.  She was always there for me.  Making sure I had nice cloths to wear, food to eat, a education, and teach me right from wrong.  She taught me Manners that most people have forgotten.  I have never forgotten this poem.  It remains in my memory and always will.

Thank You.

THE OLD, THE NEW

Took my Pentax K10d out with me just cruising around the back Country Roads looking for some Fall Images that would be interesting to view for my followers.  There was not much right now to be found, I’m sorry to report.  The Fall Season is here, but there is not much in Fall Foliage right now.  It’s a bit spotty.  Some color here, and some there.  Has not gotten up to peak quite yet.

So after wasting some gas on the back country roads, I thought about taking a swing thru my old town of Fleetwood, PA to see if anything was new.  Not really anything.  This old town does not seem to change that much.  So, I ended up at the Fleetwood High School and the idea came to me to show what the “New” High School looks like, compared to what I had more than 50 yrs. ago.

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This is the New Fleetwood High School that was built a number of years ago.  It sure is big, compared to what I had.  I’m more than sure that it is all air-conditioned, and carpeted with all kinds of different colors inside.  Since I just can’t walk into a High School anymore because of Security, I can only imagine what’s there.  There is now a huge Soccer and Football field that is behind the school.  The Field is not grass anymore.  It’s that Astro Turf stuff.  The Track is the same way!  Expensive stuff.  The bleachers are not wood anymore.  They are now Aluminum, but just as hard to sit on.  There are also Tennis Courts in the back.  I sure hope that the younger generation appreciates just what they have compared to what I had.  I’m sure they don’t.  It’s just taken for granted.

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This is what my High School looks like today.  This is the school that I left in 1965 to join the US Navy.  Not much has changed over the years.  It is now used as an Administration Building.  Back in my day, there was no carpet on the floor and no air-conditioning.  Air-conditioning for us was open windows on a warm day.  Most of what you see here were classrooms with the Cafaterier down at the other end.  The street was lined with school buses at the end of the day.  Most walked home, cause of living near-by.  The Tennis Court that is just across the street is now a Parking Lot.  My Track & Field area is off to the right and out of the Image.  It was grass & stone.  You can barely still pick out the Track where I used to run during Gym class, but it’s there if you look close enough.  After taking this Image, with the Sun fading fast, my mind went back in time.  Many memories for me are here.  I can still picture the sidewalk loaded with us teen-agers all glad to be out of school for the day.  Yeah, well.  Time marches on.

Thank You.

THE OLD STRAND THEATER

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The building that houses the Hamburg Strand Theater was built in 1799, and was one of the first properties to be built when the town was laid out. Located at 6 South and 4th Street, it was a Federal style house, which was later, turned into a restaurant, before being converted to the theater in 1920.  The building to the right of the Strand used to be a place called Trexlers.  It had some great Hot Dogs and Hamburgers that I still remember to this day.  Now, it’s a Pizza place.  Times have changed in Hamburg, but not all that much.  Hamburg, PA is still a very Historic little town that I remember well.

Owners David and Ella Schlear opened the Strand to the public on Christmas Day of 1920 showcasing their large screened theater with 500 seats. The family home was located above the theater; the front section of the building was rented out as a barbershop. The Schlear’s son Ed took over ownership in 1935, and he added a new entryway, ticket booth, marquee, and neon lights as well as Modern projection equipment and an updated interior. Since then the Theatre has ungone many owners and numerous renovations; the barbershop became a video rental store (among other things) and a concession stand and lobby were built. The Strand now holds 200 seats and remains a single screen theater.

Untamed circa 1929The first “talky” at the Strand was “Untamed”, shown in March of 1930. Prior to that, pianists and later records provided music during the silent film era. On Tuesday and Wednesday a “B picture” film was shown; Friday evening was cowboy night; Saturday offered the more publicized films. During popular movies the kids sat in the aisle; otherwise the girls sat on the left and boys on the right.

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This is a Image of the 1931 Movie Projector that was in the Strand Theater on display.  I, as a young boy, have been into the Strand a number of times to see movies and cartoons that were playing for us kids back in the 50’s.  Going back into the Theater for the 1st time in over 60 yrs. brought back some memories for me, but not many.  For some reason my memory has faded me over time of the inside.  Maybe it’s because it has undergone many changes since then.  More than $200,000 has been spent bringing the old Theater back to modern day, so far.

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So, with all that, Eileen and I went and stepped back into History to see a Elvis impersonator, named Jeff Krick.  He was putting on a show at the Strand for 2 hrs.  We had bought tickets for the 1st 10 rows of seats from the stage.  We got to sit in the 4th row!

“Elvis” was very, very good to see perform. He was well worth the money we paid.  He had all the moves that Elvis had and sang most of his songs from when Elvis was alive.  His voice sounded just like him!  He performed for just under 2 hours.  We bought a Medium bag of buttered Popcorn for $5.50.  Guess that the day’s of getting Popcorn for 25 cents are long gone!

Thank you.

CHILDHOOD PLACES

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Hello there everyone!  Having a good time?  Hope you are all well.

Thought that I’d do some places that I remember so well during my Childhood day’s in Hamburg, PA.  The above Image is one of the Hamburg Park that I used to spend so very much time in.  It has changed somewhat over the passing years, and I think the change has made it a bit better.

Back when I was 8-10 yrs. young, my Mother had to work during the day, so she would drop me off here and was told to “Stay here until I come to get you”.  I did what I was told to do or suffer the wrath of my angry Mother.  The plastic play set you see in the foreground was not there at the time.  It was just a big empty grass space.  The was no covered open Patio on the extreme left.  However, the larger building to the right of it was there as long as I can remember.  This place had crafts to make for us kids most every day.  There was always something there to do.

Off to the right corner of my Image used to be a large sandbox that had a roof over it.  There also was a very tall sliding board that we had to climb up a long ladder to get up to the top.  It was so much fun to slide down that thing.  We would “wax” the sliding surface with wax paper to make us slide faster!  It’s now gone, but for what reason I don’t know.  Maybe because too many got hurt because it was a big one!  The sandbox is long gone and I think it was because all the “critters” would poop or pee in the sand.  Didn’t bother me!  I didn’t care.

The Swimming Pool has changed a bit also.  There are no longer a “High Dive or Low Dive” that we could run down and dive into the water on the deep end of the pool.  I think that this was taken away because of Insurance reasons.  I used to spend many, many sunny warm days here.  So much that I would get a Sun burn most every Summer.  At the very top corner of the Image used to be a small “Children’s Pool” that I learned to swim in.  It, too, is long gone.

I more than realize that the Image above does not mean that much to you, but to me, my “minds eye” can still picture what was once there and all the great times I had.

EMPTY

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Had nothing else to do after getting a haircut, so I thought I’d stop by the now empty Fairgrounds Mall just to see what’s there now.

The Fairgrounds Square Mall was built in 1980 by the F&S Construction Co. on the former site of the Reading Fairground Speedway.  The Mall did a real good business for a number of years.  There were over 84 Stores in here.  During the Christmas Season this place was packed with shoppers all getting gifts for the Holiday Season.  During the other months it did well also.  On a Friday & Saturday nite lot’s of the younger generation would tend to “hang out in here” cause there was not much else to do.  Then, as the years passed by, the business started to decline slowly.  Stores started to close and board up their Fronts.  I noticed this when I would go shopping here.  There first to close were the food places, then more & more stores followed along.  I never knew why this place failed, until finding out later on.

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Here is a look at one of the Main Entrances to the Mall.  Still very colorful, but there is no one that shops here anymore.  It’s empty of stores, except a few that are still hanging in there hoping business will get better, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

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Empty jewelry stands are void of merchandise to sell.  No shoppers here anymore.

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Empty floors & store fronts.

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I remember seeing this Pretzel place with lines of people waiting to order.  Not now anymore.

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It’s quiet here now.  Nothing except the occasional “Mall Walker” in a big empty area.

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A empty display case that once held some pretty jewelry to sell, now waits to be dismantled.

Why did this Mall fail, you might ask?  I found out that the Owner of the Mall complex started to default on taxes and morgage payments.  Then just let the place go down-hill.  Also the younger generation would hang out here and not buy much of anything.  The stores were loosing money slowly.  There were a number of roof repairs that had to be made, because of rain leaking in and leaving a pool of water on the floors.  All that cost money which the Owners were not ready for.  On top of all that, buying products “on-line” helped the problem.  Shoppers could get what they wanted at a better price.  It didn’t help the matter.

This Mall was built over the once famous Reading Speedway Racetrack.  Friday & Saturday nights were a big race time when Sprint cars, Modified cars, and Stock Cars would race the clay & mud track here.  The Reading Fair in September was a big thing also.  It was huge!  I remember going to the Fair in HS and we always had a great time with all the rides.  Now, all that is long gone to History which is a shame.  Time marches on

REMEMBER THESE?

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Hello there to all my Followers.  Do some of you remember this?  Maybe some of you don’t.  This is the Historic Wurlitzer Juke Box that was built in the 1940’s.  I can’t remember who designed the original ones like this, but most of it was made of glass because the plastic was not very available during the War years.

It had a distinctive color pattern that was bright and cheerful.  It also had the world famous bubbles that traveled around on the inside of the glass.  This player would play songs from the Rock & Roll years of the 50’s & 60’s.  1 play was a nickel, and 6 plays were a quarter!  Dancing to your favorite songs was a common thing back in my day.

Most of the songs that were on the Top Record Charts were here to play.  Artists such as Bill Hayley & The Comets, Elvis, Jimmy Dean, Roy Oberson,  Little Richard, were all there.  Drop a nickel in the machine, press the letter & number of the song, and it would play your choice in order that it was received.  “Put another Dime in the Jukebox” and the music would never stop.

I remember these Players well.  I’m sorry to see that they have gone into History, but some of them are still around.  The original ones are few and far between.  Collectors have them.  If you want an original player you will pay a hefty price!

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As time went by, the Wurlitzer Company made a newer model, like the one shown above.  It worked the same as the older one, but with no bubbles and the price to play went up, of course.  I think this one was 1 play for a dime, and 4 plays for a quarter.  Not sure on that one.  Both players had great sound for it’s day.