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Who says you can’t go home?

By M Davies   /     Feb 07, 2016  /     Into the Void, Misc/Crap  /     2 Comments

*Cue that terrible Bon Jovi song*

 

In my travels recently, I found that the house where I spent most of my childhood went up for sale.  We moved from the place in Hanover Township in 1989 to the Poconos where I lived until 2000.  Out of sheer curiosity and sick fascination, I decided that I was going to pretend in being interested in buying the house just so I could take a tour of it and hash out some old memories (with regrets to the realtors and the seller).

 

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The outside of the house pretty much looks the same way I remember it.  It’s kind of an oddly shaped a-frameish house.  Standing on the porch is the realtor who was kind enough to show me the inside even though I had no intentions of buying.  The small box area with the rectangular window is where my playroom used to be.  Before that it was a porch.  My parents had it enclosed to add square footage (for my toys).  I knew this, but the realtor didn’t.  Before the yellow siding was installed, it had the ugliest mutli-colored asbestos siding.

 

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easter

My Mom and I standing somewhere near the rock wall on Easter.

 

Facing the opposite direction is a hill with a lot of brush that looks into the yards of people that are a street (Strand Street) over.  Notice the neatly stacked rocks and bricks?  My grandfather ALWAYS did this.  Every house that my parents have lived in, he stacked rocks like this.  This area was used to store garbage cans, lawn tools and also had a dog pen.  Say hello to my Dad’s dogs Barney (the bloodhound) and Penny (the beagle).  They’re dead about three times over now and the dog pen is long gone.  I didn’t mean that to sound as morbid as it did.  I remember Barney to be a good dog.  Penny was a little psychotic.  She escaped several times and I think eventually was found and kept by a paper boy.

 

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Ahhhhh yes.  The mirrors.  Essentially the entire left most wall in the living room is one large mirror.  My Dad was a glazier, my grandfather was a glazier and my uncle was a glazier so this house is full of mirrors.  I was always fascinated with the design of the living room mirror.  It would catch the afternoon sun and reflect tiny rainbows on the floor.  While fascinating, it was obviously impossible to keep clean because of tiny fingers.  Mirrors are supposed to give the illusion of a room being larger than it is.  The room was a lot smaller than I remember it, but I am a lot bigger than the last time I stood in this spot.

 

shera mom

 

The 80s were a confusing time for interior decorating, apparently.  Here’s a look at the opposite side of the room then and now.

 

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The first photo is a little blurry, but it was me in my She-Ra: Princess of Power costume.  My parents weren’t the best photographers.  The wrought iron railing on the stairs has since been replaced with wooden railing and banisters.

 

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Here’s my old bedroom.  I thought it would be more exciting, but this is it.  See those two brackets on the wall near the window?  Two shelves used to be there.  They held ceramics that my grandmother made for me.  I also had two large clowns hanging on my wall.  I was terrified of them.  I am still terrified of clowns to this day because of those damn ceramic clowns.  It is said that if you don’t control your fears they control you.  I’ve since been to the circus with my children and have been ok.  I don’t like clowns, but I can deal.  Bees on the other hand.  No way in hell.  I will still scream bloody murder if one of those winged hell beasts comes near me.  The door leads to the old enclosed porch/converted playroom I talked about earlier.  It’s just a small room that has nothing more than a window and panelling.

 

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There are 3ish bathrooms inside the house.  One on each level.  I had to laugh at the upstairs bathroom though.  I specifically remember the purple sink and toilet from my childhood.  Good lord, it looks like they haven’t been updated since then (if not longer).  I don’t understand the appeal of bathroom fixtures that are any other color than white.  It’s just bizarre.  As I said before, the 80s must have been a confusing time for interior decorating.

 

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Remember what I said about the mirrors?  We’ve now headed down to the front room of the current-day basement.  There’s a mirror on the back wall and a mirror on the ceiling.  And, before you start filling your head with perverted thoughts, this is the spot where the pool table was.  There was a kick-ass chandelier hanging where the normal light fixture is now, but my parents took that with them to the new house.  There’s also mirrors along the staircase downstairs.  Mirrors obviously don’t photograph real well, so I’ll spare you.  For anyone who has ever wondered why it pains me to look at myself in a mirror can now know the true horror of walking around a house where you constantly are in a mirror somewhere.  Sometimes I don’t want to look at myself, thankyouverymuch.  Especially after I’ve just woken up.  No one needs to see that.

 

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And now we’re back upstairs in the dine-in kitchen.  I remember that my parents installed the chair rail right around the time we sold the house, but I have no recollection of this wallpaper (which is hideous).  I also have no recollection of the panelling that was there before that (bottom photo).  Panelling irks me in ways that cannot be described with words.  The only solution is to grab a sledge and take it out stud by stud to put it out of its misery.

 

That’s the end of the tour.  The house was rather small, as most city houses are.  The house met our needs for a specific period in time and then we outgrew it.  From my understanding by reading the info sheet, the same person that purchased the house from my parents still owns it to this day.  I am not sure of the reason for the sale.

 

It was a fun trip down memory lane and I’d have to say if you ever have the opportunity to see the house that you grew up in (assuming it isn’t the one you live in now) go and do it!  You never know what kind of memories it will trigger.  You may not be able to go home, but you can certainly remember it fondly.  Here are a few last minute photos that didn’t fit anywhere else…

 

Thanks for the memories 979 South Main!

 

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What happened to Jennie Monica?

By M Davies   /     Aug 20, 2015  /     Into the Void  /     13 Comments

I will preface this blog post with the following statement:  It may seem morbid.  My apologies.

 

A good part of my childhood summer vacations were spent at my Grandparent’s house.  After my Grandmother had triple bi-pass surgery in the early 90s, she was required to start walking more frequently.  It was supposed to help reduce the swelling of the surgery done to her leg to harvest the veins inside.  Ew, am I right?  Anyway, in order to add more steps to her exercise routine, my Grandfather would drive her up to St. Mary’s cemetery in Hanover Township, drop her off where the road started and pick her up close to where my Great Grandmother and Great Grandfather were buried.  I would go with her.  It’s always better to take walks with company because there is someone to talk to.  We’d take a variety of paths in the cemetery on our walks, but we’d always end up in the same place – by my Great Grandparents’ graves.

 

Every once in a while, we would walk by a particular grave and my Grandmother would purposely point it out.

 

“That’s the lady that was murdered” she would say.

 

I never really thought about it much, until recently when I was making a visit to the cemetery for some genealogical research.  I stopped at the grave and looked it and remembered what my Grandmother had told me.  Here’s a photo of said grave:

 

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And a close-up:

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The tombstone reads “She died rather than sacrifice her honor.  May she rest in peace.”  It seems to indicate something bad had happened to her prior to the murder, perhaps an assault or rape.  I had a sick fascination to find out what happened to Jennie who was taken away from her family at the young age of 20, so I turned to Google and Ancestry.com.  I didn’t think I’d find anything, but was shocked when I found a bunch of interesting information about what happened!  First, the death certificate:

 

death cert

 

 

It’s kind of small, but the cause of death was listed as “From Gunshot wounds in the head.  One bullet entering the brain from the right cheek, and one entering and leaving the skull and lodging in the scalp.”  So my Grandmother was indeed right about the murder.  I did the math, my Grandmother would only have been 7 at the time this happened.  My Grandfather would have been 8.  It must have been a big news story at the time for her to remember something about it.  I decided to do a simple Google search to see what came back…

 

I found a listing in a page called “The Wilkes-Barre Almanac“:

 

One of the most horrible murders in the history of Luzerne County in a lonely spot near Pittston; two Wilkes-
Barre girls, Edith Fonzo and Jennie Monica found along the road shot and stabbed, with signs the girls had 
struggled fiercely.

 

I also found an old Times Leader article from 2007:

 

When the bodies of Wilkes-Barre residents Jennie Monica and Edith Fonzo were found along a road in Jenkins Township on June 2, 1927, no one could have known that 80 years later the case would remain a mystery. The two young women had gone on a double date the night before, The Times Leader reported. The slayings remain among Luzerne County’s few unsolved murders.

 

And then I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across the American Mafia Yahoo Group page:

 

The bodies of Genevieve (Jennie) Monica, 19, and Edith Fonzo (or
Fonza), 20, were found at an abandoned mine near Pittston on the
morning of June 2, 1927. Police believed the women, who were cousins,
had been sexually assaulted. One of the women was shot to death. The
other was beaten with a club.

A Chrysler sedan reportedly used by the girls’ attacker(s) was found
abandoned in a “mine cave hole.” The car belonged to a 33-year-old
Pittston man named Carmel Marranca. Carmel said he lent the car to
his brother Samuel (married with two children) the previous evening.
Carmel reported the car stolen early on June 2.

Samuel could not be found immediately, and he became the prime
suspect. A few men, who said they were with him on June 1, told
authorities they saw Samuel and another man pick up the two women.
Those men said they left Samuel at about midnight, while he and the
other man were still in the car with the women. Edith Fonzo’s sister,
Vera, informed police that the women had a date to meet two men at an
amusement park at Rocky Glen that evening. State police combed
through the local Italian neighborhoods looking for the suspect.

Police records indicated that Samuel Marranca had also been a suspect
in a somewhat similar murder in November, 1926. Another 19-year-old
woman, Jennie Visato, was killed at that time.

By June 4, the newspapers reported that two men had been arrested in
Buffalo in connection with the murders. One of them was Samuel
Marranca. Police continued to search for a man named John Falcone.
Police also arrested 24-year-old Carmine Melletti on June 6, and
charged him with being an accessory.

 

Hold up…first let’s go back to Ancestry.com and look up Edith Fonzo, Jennie’s cousin…

 

deathcert2

 

It appears that Jennie’s mother and Edith’s mother’s were sisters which makes the cousin statement in the American Mafia board’s post true.  The cause of death for Edith is listed as “Fracture of the Skull, caused by a blunt instrument.  And gunshot wound.  The bullet entering the left side of the neck and passing thru the neck to the surface of the right side.  Murder.”  That also matches up with the cause of death in the American Mafia’s board.  I would have to say that post is accurate and take it to be fact.

 

My next stop was the Osterhout Library News Archive.  You can search their database of several local newspaper online from anywhere.  All you need is a library card number!  The Times Leader article from 2007 says that the murders were still unsolved.  Why would that be if people were charged (as stated in the American Mafia Board post)?  Well first let’s start with the days immediately following the murder.  The men did flee the area.  An article from the Sunday Independent says that there was a man hunt that stretched across two states – PA and NY.

 

SundayInd

 

Of the three men wanted by authorities, Merletti seemed to be the dumb one of the group.  He returned to Wilkes-Barre a few days after the murders took place.  I would love to know why he thought that returning to the area would be a good idea after the brutal nature of this crime, but I digress… not the sharpest tool in the shed, apparently.  The next part of my research was done at Newspapers.com.

 

Merletto

 

Here’s a sensationalist article from the Scranton Republican at the beginning of the Merletti trial:

 

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I found an article in the The Wilkes-Barre Record from September 17, 1927 that said that Merletti (spelled Merletto in this article) was acquitted of being an accessory after the fact, and Falcone and Marranca were never found.

 

Merletto

 

I can’t imagine where John Falcone and Sam Marranca could have ended up.  There was hardly a mention of them after this trial was over.  Did the police give up and stop looking?  It’s all so sad.  Two young girls dead and no real justice for it.  I will give pause every time I pass Jennie’s tombstone when I visit my Grandparents in St. Mary’s cemetery.  I wonder if my Grandmother ever thought that I’d sit and research this much into a thing she said to me in passing.  I never thought I would, but it was an interesting journey nonetheless.

 

Rest in peace Jennie and Edith.

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“Writing for Him”

By M Davies   /     Dec 24, 2014  /     Into the Void  /     5 Comments

I’m just going to make this as vague as possible.  You should never.  Ever.  EVER.  Write for “him”.  You should always write for you.

 

I’ve tried to do that so many times, and have failed.  Miserably.  This him may or may not know who he is.  Or maybe there are more than one “him”.  Either way.  I tried.  And failed.

 

Another post coming soon….

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My Cup Runneth Over

By M Davies   /     Dec 03, 2014  /     Into the Void  /     2 Comments

It’s been a while.  I’d rather not give any excuses as to where I’ve been, but I’ll just say this….BUSY.  I’ve been extremely busy.  Ridiculously busy.  And I wouldn’t have it any other way.  My apologies for abandoning this blog for a year and then months at a time.  I’m trying to get better about it.

 

So…where to start with this story….It’s probably going to sound like a rant or a ramble and won’t make much sense to the outsiders of my life, but here we go.  Bare with me.

 

A few months ago, my husband and I got into a discussion about the previous owners of our current house, mainly because 3 of our neighbors are all moving away for different situations.  The person who lived across the street from us was the brother-in-law of the woman who lived in our house.  He has since moved and the house has been sold and is occupied now.  Before he left we met with him and we thanked each other for being neighbors and looking out for each other.  He seemed genuinely upset that his time in Sweet Valley was coming to a close, but he’s moving closer to his son and he was happy about that.  I can empathize as I’ve been through 4 major moves in my life, although only locally.  Anyway, there’s the back story.

 

R. had brought up in passing that the daughter of the people who lived in our house had died in a horrible crash on 29.  I know that sounds morbid, but it actually was a discussion about why or why not I should spend money to get snow tires.  A few days later, he sent me a link to the news story about the girl, here it is (Courtesy TL Archives).  I get terrified driving in the snow and the ice, not only am I a girl driver (insert women driving jokes here), but people around here are nuts.  They are either riding your tail or speeding or driving too slow during the conditions.  I don’t think anyone can be an expert on winter driving, but there are some things you can do to keep yourself safer, however that’s another blog post for another time.  Also:  I’m from the Poconos.  I’ve seen my Mother drive after blizzards, ice storms and light snow.  It’s terrifying regardless of what you drive, who you drive with, or what kind of gear your vehicle has (unless you have a tank).  Winter is a necessary evil around here, I just want to be as safe and smart about it as I can.  If that makes me a basket case, so be it, I guess.

 

What’s interesting about Christy (the girl in the news story) is that we almost have parallel lives.  We live in the same house. We have the same love of the media (although different forms of it).  We both have families that love us dearly.  Communities that respect us.  It just goes to show that a senseless accident can happen to anyone and take a life away in the blink of the eye.  I guess what I’m learning here, is that life is too short to be unhappy.  I am tired of being a complainy pants all of the time.  I’m trying to do things that make me happy, one of which will be writing more.  Starting now.  My friend and NEPA BlogCon cohort Karla has given me a gratitude journal.  I started to write in it, but had to put it down over the holiday as things became too busy.  I will pick it up again and finish it and perhaps even turn it into a Tumblr.  I haven’t decided what I’m doing yet.  I’ll get there eventually.

 

Speaking of Tumblr….

 

I have this little project called “Sweet Valley Sunrises“.  It seems that people actually find it on Google and view it often which is interesting to me.  It was kind of just a spinoff blog that I was playing around with.  I kind of suck at photography, and just wanted to document some of the amazing sunrises that I see out here.  Why sunrises?  Because I’m up (to quote the Beastie Boys) at the breaka breaka dawn with my job.  If you haven’t visited that blog lately, I encourage and invite you to do so!  If that seems too overwhelming, watch my stupid crappy video.  Yep, in addition to being a bad photographer, I’m also a bad editor.  I’m multi-talented with badness.  I think?

 

Good Morning Baby from Michelle Davies on Vimeo.

 

Cheryl Elston, the sister of Christy happened to find my blog.  She recognized the garage and the shed and the deck of her childhood home and while there were painful memories in her past, she was so happy to get to see her home again.  I sent her a message on Facebook and expressed my sympathy for the loss her family experienced.  No parent should ever have to go through the loss of a child.  It seems too heartbreaking to imagine.  I received the following Facebook message back yesterday from Cheryl, and now I’m feeling all the feels.

 

Hi Michelle!! Funny enough, about 3 months ago I was trying to connect with other bloggers in NEPA just to see how others do it and i came across the blog page and your Sweet Valley Sunrise page. I thought… how cool i can see sunrises from my hometown! When i started to scroll down… i thought… boy, that looks familiar…. kept scrolling and my jaw fell open as i was looking at our shed and the neighbors house! What an amazing blessing to be able to see sunrises from my old back porch. Thank you!!! I have been meaning to reach out to say thanks and let you know I found it. Thanks for the candle for Christy. She would like that. She was also a total goober… so have a few glasses of wine and a laugh too. I am so happy to know that another family is enjoying my childhood abode and there are kids climbing the poles in the basement. Well, maybe they get in trouble for that like we did. Thanks again for the sunrises! We should chat sometime about blogging. Much love and a happy holiday to all of you! Cheryl

 

Of course, I would be amiss if I didn’t give a plug to Cheryl’s blog.  Please visit my sister from another mister, but we shared the same house:  http://mycuprunnethover312.blogspot.com/

 

And now my entire crazy life has gone full circle weird.  Again.  You’d think I’d be used to this kind of thing by now.

 

Anyway, thanks for listening.  If you’d like to learn more about the unabridged history of Sweet Valley, please visit Ron Hontz’s website HERE.

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Shit that happened when I wasn’t here

By M Davies   /     Sep 19, 2013  /     Blogging, Community Service, Events, Into the Void  /     2 Comments

I’m channeling my inspiration for today’s blog post from The Bloggess, who has recently followed me on Twitter (YAY, I can die happy!)

thebloggess

 

 

 

News from the Station

I’ve taken over the reigns of the @WNEP twitter account with help from Jim Hamill, Apal and a few others.  There have been bumps in the road, I’m not going to lie, but we are working through them and developing a “Best Practices” guide to Social Media at the station.  I’ve had several spoof accounts shut down in recent weeks and we are well on our way to Twitter verification.  It will be a glorious day when that special blue check mark appears on our account.

 

WNEP’s Facebook Page reached 100,000 likes 3 weeks ago.  At last check, the competition has approximately 20k likes.  We have more followers by roughly 80k.  It may not seem like a huge deal, but it is to me.  It warms the cockles of my icy cold heart and makes me smile.  LISTEN, I’m already fully aware I’m a huge geek, I don’t need you pointing this out for me.

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BlogCon Media Blitz

The NEPA BlogCon frenzy is building week by week.  We are 15 days away from the conference and tickets are selling like hotcakes! This week has been a good week for us traditional media-wise.  We’ve had several appearances through the airwaves and TV sets in Northeast PA.  See for yourself:

 

On August 8th, I taped an episode of “Save the Kales”.  It was not scheduled to air until the new season began which Jaime said was sometime after September.  “Sometime after September” happened to be over the last week in RCN local programming land – and unfortunately, unless you are in the viewing area, you probably didn’t see the episode.  RCN local programming only airs in the Lehigh Valley/Delaware Valley areas.  FEAR NOT.  Jaime provided me with a Youtube link where you can watch a clip of the episode:

 


Jaime is up for an Emmy for “Save the Kales” and will be presenting at BlogCon….another reason why you should attend!

 

Yesterday – 9/18, Mandy joined my favorite morning DJ – Rock 107’s Prospector yesterday morning to promote BlogCon live on the air.  Did you miss it?  SHAME ON YOU.  We’ll forgive you for now, but you can go and listen over on Sound Cloud for a special promo!

 

Also, yesterday – 9/18, Karla and I made a trek to Lehighton, PA to tape an episode of ComputerWise TV with host George Roberts to discuss BlogCon.  The show went by in the blink of the eye and we had a great time chatting it up with George.  You wouldn’t be able to view this show unless you have Blue Ridge or Service Electric Cable, so the production staff at TV-13 was kind enough to provide us with a DVD of the show.  You can watch it in full below:

 

Ryan Leckey & I have a crazy Twitter stalker

Taunting online trolls is my favorite pastimes, but I had to put an end to it after this crazy threatened to “Call the Twitter Police” on me.  I reported all 3 (however, there may be more) of her accounts to Twitter Abuse, and they are in the process of shutting them down one by one.  The problem is, its super easy to setup a new Twitter account.  It’s extremely difficult to get one shut down.  She makes a new account every 3 days.  I wish Twitter had some better way of managing this type of abuse.  For now, I am steering clear of Ryan Leckey’s “wife”.  She be cray cray.

 

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I’m sick? Or something.

I swear, I will try to keep this short.  This started festering about 3 weeks ago when I had found a painful lump under my jaw on the left hand side.  I went to the urgent care clinic where they told me that said lump was more than likely a blocked salivary gland or an infected salivary gland.  I started to take antibiotics which gave me diarrhea to the high heavens (sorry, TMI).  I decided to take the antibiotic sparingly.  Well, that backfired.  The following Saturday, I had pain radiating from my jaw all the way up to my eyeball.  I went back to urgent care…who yelled at me for not taking my meds as directed (rightly so) and then prescribed me something new/better.  I’ve been taking that since with no bowel issues, thankfully, but I’m still having a bunch of pain.  Then after working 15 hours last Tuesday, I also developed a cold/sinus infection/flu/whatever.  My throat was raw, my jaw was throbbing and I was in a hell of a lot of pain.  I went to the ENT last Thursday and they prescribed me Prednisone and hardcore pain meds.  I am also scheduled for a CT scan in another week.

 

Fun fact 1:  CT scans require a dye injection/IV.

Fun fact 2:  I hate needles.

Fun fact 3:  I have medical procedure related vasovagal syncope.

Fun fact 4:  Save a bed for me in the ER next Thursday, since I’ll be hitting the floor.  See also.

I additionally have a dentist appointment this morning.  Since no one knows what specifically is causing my pain, I’m trying to explore every avenue to get this resolved.  I also think I may have found a lump in my stomach that makes me think that the hernia I was concerned about all of those years ago has finally “erupted”, doctor appointment to check that scheduled for tomorrow am.

 

Apal mentioned me in his blog

Apal used one of the Instagrams I took for the station account on his blog.  He also mentioned me by name.  This is a first and I’m honored.  Read the post here:  http://andypalumbo.blogspot.com/2013/09/first-person-studio.html

 

Them’s all I got.

‘Til next time.

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