Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Stickup In Upper Darby

Hi Bill

Life in retirement provides lots of time for relaxation and contemplation. It also provides lots of time for yard work and other chores if we feel like doing that. However, most of all it seems to demand lots of time for memories, both good and bad. I try to focus on good memories, or at least those that have good or neutral outcomes. Today another memory from the early 1970s about life in the big city bubbled to the surface.

When Pat and I were living on Chester Avenue in Philadelphia, a friend of ours lived in the Upper Darby area and we came to like that area bordering West Philadelphia in Delaware County, PA. It was just 2.8 miles from Center City (downtown Philadelphia). The area had a diverse and appealing downtown shopping area with lots of restaurants, deli’s, etc. So we enjoyed exploring it often, especially the eateries. Sometimes we drove there and sometimes we took public transportation. The western terminus of the SEPTA mass transit system is located in Upper Darby providing easy commuting between there and Philadelphia. 

One Saturday afternoon in 1973, a visit to an Upper Darby delicatessen turned out to be quite frightening. Pat and I were enjoying some great sandwiches at a table along the wall opposite the deli service counter with a few empty tables between us and the counter. We were just relaxing and having a nice conversation at our table. There was nobody else in the place except the owner and his wife who were behind the counter. A young man came in and walked up to the counter, although we didn’t really pay any attention to him. However, life in Pittsburgh and in the neighborhoods while working at DPA (public assistance) in Philadelphia had taught me to take notice of the people around me and what was going on.

Pat was sitting across the table from me and the service counter was to my left and a little behind Pat. We were enjoying our food and Pat needed to refill her drink and began standing up. However, I quickly grabbed Pat’s arm across the table and sharply (but quietly) said: “Sit Down!” She looked at me like I was crazy and started to say something to me, but I interrupted her with: “Sit Down! There is a guy at the counter with a gun! Sit down, and don’t look at him.” Pat quickly sat down, but she did steal a glance at the armed robber. I said: “Just keep looking at me and continue talking like we are having a normal conversation.”  

While we sat at our table trying to act like we were paying no attention to anybody but each other, the robber went behind the counter with the frightened proprietor and his wife. He continued to point the gun at them and made them give him all the cash they had at the counter. However, then he took them into a room behind the counter. We did not hear anything from them while they were in the back room and I was almost ready to run for the door with Pat. However, the perp came out of the room, looked at us briefly and then ran out the door. The entire heist lasted only a few minutes, but it seemed like hours.

Immediately after that the owner and his wife came out of the back room and we met them at the counter. They had not been physically harmed, but they were (of course) very upset. They called the police and we stayed with them and talked to the police when they arrived. Of course the police asked us to tell them what we saw. We tried to do that, but I mostly told them that about the only thing I could remember about the guy was the deadly-looking handgun he was pointing at the owner and his wife. They asked us to describe the culprit and we both tried, but unfortunately, Pat’s description and my description of him did not match. The police kept us there for quite a while asking us questions about what we had witnessed, and it almost seemed like they suspected that we were accessories, although they never really spoke about any such suspicions. Eventually, the police officers told us that we probably did the right thing when we decided to sit at our table and appear to ignore the entire episode, since nobody got physically hurt. Finally the police let us leave and we were grateful to get the hell out of there and very grateful that no one had been injured, although it was quite frightening.

Later we were contacted by a detective and we met with him to try to give him our descriptions of the robber. He also showed us some mugshots, but Pat and I could not really determine that any of the photographs were the guy we saw. Again, I couldn’t remember much about the perpetrator, except the ominous-looking handgun that he held. The detective called us in again to look at some more mugshots and I thought a couple of them resembled the culprit. However, I couldn’t make a definitive identification. The detective was disappointed, but he was not surprised by our inability to identify the criminal. Actually, the police were very patient and treated us with courtesy. They never contacted us again.

Surprisingly, that frightening episode did not stop us from visiting Upper Darby or eating in deli’s again. However, we never returned to that particular establishment, even though the food was very good. In addition, we also decided to eat in establishments that are crowded with customers and avoid those that lacked other witnesses just in case.

However, we believe the perp in the deli was likely one of the following nefarious characters:

Bill, I suppose you get bored with all the random thoughts and memories that I have been writing. However, it seems to be therapeutic for me to put them on paper. I hope you find them at least somewhat interesting or amusing and not too weird.

Take care,

Sincerely Clark

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Our Omaha Oasis

Hi Bill

I have been thinking about when Pat and I lived in Omaha.

I had completed my master’s degree in Library Science at Pitt during the spring of 1977 and I began searching for employment. I realized that I wasn’t likely to get a job in Pittsburgh or even in Pennsylvania. Therefore I expanded to a national job search.

In June, I was invited for an interview at The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). They bought me a plane ticket and paid for my hotel. When I stepped off the plane I realized that I wasn’t in Pittsburgh or Philadelphia anymore. No, I was on the plains and I felt like a tenderfoot in the wild west. However, I was optimistic. The interview included lots of individual and group meetings over a few days. I was impressed with the library and I liked the people, including the Head of Reference (Maureen P.) who would be my supervisor. I also liked the librarians and staff members that I met. Evidently they liked me too because they offered me a reference librarian position shortly after I got back to Pittsburgh. I accepted the job and was excited to begin a professional position with a decent salary and benefits.

Pat and I flew to Omaha to find an apartment and as we flew over the city we were struck by how small it appeared compared to other cities where we had lived. Amazingly, the Head of Reference (Maureen P.) invited us to stay at her house while we were there. That was a very interesting visit. She warned us to ignore any strange noises during the night because her husband (Jerry) stayed up all night and had interesting hobbies. We discovered that he was quite a character when he demonstrated his prowess with a dart blowgun and a styrofoam head and other eccentric behaviors. Unfortunately, Maureen informed me that she had resigned from her position at UNO and was leaving town before I would begin work in July. (BTW: She later became an extremely well-respected leader in the library profession.) Anyway, Maureen and other UNO librarians were very kind and helped us find a wonderful duplex in the desirable Dundee neighborhood of Omaha, which we quickly learned to love.

4611 Wakeley St. Omaha, Late-1970s

We moved to Omaha in early July and I began working immediately. I was grateful to realize that Pitt had well prepared me to begin my career as an academic librarian. However, I also realized that I had a lot to learn. Luckily my terrific new colleagues at UNO were happy to help me and teach me how to be a good academic librarian. They were all amazing colleagues and good friends to both Pat and me. 

My Colleagues at the Reference Desk in the UNO Library, Late-1970s

  •  Pat F. was a very entertaining woman who talked rapidly and constantly, but you did not want to be in a car that she was driving – that was frightening. She was also an excellent business/economics librarian. She eventually moved to the University of Iowa and sadly succumbed to an early death from cancer. 
  • Laurene Z. taught me much about being a good reference librarian. She was also our lead instruction librarian and she helped me become comfortable in the classroom and how to develop and present effective instructional sessions. She was also a good friend. 
  • Patrick B. was also an excellent reference librarian and he became our very good friend. He eventually left UNO some years after we had moved on. He went to La Crosse, WI where he worked at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse. He has since retired and still lives in La Crosse. We have visited him there and keep in touch via occasional emails. 
  • Tom T. was the new Head of Reference and he was a knowledgeable, thoughtful and fair supervisor. I felt fortunate to be working under him. Pat and I became friends with him and his wife. I was happy to see him at a few conferences after I left UNO. 
  • There were so many wonderful people that I worked with at UNO, including Mel B. (and wife Vickie), John H. (and wife Dorothy), Bruce M., Jane O., Janet K. and many more. The entire staff of that library (and many faculty and staff beyond the library) formed a large family of support and we were happy to be included in that family, which had many get-togethers, pot lucks, etc.

Patrick B., Rayna, Zeb in La Crosse WI, Mid-1980s

Patrick B., Zeb, Rayna, Pat in La Crosse WI,  Mid-1980s

We quickly embraced life in Omaha and especially our neighborhood (Dundee) and the little duplex we shared with Mr. and Mrs. Orland J. (a wonderful retired couple). I was able to ride my bicycle to work and back during most of the late spring, summer and early fall. Dundee had a business area with a grocery store, drug store and some other shops and restaurants. We were also close to a Target and other stores. The Omaha Old Market area was a unique and fun place to shop and eat. There was a large mall that was not far and other smaller malls even closer. Activities and cultural opportunities were also prevalent, including art museums, symphony, a very nice zoo and lots more to keep us happy. We attended UNO sporting events and I took in some of the annual College World Series games. We also came to like visiting Lincoln NE, where the state capitol and the University of Nebraska resided. In addition, Pat got a job at the Omaha Public Library and liked it very much, including the guy who wore underwear boxers on his head and danced in the library lobby, and other interesting characters. 

My Mom (Marie) and Aunt Pauline traveled by train to visit us in 1978. We took them all over Omaha, including the zoo and shopping areas and restaurants. We took them to a very popular Omaha Italian restaurant (I can’t recall the name) which was decked with gaudy statues and Christmas-tree colored light strings on the exterior and interior. It was also famous for its great food. We had a very nice meal, but Mom and Aunt Pauline were most impressed by the gaudy décor. They just thought it was so “swank.” We had a wonderful evening at that restaurant. Mom was even drinking coffee during that meal, although she was not a coffee drinker. We also took them to Boys Town, Lincoln, the State Capitol grounds, etc. during that visit. 

Aunt Pauline, Marie,Clark, Pat in Lincoln NE 1978

In July 1979, our daughter (Rayna) was born in Omaha. That was an amazingly joyful time in our lives (of course). My Mother and Aunt Pauline visited again to meet Rayna, and we all focused on baby Rayna instead of sightseeing.

Pat, Rayna,, Clark 1979
Marie (Clark's Mother) with Rayna 1979

Clark's Aunt Pauline with Rayna 1979

Rayna’s joyful birth changed our lives in more ways than we expected. I quickly decided that I needed to make more money. The Dean of Libraries (Robert R.) liked to take us for walks around campus or on the adjacent golf course to talk. During a couple of golf-course walks, he tried to convince me that he would make it worthwhile for me to remain at UNO. He was a great guy and I liked working with him, but I wanted to go to a bigger library system and a bigger city with a bigger salary. Therefore, I got a new job at the University of Cincinnati, Central Library and we moved in late June 1980. Pat drove herself and Rayna in our car and I drove a U-Haul truck full of our stuff to Cincinnati. BTW: While Pat and I flew to Cincinnati to find a place to live, we left Rayna with Janet K. (a very good and trusted friend) and her family. Janet had a couple of older kids and evidently Rayna liked Janet’s family, because she didn’t want to leave them when we came to retrieve her. 

Clark in the UNO Library, Late-1970s

Pat and Clark shortly before leaving Omaha, 1980

Bill – We enjoyed living in Omaha and still enjoy visiting that city, which is not too far from Sioux Falls. I wish you could have visited us while we lived there.

I hope you and your family are well and happy.

Take care.

Sincerely Clark

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Where You Be, R.G.?

Hi Bill

I may have mentioned Robert G. (a good friend from my college years) to you in the past. We all referred to him as R.G. and he was quite an unforgettable character.

In the fall of 1970, I had had enough of living with roommates, so I moved into a sleeping room in the basement of an apartment building at 317 North Craig Street in Pittsburgh. It was far from luxurious but it was cheap. The room had a bed, a refrigerator, a dresser, and a closet. However, it lacked plumbing and an oven/stove, but we could supply our own hotplate or toaster oven. It was in a long basement hall with about 10 or so other sleeping rooms. We all had to use bathrooms (one for men and another for women) in the hall. It took some time to adjust, but it turned out to be a wonderful experience for me. All of us sleeping-room peasants got to know each other very well and I enjoyed some interesting characters and very good friends in that basement, including Pat, whom I eventually persuaded to marry me.

R.G. was maybe a couple of years older than me and he was working on a master’s degree at Duquesne University. He and I became very good friends in 1970/71 when I was finishing my BS in Psychology at Pitt. He was from Jamaica and spoke with a rich deep Jamaican/British accent that hinted a connection to the Jamaican aristocracy. His father was a doctor in Jamaica, but R.G. did not seem to have a very good relationship with his father. He was almost always out of money, like the rest of us in that basement, but we all helped each other out when possible. Pat reminded me that her mother once gave her $100 in an attempt to persuade her to move back home, but instead she bought some food for R.G. and then gave him the remainder of that money.

R.G. was also one of the funniest guys I have ever met. He had a never-ending repertoire of stories about growing up in a wild-west gun-toting environment populated by out-of-control Jamaican teenagers. He also had a hard time getting out of bed during daylight. However, he loved to stay up all night talking with anyone who would listen while smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, although he rarely became inebriated.

R.G. reading my calculus book

Almost everyone in those rooms were friends and we often congregated in the hallway for long conversations. R.G. and I would often sit on the floor in the sleeping-room hall talking and smoking cigarettes (him with his Salem menthols and me with my Marlboros) all night long. Pat remembers often saying “Good Night” to us before going to bed and then “Good Morning” to us when she got up the next morning. We were usually still sitting in the same location. I don’t know how I managed that lifestyle and still was able to complete my bachelor’s degree, but somehow I did it.

R.G. raiding someone's refrigerator

Of course we also visited the local watering holes in the neighborhood. R.G. was partial to Chief’s, a bar that was less than a block away from our apartment building. It was a neighborhood bar that reminded me of a smaller and less decorative version of the bar that Archie Bunker bought in the later seasons of All In The Family. We spent many nights and lots of money that we should have used more wisely in that crowded little bar eating hard-boiled eggs and drinking Iron City Beer. It was a great place, but it was also a rough place. R.G. was in there one evening when a man with a gun robbed the bartender, who wisely forked over the money with no struggle. We all knew that Chief’s was robbed fairly frequently and that the owner kept a firearm behind the bar. None of us wanted to be there when he decided to use that firearm. Anyway, we still continued to frequent Chief’s. There was just something about that bar that beckoned to us, even though it was not a typical college bar. I also imbibed in The Luna (a college bar) across the street from Chief’s, but R.G. didn’t feel comfortable in that environment.

Richard, Paul, Pat, Bruce, and R.G.

We also had parties in that sleeping-room hallway and R.G. was one of the main entertainers during those parties. Alcohol would always loosen his discipline some and he contributed lots of humor to those parties. However, he usually was able to retain a modicum of servility.

R.G. was subject to epileptic seizures and all of us living in that basement knew that he had that problem. Most of us helped him through those episodes when we witnessed them. It was frightening, and painful to see him struggling with them. I witnessed several of his seizures and became aware of certain actions we should take to prevent injuries during them, e.g., try to keep him from hitting his head or injuring his arms or legs, help him to not bite his tongue, make sure he is breathing, and just don’t panic.


R.G. was an amazing person and I have always felt lucky that we were friends. Unfortunately, he had to return to Jamaica after he was informed that his younger brother had been killed by a hostile Jamaican gang member. He had to leave suddenly and never returned. I lost a very good friend whom I thought of as almost a brother. We exchanged a couple of letters, but then lost contact. We both moved on, but I will never forget R.G. and I hope he is having a wonderful life. Where you be, R.G.?

Bill - I know that you have had similarly fascinating close friends over the years. As we get older, it becomes harder to maintain some of those friendships and people just seem to drift away from each other. I wish we lived closer to each other.

Take care.

Sincerely Clark

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cherishing Gitche Gumee

Hi Bill

Last month Pat and I made the 400-mile drive to Duluth to pay homage to our beloved Lake Superior. Rayna chaperoned us old folks to make sure we didn’t get lost, mugged by roving thugs or just decide to never come back home. As you know, we have visited Lake Superior many times and we never tire of it. I can’t explain why we love Lake Superior, although it certainly reminds Pat and I of the ocean, which we enjoyed while we lived in the Philadelphia area back in the early-to-mid-1970s. However, there is no question that Le Lac Superieur calls to us and we must visit her often.

In addition, Duluth also beckons to us in a strange way. We think that the gritty port and industrial areas of Duluth, along with the steep hills, bridges, and rough-looking downtown area reminds us of locations in the Pittsburgh area. However, we also like the area of Duluth up over the ridge where the newer neighborhoods and retail stores offer a softer, more comfortable environment than the areas near downtown.

Within a few minutes after we checked into our large lake-side room in Comfort Suites in Canal Park, we went out to the lake walk to stroll and sit on the benches along the lake for a while just enjoying the relaxing, almost mesmerizing, view of the lake. That’s pretty much all we really wanted to do, i.e., sit and stroll along the lake, and we did plenty of that during this visit.

Pat and Clark in Canal Park - June 2015
During the few days we were in Duluth we enjoyed the lake from many different vantage points. Of course we walked along the breakwater in Canal Park and the canal that provides access between the lake and the busy industrial harbor. We visited the light houses on both sides of the lake entrance to the canal. We also walked across the amazing Aerial Lift Bridge that connects Canal Park to Park Point, a narrow but interesting community and sandbar beach area.

Sail boats on Lake Superior - June 2015
The ambience of the Canal Park area is both interesting and enchanting. Duluth is a very industrial city that is fueled by the huge cargo ships that embark and arrive through the Canal Park area, where tourists flock to see them and the wonderful lake. While we were there, we witnessed a few behemoth cargo ships arriving and departing through the canal with their crew waving at the crowds of tourists.  We also witnessed a beautiful regatta of small sail boats exit the canal and sail onto the lake.

Canal Park caters to the needs of tourists, including good restaurants. We ate at Little Angie’s Cantina where the food is spicy, at Grandma’s where the burgers are large and sumptuous, at Amazing Grace where the half sandwiches are succulent but huge and messy, and of course fast food is also available. Yes, there are also plenty of bars available for those who want them.

Pat and I in Little Angies Cantina - June 2015
The City of Duluth has been suffering from a struggling economy and the evidence is visible in the city. Most tourists probably don’t go to the downtown area, but we like it there and indulged in some retail therapy in that area. Rayna and I spent some money in Electric Fetus, which we have also patronized in Minneapolis. It’s a music store (CDs, vinyl, and other music-related items) and we bought some vinyl. We also like Duluth Trading Company where Pat bought some clothing. I didn’t buy any, but that may fulfill most my clothing needs in the future via online shopping. We cannot visit Duluth without taking in the variety of shops and restaurants at the old Fitger’s Brewery building. Rayna bought a coat and Pat and I bought some books at Fitger’s. In addition, Fitger’s also provides great views of Lake Superior and a charming lake walk that leads to Canal Park in one direction and more great views in the other direction. 

Duluth MN - June 2015
In addition to downtown and the Lake area, we also like to drive up the hill over the ridge to check out the mall area, Barnes & Noble and other retail stores. Rayna dropped us at the B&N for a while and went off to look for some clothing at some other stores in that area. We also like the Duluth Pack store in Canal Park, especially for sweat shirts and other clothing items. In addition, we toured art galleries in Canal Park, where Pat bought some small local art pieces.

There are many options for good meals in the downtown area, including one of our favorites, Pizza Luce on Superior Street in downtown. We also like a small coffee shop named Jitters where we had lunch and coffee. It’s not at all fancy, but the sandwiches are good and the coffee is great. Of course Starbucks are also prevalent.

Rayna showing her cairn - June 2015
We like the Point Park community across the bridge from Canal Park. It consists of mostly small and older homes on both sides of the road that leads from the bridge to the park area. The only way to enter and exit Park Point is via the Aerial Lift Bridge from Canal Park or via the water or I suppose via helicopter. We spent some time there on two different days during this visit. We were delayed in a long traffic jam because the bridge was raised to enable a large cargo ship to depart from the harbor when we were returning to Canal Park after one of the Park Point visits. Luckily we were stopped at the bridge gate so we had a great view of the road surface of that bridge being raised high over the canal to enable the ship to leave the harbor. That bridge is awesome!

Clark and Pat sitting near Fitger's - June 2015
Bill, we had another wonderful visit in Duluth and we hope to do it again soon!

Unfortunately our drive home was horrendous because of heavy traffic jams and bad weather, which only got worse after we arrived.

I hope you and your family are well and happy.

Sincerely Clark

One of the ships we greeted along the canal - June 2015

Another ship to greet in the canal - June 2015

The famous Arial Lift Bridge in Duluth MN - June 2015

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Bicentennial Painting

Hi Bill

Every year when the 4th of July is looming I think of one of our more memorable July Fourth holidays. You were not part of that holiday but I have probably mentioned it to you sometime.

As you know, Sunday, July 4th 1976 was the 200th anniversary of the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, and during the previous year there were many festivities/events all over the country leading up to the big crescendo. The big day was a nation-wide festive celebration, which you undoubtedly enjoyed with your family.

Festivities included elaborate fireworks in the skies above major American cities. President Ford presided over the fireworks display in Washington, D.C. that was televised nationally. An international fleet of tall sailing ships gathered in New York City on Independence Day and then in Boston about one week later. Navies of many nations sent warships to New York harbor for an International Naval Review held the morning of July fourth. President Ford sailed down the Hudson River into New York harbor aboard the guided missile cruiser USS Wainwright to receive salutes from each visiting ship and a salute from the British missile cruiser HMS London. Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip made a state visit to the United States to tour the country and attend the Bicentennial festivities with President and Mrs. Ford. Their visit aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia included stops in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Virginia, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.

You may remember that at that time, Pat and I were living on Parkview Avenue in Pittsburgh, while I was in graduate school. I’m sure there were many festivities in Pittsburgh on the big day, but instead of enjoying them, we drove to the Hallman homestead on West Plank Road on the Friday evening before the big day. We thought it would be nice to visit Mom (Marie), Aunt Pauline, and some others for the holiday. We also hoped you and your family might make the trip from eastern Pennsylvania to the old homestead. Unfortunately, you and your family could not join the Hallman festivities. However, you were extremely lucky that you could not make it to the homestead during that very hot weekend. You lucky dogs!

It was nice to see Mom during that “Festive Fourth.” It was also nice to see Aunt Pauline who was visiting.  However, we soon learned that the “Two Sisters” had plans for us that were not as festive as we expected. They informed us that they needed help with some chores, which didn’t surprise me. That property and house was large and difficult to maintain. In addition, Mom was not financially well off, so paying someone to help was not always feasible.

However, Pat and I began to get a little nervous during the Friday evening conversation with them and that feeling soon morphed into an “Oh please I don’t want to know what they have in mind!” feeling. However, it did not take long for them to inform us that they were in the process of “Painting the Exterior of the House!” Hearing that put the fear of God into me. I had previously helped Dad paint some of the house, but he had died about seven years earlier so he wouldn’t be there to help with this job. Mom and Aunt Pauline told us they were only painting one side of the house, but which side? Immediately I thought “Please not the west or east side!” Those were the largest and highest sides and I didn’t (and still don’t) like heights.

On Saturday, I found myself painting the west side of the house and believe me, it was not fun. First, there was some fairly significant blistering of the old paint on that side of the house and I had to scrap most of those blisters off before any paint could be applied. Then I had to apply primer to the bare wood where the blisters had been scraped off. However, I was able to begin painting the top coat by midday or so. To be fair, Aunt Pauline, and Pat helped put a little paint of the lower part of that siding. However, I was responsible for most of the painting. The “Two Sisters” sitting in their two lawn chairs maintained a constant surveillance of the entire painting process, which included them pointing out areas that needed more attention. I painted well into that Saturday evening.

Sunday, the day of the big Bicentennial celebration was surreal. I’m sure you would have found it very amusing to see me on Sunday during the Bicentennial 4th of July celebration, when I was painting the high part of that side which included an area under the peeked roof. Of course we didn’t have any scaffolding to stand on, which would have made the process easier and a lot safer. Therefore I was hanging by a thread on a very high extension ladder silently praying that I didn’t slip off of the ladder and break any bones during a 20-foot fall to the ground without any parachute or padding to help me.

Of course Pat was not excluded from the fun. She helped paint some of the lower parts of the siding, but when that was finished, the “Two Sisters” did not give Pat any relaxation time. Instead of allowing Pat to sit in one of the audience chairs to help critique Clark’s painting skills, Mom and Pauline strongly encouraged her to pull (and dig) weeds out of the very long gravel driveway from the highway to the house. Of course Pat acquiesced and did some driveway weeding. I think she just needed some time away from the “Two Sisters.”

While the entire country was celebrating its 200th birthday, Pat and I were under the control of the “Two Sisters.” They were two assertive women, but they also could be funny, considerate, and loving. They both had a big influence on me as I was growing up and I’m grateful to them for many reasons. I think of them often.

Although it was not the Bicentennial celebration we wanted to experience, when Pat and I think back to that day we find it to be very humorous. I wish you and your family could have been there to share the labor and the snippets of joy.  By the way, I have steel siding on my house and I am not inclined to recreate that celebration.  

Sincerely Clark

Clark and Pat 1976
Clark with Marie and Pauline 1976

The Old Homestead now Long Gone