I feel very sorry for high school kids in 2020, particularly the seniors, but the others as well. We had proms and big graduation ceremonies (well, not so big where I went to school, but we did have one). Heck, we even went by bus – all 36 of us – from Stoneboro High School in Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C. In fact, in those days so did thousands of other high schoolers. We met a bunch while we were there including a very attractive brunette from New Castle, Delaware – but that is not something we discuss these days.
The biggest problem that I have with my high school is that it is no more. The Town of Sandy Lake was about one mile away as the crow flies – or you walked down the railroad tracks which we often did. However, if you went by car or bicycle it was about two miles away due to the way the roads went. In any case a few years after I graduated, they merged the Stoneboro and Sandy Lake Schools into Lakeview High School. I did not think much about that until I tried to set up a Facebook account. I tried to put in my high school as Stoneboro H.S., Stoneboro, PA, and good old Facebook would change it to Lakeview H.S. which is now in Stoneboro. I hollered at Facebook that Lakeview wasn’t even there when I went to high school, but to no avail. I was persistent though and somehow was able to get the correct high school in. I do not know how I did it, but I don’t mess with that page anymore!
Stoneboro and Sandy Lake are in Western Pennsylvania north of Pittsburgh not far from the Ohio line. There was not a lot to do, but we managed to get by. For example, I was able to obtain a summer job at Sandy Lake, which is a lake in Stoneboro and not in Sandy Lake the town which as mentioned above is a mile away down the railroad tracks. The natives understood this as it was just visitors who had problems. I made the amazing sum of 35 cents an hour which really added up as you can imagine. Once the swimming season ended, we had the Great Stoneboro Fair in September. I worked a popcorn stand there one year. I do not know what I was paid, but it was probably right up there with the other area salaries.
Then, I struck it rich as I was able to obtain a position at the A&P grocery store in Sandy Lake. I was somewhat surprised since I was from Stoneboro which was a mile up the tracks. Luckily, I did and received the exorbitant sum of 65 cents an hour. This store was not a supermarket, but an old-fashioned store where the clerks stood behind the counters. The customer would tell you what they wanted; I would scurry to find it. The mother of my girlfriend who did live in Sandy Lake would usually holler at me because she thought that I was rushing her. However, when they were done, I would hit the cash register and tally up the cost of what they wanted. Compared to today’s prices, they were very little. A carton of cigarettes cost less than a pack today. The A&P then had three types of coffee – Eight O’Clock, Red Circle, and Bokar. They went in that order from cheapest to most expensive, so you could tell who had the bucks in the area.
One fun thing about writing nostalgia is that there is usually someone who takes umbrage at something I write. For example, I wrote recently about the fact that Eskimo Pie was going to join the name changing business. I had just read that before writing the article and though it was kind of interesting. In any case one “gentleman” accused me of being a radical. Whoops, I am sorry but it was worse than that. He claimed that I was a “conservative.” He then proceeded to inform me that it was people of my generation who counted their time left in months rather than years who were responsible for the way this country is. He determined that once we “left” that everything would be much better.
I wait to see what happens if he reads what I wrote above. Possibly, he will not like my coffee comments!
Barry Evans writes about Life in The Villages for Villages-News.com.