Heavy dose of feedback adds up to another local column

| Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013, 8:58 p.m.

My collection of feedback from readers has grown large enough that I feel obliged to dedicate a column to them.

Don Toney commented on our hypothetical trip into the city for the Christmas parade 70 years ago. He has fond memories of going “into town” with his father, ending up with a lunch at Donahoes. He wondered why we failed to mention Frank and Seders and May Sterns when we identified department stores that had exceptional Christmas windows.

Gary Jones reported on our description of Christmas on Lafayette Street in the 1940s. His appreciation of his parents' Christmas Eve activities was enhanced when he became old enough to participate in setting up the train display and the tree.

Gary also remembers impressive train displays at Buddy Sims' home and at Ralph Weise's.

Quoting him directly, “Childhood on Lafayette Street in general brings back great memories — playing with toy cars on a dirt bank, the miniature golf course we developed in the vacant lot, and the constant pick-up softball games. It is clear to me that more family and less government would be a blessing for our country.”

We received an interesting email from a man named Jeff Webb. He grew up “at the edge of Mt. Lebanon, off Bower Hill Road,” and has lived in South Fayette for 36 years. Because his father worked at Sipes Paint, his family frequented Bridgeville. He remembers going to Dr. Hess' office, above the movie theater, and going into the projection room and peering out at the movie through the small window there.

Webb suggested that we do expanded stories of neighboring areas of Bridgeville in the earlier times, with Beadling and Heidelberg as examples.

We think that is an excellent suggestion and hope other readers will provide their memories of those areas.

Mike Carrozza called to report how pleased he was that Jim Fry had corroborated his recollection of the big parachute drop in Collier Township in 1976. Mike had an interesting story about a friend of his who lived in Beadling and rode the train (the Pittsburgh, Chartiers, and Youghiogheny Railway) to Carnegie to go shopping. I remember when the track for that railroad was torn up during World War II, but had no idea it ever provided passenger service.

The track followed Painter's Run nearly to Bower Hill Road, then went through a tunnel (still visible from both Painter's Run Road and Bower Hill Road), then along Bower Hill Road to “the Panhandle,” where it joined the Pennsylvania Railroad.

The P C & Y also had a siding at Woodville Junction, on which it backed up to Federal to take on freight cars. According to Mike's friend, the Wednesday train included a passenger car with bars on its windows, to deliver problem patients to Woodville.

Mike's latest puzzle for our readers is to sort out the difference between Cuddy and Treveskyn. He and I both believe they were distinct communities, adjacent to each other, but we're not sure where one began and the other ended.

Perhaps the most unusual message was from a man named Paul Henne, who is attempting to get in touch with members of Huck O'Neil's family. In 1970, when he was 6 years old, his family and the O'Neils were next door neighbors in Penfield, NY. He and the O'Neil children were close friends, but lost track of each other in later years.

Henne was searching the Internet for information on the O'Neils when he came across my column reporting on Huck's passing, on triblive.com. He emailed me, asking me to forward his message to Huck's son, Bob, which I have done.

I have become quite attached to triblive.com as a source for local news when we are away from home. When I am at home I read the Pittsburgh Tribune Review while I eat breakfast.

On our recent visit to our daughter Sara's home in Fort Collins, Colo., I opened up triblive.com at breakfast time and was able to keep up with things happening in “the Burgh.” So far, I haven't figured out how to access the comics, and have fallen behind on the story lines in “Big Nate” and “Pickles.”

It is a great source of pleasure for me to hear from folks who enjoy the column, especially when they have suggestions for subjects of interest to our readers.

Incidentally, our next “Bridgeville Remembered” talk will be today at 7 p.m. We plan to kick off the new year with a discussion of life in this area during the time our country was in its infancy — 1783 to 1800.

John Oyler, a columnist for Trib Total Media, can be reached at 412-343-1652 or joylerpa@comcast.net.

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