I spent my early childhood along an isolated countryside road, route 711 in Pennsylvania. In response to my request for what it was like to live in Tubmill, Pa. during his early years, I asked my brother, George, to write me of his experiences or memories. George was my older brother by nine years.
This is his response to me dated April 30, 2008
By George Glessner:
I know intend to make an attempt to answer your request for information concerning our experiences and memories during the time we lived in Tubmil. The fact is, I could write volumes but I do not know where to begin. My current day thoughts and memories are dominated by the days I lived in Tub mill.
My earliest memories are of the time we lived I New Florence beside the railroad near the subway. Mom sent me to school at an early age for a first grader and I always ran home during the first recess, so she gave up and waited for the following year. I remember the first two or three days were ok until the teacher, Rita Haire, showed the class her wooden paddle and that was the end of that school year for me.
I spent all eight years of grade school in Tubmill. Edith Ross was my teacher for grades one through six and Rosa Robb was the teacher for the years of seven and eight. Edith had a three foot long, Two handled paddle with 1928 carved in the handle. The varnish was worn off from its frequent use. I witnessed Frank Rummel getting it many times. I remember one time when the teacher finished with giving him about a half dozen whacks, he thanked her for dusting his pants and ended up getting about six more. I remember getting it once for throwing a snowball which landed beside the window at the time when Edith was sticking her head out the window trying to get someone’s attention.
When Rosa Robb took over things really changed for the better. She gave me the key to the school and I had to start the furnace, sweep the floors and oil the blackboard. The kids used to feed Maggie and she would scratch at the door and whine during school time so Rosa would tell me to let her come in and she would lay under my seat and sleep. Rosa parked her car in our driveway. During the Autumn days when I needed a box of 22 shells, I would occasionally let some air out of her tires and tell her at noon time that she had a flat. She would give me time out of class to pump up her tires and pay me .50 cents. I think a box of 22’s cost a quarter.
My days in Tubmill were filled with constant activity. I had a paper route and delivered fourteen papers six-days a week. I made a penny a paper and picked up the papers at the foot of Fairfield Hill and ended up at Borings near home.
I’m not sure of my age at the time when Bob Rummel and I worked two-summers at the Ross Mountain Park Clubhouse as busboys. We had to work seven-days a week from six AM until nine PM with about three hours off in the afternoon. We received free room and board and $ 20.00 dollars a week. This was big money. One of the main perks was that there were eight waitresses also working there. We were too young. I would jump at a job like that now!
The summer days were filled with mowing grass and working for the local farmers. I took care of four or five lawns at Ross Mountain and usually worked until dark then walked home through the woods below the park with the Katydids chirping and me trying to stay on the road which was always so dark. On warm nights I would stop at the Blue hole and swim and clean up with the cake of soap I kept hidden on the bank.
I remember one day while working at the park I found an empty pipe tobacco can and during the day I caught big black crickets and kept them in the can so I could stop and fish on the way home. Tubmill Creek ran close to the road on Bob Hood’s farm below the park and there were two or three big trees on the creek bank where the water had undercut the trees and contained deep holes which always had holdover trout. They were wild and I could never catch them. This time I cut a stick for a fishing pole and with the crickets I crawled to the bank on hand and knees and managed to catch three trout. Pap ate them when I got home.
Pap and I used to hike up in the mountains into the stream which fed Little Sugar Dam and catch a bunch of Native Trout. The largest ones were about five inches. When we got home he would fry them in butter. A great meal.
When you were about two and in diapers Pap was building a new chicken coop. The building was about ten feet wide and approximately twenty-five feet long. He was nailing the floor boards and baby sitting you and I was the go-fer. At noon time he complained to Mom that she should keep you up at the house because you were wetting on his nails and then he was putting them in his mouth while nailing boards!..
The worst times was working during haying time. Curt Howard always started hunting me and Leroy Boring about eleven in the AM and worked us until dark and called it a half day and paid us .%0 cents each, sometimes! We sometimes tried to hide if we had more interesting things to do.
I remember the first rabbit I shot. It was my first year of hunting when I was twelve. Brother Bill had done some work for Dave Williams at Ross Mountain Park and for payment he gave Bill that Old single barrel twelve gauge shotgun which the tangs on the receiver were broken. Pap took it to work and had it welded. It still works. A little side note (s) about the gun: many a time it bloodied my nose when shooting at game. But the most memorable one with that gun was just about three years ago. I had arthritis pretty bad and could not get around very well. Dan wanted me to go hunting with him on level ground close to the truck so I went along. Dan missed a rabbit and put the dog on the track. I shot the rabbit and we continued to move. Called over to Dan to hold up that something was wrong with my pants. I laid down the gun and opened my pants and discovered that my boxer shorts were down around my knees. We were hunting in a field with small pines trees along a dirt road and a car passed. I’m still curious about what the driver thought about that scene.
That same year I shot my first buck. A seven point with that gun using pumpkin ball. Pap and I went up behind Laurel Valley High School which was a horse ranch at that time. I shot the buck at 87:30 AM and whistled for PAP. He came at a fast pace a little aggravated for me disturbing his hunting. His first words were, “Did you miss one?” It was lying at his feet. He field dresses it, tied my rope on it and said, “You know the way home!” And he then took off out through the woods. I didn’t see him until the that evening.
Another interesting item about that story is that Pap and I were ready to head our separate ways when a hunter came up to see what was happening. He stated that when he entered the woods he had chased out three deer and two-tracks went one-way and a single track went another direction. He followed the single track and had chased the buck into my stand. That hunter was Spud!
Some other memories that still linger with me are the times on Saturdays occasionally Kay would get assigned the job of washing my hair. I had to lean over the banister on the back porch and when she complained to Om about my behavior, Mom would respond with the old standby comment, “Well Smack him!” Due to a few prejudiced humorous comments I made in the recent past, I’ve had the feeling that Kay has been on the verge on entering the “slapping Mode” again!
I remember Mom always wore aprons with long strings tied in the back. When she was standing at the sink I would tie one of the stirrings to the counter or something. The results were always the same, a slap across my bare back.
Another time she was in the cellar washing laundry and I was I the back yard mowing grass. She yelled at me to come in and by the tone of her voice I knew I was in trouble. She was holding a pair of my trousers and had found a condom in my pocket. That took some fast taking. I carried that thing around for years.
A few memories should not ever be mentioned. But I’ll mention this one anyway. One morning I happened to be up early, it must have been fishing season or something. I walked through the living room and noticed something lying on the coffee table. I picked it up and it was a paper wrapper from a Trojan. I never mentioned this and never will again. I don’t have any idea who had a date the night before. I indiscreetly disposed of it. Someone owes me big-time thanks!
Halloween was always a big deal in the old days. A sample of some of the happenings I remember are the time when a gang of us were throwing corn which we had raided from Neal Galbraith’s corn field. We used to stuff our pockets with shelled corn. One of the gang pulled out a handful of corn and somehow forgot that he had a 30-30 cal rifle shell in the same pocket. The shell went through the window and we had to run extra fast and farther that night.
Another Halloween night we wee along Rt. 711 and the garage doors were open at the Ralph West residence and his car was in the garage. We intended to soap the windows and one of the gang had a potato in his pocket. I think he had intended to eat it. Anyway, I took the potato and stuffed it into the tailpipe of his car. The next day I say Cloyd Graff’s wrecker towing Ralph’s car toward New Florence, evidently it wouldn’t start.
The days I always looked forward to was butchering day at the farm. Grandma always had a copper kettles with boiling water over open fires. One kettle was for scalding the hogs and the other was for cooking the liver and whatever else. Grandma would pour a small pile of salt on the bench nearby and Maxine and I couldn’t wait until the liver was done, then we would fish out some pieces with a large wooden spoon and have a feast. When we visited the farm, Pap would always take me out to the smokehouse to look at the sausage and hams hanging there. He would always bring some sausage home.
In the winter when there was snow all the neighborhood kids would gather on the hill below the house in Neil Galbraith’s cow pasture and sled ride. The course was almost a quarter mile long and we would have a fire going to get warm and dry after each ride.
Thelma Killen lived on a farm located on the road to the John Conrad farm. I n the evenings she would ride her horse when visiting Cora Boring. We were all about the same age. She would tie her horse at the edge of the woods across the highway from Borings and always go home when it got dark. Leroy Boring and I would take her horse and hide it in the woods. She never allowed anyone to touch he r horse. I can still hear her screaming that she’s going to kill us both!
These are just a few memories that stick with me. If there is anything that you want to delete feel free to do so.