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This is the home where I was raised from about age two until I enlisted in the Air Force at age of 18.
I grew up in rural Pennsylvania, in the mountains just to the east of Pittsburgh. It was a small town named Somerset and
was really a great place for a kid to grow up. My early child hood years were typical of the 1950s and 1960s, much like you
saw on the movie "A Christmas Story", or the TV shows "Leave it to Beaver" or "The Wonder Years".
I had loving parents, three sisters and a brother.
My Mom and Dad
As I was growing up, my larger than life hero was my Dad. He worked for the DeVilbiss Company there in Somerset, and I never
really wondered until later in life how he ever managed to provide for five children. I can honestly say that although I
sometimes didn't always get what I wanted, I don't ever remember not getting what I needed. As a youngster I can remember
always following my Dad around and helping him with whatever a little boy could do. Naturally as I grew into my teenage years
I got much smarter than my Dad and we eventually grew apart a little. Oddly enough though as I got into my 20s and 30s he
began to get smarter again.
Being held by my mother on my first birthday
The first love of my life obviously was my mother. I don't think there are words that can describe the love between a little
boy and his mother. She was a stay at home mom, typical of the era, and was always there for us. When I was two years old,
we moved about a mile out of town, and had acres and acres of an oak forest as our playground. With five kids at home, how
she ever managed to do all of the housework, laundry, cooking and whatever else came along, and still count five kids at the
end of the day is truly a miracle. She obviously had the toughest job in the family.
My sister Pat was the oldest of the five kids, and I'm sure was a big help to my mother trying to keep the rest of us in line.
She graduated from high school in 1960 and went off to nurses training when I was just eight years old so I don't remember
a whole lot of her being in the home, but the memories I do have are great ones. Looking at old photographs really brings
back the good times I had as a youngster when all five of us were at home. I didn't realize it at the time of course, but
it was probably much like The Walton's.
Mike, Pat, Sue, and Me (the little one)
Mike, my brother was about six years older than I was. Just like with Pat and I, with that many years between us, we never
really grew too close. Being a guy though he put up with his little brother as good as I should've expected. I do have some
great memories of us spending time together though; building a tree house in the woods, trapping rabbits, trout fishing with
he and my dad, and all the other things that go along with being boys. He left for the Air Force when I was just 12 years
Sue and I busy just being kids
My sister Sue and I were born just 17 months apart. We were two years apart in school and had much more in common than with
Pat or Mike. As I remember we got along pretty good, but not to say we didn't have the typical disagreements expected of
teenagers when we were growing up. As the only guy besides my dad in the house, after Mike left for the Air Force, it was
my job to aggravate and get on Sue's nerves as best I could. I'm sure if you ask her today, I was successful from time to
time. I'll never forget how Sue always looked out for me when playing with the other kids in the neighborhood. She may have
been a girl, but the older guys in the neiborhood realized she was a strong willed girl who wouldn't let anyone take advantage
of her little brother.
Rear: Pat, Mike, Dad and Sue
Front: Ruth and Me
The only one younger than me in the house was my sister Ruth. She was two years behind me in school, and since we went to
the same schools together we had quite a bit in common. We hated the same teachers, and going to parochial school hated
the discipline handed out by the nuns. Some of the best memories I have of being a kid living at home were the times Ruth,
Sue and I would have playing in the woods and sled riding on the hill behind the house. We were really durable in those days
too, and would stay out forever if we could.
Grandma B on her 90th Birthday
Although both my grandfathers died when I was real small, I was fortunate to have my Grandma B who lived near us. She would
take us along with her fishing for bluegills, and perform all of the other grandma duties. Since she lived in town, her house
was a convenient stopping point for us when school let out. During the summer months, when we were in town to play with our
friends (many of which lived near her), her house was always a great place to stop for a snack. Later when we reached our
teens, She'd allow us to spend the night at her place after a school function rather than have my mom or dad drive into town
to get us. This always worked to our advantage, because she went to bed early and we could stay out later and sneak in without
The two grandmas with the kids
My other Grandmother, Grandma Ellis, lived in Detroit, and later lived with my Uncle Jack who moved around to wherever the
Air Force would send him. I only got to see her perhaps once every year or two when she would come to stay with us for a
few weeks. Since we saw her so seldom, her job was to spoil us the best she could in the short amount of time she could spend
with us. She always did a good job at it too. She always had goodies in her suitcase for us when she came to visit.
I feel truly blessed to have been born and raised in such a loving family. Although we've scattered and multiplied over the
years, we all still keep in touch as much as can be expected. We all have our own families now, and I'm sure have tried to
pass on to our children the same values that our mom and dad taught us. It's always such a pleasure to get together with
Pat, Mike, Sue and Ruth, and to talk about the good old days growing up in Somerset. It's a shame that so many miles separate
us now that it only happens every few years. When it does though, without fail one of us will always bring something up to
rejuvenate some sleeping brain cells in the rest of us.
Looking back on my early years, I can only hope that my children have as many great memories of their childhood as I have.
Although they grew up in a different place and a different time, childhood memories are those that you hope you never lose.
Click here - To see other childhood photos