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Dan ODonnell

United States

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#1
Jan 19, 2009
 

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In 1954, I was 16, and a juvenile delinquent, hanging out at Babe's restaurant, John's Drug Store, and generally, the streets of Beechview, just making an annoying nuisance of myself. Went to St. Catherine's School, of course. Anyone still around from that era? Can't believe I'm 71 now, and living in Colorado
still here

Pittsburgh, PA

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#2
Jan 27, 2010
 

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Dan ODonnell wrote:
In 1954, I was 16, and a juvenile delinquent, hanging out at Babe's restaurant, John's Drug Store, and generally, the streets of Beechview, just making an annoying nuisance of myself. Went to St. Catherine's School, of course. Anyone still around from that era? Can't believe I'm 71 now, and living in Colorado
Hi Dan:
I grew up in the 70's in Beechview and still live in the house I grew up in. It was my grandparents.. Beechview is not what it once was and although I am only 38 now, it is sad to see what our beloved neighborhood has become... I remember being able to buy a card and wrapping paper in Johns and the 5 and dime store and have many happy memories here... I wish we could go back to 1954 I would go and I would be friends with that delinquent..:)
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#3
Feb 26, 2010
 

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still here wrote:
<quoted text>
Hi Dan:
I grew up in the 70's in Beechview and still live in the house I grew up in. It was my grandparents.. Beechview is not what it once was and although I am only 38 now, it is sad to see what our beloved neighborhood has become... I remember being able to buy a card and wrapping paper in Johns and the 5 and dime store and have many happy memories here... I wish we could go back to 1954 I would go and I would be friends with that delinquent..:)
Hi. Thanks for your response... Sorry I took so long to answer, but I had just about given up on anyone responding. I was in Beechview again in 2005 and you're right, it has changed. Seems like a lot of the old places closed, and I think the nature of the population has changed. I lived on Methyl Street, within walking distance of Murray's 5 and 10, Johns Drug Store and all of the other places on Broadway and Beechview Ave. As a kid, I used to ride my sled in the winter all the way down to Banksville, and trudge all the way back up the hill. Street cars ran during that time, and I think it was 10 cents to ride downtown to Smithfield St where the department stores were. The house I lived in on Methyl St is still standing but seems to have deteriorated. Time takes it's toll, and we can never go back, but the memories are always there. If you see old-timers walking around Beechview now, they are probably friends I used to hang around with then. Time goes by.
Dan
Bill McMahon

Placentia, CA

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#4
May 29, 2010
 

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Well, how about that!!!! I, perhaps, might have been your paper boy if you got the morning newspaper delivered, or, on a holiday like Memorial Day, on Broadway selling a hundred extra copies of newspapers to get a free Pirate ballgame ticket. I was collecting money for papers when I was told Kennedy was shot in Texas.

I almost got killed on in my truck on Coast Ave when my brakes went out, turning down Coast from Broadway.

At least I got a very good education there.

My sister and her husband bought a house a block from where we were born, and lived there till last year, but did finally sell and retired to Arizona.
Dan ODonnell wrote:
<quoted text> Hi. Thanks for your response... Sorry I took so long to answer, but I had just about given up on anyone responding. I was in Beechview again in 2005 and you're right, it has changed. Seems like a lot of the old places closed, and I think the nature of the population has changed. I lived on Methyl Street, within walking distance of Murray's 5 and 10, Johns Drug Store and all of the other places on Broadway and Beechview Ave. As a kid, I used to ride my sled in the winter all the way down to Banksville, and trudge all the way back up the hill. Street cars ran during that time, and I think it was 10 cents to ride downtown to Smithfield St where the department stores were. The house I lived in on Methyl St is still standing but seems to have deteriorated. Time takes it's toll, and we can never go back, but the memories are always there. If you see old-timers walking around Beechview now, they are probably friends I used to hang around with then. Time goes by.
Dan
Pat Perfetti

Philadelphia, PA

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#5
Jun 6, 2010
 

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Hi Guys -- 1954 was the year we moved to Dagmar Avenue in Beechview. Before that we lived on Rockland Avenue for 9 or 10 years. I loved growing up there, and am still in PA, but on the southeast part of the state. We moved to Phila. in early 60's. I haven't been back to Pgh. for ten years now. I have no relatives there, unfortunately, but still have friends I grew up with who I stay with when I do come back. Went to Beechwood grade school, then St. Catherine's from 5th through 8th (transferred from Beechwood because of Miss Gier..remember her?)... and I graduated from South Hills High. I had Don Hoak run down 5th Ave after me when I was about 18 years old... That was the year the Pirates won. I knew who he was because I was a baseball fan, and was frozen at his interest, but got on my 42 Dormont Streetcar anyway (while he begged me not to) and left him there.(Like the good kid my mother taught me to be..Dammit! lol) Him and a couple other players were "hanging out" in front of some bar up the street from 5th & Smithfield streetcar stop), and I was leaving my office. Yes I remember John's Drug Store, Babe's, the 5&10, the Beechview movie,(and bowling alley downstairs where my mother used to bowl with her friends)... Does anyone remember me, or my sister, Margie?
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#6
Aug 8, 2010
 
Hi, Bill and Pat..and Margie. Your names do sound familiar, especially Pat, who was most likely there at the same time I was. I do remember the Beechview theater, and at that time admission was 17 cents. And the bowling alleys downstairs. Downstairs from Babes, across the street, was Pop Gill's bowling alleys, and as a teenager, I set up pins there for 10cents a line. Remember how it was before automatic pin setters? Pat, I also went to St. Catherines school from 1st to 8th grade, and graduated from South Hills High School. The scariest thing about St. Catherines was Sister Gerard. And, speaking of selling newspapers, does anyone remember Sluggo, the guy who sold papers at a stand next to the street car stop? A lot of unusual characters in Beechview back then.
After high school, I spent 22 years in the US Air Force, and retired, but never went back to Pittsburgh, except to visit family.
I have also had some close calls on Coast Ave. and it seemed to be almost a vertical street. I had to go down there and then right onto Methyl St. where I lived.
Dan
Pat Perfetti

United States

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#7
Aug 8, 2010
 
Dan - I remember John's Drug Store had the best, biggest ice cream cones! The "real" milkshakes, and we would sit on the stools and order a milkshake, or a coke with bag of potato chips. lol

I remember the name "Murray"'s 5 & 10 now that you mention it! It was sort of old inside with hardwood floors, and had some interesting things in there, but not a lot of stuff--nothing like today where everything is TOO much. I loved Beechview. We were probably in St. Catherine's together. lol I was there from 5th through 8th grade. I used to RUN home at lunchtime and RUN all the way back. We lived on Rockland Ave...way up the hill... and that was a LONG run... I didn't have much time to eat lunch once I got home! Then somewhere they "allowed" us to bring our lunch in a brown bag. Remember the "cloak room"? That's where the lunches would be stored, and I remember the sound of the milk being delivered. I was always soooo hungry by lunchtime! Don't think I had breakfast ALL of the time,. We were kids...what do we remember about things like that?

I remember Babes was a place I wouldn't cross the street to walk past! lol Lots of "older" guys used to hang out there, and I was shy, believe it or not!

What year did you graduate? I was 17 when I graduated from South Hills in June of 58... not turning 18 until December... I had my first full time job at age 17 for an insurance company as a group insurance claims adjustor AND a secretary to the manager and ass't manager. Back then they got their money's worth!! lol -- Job was in the "Farmers Bank Building" downtown. It was a great job for a young girl..and a great boss.
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#8
Aug 9, 2010
 
Hi, Pat. That's fascinating. I graduated from South Hills in 1957, so you would have been right behind me. OF course, "The Cloak Room!" at St. Catherines, where we kept the brown bag lunches and we had the choice of white or chocolate milk. And when the day was over, we got in lines to leave the school, one line going in the direction of Dormont and the other toward Beechview. How about that long walk in the winter to get to school? Here's a couple more places: Bards and Isaly's where the ice cream was also wonderful. And the bakery where you could get a dozen cinnamon rolls for 35 cents. Actually, I was one of those guys you avoided at Babe's where I usually hung around at the railing. But I never bothered anyone, and tried to think of myself as a nice kid. If you worked downtown, you probably took the 42 dormont and it might have cost about 10 cents each way, Going downtown was a big thing then, especially going to Kaufmans and Gimbels on Smithfield Street. I loved those street cars, across the bridge, thought he tunnel. Remember the grocery store next to Murrays? I used to work there as a very young kid, delivering groceries in a cart around the neighborhood. Last time I was there, in 2007, people still said things like, "yinz" and "dahntahn". So many fun things to remember.
Dan
Pat Perfetti

Philadelphia, PA

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#9
Aug 9, 2010
 
Yes, I remember that long walk in the winter with the howling wind sometimes, and I would be "in fear" of this one kid who used to throw snowballs across the street at me while trying to walk home. Sometimes they were actually iceballs!!

We used to go to Isaly's as a special treat after Sunday mass at St. Paul's Cathedral, instead of St. Catherine's. Mostly we went to St. Catherine's but dad and mom took us to the gorgeous cathedral (sp)sometimes,...and then Isaly's I would get orange sherbert & chocolate! TWO scoops sometimes. But we didn't have to worry, there was never an ounce of fat on us from the walking, the hills AND dancing all the time! lol (I don't go to mass anymore for decades. I set myself free from the hokus pokus as to what would happen to my soul if I missed mass, etc... lol)

I used to take the 42 Dormont to South Hills ("the junction"..remember?)... and climb all those steps up to the school every day. After graduation, I still took the 42 to work every morning. I always got on and off at Fallowfield Ave. stop. It was a beautiful, 15 minute ride across bridges, through tunnels, sides of mountains, etc. right to center city's 5th & Smithfield. I didn't realize it then, but when I moved to Philadelphia it was a rude awakening! Just a long, hectic ugly trip on their "els", AND buses--emptying out at dirty terminals..always TWO modes of transportation to get to cc (bus and el),and dilapidated roof tops in a row for the "view" on the long ride. Oh well.

I remember the little store on Kenburma and Sebring when we lived on Dagmar Ave. We used to be over there all the time buying lunchmeat, etc.. There was another little store at bottom of hill when we lived on Rockland Ave, where we would walk to buy candies, pretzel sticks (1 cent?) popsicles (5 cents),etc. And straight back up the steep hill of Rockland back home with our goodies. lol

Don't forget about the "Beechview Pool", which opened in 1954-55. It was brand new and perfect for our neighborhood. They say today it's not there anymore. When I rode by Beechwood Grade School 9 years ago, it still looked good to me. I was surprised because everyone was saying Beechview went so far down.

I'm sure you and I crossed paths many a time during our years in school and growing up in Beechview. We just don't remember each other now. Tell me some names you knew from school and "Babes". lol ..and more memories of yours which reminds me of some I forgot. Like the Bakery you mentioned. That Bakery was great! lol
Dan ODonnell

Colorado Springs, CO

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#10
Aug 11, 2010
 
Hi, Pat. If you bought lunch meat at that little store, it was probably chipped ham. Remember that? I think I know where that store was, and there were many more like that, like Olsons at Broadway and Coast. There was also a shoe repair shop near Olsons where we took our shoes to get new soles and heels. I read where Foodland has finally closed down. When I was a kid it had a different name, but I used to work there delivering groceries in a cart around the neighborhood. With the 42 Dormont, I used to get off at the stop right there by Johns Drug store, and it was just a couple of blocks to walk home from there. Down the street from Johns, as I remember, there was a Krogers grocery store, but that's long gone.
Here are the names of some of the kids I knew back then: Jack Klepeis, my best friend, he went to Beechwood school. Red Healy, the Dunn brothers, Knobby, Tommy, John, and Dennis. Joan Habush, a very attractive girl, and her friend, whose name I can't remember. She often stayed closer to Johns rather than cross the street to Babes. Steve Adrian, also went to Beechwood. The Troiani brothers, Mike, Nick, Rennie, and Julius. In school were the Marchetti triplets, Louise, Lorraine, and Leona. Also Raymond Smith, who went on to become the CEO of Northeastern Bell. One of those odd characters often seen around beechview was "Millie", an older lady who had some mental challenges, and she often stood on the corner and sang. There are many more, and as I think of them I'll let you know. And, of course, my younger sisters, Mary Lou and Patricia, and my younger brother, Terry who is still there in Brookline.
I also left the Catholic Church when I was old enough to realize how creepy it was. At St. Catherines, we always had to go to church..In the basement, remember? And Father McCann. The dark, scary basement church..I'll never forget. And, the street car stop at the "junction" where we had to climb the steps to school. I used to meet my girlfriend at that little restaurant at the junction after school.
For some reason, I don't remember the Beechview pool, and we used to go to the Dormont pool, and Dormont park to see the fireworks on the 4th of July.
I do remember Alton field that was near Alton St. and there was always a baseball game there.
So many things to say, and as I remember them, I'll let you know.
Dan
Bill McMahon

Placentia, CA

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#11
Aug 11, 2010
 
Well, I was a bit after you, 15 years, but similar experiences. I worked for many years for the Troiani Brothers and family, at their houses, Musketeer lounge, Pilot House, the boat Pittsburgher, Guilo's, and the golf course. Jules was my boss, I loved the work I did with him and his brothers and sisters, all great folks. Jules was the best boss I ever had, never screamed at me, even when I really screwed up. I am sorry to say that Julius Troiani just passed away, which made the memories fresh. I also spent a lot of time swimming at Beechwood Pool, still swim as much as i can today.

Although I went to St. Catherine's and South Hills Catholic, I, too, left the church, I was gay and knew there is no future with them.
I travelled around the US as an electrical engineer, finally settling down in Los Angeles. I have been with my 'domestic partner' from El Salvador for 27 years. Any day now, a judge should let us know if we can finally get married here in California. A really long wait. We were the 42nd couple in California to register as 'domestic partners' when first came legal here in California.
I do not remember any 'delinquents' when i was there in the 60's, but someone did bust out my car window to get a new 8-track tape player as soon as I installed it, so I knew they were around, but hidden to me.
I will try to post some pictures on Google Maps in the next few months, and you are welcome to add your memories through pictures on Google Maps also.
Pat Perfetti

Philadelphia, PA

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#12
Aug 12, 2010
 
Ok guys, I wrote a nice, long email in response to both of your posts, and for some reason, it didn't take. So, I have to start over again later on.. Don't know what happened!
Bill McMahon

Placentia, CA

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#13
Aug 12, 2010
 
Pat Perfetti wrote:
Ok guys, I wrote a nice, long email in response to both of your posts, and for some reason, it didn't take. So, I have to start over again later on.. Don't know what happened!
Yes, that happened to me also yesterday, the window was open for several hours and the code times out later when you try to post. I was lucky, i just used the back button, what was written was still there, i cut, refreshed page, got new number code, pasted, and posted. I was lucky I did not need to rewrite. Please try again. just copy as insurance before posting.
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#14
Aug 12, 2010
 
Hi, Bill. I agree. The Troiani family were good people. Way before your time, the old man, and 2 of the sons, owned and operated several fruit and vegetable trucks that drove through various neighborhoods and sold directly from the trucks. They hired teenage kids (me) to help by loading the trucks and bringing the stuff to each home where they stopped. It was always a 12 hour day in the summer. The pay was $12.00 a week. That was ok with me. One of the brothers, Nick, had some mental problems as a result of being in WW2, but was harmless. I had also heard that Jule had died, years ago. I also remember their sister, Connie Troiani, who was a little older than me. I could only wish and dream. I think the family lived near Alton field, but not sure. I knew that the brothers went into various businesses, but that was after I left Beechview.
Seems like all of us left the Catholic church for one reason or another, and I remember their paranoid and unreasonable positions on things.
Although I graduated from South Hills high school, I spent my freshman year at St. Mary's of the Mount in Mount Washington, but transferred to South Hills the following year.
I have been following all that stuff in California, and I hope everything works out well for you.
I also had problems getting my message through yesterday and had to try several times.
Pat, keep trying. This is fun!
Dan
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#15
Aug 12, 2010
 
I'm also having trouble trying to post something here. Just wrote to Bill and Pat, but didn't work. I'll try again.
Dan
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#16
Aug 12, 2010
 
Hi, Bill. I agree. The Troianis were great people. Way before your time, the old man, and the older sons had a fruit and vegetable business, where they went to various neighborhoods to sell the stuff. They hired teenage kids (me) to load the trucks and deliver what they sold to the homes in the neighborhoods. The pay was $12.00 a week, and the days were 12 hours long, in the summer. It was ok with me. I left Beechview before they went into all those other businesses. I knew that Jule had died years ago. Too bad..he died young. There was also an older brother, Nick, who had some mental problems as a result of his service in WW2, but he was harmless. And a sister, Connie, who was a little older than me. I could only wish and dream. I think the family lived somewhere Alton field.
Although I graduated from South Hills high school, I did my freshman year at St. Mary's of the Mount, in Mount Washington, then transferred to South Hills the following year.
Looks like most all of us left the Catholic Church for one reason or another, mostly because of their paranoid and unreasonable positions on so many things.
I have followed all that news in California, and I hope everything works out well for you.
Pat, keep trying. This is fun!
Dan
Dan ODonnell

United States

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#17
Aug 12, 2010
 
See that!!?? My post went through twice. Maybe it's something I'm doing wrong.
Dan
Pat Perfetti

Philadelphia, PA

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#18
Aug 12, 2010
 
I will try again, but it will be hard to beat what I wrote yesterday! I read it over, and loved it. I guess that's what happened Bill..it took me too long to finish it (answering phone in between, etc.)..and the code was not good anymore. It didn't say anything on the screen that I had to "try again".. everything was gone, and I never thought to try the "back arrow".
I remember Connie Troiani... she was quite a "dish". lol From what I remember that family was quiet, and darkly good looking. They certainly weren't flirts (the boys), which was nice, because they were older than us.(weren't they Dan?)
Dan, the spiced ham! Yes, absolutely. To this day, I cannot find spiced ham as delicious as it was from that little store. It was "Burkhardt's Cash Superette". Remember that? OMG, I pulled that out from the recesses of my brain somehow. It was a man and his wife that owned the store...very nice. We were always buying something in there, either for ourselves (treats), or going to the store by order of one of the parents. lol
I remember the streetcar stop at Fallowfield. Wasn't there a shoe repair little run down store right there? Those little stores practially sat on the edge of the mountain behind it, didn't they? Just little wooden structures if I recall.
I remember the name Joan Habush... but can't place why or what she looked like. My friends were Susan Nist, her sisters, Nancy (my sister's age), and Janet, the youngest sister. Toni Breda... she died at age 17 of Leukemia, an honor roll student at SHHS, and a terrific kid. We used to go to The Grove in South Hills... Tues.,Thurs.,and/orSunday nights. I loved it there, and there was NO BOOZE, which I liked. Great dancing and sound system. It was a round pavilion in south park. The Grove is STILL there, and people our age (Dan) still go there to dance on the "older folks" night. They didn't have an older folks night in the late fifties. lol
Pt 2 to follow
Pat Perfetti

Philadelphia, PA

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#19
Aug 12, 2010
 
Pt 2
I also went a few times to the Beechview Dance, where the movie theater was, usually held on Friday nights I think. I was friends with Joe Mazza from our school,(to this day, and he moved back to Pgh 5 years ago) and I went with Harry Hart, the kid who looked like Elvis. Also Buzzy Botula (football player in SHHS) for a little while. Another of my girlfriends when I got to the Junior year in HS was Sondra Sandroni.
Bill, do you have any friends or family still living back here? I read tonight on line that beginning August 18, you can get married in CA.!! After being together 27 years, that little piece of paper isn't the most important thing for you two, BUT it's principle! I understand. Wish you all the best for your future.
Dan. guess what? I went from St. Catherine's 8th grade, to Elizabeth Seaton All Girls HS in Brookline for the 9th grade. Just like you went to St. Mary's for 9th and then to SHHS. Man, no wonder we're messed up. lol

My parents sent my sister to Seaton (20 months older than me) first, and then me. The tuition became pretty steep as my Dad just changed companies, so they put us into SHHS... the BEST thing ever happened to me. A wayyy better school too. I loved it there...and flourished. In Eliz.Seaton they had their "favorites"-- the nuns. I was quiet & ignored I would say. Once I WALKED from Dagmar & Sebring in 90 degree heat all the way to Eliz.Seaton to be in the May Procession which they pretty much demanded to show up for... Anyhow I walked that long way in the boiling sun... only to be asked to get out of line of the procession because I had on a sleeveless dress.

I was in Choir A at SHHS.. That was my HomeRoom for 11th and 12th grade.(Mr. Crawford) For 10th I had Miss Rome for homeroom.. maybe you remember some of Choir A's performances we used to do in our auditorium. lol
Do you remember the 10cent popcorn machine inside the Beechview Theater, Dan? It was so delicious too, wasn't it? Also the spanish peanuts machine. Do you remember Donald Law from St. Catherine's Grade School? I don't know where he lived, but it wasn't our end of Beechview. It was more near the church I think. Not sure. He was my first little crush. lol Him and I met at the Sat. aftn Beechview movie once..and we actually touched baby fingers on the arm rest, and finally held hands. I remember Patricia & Patrick Reilly (twins) and Richie Fontana from St.Catherine's.
Dan do you remember the dreaded Miss Gier from Beechwood? Math teacher? Also the "candy apple" man outside Beechwood who used to sell those candy apples on a stick..and other candies. He looked like a homeless guy from my memory....like a disheveled suspicious, poor santa claus. But those candy apples were so delicious..(we had healthy immune systems I guess.)

Remember, in case you're confused,I went K through 4th at Beechwood; then 5th through 8th at St.C's. Bill, thanks so much for sharing with us, and your memories from the streets and stores, etc. I'm glad it was so special for you, as it was for us.
DanODonnell

United States

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#20
Aug 14, 2010
 
Well, I did it again. Sent a long message that didn't seem to go through. I think I'll wait a while and see if it shows up, and then try again.
Dan

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