Sunday, July 29, 2012


      I started collecting lighthouses back in the 1980's. It started one summer when my husband and I went to Rockport, Mass.
   I bought my first lighthouse in Salem, after touring the House of The Seven Gables. We saw the  ground where they burned the witches, the chambers where they kept them and the church that ousted them. It was quite interesting to hear all the facts.
   They were all over the area, beautiful, prestigious lighthouses.
Back then we could go inside and climb up all of the steps of the lighthouse to look out the windows. I could not do that today, but I could very easily ride up in an elevator!
     Families use to make their homes in lighthouses, because the man would have to climb the steps a couple times a day and at night. He had to make sure that the light was revolving & blinking at the right time to show the boats the way into shore. There was no way he could live any where but there. In the early years the lighthouse shone it's light by candles.
  Today the light houses are run by electricity. No one is forced to live there. They even have a very informative Lighthouse Club and Newsletter, This keeps everyone up to date as to what is happening to all of the lighthouses.
   We have visited so many places  just to see different lighthouses and find out the history about them. Some of the places we went to see lighthouses are relatively close. There is the lighthouse in Erie, Pa, Marble Head, Ohio, Hilton Head, S.C., Outer Banks,  Rocky Neck in Gloucester, there are just to many to mention.
     I wear a lighthouse charm around my neck, My husband bought it for me in Gloucester. We love to visit there also. It is not commercialized, except for a fast food chain. It looks totally out of place in the small fishing town. Gloucester is the first place we stayed when we arrived.
    We stayed at Bass Rocks. A beautiful hotel that looked like it belonged on the set of Gone With the Wind.  Our room had an awesome view of the ocean right across the narrow road of the hotel, and we could see the Twin Lighthouses blinking. The waves would hit sharply and splash up against the large boulders that were off the road. The lights would blink on the twin lighthouses, somehow they looked forlorn.
    We could walk across the narrow road and sit on one of the high rocks and just gaze at the beautiful sight.  It was pristine, and so beautiful, but I felt lonely at the same time, even though I knew that the ships constantly looked for the shining light in order to reach home safe.     
    My husband had to travel to this area a lot for business, and I would go with him when I was able to. During the day I was on my own until he was done working. In Rockport it was no problem being alone during the day, because of all the quaint stores and restaurants I could walk to. In Gloucester I had a beautiful view, but could not go anywhere. I mainly sat on the deck overlooking the ocean and read a book of poems written by a local native. I can't think of the title at the moment, but I still have the book somewhere among my treasures.
     Rockport is a old fishing village that had been turned into an artist colony. The fishing shacks were made into quaint little shops and restaurants. Rockport use to be a dry town and you had to bring your own bottle, until a few years ago. In Rockport there is a favorite restaurant of ours named "Our Place." We truly consider it "Our Place,"   as we would eat there once or twice a week sitting at a table overlooking the inlet that looked out onto the ocean. There is also a restaurant in Gloucester called "Schooners," it is across the street from the statue of the "Man of The Sea." This restaurant was used by the locals and we felt a part of them when we ate there.
    In Rockport, there is an old lobster shack called The Motiff,  it is most famous for artists that go there for the sole purpose of painting it. Years ago it burned down and that was devastating to the town.  The people raised the funds so that it could quickly be rebuilt. It is as popular today as it was back then.
    Needless to say, the seafood is out of this world and we never said the word beef when we stayed there. We had friends that lived in the area who  would invite us for dinner and the hostess would say, "I went down to the docks and picked up this seafood for dinner." How great to be able to do that everyday! The fish or seafood was succulent and delicious, you never wanted to eat anything else.
     We would sometimes stay at a place called "Cape Ann", it was a charming old hotel with a boat dock. They also had a small restaurant that served the most delicious home made Morning Glory muffins. I can still taste them if I let myself.
      Cape Ann also took people out on whaleboats to see the whales. What a memory we have of that, but that will have to be another story to write.
    I have a fine collection of lighthouses, all different shapes and sizes.  They hold a lot of history and memories for me.Lighthouses are in my bedroom, my kitchen, dining room and living room. I have so many because once people found out that I collected them, they gave them to me for gifts. Most are packed away, there are only so many light houses or pictures you can put out.  I have one beautiful picture that my third son bought for me that hangs above our dresser in our bedroom. It is a comfort to gaze at it.

   There are many other items I collect, but that will be for another time.



 "Sunrise, Sunset", a wonderful song, sort of melancholy. The words are beautiful and makes one think of their children growing up so fast. I think about the song in this way too, but today I thought of a high school classmate.
   I was reading the latest news on the Glassport's Web Site this morning and was sadden to see his name in the obituary. Even though I had heard he was not in good health, it still surprised me to read that he had passed away.  
   He was a good looking teen, with sparkling blue eyes and a ready smile.
Friendly to everyone. He dated a girl in our class for quite a few years, and  reading that he married some one else was a surprise to me. He had just turned seventy years old not to long ago.
   Yes, seventy. I know, when most of you read that he was seventy you will think, "oh, well, seventy is up there."
    Not true, the age might be high, but the person's personality is not that of a old person. We still think young, get excited over little things, have a crush on a t.v. or movie star. We are still "Young at Heart". The words to that song sung by Tony Bennette are so very true.
   Most of my classmates will be turning seventy years old this coming new  year. It is incomprehensible to me how we could be approching this age so  soon. It seems that the years are flying by.
   Why, it seems like yesterday that we were graduating from Catholic grade school to begin our high school years. It seems like yesterday when my mom, a girlfriend and myself went to Pittsburgh to buy my prom gown.
   I know, I have married children who have children of their own, the years have had to pass for all of this to take place, but yet, when I read about Timmy this morning, it brought back my childhood years like it was yesterday.
    Sometimes it is hard to accept that we are not immortal. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012



   My hometown is located about 18 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Glassport is only two miles long and nestled along the Monongahela River. It sits in between the towns of Clairton and McKeesport.   Back in the late forties until 1963, it was my home- town.

  There were four elementary schools. One was the Polish Catholic grade school, the other was St. Cecilia’s, a lot of the Italian kids went there, and the other two were public schools. There was just one high school. Mostly everyone went there, except for the few who went to Divine Providence All Girl High School, or St. Peter’s High School in McKeesport.
I went to first grade at First Ward Public school. My parents moved when I finished first grade, much closer to St. Cecilia, so  I went there from second grade until eighth grade. All of us stayed in the same class so we got to know each other pretty well. We never changed classes. I still keep in touch with friends from grade school.

Glassport not only had schools and churches, but also had a fresh meat market, a produce store, an eye doctor, a family doctor who came to your house, dentist, bank,  hairdresser and clothing store. One police station, along with two volunteer fire stations.  They were simply named - #1 and #2.

My dad was president of the number one station. We had a scanner in the house and when that went off signaling a fire, no matter what time, my dad would get up and go. Later on when my brother was old enough, he would also go. I took that for granted, not realizing until I was much older how much danger they put themselves in.

We all walked back then. We walked everywhere, up hills, down hills, straight ahead. It didn’t matter. We walked to school, walked home for lunch and back to school after lunch, and then home once school was done for the day.  Kids did not have to worry about their weight back then.
In the summer, we would walk to the swimming pool, in the evening we would walk to the honor roll and on Friday evenings, we would walk to the American Legion dance. Saturday’s would find us walking to the skating rink at the other end of town.  We had a movie theater in town; we mainly went there on Sunday afternoons. Back then, all of the stores were closed to keep holy the Sabbath day.

    Writing this for my writing class, a number of members wanted to know what the Honor Roll was. So, I guess I should explain it in detail as much as I can. 
    The honor roll is located on the main street in Glassport. The building next to it use to be our library, but has been closed for many years.
    I guess you could say it is like a very small park, even though kids cannot play there.  It also has a beautiful water fountain,which they turn on in the evening. The water changes to  different colors. There are white lights centered on the Honor Roll to make it stand out. It is eye catching and beautiful in its own right. I have always known it by the Honor Roll. Everyone always calls it that.
 I will have to take a picture and post it so you can all see it. 
    It the middle of this very small park, it  has an honor roll with all the military people who lost their lives while in duty engraved deeply into the wall.  It is hard for me to describe, except to say it had two steps to climb so you could walk the length of the half of arc and read all the names who gave their lives for our freedom.

    Once we knew how to ride two wheel bikes,that is all we did,  We would ride from one end of town to the other end. We never rode them to the dances, skating, or to school. It was just for fun during the afternoons.
We would play mumbly peg, (mumbly peg is played with a pen knife, you drew a small checked board in the dirt and then you opened your knife and would aim for a square, The pen knife would have to land in the middle of the square for it to count as a point ) we also played dodge ball, hide n go seek. When the streetlights came on, we knew we were to go home. 
At four in the afternoon, the steel mill whistle would sound. Wherever we were, we knew to go home for dinner. It was always ready and homemade along with dessert. A lot of times my dad would give me his dessert because I always wanted more, (usually fruit) and none was left, so my dear dad would give me his.

My dad, along with the majority of men, worked in the Foundry.  A steel mill that was at the end of the town. He walked back and forth every day, along with other men who worked at the mill.   The women made a home for their husbands and children. They made home cooked delicious meals every day.

No one locked their doors ever. Funny, back then there were no strangers, everyone knew everyone. Glassport may have been small, but its heart was as large as the largest skyscraper. Neighbors would be outside hanging clothes out on the line and  talk across the fence for what seemed a long time to little ole me. 
 When you walked into the little corner store you, would see ladies talking to each other while they played their penny’s on the daily number. It was no surprise to see women sitting at the swimming pool playing penny ante.  When you walked down street, there would be men sitting on the bench outside of the doughnut shop smoking their pipe, just shooting the breeze.
  When we became teenagers, we hung out at the local corner drugstore. We would order vanilla phosphates, or cherry coke.  The jukebox played the newest “DooWop” songs.  I, along with my friends would sit in the booth for what seemed forever, talking, laughing, and giggling with each other. When the boys would come in acting all tough in their DA hairstyle, we would act all quiet and shy, until they started to tease us and make us laugh. (By the way, DA stood for “ducks ass”.)
 We had our very own Fonzie. Each school day at lunch or after, we would hear the sound of this awesome guy’s motorcycle. He would ride up with his killer smile, shirt collar up and leather pants to talk with the senior guys. The girls would just drool over him, me included.  He was older, he was tough (today’s word would be cool) and he was nice to everyone.

 They say you can never go back home again, but as long as my parents were living I was able to. 
 The last time I visited my hometown was for a funeral.  So much has changed and where I lived is unrecognizable. The red insule brick home is now covered in aluminum siding, and the house next to it is gutted out.

 My hometown exists in my memories along with those memories of my mom and dad. Those can never be erased.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Not long before all of these panic attacks,we moved into our newly built home, but before we did we were forced out of our apartment and had to live with our parents until our house was approved, it didn't pass the first inspection. I was pregnant with our fourth child and living with my parents, trying to keep the kids quiet was quite a burden because they were active little boys who wanted and needed to play, the only problem being, there was not a place to play. While living with my parents, I started to hemorrhage and was hospitalized for a week. When I was discharged they said I had to have bed rest, oh yeah, sure - 3 little boys to take care of and I'm suppose to just lie around. Then my husband comes home from work one day and says he is moving over to his mothers because there is not enough room at my parents. I was floored, what? did he think he was going to leave me and the thee boys and go about his merry way to his mothers? No way, so the kids and I moved over with him. I still was to be on bed rest which was a hard thing to do.
Finally, our house is ready for us to move in, so in we move with, thankfully my mother and dad to help out for awhile. The first day there, March 13 of 71, the furnace does not work. My third child is sick and I am pregnant and everyone else is freezing. Ron goes through all the papers to find the guy who installed the furnace. He finds it and calls. The guy said he was not coming out because the builder never paid him. After much talking by Ron, the guy comes out and fixes the furnace. Nice warm heat flows through all of the rooms. My parents leave at the end of the week and I am on my own - Ron is at work and I'm suppose to be on bedrest. Sure I am, It is impossible so I try to stay off of my feet as much as possible until Ron comes home from work. 
I am feeling better and able to move around more, things are looking up. Nope, not so. We receive a letter from an attorney saying that our neighbors are going to sue us for digging lower than their yard, therefore putting their hedges in peril. Now we had nothing to do with how the builders decided to do the plot, we were kids, both of us 28 at the time. We knew nothing about nothing.But we had to learn fast. We were able to work things out to their liking and the suit was dropped. In August my 9-1/2 little boy was born healthy, but I started to hemorrhage and they had to do things to make it stop, which it did finally.  Then I went into Post Partum depression which lasted from August to November. That is another story I will write about later, but in the meantime - - - - -
 I started to feel terrible as I was cleaning off the dishes after dinner. I had a terrible headache and told my husband I had to lie down. I went into the living room and my husband brought me in a hot cup of tea.
I slowly sipped the tea and it felt warm and soothing.When I finished I set the cup down on the table and leaned back against the couch. All of a sudden, this weird feeling came over me, and I felt like I was actually going to die. I called my husband in the room and told him how I felt. My heart was pounding very hard and fast and I could feel the pounding of blood through my arteries and veins. My body was shaking uncontrollable and I thought I was going to pass out.
He said,” I'm taking you to the emergency room”. He helped me get out and  into the van. He started driving to Citizens Hospital in New Ken. I’m still in the same state as when I left, but I was not sure I wanted to go to the hospital and told him so. He rode around for a while to see if I was feeling better, but I still had all of the symptoms. He was scared and so was I, because we had no idea what was going on with my body.
We entered the emergency room and they took me back into the room right away. The nurse told me to take off my clothes and lay on the cot. I stripped and lay on the cot with a light blanket over me all the while shivering hard. It was freezing in that room, and that I’m sure made me shiver more. I laid there for what seemed a long time before the doctor came in. When he did come in, he did not say more than two words; he took my temperature, blood pressure and pulse and left the room.
For what seemed like an eternity, I just laid there and after a while, I noticed that I was not shaking anymore and my headache was gone. The nurse came in, retook my blood pressure and pulse, and told me I could go home. I asked her what was wrong with me, and she said my blood pressure was high but was okay now. I got dressed and walked out to where Ron was waiting. I told him what they said. He just shook his head as we walked out to the car, and said, “I should of asked more questions”.
I felt fine when I went to bed and in the morning, I went to work as usual. Just when I started to think that it had been some kind of fluke, it happened again! I went through the same routine as before, and got the same answer as before. It started happening more often, and sometimes twice a week. I cannot even begin to remember how many times I went to the emergency room and got the same treatment as the first time. It was quite often. It was quite scary and it was quite a hardship to live with.

The one time when I was laying in the room, this young doctor came in and examined me. He told me what his diagnoses was – Panic Attacks. ”What is that?”I asked. “What causes that to happen? “All kind of questions I had and it seemed he had all of the answers. This had been going on for months and I was so glad that someone finally had the answers.

The young doctor said that one of the causes could be “caffeine”. During the very many times this had happened to me, I had noticed that it happened most often after I had drunk a cup of tea. He also said that nerves could play a part in it also. He recommended that I see a psychiatrist because they were qualified to help people with this problem.

Well, back in the late 1970’s no one ever talked about Panic Attacks, who knows, most people probably did not even know about such a thing. I didn’t want my parents to know and none of the relatives, or friends. Therefore, I kept this secret to myself and made my husband promise not to say anything. I was extremely upset that I had to see a mental health doctor. I was worried I might be going crazy, or something else terrible could be happening to me. Ron tried to comfort me, but to no avail. I made the dreaded appointment.

The day finally arrived. I was a complete nervous wreck as we drove to the office. When we went in, I was very thankful that no one else was in the waiting room. They called me into a small office so I could give all of my information to the receptionist, after that I sat down beside Ron. The receptionist called and said that I would see the social worker first and she would decide if I needed to see the doctor. The young social worker was very pleasant and put me at ease. As soon as she started to ask the first question, I started crying and did not stop all through the rest of the questions. After she was done, she told me I would be seeing the doctor. I thought to myself “I guess so, she thinks I’m a nut case since all I’ve been doing is crying      
Have you ever been to a psychiatrist? What a joke. I went into his office; he was sitting behind his desk blowing his nose. He motioned me to sit in the chair facing him. When he was done blowing, he asked why I was there.( I was much calmer with him, because as soon as I saw him I felt he would not be able to help me.) I told him my symptoms, and when I was done, he asked me “Is it better to have a bird in the hand or two in the bush?” I thought to myself “what does this have to do with anything?” I told him “It is better to have a bird in hand because then you had the bird.”  

I guess I passed the test, because that was the only question he asked me. He got out his prescription pad and wrote out a prescription for Valium!  There was no way I was going to take a drug like this one. I came out of the office and Ron and I left. As soon as we were outside I told Ron that I would have to find someone else to treat me because this visit was a joke.

Through a lot of research, I found out all I could about Panic Attacks, and at the same time found a wonderful woman therapist that truly helped me through the trials and tribulations of this terrible, disabling health issue. I saw her once a week and sometimes twice, no medication was given just a lot of talking. She explained to me about the “flight”, where when you think your going to die or faint, you want to run away from where you are because you feel that is what is causing the problem. She asked me what was the worst thing that could happen to me if I did faint.

After many, many visits my panic attacks started to subside,  I had to watch my diet. I could have nothing with caffeine, because that could trigger a panic attack. I went to classes at the hospital to learn relaxation. Finally, I was coming around to being my old self. It took a lot of work but finally the days came without panic attacks, but before that, there would be times that I would go grocery shopping and be standing  in line to check out, when I would have this feeling of doom come over me and I would have to leave. I would push the cart to the side and practically ran out the door ,because I felt like I was going to faint and I had to get out of there so I wouldn’t. I could not go to church and stay for the full service, so many circumstances that almost made me a prisoner in my own home. I was able to work full time during this awful time, but I never shared what was wrong with me with anyone for fear they would think I was weird. Let's face it, I thought I was weird - panic attacks - who me? Yes, me!

It put a strain on my marriage, because my husband could not comprehend why, whenever we were out somewhere,  I would just get up and have to leave.

Not much was known at that time about panic attacks., I was a pioneer in unknown territory who kept plodding along trying to find my way back to normalcy.

Today, it is a much talked about subject. There are still people that question the diagnoses when someone has it, and there are people that make jokes, or think it is all in the person’s head.

Believe me when I tell you it is all true, I lived through the nightmare and it was hell.


Well, Guess what? I think the  traditional Sunday family dinners are becoming extinct, kaput. At least it seems that way.
    My husband and I thought we would invite everyone over for a good old fashion Sunday Italian dinner, with lots of  good food, talk and laughter with the kids and the grandkids.
    I sent a text to everyone and invited them this past week. No one was responding and the days were going by. So, I sent them a text again.
    Finally, the answers came trickling in. The first answer was; yes, we will be there. Second answer - we won't be able to make it (no reason), Third answer, I'm staying home and relaxing my leg today, Fourth answer, I'm working and the rest of the family has plans to go swimming.
      Did I read right?  This was surprising. We thought they would all be happy to get together for Sunday dinner? Who would not want to be with their family for dinner?   With the answers we were getting, we thought maybe they didn't.
    Since we were not expecting so many no answers, I am stuck with a lot of homemade sausage and meatballs not eaten. Guess what? We will be eating left overs all this week and won't mind at all?
    What really surprised us was the fact that they practically all said no.
No one really had a good valid reason, except for our son who was working. 
    What bothers us is that it is a chance for all the family to be together for an afternoon.
    What's happening to the good old family traditions?


Dee's shared items


This time of year makes me think of all of those things I have to be thankful for - - - -
my husband
my children
my grandchildren
my health
my freedom
always thankful for friends made