Salty Apple Pie: Pre-World War II


Aunt Jeanette's HouseAs I stood on the banks of the Allegheny River watching the waterfowl swimming and flying over and around the docked pontoon boats across the way; I recollected a childhood story told to me by my grandmother.  It was a story about my father and uncle growing up in the small town of Kittanning, Pennsylvania.  Here I stand in 2012, I had made a road trip with my wife, Susan, to revisit my father’s birthplace, retelling her the story of “Salty Apple Pie.”    It was about 1939, a warm summer’s day, when young boys would swim in the river while cooling down from the hot days sun.  On such a day, my father, Reynolds, dressed and headed down the steep, ridged Johnston Avenue going home.  On his way he would pass the house of Aunt Jeanette, who was known for her great apple pie.  As he walked by her house on Wilson Avenue, just across from the Fourth Ward School, he smelled the aroma of freshly baked apple pie.  It was unmistakable!  The warm summer breeze was blowing the scent of the pie through the neighborhood.  Reynolds caught the scent and began to run towards her house, as he had done each day after school to catch  a chance at a delicious treat.  He would always knock first before entering the unlocked screen door.  “Aunt Jeanette, its me.”  The aroma of cinnamon and apples created images in his mind of a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting over slice of  warm pie. Aunt Jeanette answered the door,  “Rennie, where’s your brother?”  I left him at the river, he’ll be along sooner or later.”  She apologized, ” I’m sorry about the apple pie, but there’s been a small misstep on my part, I mixed in salt thinking it was sugar.”  Disheartened, he replied, “Sucks, I really was looking forward to a piece of your special pie.”  She ordered, ” Rennie, you better throw out the pie, excuse for a minute, I have to run an errand.”  There was a moment of silence, as she left slamming the screen door.  Rennie’s thoughts began to entertain the idea of playing a practical joke on his brother,Jack, who was 4 years his senior.

Rennie ran out of the house, down the steps, and across the street to the school yard, looking for Jack.  “Hey Jackie, Aunt Jeanette made us some apple pie.”  Jack’s eyes opened wider with each thought, he turned without a word and raced across the street and into Aunt Jeanette’s house. Jack found no one home, so he decided to help himself to a piece of pie by pouring some cold milk over a slice.  There were few comforts living in a small mining town, but eating homemade pie was at the top of the list.  Jack’s expectations of pleasure turned into a mouth full of disgust, as he spat out the pie into the sink.  He was duped, he was mad, and he was going to get even with his younger brother.

Later that same afternoon, Jack returned home in a crabby mood and with a  surly mouth. He had been fooled by his younger brother and was humiliated.  As Jack walked in the door, he could hear his brother telling their mom about the tomfoolery.

As I finished telling the story to Susan, we decided to visit the schoolyard and Aunt Jeanette’s house on Wilson Avenue, laughing about a tale of two brothers that has been handed down over the generations. All parties to the story have left this earth, but their spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of those who loved them.  To this day, I love apple pie.

Would You Like to be a Pollyanna? Play Her “Glad Game.”


The original game was played by Pollyanna in a book published by Eleanor Porter named after the character in 1913.  She decided to change her small town by playing a game that her father had taught her called “The Glad Game.”

Basically, it meant that she always found a reason to feel glad.  

For example, think of something that doesn’t give a glad feeling, then try again by rethinking the same thought by finding some part of the original thought that has a fiber of gladness.  ” I am feeling overworked, tired, and stressed out over my job, but I am truly glad that I have a job and can support myself.”  

Try this idea with yourself, then expand it to your family and friends, especially when you hear a negative thought expressed in your presence.  

The game is an experiment in which all parties playing the game can find a way to be glad.  Come and discover  some fun and enjoy.. Teach a child to play and you will learn something different.


College Degrees With the Highest Salaries in 2013


Smithsonian 003A new study just released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers tracking the highest paying college majors for the class of 2013 suggests  that fields of study in technology yield the greatest return on your tuition investment.

On the average the starting salary of most college graduates is $44, 259 from reports received regarding the class of 2012.  Below are the exceptions to the average starting salary:

1. Petroleum Engineering, $93,000

2.Computer Engineering, $71,000

3. Chemical Engineering, $67,600

4. Computer Science, $64,800

5. Aerospace/Aeronautical Engineering $64,400

6. Mechanical Engineering $64,400

7. Electrical/Electronics and Communications Engineering $63,400

8. Management Information Systems/Business $63,100

9. Engineering Technology $62,500

10. Finance $57,400

One Day at the Roxy Theater

Burlesque Theater in Cleveland, Ohio

Burlesque Theater in Cleveland, Ohio



The Roxy Burlesque Theater was located in Cleveland, Ohio on East Ninth Street.  It was where I began to discover more about my sexuality as a young boy.  One day, my friends suggested that we ride the rapid transit downtown and attempt to gain admission to see a show.  Well, I found myself standing in front of the ticket counter with money in hand, and a serious face, attempting to convince the  ticket person to sell me a ticket.  It worked, we all gained admission to see the vaudevillian comedians and strippers perform on that Spring day in 1963.  While sitting in the front row, we laughed and exchanged glances between us, trying to tell ourselves that we had a right of passage to be there.  The drums rolled, the curtain went up, then this beautiful specimen of a woman danced and stripped to her bra and “g string.”  As a young boy, it was my first time seeing a real woman, it was startling, yet exciting.  She danced and moved around the stage until another young boy sitting near us caught her attention.  I looked ever so closely at his face, It was Elmer Clink.  This blond haired, blue eyed kid sat next to me in my Geometry class.  His attention was transfixed on her while his eyes were mesmerized in amazement at her statuesque presence .  The stripper stopped and spoke to him, “Son, does your mother know that you are here?”  It was as though she was speaking to all  of us that had  lied about our age to get in to see her. I felt guilt and shame, Elmer began to cry, tears were streaming down his pale white face.  He was alone, although I felt like we shared the same feelings.  We had shared this remarkable  experience although he would never know it, since I kept it a secret, I never told him about it, I wanted to save him from any future embarrassment.  I was able to put myself in Elmer’s shoes, so to speak, I was beginning to understand the human condition and more about the meaning of empathy. How has empathy played a part in your life?


My Knee Injury, Surgery, Recovery, and Return to Sports: A Case in Point



For the Love of the Game

I awoke from my knee operation wondering to myself, what now?” .

Dr. Ward of Grand Strand Orthopedics in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina had completed arthroscopic knee surgery for a meniscus tear on my knee.  The knee is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body, and the meniscus tears are often the cause of knee injuries. (  His 30 years of medical experience has come to symbolize excellence among athletes and confidence among those in need of orthopedic surgery in the Grand Strand area. I highly recommend his services. Please read ” MyJournal” toward recovery and share your experiences. The meniscus is the tough, rubbery cartilage that absorbs shock between the shin bone and thigh bone and distributes weight across the knee joint.  When this cartilage tears, it can cause pain and instability in the knee joint. As, a patient and recovering athlete, I will explain how the knee injury has impacted my life and my road to recovery.  Future journal postings will create a timeline of events to share with others who are experiencing  a similar recovery. Amateur and Professional athletes are always looking for new and innovative technologies as a solution to recovery from a knee injury.  For injuries of the ligaments, muscles, and tendons, blood flow is the most critical element in rapid recovery.  Blood flow brings oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the area which are required for the body to heal itself.  Unfortunately, an injured knee at rest has a restricted blood flow but all too often also results in a small but frequent re-injury. It is from my personal experience that I want to recommend a healing solution for serious knee injuries. .knee is the leader healing solutions and treatment for knee injuries.. This knee wrap is a state of the art technology that uses frozen gel packs inserted into the interior of the velcro wrap system to surround the knee with 20 minutes of therapy.  Multiple gel packs are included with the wrap system which will fit universally.  I have used this system with great results, especially right after the surgery, my knee was sore and suffering from inflammation.  Currently, I use the therapy after heavy physical use of the knee.  As a caution, consult with your doctor prior to using any physical activity.  With this tool for therapy, and limited knee exercises, I am beginning my journey back to better health.