Remember When: School Lunches

On Thursday I was in New Orleans. I had a meeting to attend in the morning and at lunch, I was whisked away to base camp, which is what we in “the business” call the place where everyone and all the equipment is hanging out between locations. Base camp yesterday was at the Lion’s club in Algiers – a neighborhood on the west bank (also referred to as “The Best Bank” or “The Wank” depending on which side of the river you’re from) of the Mississippi. I don’t usually go to set. In my capacity as the supervising sound editor of the show, my work happens after the scenes are shot – weeks or months after in some cases. But Thursday was special: it was our crew’s holiday lunch.

As nice as the grilled ahi tuna, short ribs, salad bar, fried chicken, mac and cheese, and Chinese fried rice were that day, the fact remains that it was served from steamer trays and we stood in lines with those brown trays, collecting our food. There aren’t too many things that can bring you back to your childhood as quickly as a cafeteria. Here’s what I remember about school lunches:

When I was a kid, we didn’t have soda machines in the cafeteria. It was milk or chocolate milk. And water came from the water fountain, not in bottles.

I always looked forward to pizza days and to this day still, if the pizza I am eating is cut into squares, I want to eat potato chips with it.

Or what about tuna surprise rolls? Who would have thought that a hot dog bun filled with tuna salad and cheese, toasted, could be good? Or was that just me? Did anyone else like tuna surprise? And was tuna surprise one of the Friday lunch options? I remember we always had fish on Fridays (for the Catholics…does that still happen?) and most of the time that meant macaroni and cheese (which was very white and mushy) and breaded fish sticks.

Cole Camplese told me his favorite lunch at BHS was a new offering that appeared on the menu with great anticipation:

“I think my sophomore year they added Chicken Nuggets and it instantly became my favorite item. Mike Fritz and I talked them into selling us a la carte extras so we would end up with something like twenty or so nuggets each.

“We did have a couple of vending machines and one in particular served as Kevin Primerano’s go to lunch option: ‘Scooter Crunch Lunch.’ His famous lunch consisted of nothing more than a couple chocolate Scooter Crunch ice cream bars. He ate them so often, who wouldn’t have loved to have been the one collecting the quarters from that machine?”

What about you? What are your school lunch memories? Were you one of the lucky ones that got to leave campus to eat? What were your favorite school day lunches?

[box type=”shadow”]Photo via flickr.[/box]

Remember When: The Sounds of Memory

What do sounds have to do with memory? Let’s explore!

For those of you that don’t know, aside from my status as migrant journalist for The Bloomsburg Daily, I am a professional sound editor. If you don’t know what a professional sound editor is exactly, don’t worry; most people don’t. It’s generally understood from seeing all the “behind the scenes” documentaries on TV and the DVD bonus materials that it takes a large crew to make what goes up on the screen in the finished product seem so, for lack of a better word, real. But it’s not just hair, makeup, lights, and set designers who create the illusion because movies are not just moving pictures. They are moving pictures with sound.

We all know when we are watching a movie that certain things have been played with to make the picture look the way it does: in addition to makeup artists and costume designers, there may be special effects (like computer generated graphics) or stunts (gun and fist fights, car chases). And we all know that when we watch a scene, it’s been constructed from a series of shots that, in some cases, are filmed over the course of not just hours but days or even weeks. A lot of attention gets paid to how things look on film. But even more things are changed in the sound than in the picture.

As a sound editor, I have changed the accents of characters and sometimes, swapped their voices out entirely for someone else’s. I have altered the dialog in other ways, too. I have changed a performance from sad to angry or flat to funny by swapping out the performance of the lines with that of a different take. Actors rarely say things the same way twice so when I find a new performance, I shave words or stretch them out to fit in new spaces, raise or lower the pitch of an actor’s voice to match the mood of the original performance, slow things down, or speed them up as needed.

Sometimes the actor says the wrong thing and I put different words in their mouth entirely and often I am called upon to bring actors back into the studio to re-record their lines for any or all of the above reasons. And that’s just what a sound editor does to dialog. Every foot step, punch, car horn, helicopter pass by, dog bark, bird tweet, door slam, gun shot and alien spacecraft lifting off has been created, recorded, or selected and then placed by a sound editor. Whereas movie audiences routinely admire the skills of the visual team – how good the actress’ hair or makeup looked, how cool the special effects were – when I do my job right, no one even knows that I’ve done it; sometimes, not even the director!

In thinking about the importance of sound (and hopefully, making it a little more important to you, too), I have come across a couple of interesting articles on the internet lately. One, from last year, is about emotional memories.

The gist of that article is that scientists have found that the same part of the brain which processes what our senses percieve is geographically the same part of the brain that stores emotional memories. While this revelation in itself may not be terribly interesting to most non-neuroscientists, it leads to an interesting question:

Is the reason why the sound of a dentist’s drill can put many people into a state of instant anxiety because where the brain processes what it hears and what it remembers about other times it heard that sound is, in essence, filed in the same place?

And then there’s this article, which reminds me of an experience my friend Aaron Hurley had recently. It occurred to him that his kids all grew up with call waiting and voicemail and he wondered, will they even know what a busy signal is? Aaron did some research to find the answer:

“I individually asked six kids aged 8 to 15 (8, 9, 11, 13, 14, 15). Even I was surprised that the older kids were just as clueless as the younger ones. In fact, even after explaining the whys and hows, only the 9-year-old seemed to have any vague sense of what I was talking about.

You see, she’s a pretty dark kid and it was her exposure to age-inappropriate cinema that allowed her to remark, ‘Oh! Like in a scary movie when the phone won’t work?'”

Isn’t it amazing how, in just the last decade, technology has changed our lives so much that not only do we not know how to wait for anything but we don’t even know what a busy signal sounds like anymore?

The ramifications for my career are one thing that these articles highlight for me: how people feel about something is linked to how it sounds and which sounds they have in their memory already. But think about it this way – there may be a person or event you haven’t thought of in years and then you hear a song and suddenly, you are right back where you were the first (or last) time you heard it. Of course the way all the senses work is linked to memory – not just hearing but also sight, touch, smell, and taste. But naturally, I’m more interested in emotional memories tied to sounds. So here’s my little sound experiment. Care to participate?

What do you think of when you hear this:

What about this:

Or finally this:

Share what memories these sounds brought back for you by adding your comment below.

Photo credit, The Power House Museum Collection.

Remember When: Putting Up the Christmas Tree

Christmas TreeUnless you were the ambitious sort that got your Christmas tree up after Thanksgiving, you might be working on that task this weekend.  We asked the editors of The Bloomsburg Daily to think back to putting up their trees and recall the good, the bad, and the ugly of the event.

Kristin Camplese doesn’t really remember where her family would get the tree, just the arguments (or “discussions” as parents call them) about getting the tree in the stand.  “Pre-drilled stands didn’t exist and it required parents holding the tree and screwing in the stand simultaneously, which inevitably ended up with a crooked tree and some not-so-magical holiday memories. It was all good in the end when the tree was decorated and my dad’s train was circling around it, but there were always some pretty sketchy moments leading up to that.”

Bob Rush said this: “My dad would always have a tree. Being in business he had friends that sold them. He would always put it up on empty egg cases and put the train around it. I alway liked the bubble lights. In the 60s my mom got a new aluminum tree! They were the thing then. They shined a lite on it with rotating colors. I was always more interested in what was under it!”

Not all trees were the kind you had to cut down. Cole Camplese recalls going to the attic in his Grandmother Camplese’s house in Wheeling, WV where they would pull out a fully decorated (lights and all) aluminum tree. “It was a spectacular silvery blue color, to this day I’ve never seen anything like it!”

What are your Christmas tree memories?  Real or fake tree? Where did you go to get it?  What adventures did you encounter?  Were you a colored or white lights family?  Which ornaments do you remember in particular?  Did you have tree drama (a victim of it tipping over, perhaps?), or did you have interesting or fun traditions?  Tell us all about it!

Remember When: Thanksgiving

TurkeyThis week, “Remember When” is taking a trip to the dining room table in honor of (of course) Thanksgiving.

Growing up in Bloomsburg, Thanksgiving for me always meant dinner at my grandparents’ home with a roasted turkey (the only turkey dinner we had all year), mashed potatoes (my mother was in charge of them as there were never any lumps when she was at the hand-mixer), gravy, stuffing (Stove Top, because my uncle and I insisted on it), cranberry sauce (of course), the most sugary sweet corn casserole imaginable (because my grandmother has an unquenchable sweet tooth) and broccoli salad (because it sounded healthy, I guess).

My grandmother usually made a couple of pies for dessert and the first hint of what they would be was when you came in the back door and saw them cooling on the porch.

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Every family has their own traditions but sometimes, the region or heritage of the family influences the menu. Here’s what our own Kristin Zeisloft Camplese remembers:

“I remember gathering around my grandparents’ table (and the kids’ table) with aunts and uncles and lots of cousins. I don’t remember much about the turkey — only the sides, which included a gigantic bowl of Mashed Potatoes, Creamed Corn out of my grandmother’s blue dish (it was almost exclusively reserved for that purpose) and Baked Oysters, which were a Zeisloft family tradition and a treat reserved only for the holidays. They were covered in crushed up crackers and lots of butter and most years, I only ate the cracker crust part. I learned to enjoy the oysters later on — but I always remember that my grandfather or someone in the family would have to make a trip to Baltimore to pick up, and then hand deliver, the fresh oysters.”

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Having to travel to see family was an eye opening experience for Cole Camplese:

“My parents weren’t from Bloomsburg so each year when I was a kid the three of us would pile into the car and travel to either my Grandparents’ homes in either Elkins or Wheeling, WV. They were stark opposites of each other! My Father is the son of immigrants, my Grandfather was Italian and my Grandmother was very Portuguese. This created a radically different type of meal than what most everyone considers “traditional.” It was always amazing with turkey, homemade pasta, sauce, a giant salad, and the crown jewel, my Grandmother Camplese’s Portuguese Stuffing (I think we’ll share that recipe this week as well)! There were always so many people around the table laughing, talking, eating, and hugging. A great way to learn about family. Traveling to Elkins, WV to visit my Mother’s parents was very much in line with what the traditional American Thanksgiving looks like — a perfect turkey stuffed with dressing, amazingly creamy mashed potatoes with homemade gravy, and fresh frozen corn. What I loved about having those two experiences is that my Thanksgivings today borrow from both.”

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The Bloomsburg Daily’s resident photographer, Bob Rush, has these Thanksgiving memories from across the Delaware in Phillipsburg, New Jersey:

“When I was a kid we lived on a farm. Every Thanksgiving we would wake up early and my fathers friends would come over and we would all go small game hunting. We would come back to a small lunch and go to our high schools football game. Phillipsburg, NJ versus Easton, PA. We would end the day at someone’s home for a BIG FEAST.”

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More often than not these days, I’m somewhere other than Bloomsburg during the holidays. When I’m in Los Angeles, a friend’s family takes me in for holiday meals and their tradition is baked fish and an array of vegetable side dishes.

While in New Orleans, it seems to be law that you must deep fry your turkey – though recipes and methods vary from cook to cook. I had one patriarch explain to me that the trick is to go with many small birds, instead of one huge one, and to dry rub them first, then flash fry for no more than eight minutes before wrapping in foil and finishing on a grill for an hour.

Another family’s tried and true method was to take one large bird and sink it into the deep fryer until finished. Both methods, however, yielded almost identical results: a moist on the inside, golden crisp on the outside Thanksgiving bird.

What are your  family Thanksgiving traditions? Add to the conversation by commenting below.

Remember When: You Realized What Being From Bloomsburg Meant

MonumentThis week, I’d like to try something a little different in this column. Rather than focus on a particular topic, I want to find out what everybody’s memories are of first being made to understand that not every town looks like, thinks like, eats like, or maybe just sounds like Bloomsburg.

For example:

I remember my first trip to New York City. It was by bus and we entered the Lincoln Tunnel, which you approach via an off-ramp that spirals into it from above, affording you an almost 360-degree view before bringing you down to the toll booths. As the bus was making that turn, I could see a large parking structure and I realized – there were probably more cars in that garage than there were people in my hometown!

And aside from the obvious differences in size, height, and population between Bloomsburg and New York, while I was a freshman in college there, I remember rushing to get to the bank one Wednesday and a friend asking me what the hurry was. I told her it’s because banks close early on Wednesdays and she said “No they don’t. Why would they do that?” And then I realized; that’s a Bloomsburg thing! By the way – does anyone know why that happens? I think I’ve always assumed that it had to do with the farmer’s market (which used to be a much bigger deal and many businesses on Main Street would close early because of it) but I’m not sure if that’s really the case.

So how about it? What were your personal discoveries about the differences between Bloomsburg and any place else? Share your memories in the comments section below.

Remember When: At the Movies

Remember when Bloomsburg had a Drive-In Theater? How about when there were movie theaters on Main Street? Did you know that not only was there the Capitol and Columbia, but at one time there was also a Nickleodeon on the west end of Main Street? This week we share our memories of being At The Movies.

My earliest movie memories are all tied to the Capitol. Remember when it was all one theater with a balcony instead of two screens? The ceiling had the most beautiful and intricate medallion on it — probably a leftover base from a chandelier that was before my time. I always got to the theater early so I could get my favorite seat (the middle of that center row, the row that had no one in front of it so short people like me could never get stuck sitting behind a tall person). I must have spent hours over the years, staring up at that medallion, listening to that tape they played before the movie started. Do you remember it? “I’ve been to Paradise (But I’ve never been to me),” and “The Age of Aquarius” were on there. Does anyone remember any of the other songs they used to play before the movies at the Capitol?

And remember that side exit they would open when the movie was over? Remember the mask that hung in the alleyway?  

The first movie I ever saw was Star Wars at the Capitol. I was only five years old so I fell asleep before the Death Star blew up. But I went back to see it many many times after that and was so in love with movies because of it, I knew I wanted to work on them when I grew up. And now I do! What was the first movie you saw in town? Which theater was it in? And does anybody remember when the Capitol showed “The Molly Maguires” (see this column’s photo)?

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I only have one memory of the Columbia Theater. By the time I was a movie-goer, that theater had fallen into quite a state of disrepair but they showed “Raiders of the Lost Ark” so I had to go there! About…14 times!

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Dave Henrichs has these Bloomsburg movie memories:

“I remember waiting in line for the first Batman movie with Michael Keaton.  The line was down the street to get into the Capitol!!!  But the first movie I remember seeing there was the first Muppet Movie with my mom, sister and grandmother….

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Cole Camplese has these Capitol memories to share:

“I remember when Kramer vs Kramer was there and the lines were around the corner. The same thing happened for ET, the Muppet Movie, and Jaws. All movies I saw at the Capitol!

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And Jack Edwards learned a valuable life lesson at the movies in Bloomsburg:

“There was a movie I wanted to see at the Capitol, ‘Green Mansions’ I think it was. It was a beautiful summer afternoon so I emptied my piggy bank, and with my life’s savings in my pocket I walked out to Old Berwick Road and waited for the next North Branch to come by. I got off at the corner of East and Main and headed towards the Capitol theater, window shopping along the way. About three doors from the theater, there in a store window, were two new hot rod model car kits, “The Green Hornet” and “The Black Widow”. It was a tough decision, but I chose the Green Hornet, $1.49, and counted my money one more time. I had it made! But when she gave me the total, there was this thing called ‘sales tax’! Now I was a nickel short of the 25 cents it took to get into the movie!

I needed a loan, so I walked down Main Street to Grammy Edwards’ bake shop. Grammy wasn’t there! She was running an errand and Nola, the lady who worked for her, was taking care of the store. Now what?

Nervously, I explained my predicament to Nola and asked if she thought Grammy would mind loaning me a nickel. She laughed and said, “Of course not”, and handed me a dime from the cash register.

After the movie I walked down to my grandparents’ house on Railroad and Third where I was to meet my parents. I had to explain my financial obligations to my mother. She wasn’t too happy about it. She looked me in the face and said, ‘Don’t you ever again buy anything you can’t pay for!’”

What are your Bloomsburg movie memories? Add on to the conversation below.

(Photo Courtesy of Jack Edwards)

Remember When: Halloween

PumpkinsIt’s time to break out the candy corn, dust off the skeletons, and hang the spider webs. This week’s edition of “Remember When…” takes us down memory lane to, where else? Halloween.

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How was Halloween explained to you as a child? I remember being told the story of All Hallow’s Eve in elementary school music class while listening to Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain.” Does anyone else remember that?

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Laurilyn Witherup-Bailey has some elementary school Halloween memories that are funny now but at the time, maybe weren’t so amusing to her:

“I remember in elementary school always trying to stump the teachers, who had to guess which kid was underneath the costume.  One year, I had the bright idea of wearing a nylon stocking over my head underneath my hot, rubberized mask–so as to better fool whoever was peering into the mask’s eye holes.  We had to first parade around the school before the teacher could start to guess identities, and by the time we got back to the class I was so uncomfortable I was crying and begged the teacher to guess me first.  Unfortunately, she couldn’t understand me very well due to the nylon and the rubber mask (and probably my sobbing didn’t help), and she couldn’t offer a guess as to who I was, so I took off my costume without being called out. That was my one and only year with those rubberized masks.”

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Cole Camplese went to St. Columba. Their traditional Halloween parade was slightly different from Bloom Elementary:

“Every Halloween we had a parade around the parking lot. The deal with St. Columba was that we all had to dress up as our favorite Saint.  What that meant was that you would have something like 100 kids all dressed in white robes, rope belts, and wire hanger halos.  Everyone looked exactly alike. The memory makes me laugh even now as I type it. Imagine passing by and wondering what the heck was up with that! It had to have been the lamest way to celebrate Halloween.”

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Kristin Ziesloft-Camplese has fonder memories than her husband of selecting costumes. She writes:

“My mom made a lot of my costumes (for 5th grade I waddled around as a pumpkin), but on the off years, I remember going to Nichol’s or Ames and buying the entirely plastic, cheapo costumes.  Do you remember how they smelled? And they were in little boxes with clear fronts?”

I remember those, Kristin! Remember how they were stacked on the shelves in piles and you had to look at the top of each box, to see the mask and find out which costume it was? I had a clown and a Wonder Woman box costume, but I really wanted to be Batman…

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Once we got to the middle school, most of us who were artistically inclined got a chance at some point to paint a window uptown for Halloween. I can’t remember what my design was, but I know I was assigned the police station and was not happy about it. What’s the fun of “playing hooky” uptown all day if you’re going to be watched by “The Man?”

Jeremy Harvey drew a luckier lot:

“I remember we did this in middle school as part of Mr. Ryan’s art class… we got to go down during the school day in 8th grade. My brother Josh and I painted the window of Serruci’s pizza, if you remember where that was. By the end of the day, we were pretty pleased with the results. I think we painted a night scene with a pumpkin and black cat under a scary tree. It was spooky for sure!”

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Mia Kiefer offers these memories of her childhood Halloweens in Bloomsburg:

“My favorite memories included planning our costumes. We didn’t go to the store and buy them ready-made. We had a big trunk in the attic that contained all the costumes from Halloweens past. It was crammed full of scarves, hats, masks, pants, and piles of assorted other pieces. We would spend hours combining this and that until we had exactly the look we wanted. When we were all set, we’d start off–always with Mom or Dad following along. We only went to the houses of people we knew. We would never consider just going up and down the street outside our neighborhood like so many do today. Our neighbors would actually try to guess who we were and sometimes made us sing a song before we got our treat. Nobody worried about tainted candy or anything like that. We were safe and we had a great time.

Then we reached the age where we didn’t need our parents tagging along anymore. The costumes were forgotten and we thought we were the ‘baddest kids in town’ because we soaped a few windows and threw some corn at houses. And the neighbors didn’t disappoint–they would come to the door and flick the light on, acting like they were going to string us up. We’d hide in the bushes down the street, hoping they wouldn’t give chase.”

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And finally, not to be outdone, our resident Master Rememberer, Jack Edwards, remembers when Halloween was “like an offshoot of April Fool’s day:”

“You soaped windows, threw shelled corn kernels, and knocked on doors and then ran and hid. I think that’s long gone too. Today you’d get arrested or shot, and understandingly so. Within reason, it seemed to be allowed back then and was acceptable behavior on Halloween night.

One Halloween back in early the 1960s, I ventured up into Sherwood Village and met up with some friends for an evening of ‘Halloweening.’ My friend Ray Cronover kind of took charge — the man with the plan so to speak — and we walked the neighborhood looking for mischief to get into. Apparently, this wasn’t Ray’s first Halloween as PA State Police cruisers were circling by and close at hand. Ray knew each and every one of the officers on a first name basis!

All of a sudden, there it was, a house left unattended with the garage door open! ‘Let’s take all the stuff inside and put it on the roof!’ (Luckily, there was a ladder too.) Quickly, we worked as a team and Ray got up on the roof and arranged things where he thought they should go. Just as we stood back to observe our work, the S.W.A.T. team moved in. ‘Ray, you and your friends put all that stuff back right now and we won’t have to get your father involved.’ So, we did.

I sincerely miss my old friend Ray and those too few years of growing up in my hometown of Bloomsburg. I bet most people won’t remember, but Ray’s dad was head of the state police barracks on West Main for years and years. Maybe a lot of people won’t remember that, but I sure do.”

For more of Jack Edwards’ Halloween memories, follow this link.

To add your Halloween memories to the collection, add a comment below.

Jack Edwards Remembers Halloween

PumpkinsSeems like my memories of Halloween, growing up back home in Bloomsburg, center around the tradition of “Trick or Treating”. Was that tradition just a little different back then?

When you were little it seemed like your parents bought you a Halloween costume, but not a new one every year. Each year it went back in the box and was put in the attic with the Christmas stuff where it waited until the next year. That plastic mask might not endure a hot summer in the attic, but often masks came on the back of cereal boxes, I mean, if you didn’t mind being the Lone Ranger, Tonto, or some other single masked crusader.

Now the part that was different was that when you went Trick or Treating you knocked on the doors of friends, neighbors, and relatives. You were invited inside and they had to guess who you were before you got your candy treat. That guessing was an important part of re-establishing kinship and familial ties, I’m thinking. Today, waves of trick or treaters come through the subdivision hitting every house that has sufficient outside lighting so that parents and chaperones standing and observing from the fringes can see that nothing funny is going on. The supply of wrapped candy is kept just inside the front door so they can collect their treat and move on as quickly and efficiently as possible.

The other aspect I remember was just the “Tricking” part! Back then it was like an offshoot of April Fool’s day. You soaped windows, threw shelled corn kernels, and knocked on doors and then ran and hid. I think that’s long gone too. Today you’d get arrested or shot, and understandingly so. Within reason, it seemed to be allowed back then and was acceptable behavior on Halloween night.

One Halloween back in early the 1960s, I ventured up into Sherwood Village and met up with some friends for an evening of “Halloweening”. My friend Ray Cronover kind of took charge — the man with the plan so to speak — and we walked the neighborhood looking for mischief to get into. Apparently, this wasn’t Ray’s first Halloween as PA State Police cruisers were circling by and close at hand. Ray knew each and every one of the officers on a first name basis!

All of a sudden, there it was, a house left unattended with the garage door open! “Let’s take all the stuff inside and put it on the roof!” (Luckily, there was a ladder too.) Quickly, we worked as a team and Ray got up on the roof and arranged things where he thought they should go. Just as we stood back to observe our work, the S.W.A.T. team moved in. “Ray, you and your friends put all that stuff back right now and we won’t have to get your father involved.” So, we did.

I sincerely miss my old friend Ray and those too few years of growing up in my hometown of Bloomsburg. I bet most people won’t remember, but Ray’s dad was head of the state police barracks on West Main for years and years. Maybe a lot of people won’t remember that, but I sure do.

Jack Edwards was born in the Bloomsburg hospital in November of 1949 to Jack W. and Vera Jean Edwards. Jack W.’s parents were Del and Pauline Edwards who had the bakeshop on the corner of West and Main and the Gramma Edwards’ stand at the fair. He became interested in music when he saw girls screaming on the Ed Sullivan Show. He played bass for several local bands, meeting his future bride, Peggy Hasenzahl, at a dance in the Central cafeteria.  They got married in Ocala, FL in June of 1971. Shortly thereafter, they moved to Hollywood, CA to become rich and famous. They now have a printing and graphic design business on the north side of Houston, TX.

Remember When: Downtown Shopping

Welcome to week two of “Remember When…” The response to our first column was overwhelming and very entertaining! While some of us lamented the loss of The Texas, Peking Restaurant and Letterman’s Bakery, others had fond memories of Ash & Naunas, Moyer’s soda fountain, and Herr’s. And check out the comments to find out what folks are saying is the connection between Charlie’s, Stuccio’s, and Grotto’s pizza. I still haven’t figured out what the name of the bakery on the corner of West & Main was, though… All that and more are still open for discussion at: “Remember When…Main Street Eats.”

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For this week’s column, I’m taking the lead of one of our readers, Dave Henrichs. Last week Dave wrote:

“Remember the huge portrait of J.C. Penney (the man) that used to hang over the stairwell of the Main Street store? I’ve often wondered what happened to that picture….I wonder if it is still in Bloomsburg somewhere….”

I remember being quite intimidated by that painting and nearly tripping several times in an effort to keep my eyes on it while going up or down the stairs as a child. It was one of the first pictures I saw where the eyes had that uncanny ability to follow you wherever you were.

Remember When…Downtown Shopping

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Cole Camplese has this downtown shopping memory:

“Remember that we had a Sears downtown that was multiple floors? The part I remember the most was the catalogue pickup area in the basement. We’d order my St. Columba uniform from the Sears Catalogue and then go to the basement of Sears to get it after they called!”

I remember that basement well, Cole. My memory is of standing in line with my Sears Wishbook, looking at all the toys, waiting for our turn at the window to get our packages.

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Melanie Strickelis was impressed that at Woolworth’s:

“…you could get anything…real goldfish, parakeets, hamsters, clothes, shoes, food, keys made, anything you needed!!!”

And Jeremy Harvey remembered this about the old five and dime:

“I remember saving up my weekly allowance to buy 45s (records) at Woolworth’s. Some favorites I bought include Eddie Rabbit’s ‘I Love a Rainy Night’ and Michael Jackson & Paul McCartney’s ‘Ebony & Ivory.’ I also remember buying albums at Record & Jeanswear.”

Jeremy, I bought the K-Tel “Rock 80” 8-track at Woolworth’s! And I learned how to decorate my walls by taping album covers on them from Record and Jeanswear!

What was your favorite record shop in town? Woolworth’s? Record and Jeanswear? What about Pro Audio or Record Review?

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Remember all the clothing stores that used to be on Main Street? Que Pasa, Jolly Jean Giant, Racusin’s, Arcus Dress Shop, Eudora’s Corset Shop…and what about The Small Mall?

And how many shoe stores did we have? J.S. Raub’s, Endicott Johnson’s…what else was there?

Kristin Camplese remembers a male employee at J.S. Raub’s:

“…who was very friendly, not too tall, and had very curly hair.  Anyone remember him?”

I think I do but he never helped me. I was always helped by a nice, white-haired lady, but I only remember her name as Winnie because that’s what she always called me. I had a yellow shirt with a small embroidered logo of Winnie the Pooh holding a balloon…I probably only wore it once to buy my new school-year sneakers but I was “Winnie” for ever after that to her. Does anyone remember her real name?

I got the fastest pair of sneakers in the world from her one year. They were so awesome that, after walking uptown to watch the new Superman movie at the Capitol with my grandmother, I ran leaping home, convinced that I too, could fly.

Speaking of the Capitol…well, that’s a whole other “Remember When…”

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Have anything to add? Comment on these memories or add your own “Downtown Shopping” memories below. Have other topics to memorialize? Write to us at: jenralston@thebloomsburgdaily.com

-Jen Ralston, The Bloomsburg Daily
Photo Courtesy of Jack Edwards

Remember When: Main Street Eats

This is your column. It is our hope you will use it to tell our stories: Bloomsburg’s stories. It will grow and meander,  just like a conversation. It is a conversation: our conversation with our past. Where is this going? We’re not sure yet. It’s up to all of us.

I’ll start:  

My name is Jen Ralston and I was born at Bloom Hospital in 1971. I moved to New York City in 1989 to attend college and stayed there to pursue a career in sound editing for film. I still work in that field and because of that, I usually have to be somewhere other than Bloomsburg for work. But I come home whenever I can and I still call Bloomsburg my home.

Today, I am in San Francisco and I’m hungry, so my memories are tending to be food-related…

Remember When…Main Street Eats

I remember watching a soft-spoken man named Charlie hand-toss fresh pizza dough at — where else? Charlie’s Pizza.

We were a Charlie’s family, for sure, but I loved Luigi’s thicker crust. And, of course, their arcade room and all the different pinball machines! Remember the one that was named after a card game? The goal was to use the flippers to knock down tiles that looked like cards. Was it poker? Blackjack?

Which was your favorite pizzeria on Main Street?
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Do you remember the Texas Lunch? Chili cheeseburger with mustard and onions – that was my favorite at Texas. They had great fries, too. The only fries I’ve had since (outside of the Bloomsburg Fair, of course) that compare are from In-n-Out Burger.

I also remember their jukeboxes – one in each wooden booth. Most of the selections just had the artist’s name and two songs (the A and B sides of a 45…remember those?), but for some reason, Linda Rondstadt had a single on the juke with a tab that was a tiny picture of the cover for the Living in the USA album – a photo of her in roller skates.
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Do you remember Woolworth’s soda fountain? I used to love their vanilla Cokes and floats. What about their candy selection? Candy cigarettes and bubble gum chewing tobacco? Pop rocks, wax soda bottles, and pixie sticks?
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And finally, do you remember the bakery on the corner of West and Main Streets? What was it called? I loved their whoopie pies. I remember the night it burnt down. We lived in an apartment building two doors down. I didn’t realize I was a deep sleeper until I slept through the fire alarms and woke up in the morning to the charred remains of the shop. No more whoopie pies! As Nature Intended opened up in that place next. I started eating alfalfa sprouts. I also remember they sold Haagen-Dazs. I loved the coffee ice cream with bits of chocolate in it. Remember when ice cream was considered health food? (Me neither!)
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That oughta be enough to get us started! Have anything to add? Comment on these memories or add your own “Main Street Eats” memories below. Have other topics to memorialize? Write to us at: jenralston@thebloomsburgdaily.com

Photo by rob_rob2001