The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.
Continuing west on The Lincoln Highway we arrive in Greensburg, the county seat of the first county in the colony of Pennsylvania entirely west of the Allegheny Mountains: Westmoreland County. The county was created on February 26, 1773.
Our trek across Route 30 is filled with memories for me. My family traveled this road many times as we and our relatives lived near it much of our lives. The Ship Hotel was a familiar sight to me on those journeys. One memory involves this gas station in Bedford. My brother Chuck has an issue with motion sickness. This condition caused much consternation in our family when we traveled. You see, our Dad was one of those guys who didn’t stop the car until we arrived at the appointed destination. He also had the belief that things like allergies and motion sickness where in your head. All you had to do was ignore the feeling and it would go away. So, we are traveling down Route 30 near Bedford when Chuck who was sitting on Mom’s lap in the front passenger seat (no seat belts in those days) could no longer ignore the feeling and threw his lunch out the window. I was sitting on the passenger side of the car in the back seat-with the window down (no air conditioning in those days). I expressed my situation by stating, “Dad! That stuff in Chuck’s head is all over my suit!” We did stop before arriving at our original destination at the gas station to clean up. That’s the way I remember it, anyway!
If I were asked to describe Greensburg today in one sentence it would be, “So many narrow one way streets!” I only went the wrong way one time. Chuck with the motion sickness was born in Greensburg. I showed Chuck the photo of the hospital and he replied, “It’s just the way I remember it” He’s a pretty intelligent guy but, I think he is pulling my leg!
This hospital is also the one where our Dad almost didn’t survive a ruptured appendix. The family story goes something like this. Dad had a ‘stomach ache’ for nearly a month. He tried to ignore it, of course. When he finally decided to go to the doctor he couldn’t even move his leg from the gas pedal to the brake. So, according to the family lore, I was on the floor (no seat belts in those days) doing the braking and accelerating in response to Dad’s directions. That’s the way my sister remembers it, anyway! I must have blocked that one out of my head!
We lived in this house
on Elm Street (that’s me, Randy, Linda and some really tall girl) in South Greensburg beside Third Church. I was the only guy of our age in a block full of girls, so I learned how to jump rope and play jacks. We also played wiffleball and touch football in our “L” shaped postage stamp yard. On this hill across the street from our house my sister, Linda experienced her first broken bone while the neighborhood gang was sliding on the ice. So far, Linda has broken nine bones as best as she can remember. There was a playground in that parking lot.
I attended my second year in second grade in this elementary school. The school system did some consolidating a couple years later and I ended up finishing grade school in this building which is now a day care center. My first two years of Junior High took place in this building. (It has been upgraded since I was in town.) Attending Junior High was interesting because the Senior High met in the same building. The Senior High students attended class earlier in the morning and we, the Junior High came in later. I think my first class was about noon. I do remember taking the activity bus about 10:00am so I could go downtown and play pool with some friends. That’s the way I remember it, anyway.
I was visiting Greensburg too early for lunch on this day, so I stopped at my default hot dog place; Sheetz for some brunch! Paul was working hard unloading 7Up products but had time to wish me a pleasant good morning and share a smile. He has to be a good guy; look at his hat (it’s a Pittsburgh Pirate hat)! Raise the Jolly Roger! We lived in South Greensburg when the Pirates beat the Yankees in the seventh game of the 1960 World Series on a Bill Mazeroski home run. The most popular song that summer was, “The Bucs Are Going All the Way”. That’s the way I remember it, anyway.
See you next time.