Monday, January 16, 2017

He had a Dream, I am Not sure What I am having

As I start to write this blog post I can't even think of a title for it.  Which is unusual.  But the fact is, as I look at the next four years, I don't know what to expect.

On my drive into work this morning I was reflecting on the fact that today is Martin Luther King. Jr. Day.  Martin Luther King Jr., was a great man and a great speaker.  Today his words spoke even louder to me than they ever did.

As our nations embarks on a new political era, I could not help but think that if we are scared by what one man can do, can't we, the American people stand united and stay united instead of being divided by hate.

"Love is the only force capable of transforming an an enemy into a friend" is just one quote of MLK that comes to mind.  He talked greatly of love and how love can drive the hate away.   "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

In looking back to our founding fathers, Thomas Jefferson said; "When the people fear the government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is Liberty."  Here is where I think the problem lies, does the government fear us.  I think not.  Are they working for us or for themselves?   Thomas Jefferson also said "Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government, those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."  Are President-Elect Trump's threats, warnings and tweets just the tip of a iceberg that I pray doesn't meltdown into more hate and more division in this nation?

James Madison said "If tyranny and oppression come to this land, it will be under the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." Hmmm, makes you wonder if that is ISIS?  Ronald Reagan said "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall."  Trump says build one.  History is funny that way.  It makes me wonder in 50 years how our next 4 years will read.  Maybe there are enough checks and balances out there in our government that nothing terrible will happen and it will read as a small chapter of some successes and some losses and our biggest problem was which reality star we were electing into office next.

For me at this time I prefer to think of this quote by MLK - "I have decided to stick with love.  Hate is too great a burden to bear."

I prefer to agree with Dr. King when he said "I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality...I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."

Maybe it is not by accident that we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day before the inauguration.
Let it help us not take a giant step back when it comes to equality, let's not let hatred take the forefront and be what America is about.  Let's not fear but love.  Let's join hands and remember we can make a difference.

I leave you with this quote of Ben Franklin's - "It is the first responsibility of ever citizen to question authority."

and with that... it's another day in Catasauqua.



Wednesday, December 7, 2016

"It's a Wonderful Life"

A long time friend, (better than saying old) gave me a gift last night.  Brenda gave me a little wooden sign with stars that said "It's a wonderful Life".  When I got home last night I hung it in the living room, when I got up this morning it was the first thing I saw when I came downstairs.  My first thought was, it is a wonderful life, even though my stomach was upset from all the different food I ate last night at a Christmas party, my mom was talking about something and I was running a tad late; all I could think about was all the great friends and family that I have.  I am blessed.

It is so easy at this time of the year to get disgusted with people, with shopping and with crowds.  The shopping takes precedence over what the holiday is all about, LOVE.    The gift of a baby, Jesus was God's love coming down to us.  He sent Jesus to guide us and show us love.  To help others, to give love away.  Simply, to love.

I have another friend, I will keep her name of out this, she knows who she is, who told me she had an issue with a family member.  She was very upset, so upset she did NOT want to do anything. She did not want to attend anything, go anywhere or help with anything.  She sat, but she prayed, and she wrote in her journal.  Then she prayed more and wrote more.  I thought, how strong this woman was.  She might not of thought so at that moment, but she was.  She didn't fly off the handle, like I might have, or got sick with worry - she was turning over her problems to someone much bigger who is there to handle our problems.  And the answer is always the same, love.  If someone has done something that you

are upset about you need to love them anyway.  You need to love yourself, even if you think you can't.

Now before I get too preachy let's just talk about how wonderful life is.  Sometimes we might not think that but it is.  I love living in Catasauqua, it's not Bedford Falls, but it is a nice small town and you know what - the world would not be a better place without you in it.  Clarence showed George Bailey just that.  George did not have enough love for himself, but soon found out that everyone in town loved him and helped him in his time of need.

I am lucky, I have a house, food, family and friends.  What I lack in money, I make up in love.  So, if you see me and I am not smiling, remind me to smile.  If you come across someone suffering from PHS (Pre-Holiday Syndrome) flash them a smile, give them patience and add a little love.

Everyone is dealing with something, remember that and remember, it is a wonderful life....and that's another day in Catasauqua.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Stitch in Time saves Nine - Nine What?

When I started to write today's blog I decided to use the old saying a stitch in time saves nine and then I realized that I didn't have the foggiest idea what then meant.  Nine what and how do you stitch time.  So I did what anyone would do - I googled.

If you say it slightly different it makes a tad more sense - one stitch in the nick of time will save you nine stitches later. It is an incentive to not be lazy.  If you have a small rip - stitch is now, if not it will lead to more work later.

Whew, now that I got that out of the way let me tell you about my new hobbies, which I learned at the CATASAUQUA PUBLIC LIBRARY.

Crocheting and knitting.  Yes, and I learned it at the public library.  The Catasauqua Public Library is not the old dreary library that you might remember from your youth.  Although I didn't mind it so much when I was a kid, I loved to read and the place was full of new adventures, love stories and information.

The library has a new head librarian who has been implementing new programs and activities, like our group called Keep Me in Stitches.  I never thought that I would get the opportunity to learn crocheting or knitting and now I can do both.

The best part though of the whole time together, which is Monday nights at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM is the friendship.  It is the quickest hour and one-half in my life.  Sitting, talking and learning is so much fun.

Last week as I sat there working on a scarf for my mom (don't tell her) I listened to all kinds of talk. Some of it was just Catty gossip, there were stories, the who is seeing who and a little history all thrown in to the mix.  I stopped and said that I felt like this was a book I once read. Women sitting around talking, knitting and crocheting, I am thinking  the next thing to do would be to solve a mystery, or be involved in a love story or maybe a little magic.

Yes, the library is a great place and in case you haven't been there for a long time they now have computers, internet, a children's room, story time and even visits from everyone including Snow White to wildlife.

So if you find yourself in the vicinity of Third and Bridge Streets in Catasauqua, stop in and check out the library.  If you do it on a Monday evening chances are you will find me at a table knitting a sweater, or knot (pun intended); and that's another day in Catasauqua.

  

Monday, July 18, 2016

Tour de Fence

I have said this many times, my favorite part of my drive home is coming up Pine Street. Pine Street with all it trees, is a seasonal spectacle of color.  Even in the winter the street is postcard picture perfect.

One day, not long ago something caught my eye on my drive up Pine Street, it was a bicycle, actually it was a few bicycles, in row.  I later learned that this work of art was the brain child of one, Ben Ferenchak who lives at the corner of Fifth and Pine Streets.  Later I found the Tour de Fence Facebook page and I learned why Ben built the bike fence.

Ben road in 5 Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer, including his first 1000 mile ride in 1983.  In 2008 Ben road from Pennsylvania to Florida to raise $10,000.00 for Autism Speaks.  I am sure there are a lot more rides and fundraisers that I don't know about.

Also, let us not forget Ben organized the Mother of All Class Reunions in 2014 - that was the best class reunion ever!

An illness has sidelined Ben from riding in these long bike rides, but it hasn't stopped him from raising money for the American Cancer Society.  You see, this artistic endeavor of Ben's fence is to help raise money for the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer.

Tour de Fence is a tribute art exhibit made from old bikes that is a memorial to those who have lost their battle to cancer, and also honors those fighting cancer and those who have survived cancer.

I asked Ben how he got the idea, not why but how does one think of using bikes for a fence.  He told me it started with one bike, Joe Galm's.  Joe's wife called Ben and wanted Ben to find a home for Joe's bike.  If you remember Joe, an elementary teacher in the Catasauqua Middle School, he was a tall man, so was his bike, it wasn't easy to find someone who could use the bike, so that's when Ben came up the idea, Joe's bike was the first brick in the de Fence; and what a fence it is.

On this Saturday, July 23, 2016, at 1:00 PM there will be a Dedication of Tour de Fence and Block Party at the corner of Fifth and Pine Streets in Catasauqua. There will be live music supplied by Tavern Tan, food, games, Basket Raffle, & 50/50.  There will be Attic Treasures, a bake sale, prayer booth and more.  I don't know about you - but I plan on being there.

Cancer has probably touched your life, if not personally I am sure you know a family member or friend who either is gone because of it or is fighting it or has had victory over it.  I hope so many people come out this Saturday that is causes a traffic jam.  (I don't care I am in walking distance)

If you can't make it and want to donate - here is the site

http://main.acsevents.org/site/TR/CommunityFundraisingPages/CFPCY16EC?px=42886374&pg=personal&fr_id=77601

Ben's goal is $10,000.00 he is almost half way there, let's make it happen!!!!

You know, times like this, events like this, make me proud to live in Catasauqua.  The Morning Call tomorrow will have an article from Bill White on Tour de Fence.  Tour de Fence has been on WFMZ
and in the Catty Press.  Each time I pass the fence now  I get a little choked up, I lost my grandfather to lung cancer, and friend of mine to breast cancer.  It is time to start celebrating victories instead of mourning loss.

So DONATE, or just COME ON OUT Saturday to TOUR DE FENCE and celebrate and I can promises you it won't be just ......Another day in Catasauqua, it will be special.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

A Patriot-ical Weekend in Catasauqua


 Militia men just hanging

What a weekend in Catasauqua.  The J4 Celebration started Friday night with a free concert in the Park, unfortunately, I did not attend.  It was called "I am too darn tired to get off the sofa night" at my house.   I really wanted to see the Monkee's tribute band, but walking down to the park that night was not in the cards.

On Saturday I did a lot of work on around the house. I cleaned, finished a patio I have been working on and even shaved the cat (let's talk fun). 

And then Sunday the J4 Celebration began, except it all happened on J3, which was confusing to my mind.  Since July 3rd happened to be a Sunday it was a little bit of a bummer because I missed the parade that went pass my house since I was at church. I always love the parade.  It might be tiny but it always gives me a little lump in my throat.  I missed Uncle "Howard Hahn" Sam and I missed all the flag waving.

Speaking of Church that is how I got the word Patriot-ical.  Our Pastor, Pastor Mike, was on vacation this past Sunday so John Lutte filled it.  I asked John if he could do something patriot-ical, if you know me, you know I mix my words up-a lot.  That was a combination of patriotic and historical, and John did deliver just that but with an added dose of spirit. Such interesting facts about the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

The reading of the Declaration
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors, and tortured before they died.
Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.
Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.
They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor. What kind of men were they?
Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists. Eleven were merchants, nine were farmers and large plantation owners; men of means, well educated. But they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.  Wow.  Something I never even thought about.
We did go to the Catty Park for some lunch.  Had a really good cheese steak and some fries, which I shared with the BF, Parke.  There were not a lot of vendors, which was a bit of a disappointment, but it was a beautiful day so it was still enjoyable.  

Antebellum Marine Band
Sunday night was the FIREWORKS and as always they do not disappoint. They were spectacular.  There was a concert first but I sit with family (Actually it is more my daughter-in-law's family then mine but I feel like I am part of it)  on the grass on the visitors side so we really can't hear it well. But that means we can gab, eat and laugh. As always I had a great time and it is fun to see the grandchildren and their cousins.  (and yes Rami - it is always good to see you)

Summer Kitchen/George
Taylor Mansion
Then Monday, off to JULY 4th at the George Taylor Home.  This is a bit of tradition for BFF Cathy and I.  We go every year (when it is not raining) to hear the reading of the Declaration of Independence and to hear the patriotic music of the Antebellum Marine Band.  This year, however, was even more special with a re-enactment of the reading by the Bachmann Players and the Northampton County Militia.  I loved it - it was so exciting!!!   BFF Cathy got to yell HUZZAH and she was so excited about it.  I mean, really, when else can you yell that?  (Oh now I keep thinking of places I can yell that at, darn)

So, another J4 has passed and I look forward to the next one.  Catty might small but it is rich in history.  I love seeing friends, I love patriotic music and yeah, I love another day in Catasauqua.





Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Catasauqua WPA Projects - Catasauqua Pool and Playground

As promised this is the second blog I am reprinting in honor of the 100th Anniversary of the Playground. Originally blogged on June 3, 2011 -  My Grandfather, George Temos worked on the pool area when he worked for the WPA, along with my bff's  Judy CB and Cathy's fathers.  Let me just say this, I love Catty, it is rich in history and there is a story everywhere you look.  From the history to now.  Don't believe me - drive up Pine Street rich in history, but then look at Ben Ferenchak's house and see Tour de Fence - history in the making.  So - here you go -

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When funds became available to the Borough of Catasauqua they first changed the channel followed by the Catasauqua Creek and enclosed the creek bed with limestone walls. With the creek now flowing along the eastern edge of the playground, planners now had enough area (255 feet by 410 feet) to build an athletic field. Catasauqua resident L. James Boucher, plant manager of Atlas Cement Company brought crews from the cement company who surveyed and leveled the ground and they erected the chain link fence that surrounded the area.

On October 1, 1932 the field was dedicated as Thomas Field. The Catasauqua Drum and Bugle Corps led a procession of teachers, school directors and students from the High School to the field. The following resolution was read:

"The newly built athletic field of the Catasauqua Playground be known and distinguished as the Thomas Athletic Field in honor of William R. Thomas Jr. and in memory of Millie Milson Thomas in recognition of their distinguished service to the youth of our Borough in aiding the playground movement"

The second WPA playground project was the swimming pool and bathhouse. Depression unemployment relief contributed largely to the construction. The cost of labor (WPA workers, my grandfather was one) and materials was $75,000.00.

The area fenced in was 90 by 300 feet, the pool measured 60 by 220 feet and was from six inches to nine feet deep. It was constructed of concrete and could accomodate 1500 people. When filled it held 588,000 gallons of water.

The water was pumped from artesian wells by pumps in the brick pumphouse.

The bathhouse was of wood construction and the wood came from Oregon via the Panama Canal. (I thought this was cool).

The pool opened for swimming in 1935 but the official grand opening of the pool and bathhouse was July 11, 1936. Six life guards were on hand, Bud Winters, Jack Morgan (WHO was also a WPA worker and my good friend, Cathy Reiter's Dad!!) Sis Lynch, Ray Guzynski, Bill Mullins and Tony Imhof who handled the crowd of 1500 bathers!!! Entrance to the pool that day was free and the weather was perfect....however, a thunderstorm late in the day postponed a formal program which was to include aquatic skills, fancy swimming and diving.

In 1938 WPA workmen built four tennis courts and leveled and area for rollerskating in summer and ice skating in winter (that area is now the parking lot for the pool).

New playground equipment was also installed with WPA funds. These included a slide, two sets of swings for younger children, a small merry-go-round, a set of large swings for adults, two thirty foot chutes (?) and one ocean wave (ok, someone please tell me what that is?)

Generally, the playground provides an area for fun, play and relaxation and wow, what an area of history in Catty and that's.......Another day in Catasauqua.

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Catasauqua Playground Celebrating 100 Years!!

Since this weekend was the 100th year celebration for the Catasauqua Playground I wanted to re-publish two blogs I wrote back in 2011 - I was laid off at the time and spent some time researching the history of Catasauqua.  On Friday night I was down at the park to hear the Large Flowerheads.  Deb Mellish did give a little of the park history - so it made me look back - please enjoy this blog from June 2, 2011 -

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So, I just rediscovered a great place in Catasauqua and that is the Catasauqua Public Library. Got myself a new Library card, haven't seen my old one for over 25 years probably. But, I wanted to do research on the Catty Swimming Pool and couldn't find the information online so it was off to the Library. I must say I will be stopping in more often they have a lot of James Patterson books, who I love to read and since I am not working and I am almost through the books I had piled to read, it will be a great place to go.

Anyway, I found what I wanted and so much more. Here we go. John and Lesher Yeager sold 15.728 acres of land for $3,145.60 to the newly formed Catasauqua Park and Playground Association, with the stipulation that the area remain as a playground for 30 years. In 1921 the Association bought the area known as "the Dips". Bascom and Sieger Construction was hired in to do the work of building a playground and on July 3, 1916 the playground opened with 2 basketball courts, 4 tennis courts, 2 volley ball courts and a band shell.

A hand dug lake which was dammed below Bridge Street was built. The lake was 600 feet by 100 feet and was 5 to 6 feet deep.

During the post war years the park and playground where the hub of the community.

The only disappointment was the lake, the water was good for a couple of years, but then it began to drain. It became muddy after rains, it developed sink holes and eventually turned into a marsh, which kids loved to muck through.

There was a park curfew at 9:00 PM, the whistle from the water works would blow and it was time to go.

Improvement came to the Catasauqua playground in in the form of funds from the WPA Program (Works Projects Administration) and the Borough used these funds to develop the playground.

The Works Progress Administration (renamed during 1939 as the Work Projects AdministrationWPA) was the largest and most ambitious New Deal Agency, employing millions of unskilled workers to carry out public works projects, including the construction of public buildings and roads, and operated large arts, drama, media, and literacy projects. It fed children and redistributed food, clothing, and housing. Almost every community in the United States had a park, bridge or school constructed by the agency, which especially benefited rural and Western areas

There are TWO (we all know the pool was one, but what was the other?) great projects that were built by the WPA at the playground, and I will discuss them in my next blog and with that...... it's another day in Catasauqua.