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240 Involuntary Hours in the Psych Ward – a journal (part 1)

By M Davies   /     Jun 23, 2018  /     30 Day @Neilbytes Blogging Challenge, 30 days of truth, Annoyances, Blogging, Community Service, Family, Into the Void, Medical Issues, Misc/Crap, Mommyhood, NEPA, Pittsburgh, Quotes, Rejection, The WTF File, TV Rants, Uncategorized, Wacky PA Weather  /     2 Comments

6/9/18

(My 14th Wedding Anniversary)

Morse code is not the same as pulse code and 5 million other things I learned at the phone company by Michelle Ann Hryvniak.

<research facts go here>

(I’ll come back to those later on when I’m able to use my telephone)

Telco in a box diagram drawing. Look at me. I should have been in Tech Staff.

6/12/18 – 6am

I’m supposed to have a job interview in 2 days, but I’m not allowed to go. I also have a PFA meeting.

I’m never getting out. Ever. It’s impossible, much like the Widespread Panic Song.

I have so much to do this week. There’s no way I’ll be able to finish it from inside of these 4 walls.

I. GIVE. UP.

6/12/18 – 9am

I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Pittsburgh. It’s such a great city with spunk. I miss the 28 traffic and the friendly sweet people – some of the nicest I’ve ever met in my whole life. I love the yinzer accent too…I am now able to spot it a mile away. I miss sleeping in my own bed. I miss Saxonburg which I firmly believe is Sweet Valley’s sister city/town/borough.

<reasons why go here>

  • 18656 vs. 16056 (fact numero uno)
  • History of Mihalishin Road aka Andy’s Road aka Linden Lane
  • History of Sweet Valley via curmudgeon guy (note to self: find that letter and poem about Will Sill and write about that in a later post)

6/12/18 – no time listed

My Journey – My Goals

My immediate goal is to complete my divorce and I will with the help of one of my attorneys.

Then I will finally start my dream job on 7/9 at AccuWeather. I am a self-proclaimed weather dork since birth and have watched the Weather Channel since birth. I have watched the Weather Channel almost exclusively. I collect books about weather and have an extensive collection. I have written several blog posts on the topic. It was my original career goal to become a meteorologist. Maybe if I can manage this class and overcome my social anxiety and finish school I can actually achieve my dream. This dream has been buried inside of me since a teenager – it’s time to act on it.

I’m pretty enough

I’m smart enough

and gosh darnit

PEOPLE LIKE ME

<3

Wed, 6/13/18 – 6am

(2 months since I left WQED)

STAY STRONG

thryv (thrive)

Write the story about the wedding dress fiasco with the in-laws. Explain how I was inducted into the DUVCW officially, but that it was also time change weekend and how the crazy in-laws (or as a former co-worker used to refer to them as…”outlaws”) kicked me out of the wedding and the family all because they couldn’t communicate when the dress fitting was for me – A FUCKING SHIFT WORKER.

Write a blog post about almost dying on Memorial Day

Did you know…

Studies have suggested that gifted people (much like my daughter which I birthed) often have bad handwriting because their brains are working faster than their hands. XD XD LAWLS <3

“If you want to be happy, you have to be happy on purpose. When you wake up, you can’t just wait to see what kind of day you’ll have. You have to decide what kind of day you’ll have.”

6/13/18 – 1pm

Suggested topics for blog posts: What spending 5 days in a nut house has done to me, Lee Park house origin

Reminder to call about my IATSE 820 hiatus status

A poem:

Rise

Chaos

Beginning Again

Unknown

Never cease to fly if held down

A different view

It comes back around again

Words I never told you

Walking free

You showed me what needed to be shown

Beyond myself

I will never see the world the same way

Beauty stands before you

The path I have chose

There’s one memory of us

We are all that we are

What I have I become?

When I fall, I fly

What they see

This can’t be the end

Your Soul is in your eyes

I will not surrender

Let the light shine in the darkest of nights

All these shapes and colors are so it doesn’t hurt so badly

A magic moment

 

Philly sucks!

Thurs, 6/14/18 6am

Today was supposed to be my appointment to leave to get my sutures out at Geisinger. I am almost certain that I won’t be able to. I have to do in this Tennessee Redneck owned hospitaly where many people have access to my medical records. My doctor tried to get a hold of my husband twice for counseling.

NO ANSWER

What a shock.

Just kidding.

I really just want them out because they are so uncomfortable. Not to mention, I have to run to the bathroom literally every five minutes and everyone here thinks I’m an actual nut job.

Listen.

I’m a survivor. I almost died. I was in the ICU for 3 days and the first conscious memory I had was ripping the breathing tube out of my face. The last thing I remember before that was my Ambulance ride and being rushed to emergency surgery.

Thurs. 6/14/18 7am

THE STAPLES HAVE BEEN REMOVED.

AT WVHCS.

I feel like a brand new person.

Thank you, Jesus!

Thurs. 6/14/18 7:15am

GET ME THE EFF OUTTA HERE

Please Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

“Can’t spell cheapskates without CHS”

*revised A-List*

Thurs. 6/14/18 10am

I met this really great guy in here. One that actually listens and respects me. It’s amazing that such a person could exist. After 15 years of an abusive marriage, I am finally calling it quits. I cannot be treated like a piece of dirt any longer. This has been a long time coming. We’ve grown apart mentally, physically and etc. (redacted 2 sentences)

Thurs. 6/14/18 8pm

I slept most of the afternoon and it was lovely. I was woken up by my attorney with good news (hopefully). My 401k, which I sold off, was distributed and let the games begin. I will be moving back home (TEMPORARILY) to Blakeslee and then headed to Saxonburg to get my stuff.

*now writing in pen vs. pencil*

He drained the bank account. On what is anyone’s guess. I think I have a pretty good idea.

He’s running scared now, he won’t return any of my belongings, or at least the correct ones. Not very smart.

I want my laptop and my tablet back – those will be coming home with me next. As well as my car, and of course, my children. Posession is 9/10 of the law, so I plan on fighting this fight well up to the supreme court. And I have SEVERAL character witnesses willing to testify on my behalf.

But anyway….focusing on the positive so that I can get the hell out of here.

I’m dreaming of sushi, soup, and steak…..hmmmm….maybe hibachi on my first meal out of here. Please and thank you

<3 Michelle

PS- Remember to PayPal atty

Fri. 6/15/18 4am

I had a pen that was given to me by one of the nurses taken away from one of the nurses that I was given to it from.

I am a danger to myself with a pen? Ok. What am I going to do? Draw on myself? Good gravy.

BACK TO CRAYON AND PENCIL FOR ME.

Peace Out,

Michelle

“This is one of life’s little potholes”

(REDACTED PARAGRAPH)

Why am I me? All of the signs were there to leave R—. I just never could find the courage. Somehow I found my balls and they were right here all along — on my G-D chest. This shit with the Davies family pisses me off. They are like a cult. Either it’s their way or the highway (aka thrown out of the family). I’ve been thrown out of the family 3 times so far. Third time is the charm. If I ever to talk to those people again, it will be too soon.

(REDACTED PARAGRAPH)

(REDACTED PARAGRAPH)

Hmmmmm…

I feel lost when he’s not here and calm when he is here. That’s a start.

Cant wait to get out and explore it more.

Thaaaaaaat’s all folks

<3 Michelle

JUST ANOTHER DAY IN THE LOONEY BIN

My grandmother always says “things will be better before you get married”

WRONG

they actually get worse

(On Monday)

FREEDOM

OH HAPPY DAY ūüôā

-Remember how to research to legally change name and cost

-Remember to talk to IATSE guy

-Book title idea: “Dodging the Potholes of my Mind”

Fri. 6/15 (no time)

Wherein Michelle Davies calls the KDKA control room by mistake, a blog post. As I was attempting to pay up my union dues for IATSE 820 local REPRESENT, I was given 3 different phone numbers for the leader. The first one was an incorrect phone number. The second one was for THE KDKA CONTROL ROOM. Finally, the third number worked. I will be continuing my membership on a hiatus status….just in case. One less thing to worry about I suppose

Blog post idea: Patch town names

Book title idea: “Tales from Adult IV, NOT! Floor 2”

Sat. 6/16 (no time)

SELF LOVE

Our story begins now.

Turning over a new leave

Have a wonderful day beautiful.

Thank you. <3

ROLL OF THUNDER HEAR MY CRY.

I finally read my 302 paperwork.

[He’s not here and I miss him so much. It hurts my heart so much. I miss him]

I’m greatful to be alive today! Considering that I almost died on 5/31.

It’s the little things.

It seems wrong to be attached so earlier on…

…but I cannot help myself

SWEET DREAMS BEAUTIFUL

YOU ARE STRONGER THAN YOU THINK YOU ARE

WALK IT OFF, DAVIES!

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12 Months in Pittsburgh

By M Davies   /     Jun 23, 2018  /     Into the Void, Pittsburgh, Uncategorized  /     1 Comment

I’ve spent the majority of the last 12 months of my life in Pittsburgh working for NEP Broadcasting and also WQED Multimedia (the Mister Rogers TV station). I have recently accepted a job with AccuWeather which is a meteorology company located in State College (home of the Nittany Lions). I guess you could say I know this state cover to cover from Pittsburgh to Philthadelphia like the back of me hand.

12 months in Pittsburgh was enlightening and fun. I learned a lot. I also learned to miss home. That being said, here are some of the WACKY ZANY adventures of the life of Michelle soon-to-be no longer Davies over the last twelve months (a photo blog). These are in no particular order, just how I remember them.

  1. I worked for NEP Group. In case you didn’t know, NEP Broadcasting was founded by Tom Shelburne in 1984 and was part of Scranton’s own television station WNEP-TV (which I used to work for). It was spun off after The New York Times Company bought the station in 1986 from Shelburne. The company took off after it acquired the failing New Kensington, Pennsylvania-based TCS after the companies jointly produced the 1987 Pan American Games in Indianapolis, Indiana.

  2. I worked for WQED Multimedia. I worked and met with the likes of Rick Sebak, Minette Seate, and Chris Fenimore. As a broadcast engineer, I maintained and assisted in repairing transmitters, satellite receivers, cameras, switchers, graphic systems, audio equipment, videotape systems, routers, intercoms, monitors and other transmission, distribution and production equipment associated with a broadcast television and radio station. WQED is the home of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Michael Keaton, aka “Batman” worked behind the scenes on Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I worked with 3 of the Flying Zookeni Brothers. I got to mic up David Newell aka “Mr. McFeeley” in a recent pledge break. I set the audio for the Mister Rogers’ Stamp unveiling in tandem with the USPS folks. Additionally, I was inducted as a member of I.A.T.S.E. Local 820. I served as an audio sound mixer / engineer on the following productions: WQED Cooks, THINK!, iQsmartparent, “Hope After Heroin: The Epidemic in our Backyard,” and “Reflections on Vietnam,” as well as various live pledge breaks. I may even win an Emmy next go ’round.

  3. I had interviews at the following places (no photos for this post): NBC (as in the one located at 30 Rockefeller Plaza) twice, WPXI (the Pburgh NBC affiliate) twice, QVC (the home shopping network), AccuWeather, WROC (a deathstar CBS affiliate station in Rochester, NY), WOOD-TV (a deathstar NBC affiliate station in Grand Rapids, MI).
  4. I got to see my most favorite blog to read on Sundays LIVE. No, not Andy Palumbo….POSTSECRET. And I was FRONT ROW. It was such an amazingly positive experience, and I’d recommend highly that everyone and anyone go see the show if they are presented with the opportunity.

  5. I went to an honest to god Stillers game. I froze my goddamn ass off, but it was worth EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY CENT.

  6. I also went to a Pirates game. Far less impressive, but still a fun afternoon out. We went on Labor Day and witnessed Joe Maddon’s Cubbies get their ass handed to them. 0-12.

  7. Got to see Regina Spektor at the Palace Theater in Greensburg. Her voice is just as amazing and powerful in person as it is on any recording. Highly recommended concert if you can score tickets. She makes you feel feelings you didn’t even know you had.

  8. I saw the lovely view from the Dusquesne Incline.

  9. I got to see the Pittsburgh Dad in the flesh as he unveiled a short film. I hope it leads to bigger and better things for him.
  10. The Andrew Warhola museum. Need I say more?

    How true. #andywarhol #heart #art #andywarholmuseum #yinz #yinzers

    A post shared by Michelle Hryvnak-Davies (@mhryvnak) on

There are still several things I want to accomplish before I leave the burgh for my next adventure. I don’t want to call it a goodbye as much as a so long. I will always want to revisit this city. Here’s my Pittsburgh “to-do” bucket list:

I’m sure if I sit and think about it more, I can probably name about a million and a half other places, but this is a good start.

I’m really going to miss the city of bridges. <3

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Michelle Davies’ Last Will and Testament

By M Davies   /     Jun 22, 2018  /     Into the Void, Uncategorized  /     3 Comments

I’ve had a lot of time to think about things lately. So I decided at the ripe age of 37 (even though I still get carded for beer, voting and lottery tickets) I would sit and very specifically write out my will. DO NOT TAKE THIS AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN WHAT IT MEANS. I am not killing myself. I am not killing anyone else. Just know that if SOMETHING should HAPPEN, I would like my wishes carried out in a very specific manner.

Ok.

Here goes:

I, Michelle (not for much longer) Davies, in sound mind and body solemny declare that I wish my private information to only be shared with the following persons otherwise known as the “A-List”:

  1. My Lawyers (I now have 4)
  2. My Mother, Father, Brother
  3. My next of kin (both children)
  4. Doctors, dentists, and other various care providers
  5. The following A-List of friends: Adina Klass-Lamana, Kim Prisco, Rachel Farrow, Rustin Richtarik, Jamie Sutor and Lovinger, Chuckles McHale, Walt Francis, Mark “Duke from Dallas” Barrett, Karla Porter, Mandy Boyle, Colleen Joyce, Amy Brodrick, Heather Hospodar, James O’Meara Sr. Andy Palumbo, Harold Jenkins, Tom “da bomb” Harrison
  6. The following family members (if not already mentioned above): Vinelle, Jeff, Jeffrey and Emily (Eli) Johnson, Susan, Larry, Brian and Christian Watkins, Vincent and Eleanor Miskewicz and of any EXTENDED family on the Johnson, Pivinski, Miskewicz or Hryvniak sides of the family. BASICALLY ANYONE WITHOUT THE LAST NAME OF DAVIES.

I also further instruct that the following information NOT to be shared with the above people unless medically necessary: terminal illness status.

I hereby declare the following wishes, because goddamnit, I am a ray of fucking sunshine genie granting wishes —

I wish to be resuscitated. I wish to be hooked up to a ventilator and an artificial/nutritional/hydration machine when needed. If it becomes medically necessary to be taken of said machines due to brain damage, Please grant the following wishes:

  1. Power of Attorney to be placed with my parents ONLY or eldest next of kin — Gabrielle Paige Davies. All possessions and moneys to be split equally among the parties AND ONLY THOSE PARTIES. All outstanding debts will be deducted from the amount of selling the house, any retirement (401k) and money in accounts.
  2. If possible, I wish to be buried in St. Mary’s cemetery next to my great-grandparents. My tombstone shall read: Michelle Ann Hryvniak (line 1) 12/31/1980 – MM/DD/YYYY (line 2). There shall be a flat circular marble stone placed next to the grave for those who wish to dance upon it. Have fun, losers!
  3. If at all possible, please use SJ Grontkowski for the monument and headstones. Use SS Peter and Paul in Plymouth for the burial services.
  4. I wish to have on my wedding dress (after being dyed black, obviously) in the coffin purchased from SJ Grontkowski.
  5. Everyone who attends my funeral is to wear white clothing.
  6. I want red roses. Do not force those terrible carnations on my corpse.
  7. After the service is over, please play “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” from the Wizard of Oz.
  8. Make sure I’m wearing ruby reddish slippers or high heels (flip flops count too) in the coffin.
  9. If my soon-to-be ex husband shows up at the funeral or services, please let him be awarded with specifically 2 cents (pennies – one from 2006 and 2004). After he walks out pissed off, which he most certainly will, make sure someone has “Rozes” by the Chainsmokers loaded in their phone ready to play. Consider this his “box walk.”

The after party can be at whatever the nearest bar is. Do a toast in my honor and celebrate my life and not my death. We have had many fun memories together, lets not ruin the fun with tears. You only get one life. Live it to the fullest.

As far as my obit is concerned, feel free to use any of this will and testament in it. I wish to have my obit placed in the following newspapers:

  1. WB CV
  2. WB TL
  3. Pburgh Post Gazette
  4. Pocono Record
  5. The Journal of the Pocono Plateau (plateau though, seriously? LOL)
  6. The Butler Eagle

Passwords to my social media accounts can be found on my laptop. I wish to additionally have my death announced on those sites as well. I designate my brother, Russell Vincent Hryvnak, to take this responsibility as well as monitor the accounts for any hacking that my soon-to-be ex-husband tries to pull off. I designate this blog to be updated and maintained by my dear friend Harold Jenkins.

Should childcare be necessary before Gabrielle and Owen turn 18, I designate this responsibility to my parents. If they are not alive to assume responsibility, I designate custody to Jeff and Vinelle Johnson or Vince and Eleanor Miskewicz. Something tells me the two of them will be ABSOLUTELY fine regardless.

Lastly, should any vehicles be left in my possession, please do keep them for my children. One for each of them, hopefully.

 

THAAAAAAAAAAT’S ALL FOLKS!

 

Peace Out,

Michelle ‘formerly’ Davies aka Hryvniak

Signed on 06/09/18

(…which was my 14th wedding anniversary, to which I was 302’d thanks to my loving soon-to-be ex-husband)

 

PS – It’s being notarized as we speak.

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Letters from my Grandmother

By M Davies   /     Feb 21, 2018  /     Into the Void, Rusyn  /     0 Comment

Christmas time every year just seems to get increasingly more stressful for me. The shopping, the decorating, the cooking and baking, endless parties and writing Christmas cards. Everyone expects so much with what little time there is between Thanksgiving and Christmas Day. No matter how hard I try to plan I always end up last minute shopping or wrapping or decorating, etc.

While I was home over Christmas break, I ended up being added to a NEPA Star Trek fan club on Facebook. Like most Facebook groups, I usually get added without my permission. Nothing against Star Trek or its fanbase, I just never really got into it. HOWEVER, back when I was working at the big red telephone company (around 2002), I found enjoyment in reading blogs and writing my own. I was always out looking for new content. My friend Jeff (who I’ve blogged about before) kept harassing me to read Wil Wheaton’s blog. Wil played Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I really couldn’t care about that, but what I did find fascinating about him was his blog. At the time, he was in some kind of heated feud with William Shatner. I don’t know why, but I found this feud highly entertaining. I guess it’s because I always found William Shatner to be a little pretentious. I bought a copy of Wil’s first book and I even paid for an autographed copy of his Star Trek photo. Getting back to the story, a few years ago, I scanned the photograph and put it on my Facebook page.

It’s signed “Wil Wheaton’s Biggest Fan (that’s never seen Star Trek)” Since I was added to this Facebook group (again, without my consent) I decided to share this with the group since it’s really the only thing I could possibly have to contribute to the conversation. It got a few likes or comments. Whatever.

I told that story to tell you another one. One of the sleepless nights before Christmas, after being added to this group (WITHOUT MY CONSENT, PLEASE FIX YOUR WEIRD POLICIES FACEBOOK) I decided to go looking for the actual autograph in my various filing cabinets and boxes in my basement. It sparked my memory that maybe I should do something to protect it so it doesn’t loose its color or get ripped. I couldn’t find it anywhere…but I did find a curious envelope with my name written on it. Not being able to remember where it was located, I put it aside and continued to look for that damned Wil Wheaton autograph. Spoiler alert: I didn’t find it, and still haven’t.

After wrapping all of the Christmas gifts after midnight on Christmas Eve, my suspicion got the best of me, and I went to find the envelope to see what the hell was in it. To my complete astonishment and after I read letter after letter, I realized these were letters my grandmother from years and years ago. Probably 20+ years if not more. It was Christmas Eve and I found the best present ever that’s probably been hidden for years. Some of this stuff was just what I needed to see and hear at the right time.

As some of you guys know, I’ve been trying to trace my families ancestry which has been proving downright impossible due to the variations in last name spelling. My grandmother single-handedly confirmed on the right track from beyond the grave. If you don’t mind indulging me for a minute, I figured I would share some of these letters with you. My hopes are that maybe, just maybe one of my long lost relatives will come across this blog post and something will ring a bell with them as well.

First…the letters. My grandmother was always sending us money and telling us “to be good.” She wanted my brother to be mayor and me to have a safe trip to Norway. The year on this letter is from 1995. I’m putting these in the order I think they were written, although I cannot tell because she didn’t properly date all of them.

I’m putting these ones next…I don’t know what the dress was for? But I know that if she signed both her and my Grandfather’s name that it must have been sometime in 1995 before he passed.

 

I feel like this one was right before my trip to Norway, because I remember wearing a vest there, IT WAS REALLY COOL LOOKING AT THE TIME, SHUT UP.

Something about a library book. I have no idea what book it was, but now I’m really interested to know.

Next up, a series of more undated letters with more money. Talks of behaving and clothes shopping. None of these have my grandfather’s name signed to them, so I’m assuming they were after he passed, but I could be wrong.

 

And now, the crown jewel. The ancestry information:

 

As you can see there are some family trees, and then a written out biography for my grandfather. It says: “My Grandfather Russell Hryvnak was born 9/23/19 in the Hanover Section of Nanticoke. He was educated in Public School. Went to Church in St. Peter & Pauls Church in Plymouth. Went in to CCC Camp in 1936. Stayed there 1 year. Went back to graduate from Hanover Twp. High School. Went to work in the Buttonwood Collery of the Glen Alden Coal Company as a brakeman on the motor. Went into the Army March 15, 1945 and was discharged May 28, 1945. Worked for the Ridon Glass Company 38 years. Retired and did odd jobs.”

While I knew some of these details, I did not know them all. This paints a broader picture and gives me clues where the case otherwise has gone cold. The lineage was mostly stuff I had, but there are some new leads as well that I’m following up on. The biggest haul from these documents was that Dmytro was my great Grandfather’s brother. I always had assumed that was the case, but didn’t have any concrete facts. I have shared this with a few of my relatives overseas to see if these names ring a bell. By the way, if you have a smart phone, I highly recommend the Google translate app if you have to translate something to or from another language. It works VERY well.

So what’s next? I don’t know, but as some of these pages are yellowing with age, I wanted to make sure I found a way of preserving them, even if it’s only online in a scanned file. My recommendation would be if you have aging loved ones to sit down with them and have them tell you their stories of what they remember from their pasts. It a lovely thing to know the history of where your family came from. You never know what kind of amazing things you may learn from them.

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The Lee Park Honor Roll

By M Davies   /     May 29, 2017  /     Family, Hobby-ish, Into the Void  /     4 Comments

Some of my favorite memories from childhood go back to spending time with my Grandparents. Whether it was taking walks, shopping trips or simply spending time together, we always seemed to have a good time. At least early on in my childhood, my Grandparents would usually have us over for Memorial Day for a sleepover and somewhat of a cookout. This was probably about 20 years ago, so I don’t remember all of the details clearly, but I do remember very vividly that my Grandfather would walk us down to the end of their road to watch an annual ceremony that would take place each “Decoration Day” at the site of a memorial wall. After the ceremony ended, there was normally a short parade. Later in the morning, my cousins always found it a trip to look for the spent bullet shells in the gun salute that happened during the earlier ceremony.

To give you a little background, Memorial Day was initially called “Decoration Day” because it is customary to decorate a soldier’s grave with flowers – dating back to ancient times. I won’t get too preachy about the background of the holiday, but there is a lot of good information about it on the Wikipedia page with sources cited. One thing that seems to be a pet peeve among my media friends is the confusion between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. To clear it up, Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died while serving, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans. I think it’s always a good idea to honor the memories who served or died for our freedoms regardless of the day of the year, but especially on those two days. I’m going to write a bit about the memorial wall where we would observe the annual ceremony each year with my grandfather. His name, as well of a few of his brothers appear on the wall and I always wanted to know more about it. Thanks to newspapers.com, I found a WEALTH of information. I definitely recommend getting a subscription if you are trying to research any genealogy or history topics. You won’t be disappointed.

Here’s a look at the “wall” which is called The Lee Park Honor Roll on a bright day in 2012:

There are a few other memorials setup on the site.

The area where the memorial sits is in Hanover Township on Lee Park Avenue. It is directly next to the old Lee Park Hose Company #4 (which¬†will eventually close, if it hasn’t already, when the fire stations consolidate into their new building on the Sans Souci Parkway), it is across the street from Grace Assembly International Church and the Lee Park Elementary building, and caddy corner in either direction from the Lee Park Towers (High Rise) and Regina Street. It overlooks a recreational park below. The land that the memorial and the park sit on used to be owned by the Glen Alden Coal Company and bordered land owned by the Jersey Central Railroad. Allegedly, this area was named “American Legion Park” after the Lee Park American Legion Post 609-320, according to old newspapers, but I cannot find any other source to back this up as Hanover Township removed the section of their website regarding the area parks. If you happen to know the details, shoot me an email or leave me a message in the comments and I will add it in.

The memorial movement was just starting to gain traction in early 1943 as a committee was formed and meetings were held to raise funds for the granite statue. Women were urged to take an active role in the fundraising and many of them went door to door collecting goods and monetary donations.

By April 1943, the funds raised by the community exceeded 1,000 dollars. 1k doesn’t seem like it would go far these days, but of course this prior to a buttload of inflation that happened over the years. A quick check of the US Inflation Calculator shows that 1k would equal roughly $14,000 now. If you consider that most of the people in this community were the working poor — housewives and general laborers (most coal miners) that is pretty impressive.

Lists were posted in local businesses to collect the names of men and women who served in the various ranks of the military. Initially, around 500 names of men and women who served were collected in the districts that represent “Lee Park Proper.” After later meetings of the committees, it was agreed that the Marion Terrace, Carey Terrace and Inman Park sections of Hanover Twp. would also be included. You could just guess¬†that there was going to be some hurt feelings and controversy over people who may have been left off the memorial. The committee agreed to make it right, but not until 1944 as noted below.

Reverse the clock to 1943 for a moment. A ground breaking celebration was held in July followed by a 10 day Bazaar to raise funds for the sandblasting of names to go on the granite memorial.

As a comparison, here’s the same angle the above photo was taken, present day (albeit slightly further back from the original spot…I wanted to get the entire church and school in the shot)…

The plan was to have the wall unveiling ceremony/dedication in time for Labor Day, but the Lee Park Honor Roll Association ran into some snags with the vendors providing the granite. The initial company that the Association entered into a contract¬†with – Summit Hill Marble and Granite Company – wasn’t the one that they ended up going with in the end (July 1943). ¬†Summit Hill grossly under-estimated their price quote and withdrew the bid. Later in July, the Association took bids from another organizations and decided upon the Green Valley Marble Company located in Vermont.

While having a vendor back out was controversial enough, It turns out the the Green Valley Marble Company had some issues of their own. The dedication ceremony of the wall was pushed back yet again due to issues with cutting the granite to the specification provided by the Association. The article below was posted to a local paper in November of 1943.

 

FINALLY at long last, on December 12, 1943, the wall was dedicated at approximately 1:30 in the afternoon. There was a parade around Lee Park comprised of 5 divisions before heading back over to the park for the dedication service. The local school’s band and chorus played music and sang before the wall was dedicated. Initially 500 names were placed on the wall, but there were room for an additional 200 or so to be sandblasted on after the fact.

If you compare the above photo to the one I originally posted of the wall, you’ll notice that it is missing a few sections. They were added after the fact. My grandfather’s name appears in one of the add-on sections (spelled wrong, because of course)…”Russel Hrevnack.” The truth is that my Grandfather’s family came to America speaking no English, so whoever was taking their paper work at the port they came in on or the census workers probably had NO IDEA how to spell it properly, nor did my ancestors know how to communicate with them to spell it correctly.

My Grandfather’s two brothers appeared in the original sections of the wall – John and Peter.

As of 2001, there are now over 850 names on the wall. If you look closely at some of the names on the wall, you may notice a star or an O before their name. The O signifies that they were a prisoner of war, the star indicates that they were killed in the line of duty. Here are a few of the panels of the wall showing examples of each. Source

One particularly interesting story, is that of Margaret A. Nash. I specifically came to the wall this afternoon looking for her name because I believed she was the only woman on the wall that was held as a prisoner of war – I was right. There are very few names of women on the wall, but she’s the only POW that I was able to see. I’ve visited this wall probably a zillion times and I never knew or noticed the markers before the name. Of course when I found this little nugget, I was down another Google wormhole and researched all about Margaret A. Nash. Without getting too far off topic, Margaret was a Navy nurse. She was captured and held as a prisoner of war by the Japanese during World War II, she neglected her own health to nurse hundreds of her fellow prisoners suffering from disease and near-starvation in the Philippine Islands. She was still struggling to survive when the camp was finally liberated by US forces three years later. This woman came from your backyard NEPA…how truly incredible.

Below is a quick article snippet from when she was well enough to come back home in 1945. Margaret has since passed away, but not before moving to California and teaching an entire new generation of nurses at the University of California in Berkley.

After the wall was built, the Lee Park Honor Roll Association continued to raise funds through community picnics, bingos, dances, and other events to build the park and pavilion that exists between the Hose Company and the Lee Park Towers. I know they eventually turned their attention to creating recreational parks in other areas of Hanover Township. It continued to remain a civic minded organization throughout the years.

So what now?

Well the last time I visited the wall, It wasn’t in the best of shape landscaping-wise, but to be fair, it was a fall day when most lawn care equipment has been packed up and stored for the season in preparation of the cold weather.

As I mentioned earlier, the Lee Park Honor Roll Association still seems to exist and may be headed up by members of the Lee Park Hose Company or the American Legion. The caretakers are probably getting up there in age – and the younger folks will likely be moving away when the Fire Departments consolidate. Some of the things in the memorial park have been removed, such as a memorial bench. I am unable to find any reasons why this may have happened, but can only imagine that it was because of decay and age. I know that the wall has been hit by graffiti vandals at least once, but I’m sure it’s probably happened more than just that one occasion and that hurts my heart. Why would you destroy a piece of history?

The parades and memorial services that would be held at the site (the ones that I remembered from my childhood) no longer happen. I do know there are neighboring communities (such as Ashley for example) that observe the holiday. Still in all, I wish that even if for just one more time, the site could be honored in some kind of way because it is truly special and the history behind it is fascinating. Maybe I will send this blog post along to some local community leaders to see what can be done, but I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Just based on the Margaret Nash story, I believe it should be fair came for a PA historical marker, but I’m not sure what the application process would be for something like that.

At any rate, whatever your plans are today, take the time to remember the men and women that sacrificed so much for your freedoms.

Have a safe and healthy Memorial Day weekend.

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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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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.

 

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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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