My parents were both from northeastern Pennsylvania. They both grew up in small neighborhoods, slightly north of Wilkes~Barre, in Luzerne County, and I was born in Scranton, in Lackawanna County.
On March 4, 1681, England’s Charles II granted the Province of Pennsylvania to William Penn to settle a debt of 16, 000 pounds. On December 12, 1787, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania~the Keystone State~ became the second state in the newly founded United States.
“Hi I bet you folks are wondering why I gathered you all here today. My name is Clyde and I have quite a fanciful tale to tell. Long ago, Bob Dylan and several other folk singers and groups sang a very important song about quite a pivotal incident in my life. Maybe you all even know ‘Froggie Went a’ Courtin'”. That was how Clyde the Frog introduced his tale of boundless joy and woe to all who were willing to listen to him. Long ago he got his very heart and soul stolen forever by Miss Mouse, whose beloved uncle was Mr. Rat. Always the raconteur, old Clyde, to this very day, enjoys regaling folks with the tale of how he fell for the girl of his dreams and all the misadventures that thereafter ensued. The really old folks over in Luzerne County, in northeastern Pennsylvania, where Clyde was born and raised, remember to this very day his uppity antics. “Well let me tell you,” said one old couple, “that there ‘Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County’ was nothing compared to old Clyde! Twain shoulda seen our Clyde in his day!” That part of Pennsylvania is quite the mountainous region but Clyde, according to local ages-old legend and folklore, could most certainly handle it quite well. He could hike, climb, swim and do just about anything. Local folks swear he was a World War I flying ace under Black Jack Pershing. Clyde’s such a big star in northeastern Pennsylvania that each year, without fail, on July 3, there’s a big parade to commemorate his exploits in the 1878 Battle of Wyoming against the Iroquois Indian Raiders. Folks march all the way from the American Legion post in Dupont to the Public Square in Wilkes Barre in old Clyde’s honor on this magnificent occasion. Unfortunately because of old age, Clyde’s been getting a bit cantankerous and set in his ways these days. Folks around here are all still quite proud to know him though. He’s the ultimate inspiration to one and all.
Junk food has always been quite a major weakness of mine. Whenever I’m anywhere near even the general vicinity of ice cream, cake, candy or any other exceptionally tasty dessert, I go plum out of control. At least it’s not an entirely destructive weakness though. I always tell Mary Anne and Steve about my long standing habit of virtually never being the first one to open any container of food, and that includes dessert of any kind. At my old Knights of Columbus council, Council 794 in Lindenhurst, New York, they used always to have Dunkin’ Donuts at their bingo games. I invariably ended up making sure I got some when I helped at the games. Once in a while I take advantage of coupons I get for discounts at Dunkin’ Donuts and go somewhat overboard. That’s only one example of the many kinds of desserts that can send me totally into a state of rapture. If I were ever forced to live anywhere near the immediate vicinity of someplace like Jitty Joe’s, the famous Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania ice cream parlor, I should end up having to go completely overboard. It’s in Moosic. I truly enjoy all their favors, especially the distinctive ones like teaberry, rocky road, or anything with lots of fudge, nuts and syrup in it. Everyone who’s ever been to Jitty Joe’s acknowledges it as the best ice cream known to mankind. Grablick’s was in West Pittston, in Luzerne County, when I was a kid. Their ice cream was exceptional too, but Jitty Joe’s is quite a worthy successor. I find it quite impossible to believe when someone informs me that he doesn’t like chocolate or some other dessert. Ever since I was a kid, home made apple pie has always been my very favorite dessert, though pie from a store, including apple, isn’t all that good. I’ve already covered this topic before so I shall just refer to the gist of it. I enjoy all kinds of sweet things, dessert in general. The only thing that bothers me is when I get something sticky that either melts or drips down my chin or any other part of me. That’s quite a seriously annoying and frustrating feeling. I honestly don’t think I have any kind of a neurotic attachment to dessert. The best part of my fondness for sweet gooey food is that when my supply has run out I don’t end up missing it to the point of having to go overboard. I have quite a happy healthy relationship with my sweet tooth.
It occurred to me that because I’ve been visiting my sister’s family in the City of Long Beach, New York, for so long, I should maybe write about life in Long Beach. Officially I’m still a resident of the Borough of Wyoming, Pennsylvania, though. I’ve gotten to know Wyoming quite well by now having lived there since April of 2006 and I still don’t know all that much about Long Beach. My parents were both from northeastern Pennsylvania and I’d visited the region quite regularly since my earliest childhood, until moving there a while ago. I’ve always really enjoyed the Wyomings. It’s an exceptionally picturesque region with extremely nice scenery. Wyoming and West Wyoming-they share a common zip code, 18644-are such an exceptionally nice little suburban region. There are a lot of local businesses, including stores, restaurants, doctors, hospitals and lawyers, within driving and even walking distance of my neighborhood. They have an exceptionally nice mall only six miles away. The borough is very close to both Scranton and Wilkes-Barre. In northeastern Pennsylvania there are churches-Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox-all over the place. There are many towns in the region that literally have several churches on each street. I’d always been quite involved with Our Lady of Sorrows on Eighth Street, and St. Joseph’s on Sixth Street. The parish is now known as St. Monica’s. The churches, along with all the equally prominent secular organizations, contribute a lot to helping the poor, and to making things run smoothly in general. Having met quite a few exceptionally good people in and around the Wyomings I know that the borough’s residents are as good as any I’ve ever met although they can also be as offbeat a bunch of characters as one could expect. Considering that it’s the kind of small town where everyone knows other people’s business there’s the problem of too much gossip. On special occasions the borough’s representatives have parades and other events to commemorate whichever milestone is referred to. Jimmy Carter, the thirty-ninth President of the United States, even visited the Wyoming Monument, a landmark from the U.S. Revolutionary War. He was only the third United States President, besides Rutherford B. Hayes and Theodore Roosevelt, to visit the monument. There are also a few drawbacks to life in the Wyomings, though. Northeastern Pennsylvania is a very mountainous region and winters are inevitably bitter cold with a seemingly endless supply of snow, rain and ice. Driving in bad weather is treacherous. Flooding isn’t so bad in the Wyomings but when it happens the surrounding boroughs are subject to quite a significant amount of damage. Because it’s so close to the Susquehanna River, fog is quie a major problem too. Because there are countless potholes in the roads driving even under the nicest circumstances is quite a chore. Wyoming Avenue and other roads have a lot of traffic congestion. Because of their history of coal mines, northeastern Pennsylvania typically has a higher than average percentage of deaths attributed to cancer. There is a lot of radon, as well as other carcinogens in the environment. Luzerne County in general is politically very corrupt. If I were the mayor of the Wyomings I should be determined to make the Wyomings as safe as possible from any excessive damage from flooding. I should also want to get something done about the potholes and traffic congestion, and to invest as much as possible into affordable health care. The wear and tear on people’s vehicles is an absolute nightmare. In spite of all the relatively minor inevitable drawbacks and inconveniences the Boroughs of Wyoming and West Wyoming are quite an interesting likable environment.
Until the middle of last month, I had never once, in my thirty~three years of driving, through both New York & Pa. , gotten a single ticket for a moving violation. One morning last month, though, a policeman on Tenth Street pulled me over for failing to yield to a pedestrian at the crosswalk in front of the school. Unlike most schools around here, there was no traffic control. The very next day I made sure I sent a check in the mail to West Pittston because I wanted to make sure that everything was paid for & over with as soon as possible. Yesterday I got a notice in the mail claiming that no one had ever gotten my payment. I called the police department in West Pittston. A woman answered. She claimed that they could find no record of my ever having paid. Two minutes after we hung up she called back & said that the secretary who was in charge of that had never bothered to put it into the right place. Everyone knows how much trouble I could have gotten into for never having bothered to pay for a ticket like that. It’s a lot more trouble than it’s worth so I didn’t dare to take any chances. Although I was technically in the wrong, I still say I didn’t do anything that was the least bit dangerous. Besides that, Luzerne County always has been among the most corrupt places in the state so I like to think I was framed.