December 15, 2018

   

This is Not a Story, Just Random Thoughts and a Little Reminiscing

 

 

 

 

 

This Is Not A Story
Random Thoughts And A Little Reminiscing
By Jack Coll
7-15-18

 

 

It’s a stormy July Sunday morning, a steady rain has been falling for about an hour now and I’m sitting in my office feeling a little nostalgic and running some random thoughts through my mind. Typically my random thoughts mostly have to do with running useless information through my mind, for instance:

What ever happened to the 1960’s group, “The Peppermint Rainbow,” remember them? They had a top ten hit that was on the charts for close to three months called “Will You Be Staying After Sunday.” A little takeoff from a song two years earlier by Spanky and Our Gang called, “”Sunday Will Never Be The Same.”

The first place Phillies are playing the Marlins today and we just got out of a first inning jam, Marlins had second and third with no outs and we sat them down, it should be a good game.
(Sorry, I’m watching the Phillies game as I type this column)

As I remember it, Johnny Cross Restaurant once located on Ridge Pike had a great Veal Parmesan.

In my teenage years I used to sit in the parking lot of Burger King and Geno’s on Route 202 in Upper Merion Township, (long before it was CALLED King of Prussia). When someone would ask, “Where do you live,” the response was always Upper Merion, now-a-days everyone lives in King of Prussia. Anyway the “Jets,” another word for street rods or supped-up-cars would race up and down 202 from light to light. The cars would race from the traffic light just outside the Valley Forge Diner to the traffic light at Bob Wilson’s Esso Station at Allendale Road. On Friday and Saturday nights the action was non-stop late into the night. I haven’t seen street rods go at it in years, have they disappeared?

When was the last time anyone noticed a street rod with air-shocks, the car jacked-up far beyond the legal limit.

I don’t watch a lot of television but from time to time I see this commercial promoting Publishers Clearing Warehouse. You’ve seen one or two of these commercials where a camera crew sneaks up on a random house with someone holding balloons and an oversized one million dollar check or a million dollars a week for life and so-on. Here’s the thing, I never see this crew awarding a big check in the hood, never a run-down row home like you would see in West Philly or Kensington. It’s always this nice single home in a suburban neighborhood, just wondering how random the drawing really is.

Great! The Marlins had a man on third with no outs in the bottom of the second inning and once again we got out of a jam.

I understand that’s its official, Zern’s Farmers Market is closing. The news made me think back to when Montgomeryville Mart was a hot-spot for us when we were teenagers. No matter what entrance you walked into the Montgomeryville Mart the smell of the sticky bun shop would hit you right in the nose. Donna and I had made many Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning trips to both farmers markets over the years. My one big Zern’s story takes me back to the mid 1980’s, Brian was something like ten or eleven years old.

It was Christmas time and one of the things I wanted to get Brian was a bike for Christmas. So all four of us, (Me, Donna, Jackie and Brian) made our Friday night road-trip to Zern’s, and sure enough a number of guys were selling bikes. So I told Donna to take a walk with the kids so I could check out the bikes and throw one in the trunk of the car without him knowing. Now back then you could buy a good used “Zern” bike for ten or fifteen dollars. I was covered because I had fifty dollars with me so I figured I could get him something nice.

The big-time bikes in the mid 1980’s were the “Mongoose Bike.” A new Mongoose could set you back $125.00, $150.00, certainly out of my price range. Sure enough I run across this guy out in the parking lot selling what looked like a brand new Mongoose. I knew I couldn’t afford it but I asked him how much he wanted for the Mongoose. He replied twenty-five bucks! So I said back to him, twenty-five bucks? Yup, twenty-five bucks.

Man I couldn’t believe it, the tires were in good shape, nice seat, I said twenty-five bucks? The guy said twenty-five bucks and it’s yours. I said sold! I handed him the twenty-five bucks, (half of the money I had with me) I grabbed the bike and carried it to the car, I popped the trunk, and when I set the bike gently into the trunk my hands were full of wet paint, the beautiful blue Mongoose bike had just been painted.

I’m thinking this guy just sold me a stolen bike. I figured he must have stolen the bike on the way to Zern’s that night and painted it in the parking lot, and I came along a half-hour later and purchased it. I thought about the kid who had his bike stolen but I went ahead and gave it to Brian for Christmas anyway because I had no-way of knowing who the previous owner was. I could not prove that it was stolen.

Brian came down the stairs on Christmas morning, saw the beautiful Mongoose bike and I immediately was elevated to “Father of the Year” for providing the blue Mongoose bike. (If I’m remembering it right it was previously a red Mongoose) I went out on Forrest Street with him on Christmas morning, and my son and I was the envy of Forrest Street. Man, this was like a hundred and fifty dollar bike and my kid was riding it!

A week after Christmas the beautiful blue Mongoose bike was stolen right off our front porch, the nerve of them. I felt bad for my son because I knew he would never sniff another Mongoose bike as long as he lived at home, but inside I felt kind of relived that what I perceived as a stolen bike was now truly stolen.

But I have to tell you how great it was to be “Father of the Year,” even if it was only for a week!

Well now, in the bottom of the third inning we picked a man off first base to end the inning.

Every once in a while I’ll be flipping through the channels and run across a “Colombo” episode and it takes me back to the early to mid-1970’s when “Colombo” was part of a rotating movie of the week along with “McMillan and Wife” and “McCloud.” I also remember a great Saturday night television line-up that included “The Bob Newhart Show,” “All in The Family,” and Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

A few other shows I remember off the top of my head back then included “Mash,” “The Carol Burnett Show,” “Chico And The Man,” “Good Times,” “Kojak,” “The Walton’s,” “Bridget Loves Bernie,” “Happy Days,” and “Laverne & Shirley” just to name a few.

I won’t say that the 1970’s were good times down on lower Fayette Street but I do remember a few of the stores holding-on that included, (Don’t hang me if I get one or two wrong, I’m writing this off the top of my head) Rafferty’s Drug Store, Fran & Bills Restaurant, Charlie Hicks, Kehoe Hardware, Domenic’s Shoe Store, The Ice Cream Store, (next to Tony and Joe’s) (I wonder how many residents remember that located at Second Avenue and Fayette Street) Terry’s Ladies and Children’s Wear, Elaine’s Restaurant on Hector Street, Young’s Market, Baldwin Flowers, Penn Jersey, Driftwood Restaurant, and upper Fayette Bolero’s Pizzeria.

On these hot summer days I wonder how many Conshy kids get together and go off into the woods somewhere and play on an old fashion rope swing?

Anyone else remember getting a large piece of a “sponge-like” cheesecake at F. W. Woolworths, man it was the best. I haven’t seen this cheesecake since Woolworths closed some years ago.

The Phillies breakthrough in the top of the fourth inning with five runs and the Phillies take a commanding 5-0 lead over the last place Marlins.

Well now, I see the sun has popped out, things are warming up out there.

So how well do you know your Rolling Stones music? Well here’s one for the Stones fans. Back in 1968 the Rolling Stones released an album called “Beggar’s Banquet.” The very first cut on the album was “Sympathy For The Devil” written by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. So here’s the question, how many times does the background singers sing the phrase, “WHO-WHO” during the six minute and 29 second song? Here’s a hint, the first “Who-Who” doesn’t come in until the two-minute mark after the first four verses and two rounds of the chorus had been sung.

When I was a young lad a bunch of us would jump in a car and ride past one of Father Divine’s guard-houses blowing the horn and yelling at the guy in the guard house hoping he would chase us, he never did that I’m aware of. I wonder if teenagers still do that type of thing today?

Here’s a little something I’ll never understand. A rock star, and/or a movie star goes out and gets drunk three and four nights a week, does drugs and beats the hell out of his girlfriend and/or wife on a regular basis and then has pictures taken of them cheating on that girlfriend or wife. They live in a million dollar mansion and never pay their taxes. Shows no respect to the law and doesn’t give a crap about our country. And yet they use their celebrity to tell me how to vote at election time!
Let me think about that.

The soft rock/Disco band The Bee Gees have been around since the mid 1960’s. I really enjoyed their early stuff and I also liked most of their Disco stuff. One of their very popular songs that appeared in the movie “Saturday Night Fever” was called “Stayin’ Alive.” Most of us have been singing along with that song for 40 years now. A couple of the lines in the song have always bugged-me where they sing:
Whether you’re a brother or whether you’re a mother
You’re stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive
Feel the city breakin’ and everybody shakin’
I’m a-stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive

My question is, WHAT THE HELL ARE THEY TALKING ABOUT?

FAR OUT
When’s the last time you heard that?

Oh Crap, The last place Marlins just turned out an eight run 5th inning to take an 8-5 lead. Nothing to worry about, there’s a lot of game remaining.

It was a one-eyed, one-horn, flyin’ purple people eater
One-eyed, one horn, flyin’ purple people eater
One-eyed, one-horn, flyin’ purple people eater
Sure looked strange to me.

So when was the last time you actually heard that song? Remember who did it? It was called “The Purple People Eater” written and sung by Sheb Wooley. What about “The Witch Doctor,” never-mind

I understand that Plymouth Square Shopping Center is getting ready to remodel again as they have many times over the years. Anyone remember some of the stores that were part of the complex back in the fall of 1960. I don’t remember all of them but here’s the ones I remember:
A & P Markets
Conshohocken Federal Savings and Loan Co.
Mollie’s Gift Shop
Park Shoppe Beauty Salon
Plymouth Square Barber Shop
Plymouth Square Hardware
Plymouth Square Shoe Repair
Ply-Mar Furniture Co.
Plymouth Bowling Lanes
F. W. Woolworth Co
Ritter Finance Co
State Liquor Store
Thrift Drug Co
Town Valet Cleaners
The Village Shoppes
The Thrift Drug Co
A bowling Alley

In 1965 approval was given for an 810 seat movie theatre, the free parking lot offered 950 spaces.

Them suckers just scored two more runs in the 8th inning giving them a 10-5 lead.

I’m sitting here watching the Phillies play the Marlins while I’m typing this column and I can’t help but wonder why, every time a baseball touches the dirt the ball gets thrown out of the game. The pitcher throws a low pitch and the ball hits the dirt, and the catcher throws the ball over to the dugout and the umpire throws a new ball to the pitcher. I know I’m a little old school but does anyone else out-there who thinks this is ridiculous? What’s this game coming too? And yea I’m a little hissed-off the Phillies are getting their assess kicked as I write this.

Is there a major league pitcher in the game today that throws the ball completely overhand?

While I’m on the subject of baseball I was just wondering, are there any pitchers in baseball today that’s capable of pitching a complete game? Maybe that’s the wrong question, certainly there are pitchers capable of throwing nine innings, I guess the question is are there any major league pitchers permitted by their coaches to throw a complete game?

I can’t help thinking about a former Phillie Robin Roberts who pitched for the team from 1948-1961, I think he also played for Baltimore, Chicago Cubs and the Houston Astros spanning a total of 19 years.
Roberts was a six time 20 game winner, started a major league record 12 opening day games from 1950-1961, led the league five times in complete games and pitched 45 career shutouts.
During his 19 year career Roberts pitched 305 complete games, let that sink in, 305 complete games, that’s 16 complete games a year for 19 straight years, pretty amazing! I don’t know for sure but I’d be surprised if 16 complete games a year are recorded from all 32 teams combined.

Well it’s getting near dinnertime, time to mentally drift back to reality. Thanks for sharing in on my random thoughts on a rainy turned hot sunny Sunday afternoon, perhaps I hit a memory or two for you.

Damn it! The Phillies just lost to the stinkin’ Marlins, but they’ll go into the All-Star break in First Place, Go-Phillies.

One more thing, 125, there are 125 WHO-WHO’S in the song “Sympathy For The Devil,” all good Rolling Stones fans should know that, even if they don’t it’s a great trivia question.

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