Sunday, May 26, 2013

North To My Birthplace

Main Street Greenville
The next couple days are the reason for this trip. The journey has  been great but real sweet stuff for me is to visit my birthplace, Greenville Pennsylvania to reacquaint myself with the houses, the neighborhood, school, and surrounding areas. I wanted to smell the dirt, taste the air, feel the light, and get a real sense where my life began. Youthful eyes are pretty silly and when connected to the mind, a memory can become easily distorted. Houses looked much larger and the length of the streets are much shorter than I remembered.

Holy Trinity Church where Mom taught Sunday School
Information regarding my early life is limited to a few photos and my memory. My parents are both gone as well as my only sibling. Surprisingly enough my memory was fairly accurate having to search 55 years of past data. Only a couple things I couldn't find and I didn't try to connect with any people. First of all, I attended my first three years of school there and all my parents friends are long gone. The only person that is a direct relative that could lend any help is my Aunt Nita but she is working through some memory issues. So it is up to me to glean what I'm looking for and I'm not certain what is driving me.

The Kidd Covered Bridge where I used to play Huck Finn
Monday morning I left my hotel near the airport in Pittsburgh and drove directly north for 70 miles. Again, I left Greenville when I was 9 but when I reached Main Street I drove directly to the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church to get my bearings. This is where I was baptized and spent every Sunday listening to Pastor Brath, fidgeting in the pews, and attending Sunday school doing a variety of puzzles all with a religious undertone. This repetition allowed me to find the church and park next to it without hesitation. With some help from a woman inside the church I found my first school that no longer is part of the school system, the old covered bridge, and our third home which was the prize of my mother's dreams. It was brand new and the only house they purchased in their life. The first house was out in the country and I believe was leveled and the second one near my first school, I just couldn't remember.
Late Afternoon lunch stop at Paxtons

I was quite satisfied with what I had found leaving me with a warm feeling. More daylight was available for me to move a bit further north to search for my Mom's parent's farm but first I had to get something to eat. I remember the first time I ate in a restaurant with my mother. We were shopping on Main Street and she suggested we have lunch in a restaurant. I was about 4 years old and when we entered through the doors I took a close look at the line of stools with chrome rims lined up along the counter that was about as tall as me. Mom helped me up on one of the stools and she ordered a hamburger for me. This was quite a joy and obvious I never forgot.

I walked down Main St a saw a colored awning advertising Paxtons Family Restaurant. The thought of finding the same restaurant ran through my mind as I pushed open the door. When I entered through the second door the line up of stools with chrome rims weakened my knees. I felt as if I entered a time machine. I could feel my Mom walk with me to the counter only this time I didn't need her help and yes I ordered a hamburger plus it was one of the best I've ever tasted.
The fish try to jump up the concrete spillway

Leaving Greenville a bit late I decided to camp at Lake Pymatuming located only a few miles from the town of Linesville, very close to my Grandparents farm. The road leading up to the lake runs atop of a spillway or causeway where the ducks walk on the fish. This is true, the carp are so plentiful, if a casual visitor throws bread in the concrete gathering point for the fish, the ducks will walk on them to get the piece of bread.

The sky was gray with clouds ready to burst so I was the only one there and I didn't have any bread to feed the ducks but they were both poised ready to perform. This place was a great thrill when my parents would stop a few times a year.
I never saw one make it into the lake

Looking up into the sky I knew it would be best to get my camp set as quickly as possible before the rains came. I stopped at the small store and picked up some breakfast supplies and scooted out to the lake campground to hunker down for a very wet night.

The search for the farm would have to wait til tomorrow.

The my parents sold before relocating to Arizona

Home for me after 50 years was dry and comfy

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