Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 31st: Discovering The Yellow Brick Road

I have probably written about this before but I can't seem to find the post where I mentioned it. So I'm writing this one. 

Sadly, today is the 20th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana Spencer. A very tragic loss of someone the world continues miss. 

But it was this world wide news event that caused me to change direction and take the first step on a different path. It would turn out to be the "broken road" that led me to the Love Of My Life.  

On August 31,1997, I lived in Easton, PA. I was working weekend mornings at a very small, 5000 watt, radio station in Bethlehem.

That Sunday morning as I was driving to work, I heard on a AM talk radio station out of New York City that Princess Diana had been killed in a car accident in Paris, France. 

Immediately I knew that this was an epic news story. Although on Sundays I didn't do much "on the air" except give the time and weather forecast in between reading the tag lines for pre-taped church and polka music programs. 

I felt that it would be important to keep the few listeners the station had informed about what the rest of the world was buzzing about. 

But I needed more information than what I heard on the radio during my commute. The only resource for breaking news the station had was a computer with a dial-up connection to America Online.   

Although I had had access to this computer during the 7 months I had been at the station; at this point I really had only a peripheral interest in computers or the relatively new AOL services. 

My cousin, who lived in Pittsburgh, had been trying to convince me to buy a computer so we could keep in touch. But a PC's purchase price and monthly fees for services, put getting one just out of my reach. 

Besides I was saving for my first trip to Walt Disney World. I had wanted to go for more than 10 years. All my focus was on getting to that goal. 

I found the password for the station's AOL account and signed on.  The sound and action that came along with accessing AOL caught my attention immediately. If you are old enough to have used dial-up service you know what I'm talking about.  

Once the home screen came up, I looked for news and information about Princess Diana. 

After I got the station on the air (it was only licensed to transmit sunrise to sunset), I gave the weather and a brief report about one of the biggest news event of the year. Then I started running the Sunday morning slate of programs. 

Because they ran 20-30 minute long, I had some free time while they aired. I decided to go back into the station's office and explore a little bit more, just what this "AOL" was all about. 

I decided to start looking for information on Walt Disney World and soon discovered the online communities known as message boards. 

Next I found chatrooms. This was the connection with other AOL users that I had been hearing about. I spent the rest of that morning typing "conversations" with people (mostly women) in chatrooms. I also delved into "Instant Messenger" a bit too. Remember this was at least 5 years before the earliest versions of social media.  

By the time I left the radio station that day, my interests had changed. I was hooked on AOL. It was the most exciting thing this guy had found in a long long time. 

Over the next couple of weeks, I became obsessed with getting online. I had some friends who had PCs and I went to their houses to use them whenever I had the chance. 

Chatrooms were where a guy like me (who had not ever been very confident or successful when it came to talking with women) could be as charming and flirtatious as I wished I was in person. 

By the time my birthday (2nd week of September) came around I had changed direction in regard to my goals. 

The Wonderful World of Disney, which still seemed so far away both financially and geographically, had been replaced at the top of my "list." My savings were now earmarked for the purchase of my first personal computer. 

By the time November came around, I was sitting at a desk in my own apartment eagerly awaiting the high pitched screech of the modem to connect me to my new playground.

AOL's instant messenger became my best friend; connecting me with family, friends, and strangers who soon became friends. For better or worse it was my obsession. 

It was just a couple of weeks later that I "clicked" into a chatroom that had become one of my "regular hangouts."

Someone with the screen name, Oz's Magic "G" was showing up on the list of chatroom participants but not contributing to the banter that zipped vertically up the monitor's screen. Her online profile stated that her "real" name was "Glinda." 

Assumed those names were references to L. Frank Baum's classic tale about Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. A book I knew very well. I searched my wit to come up with something that would get her attention. 

I sent her a private message with, what I thought was a provocative question: "Can you help me find the yellow brick road?"   

That question, sparked my first online conversation with the woman who is now my wife. 

The journey from that first question to our walk down the aisle took 5 years. It is a detailed and amazing story that took place along a twisted uneven road that ultimately led us to our "Forever Love". It's too long to write about here. Maybe one day I'll put it in a book. 

The whole reason for my writing this post today is to point out that August 31, 1997 is the day that a tragic event halfway across the world, took me to a place that eventually changed my life. Each year I make sure that acknowledge this. 

Like a soft autumn breeze moving a fallen leaf, the events of that day blew me in a different direction that turned out to be the beginning of the best years of my life. 

So while the "Candle In The Wind" burned out much to soon, for me it will always be a reminder of how I discovered "The Light of My Life". 

By the way, in another aspect of serendipity, my wife and Diana were born on the exact same day, July 1, 1961. 

Thanks for letting me share this. It's one of my life stories that led me to Kentucky and my greatest blessing, my marriage to Paula. 

That does it for August. See you in September with another edition of the RHFactors blog. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Going Back Part 3: Family Time & Reunions

Welcome back. In my 3rd installment of this series I will be writing about time spent with family and friends during my recent visit to Pennsylvania.  

Each of the 3 mornings I was in Easton, I went to breakfast with my family. 

On Friday, August 11, we went to the Perkins restaurant on Rt. 191 in nearby Bethlehem. It was my niece, Marci's birthday. She was there with her kids, Olyvia and Jordan, and her husband, Chuck. Also there were my niece, Teejai, and nephew, Bobby; sister, Peggy; my cousin-in-law, Paula; along with her daughter and granddaughter.  

The next two mornings, I went out to breakfast as well. On Saturday, my sisters, brothers-in-law, niece and nephew went to "The Palace" restaurant in Bethlehem township. Sunday morning we went to one of my favorite places in Easton for breakfast, The Bagelsmith. Their pork roll, egg & cheese bagel sandwich is the best.

Other than going out to eat breakfast the time with family was spent at my sister, Shari's house.

My nephew, Bobby, cooked dinner for us on Friday and Sunday. He's a pretty good cook and enjoys serving everyone. On Saturday evening, we had cheese steaks from a popular fast food place. 

Also, on Sunday night, we celebrated my brother-in-law, Bobby's birthday. Shari made a delicious homemade ice cream cake. 

Of course, I knew that everyone in my family would want to come by and hang out. But there were 3 family members that I wasn't sure would be happy to see me. 

But shortly after I arrived at the Pearson's house on Friday afternoon, I was fast friends with them. I had met their oldest pet, Blossom, when she visited my house years ago. But now that she was older, I wasn't sure she would remember me. She was fine and acted happy to see me. 
The other 2 Pearson pups I had never met before. But as you can tell from this picture Duncan and Benny really liked me. 

As I mentioned in my last post, on Saturday afternoon, August 12, I went to Walter's Park in Phillipsburg for my family reunion. 
This annual event is a "pot luck" style picnic that includes several families with ties to my dad and his sisters. It is organized by my cousin, Pam. (you may recognize her name as the winner of my 50,000 views prize earlier this year)
The pavilion at the center of Walter's Park is where everyone gathered to eat and enjoy each other's company. 
I arrived early afternoon, shortly after my solo tour of the town I wrote about in my last post.

My first surprise came even before I stepped under the pavilion. 

I found out from a family member that someone from my high school graduating class, not part of our reunion, was at the park for a picnic as well. 

Gary Hogland was with some friends and he found out that I was going to be there. He made sure that I was told to go over and say "hi" to him. 

So even before my reunion with family members, for a few minutes, I had a reunion with one of the members of the PHS graduating class of 78. 

Other than my brother-in-law, Bob, I hadn't expected to see anyone from my graduating class that day. It was a complete coincidence. 

Since I hadn't seen Gary Hogland in more than 40 years; it was kind of awkward to try and catch up in just a few minutes. But he seemed glad to see me. He had recently had a personal turn around and he was proud of it. All in all it was good to see him. 

I walked into the pavilion and was met by Julie, one of Pam's daughter's. She was handing out name tags as everyone arrived. She gave me one that read "Ronnie". I know I usually go by "Ron" but everyone there that afternoon knew me as "Ronnie" or, even worse, "Little Ronnie."

Since it had been over 20 years since I'd been to a family reunion a lot of the people I didn't recognize. 

I walked past most of them until I found my sisters and their families at a table in the middle of the pavilion. 

My sister, Peggy, and niece, TeeJai...

...My sister, Shari and cousin Paula.

In this picture from left to right is: my brother-in-law Gene; my cousin, Tommy, his son, Tommy Jr; my cousin Linda's husband, Mark; and my brother-in-law, Bob. 
Initially, I was a little disappointed when I learned that some of my cousins weren't going to be there. I really wanted to see my cousins, Gary and Lee (who were my closest family friends when I was growing up). But they weren't there. I would also have liked to have seen my cousin, Roger. But he was in Walt Disney World with his grandchildren. Can't blame him for that. 

I started going around and talking to those who were there and I realized what a special day this was going to be. 

It was great to see my cousins, their kids and grandkids. I wasn't sure who everyone was but it was cool just knowing that even though someone might not have been a direct part of my family tree; they were in the same forest.  

It was a real surprise to me to learn that there were people who wanted to see me. 

Here, I have to give you a little back story regarding the dichotomy that connects me to some of those who were there.  

In my last post, I shared with you a picture of the unit in the housing project where I lived until I was 10 years old. 

This cropped version of that pic (sorry for the blurriness) shows my old "house" on the right. The unit on the left is where the "Kish" family lived for most of the time I lived there. 

Bessy Kish lived there with her kids: Larry, Clarence, and Carol. Carol was around my age and was one of my first neighborhood friends. 

This was back in the days when neighbors actually knew and socialized with each other. So my mom, a very social person, was friends with Mrs. Kish. The association of the two families stemmed from their relationship. 

The Kish kids weren't the only children that Bessy (the only first name I ever heard her called) had. She had kids with the last name "Huff" and also "Seguine". 

Here's where friends and family intertwine. Although I am not going to go into the details I will tell you that at one point Mrs. Kish's son, Raymond Seguine, was introduced to my dad's sister, Eileen. Both were unmarried at the time. 

To make a long story short, they got married. Thus the Seguine family and the Havens family became connected through both friendship and extended family. 

So even though the majority of the people at the reunion weren't blood relations, they were part of my childhood. 

Kenny and Carol Huff, a married couple who are now in their 70s, seemed really happy to see me for the first time in decades. 

I knew that both of them were going to be there and it was nice to see them. I was surprised to see Kenny's brother, Phil, there. 

I know I hadn't seen Phil Huff in over 50 years. Although I'm not sure about the reasons or circumstances because I was a preschooler at the time, I do remember that, Phil lived at our house for a while before and after his service in the US Air Force back in the mid 1960s.  

One thing stands out in my mind about his living in our house. He is the reason my mom had a "We are an Air Force family" sticker on the inside of the top of the middle pane of her most treasured possession: her china closet. That's what I told him when we talked. 

I didn't get any pictures of Phil but he is on my You Tube reunion video. This relatively short video takes a quick tour of some of those who were part of the reunion. Here's the link.  August 2017 Family Reunion

The reunion was nice and well worth the effort to make the trip back to Pennsylvania. 

One of my regrets in regard to family, is that due to the limited amount of the time, I didn't get to hang out with with my cousin, Pam, like I wanted to. 

She also did a great job of organizing and hosting the reunion. Hopefully, I will get to visit with her the next time I go back.

On Sunday August 13, at lunch time I arranged to meet up with a couple of long time friends at the Ruby Tuesdays restaurant next to Rt. 33 in Palmer Township.

Larry & Gene came to visit me in Kentucky last September so I thought I'd return the favor on my visit.  You can read the details of that Kentucky visit through this link: 
PA Friends In Kentucky

Larry arrived first and he and I sat outside the restaurant waiting for Gene. As we talked, much to my surprise, a car pulled into the parking lot and some other long time friends got out. 

It was Sandi and Jeff Fitzgerald and their son, Josh, and his new wife, Susan, were with them. We sat and talked for a while. Sandi took this selfie of the two of us. 
Soon, Sandi's sister, Diane Regal, and her husband, Dan, came to join them. It was yet another unexpected reunion. 

Finally, Gene arrived and it was time for the 3 of us to go have lunch. I said "good-bye" to the Fitzgeralds and Reagles. They joining other friends who were seated in another part of the restaurant. 

Although it had been almost a year since we had seen each other, Gene, Larry, and I, were soon talking, laughing, and sharing stories like no time had passed at all. 

The topics of our conversation included everything from past church experiences to the current baseball season. 

The hour and a half we spent enjoying each other's company went by in a flash. They were nice enough to pick up the check. 

So there you have the stories behind time spend with my family, extended family, and friends during my trip back to Pennsylvania. Thanks for taking the time to read about it. Hope you enjoyed what I had to share. 

My next installment in this series will focus on my afternoon with my niece and nephew in downtown Easton and the couple of times I felt like I'd stepped into a time machine. 

I'll warm up the Delorean and put fuel in the flux capacitor. You just be sure to come back. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Going Back Part 2: Retracing My Steps

In this 2nd installment of my post series that shares the details of my mid-August trip back to eastern Pennsylvania to visit my family I'm going to be retracing my steps. Those that let to some of my favorite places decades ago.  

Although it was a relatively quick 3 day trip, I took some time to take a walk or two down memory lane. 

On the Friday I was there, accompanied my niece and nephew, I went back to some of the places where I spent a lot of time as a kid. 

This meant going across the Delaware River bridge to Phillipsburg, New Jersey. 

My first stop was my old high school. It is on North Hillcrest Boulevard. 

I roamed the halls of this facility from September 1974 until June 1978. But its now the town's middle school. 

A couple of years ago they built a new $175 million high school. I had never seen it; so that was my next stop. 

The new PHS campus is on top of a hill at the end of Stateliner Boulevard just off Belvidere Road. It is a beautiful new building that's state of the art. 
A short drive down Roseberry Street and past Warren hospital, where I was born... the Heckman Terrace Annex housing project where I lived on Green Street from the time I was born until I was 10. 

Over the last couple of months I have been having that sterotypical discussion with my kids about how far I used to walk to school when I was there age. 

Initially, I told them that it was a mile walk each way too and from my elementary school. I subsequently figured out that it was only 1/2 a mile each way but there are hills both ways.  
Here's a link to the You Tube video I posted that shows the route I walked to Brensinger School every day from kindergarten until 5th grade. The school is gone but the area still felt familiar. 

Later in the weekend I had the chance to go back and retrace a similar but different route leading to the same area. 

It was basically, the alleys behind the streets in the video. It was the way we used to walk in the summer to get to the pool that was right next to the school. 

We had to stay on the streets during the school year so, outside of school, we walked the alleys. It was our way of rebelling against authority.

The two things I remember most about the back way to Brensinger pool were both things that only kids would do: 
popping bubbles that formed in the tar during the midday summer heat... 
...and eating berries from the big mulberry tree at the corner of Pursel and Culkin Streets. To us the tree was massive. It looked something like this.
On the way home from the pool me and my cousins would stop and feast on the plump ones on the low hanging branches.

If you're not familiar with mulberries, here's what they look like. 
When ripe, they are sweet and delicious. Their juice also stains skin, clothes, and towels. These collateral effects often landed my cousins and me in our bathtub and a little bit of trouble (aka: the "wrath" of my mom for getting stains all over our beach towels) when we got back from the pool. 

On Saturday, I went to Walter's Park to attend my family reunion. Going there was yet another return to a place that meant a lot to my childhood. 

Since it was within walking distance of my house for most of my life; while growing up, I spend many day at this park. 

Running parallel to the north edge of the park is a set of railroad tracks that, over the years, made getting to the park a lot easier for me. 

As a youngster, I used to walk west with my dad to the park along the tracks that also ran behind our Green Street home. 

As a teenager, I used to walk east, on the tracks, from Brainard Street, with my friends to the park to go swimming, play tennis, play baseball, or just hang out.

There is a pedestrian bridge that goes across the cut out that the tracks run through. On the other side of the bridge is a building that was once the Firth Youth Center. This picture I found on the internet is the view looking from the Wilson Street side into the park. 
Here's the link to a You Tube video I shot while at my family reunion that explains the history I have with both the bridge and the railroad tracks. 

Throughout my time back in the Easton and Phillipsburg area, I did a lot of riding around looking at what has and hasn't changed over the years. Most of it is different but a lot of it was the same as well. 

There were dozens and dozens of places I went in the area that had been changed or developed. There are hospitals and shopping centers and even highway interchanges that weren't there 18 years ago when I moved away. 

There were a couple of places that were so much the same that it was like stepping into a time machine. I will share my experiences in those places with you later in this series. 

One of the places I went to was the cemetery where my parents are buried. 

The footfall of every single step I retraced during my visit was resonant with the echo of the spirit and memory of my mom & dad. 

Although I wish with all my heart that I didn't have to do it; I felt my visit would not have been complete without going there. I traveled Belvidere Road to the cemetery in Harmony township to take a few minutes to honor their memory.  

After going to the cemetery, I was feeling a bit down. I drove along county road 519 through Lopatong Township just to look around. 

My main goal was to see the new Walmart that had been built since the last time I was back. 

Along the way I found something that I knew would make me feel better: A Rita's Italian Ice stand. 
A root beer flavored treat was a real mood booster for me.  

I have a bit more to share with you in regard to going back to places in Easton. But I'll share them later in this series. For now, I hope you have enjoyed this initial walk down memory lane with me.

With this post, I hope I have helped you get to know more about me through going back to places that are part of my idyllic memories of my childhood. 

Thanks for taking the time to read about it. Come back next time and I'll share with you some of the new memories I made with my family and friends during my August return home.   


Monday, August 21, 2017

Remembering Jerry Lewis

As I'm sure you are aware, on Sunday, August 20, the world lost a comedy legend. Jerry Lewis passed away at the age of 91. 

Because Lewis and his work was a part of my life, I feel I must take his passing as an opportunity to reflect on the many hours of laughs and entertainment he provided for me over the past 57 years. This post is my tribute to the life of Jerry Lewis.  

Because they are so readily available through the internet, along the way, I will be sharing some of my favorite clips from Jerry Lewis movies. 

The most successful portion of Jerry Lewis' career began just after WWII and continued until I was about 12 years old. I only got to see him in a movie at the theater once. But thanks to the wonder of television I got to enjoy his movies just the same. 

As I was growing up, if Jerry Lewis was on TV it was on at our house. His movies, both those with Dean Martin, and those he starred in alone, were iconic to us.

Back then TV was the only access to old movies so when a Jerry Lewis movie was on it was almost always "must see TV".  

First in his career was the 10 years of success he experienced as part of a team with Dean Martin.   
My favorites Martin & Lewis movies were: Never Too Young, The Stooge, and Living It Up. 

Here's a link to a You Tube clip of my favorite moment from "Never To Young". Lewis plays Wilbur Hoolig a grown man pretending to be a 12 year old boy. He's being chased by both a love struck girl and a villain played by Raymond Burr. He ends up on stage with Dean Martin and the Interstate Choir:
Martin & Lewis: I Like To Hike

Here's a clip from "The Stooge". Lewis plays Ted Rogers who becomes part of Dean Martin's act. Martin & Lewis In "The Stooge"

"Living It Up" is my favorite Martin/Lewis film. Part of the reason is that Janet Leigh is their costar. But the plot is so 1950s that it's very entertaining.   

Lewis plays Homer Flagg a railroad worker from Jackson Hole, New Mexico who, along with his doctor (Martin) pretends that he is terminally ill with radiation poisoning, just to get a free trip to New York. 

Here are a couple of You Tube clips. One shows Lewis' talent as a dancer and the other is a song that is vintage Martin/Lewis. 

Homer Flagg Dances In "Living It Up"

Martin & Lewis In Living It Up

I liked Jerry Lewis' solo performances in: The Geisha Boy, Rock A Bye Baby, and of course the outstanding, Nutty Professor. Not only were those films classic comedies; they also showcased Lewis' range as an actor. 

My mother and sister loved "The Geisha Boy". They cracked up laughing every time they saw it. In this clip, Lewis plays a magician traveling on a plane with his rabbit. The Geisha Boy

"Rock A Bye Baby" is the film that has Lewis singing the song "Rock A Bye Your Baby With A Dixie Melody". It gave him his only Top 10 pop hit in 1956. But my favorite song from the film is a song that Clayton Pool (Lewis) sings to the triplets left in his care. In this clip, the babies' grandfather joins in with their caretaker. It shows Lewis' ability to effectively be the exact opposite of his typical character. Jerry Lewis/Rock A Bye Baby

The last movie clip I want to share with you is from "The Nutty Professor". 

Julius Goes To The Gym

My cousin Gary, my best friend growing up, loved the Nutty Professor character, Julius Kelp... much that he once impersonated him for a summer camp group picture.  

I've got one final clip I want to share with you from a Jerry Lewis movie. 

In "Who's Minding The Store" Lewis performs my single favorite bit of his career: a pantomime to the Leroy Anderson composition, The Typewriter Song.

While searching through You Tube for the clips you just watched, I discovered that you can also find full length versions of most of Lewis' movies. I plan on going back and watching them myself over the next few weeks. 

Of course, the thing that I will always remember Jerry Lewis for, mostly, is his many years as host of the MDA Labor Day Telethon. 
In 2008, I wrote a blog post all about how much the annual program, which he hosted for 43 years, meant to me and my family. Here's a link to that post:
Jerry Lewis Telethon: A Labor Day Tradition

Jerry Lewis' last significant movie role was in 1982, as Jerry Lanford, a late night talk show host who gets kidnapped, in Martin Scorsese's "King of Comedy." 
A movie that starred Robert Dinero. It was the only time I saw Jerry Lewis on screen in the theater. I really liked the film and it put the name "Rupert Pupkin" forever in my brain. 

Earlier I mentioned Jerry Lewis' biggest pop hit that was included in "Rock A Bye Baby." In the 1980s when I became a fan of the Dr. Demento show on the radio, I discovered another recording by Jerry that was more typical of the zany Lewis style. It was called:
Sunday Driving. Click the link to listen. 

A few years after moving to Kentucky, I read a book by Jerry Lewis called "Dean and Me". It got me interested in seeing more of their performances other than their movies. I bought a 4 DVD set that had a lot of clips from Martin & Lewis hosting the Colgate Comedy Hour on NBC in the 1950s. 

I've included a link to a full episode of this program from November 1950. It's 40 minutes long so you might not want to watch all of it. But if you do you will see that this is a typical example of what Martin & Lewis were like together. 

Also it gives you an idea of what TV was like back in its infancy. Take notice that opening credits list "All In The Family" creator, Norman Lear, as one of the show's writers.  
Colgate Comedy Hour Circa 1950

I also remember a TV show that Lewis did by himself when I was really young. Here's a clip of him singing a song to a puppet, Bobo the clown. It's was his show's theme song and still one I always connect to him.
Jerry Lewis Sings "Smile"

I hadn't seen or heard much from Jerry Lewis since he left his position with the MDA back in 2011. 

A couple of years ago, I also saw a very good biographical documentary on PBS a few years ago. It highlighted Lewis' innovations as a film maker. Occasionally, I would see him do a TV interview.  You could tell by looking at him that his health was declining. 
  My most recent encounter with Jerry Lewis came during my recent tour of the Fabulous Fox Theater in St. Louis. 

In one of the backstage dressing rooms was a mural left by the 1997 national touring company of the revival of the play "Damn Yankees". 
It starred Jerry Lewis. Just to the left of my shoulder in this picture is Lewis' autograph. 

As a fan of his entire career, naturally, I was saddened by the news of Jerry Lewis' death on Sunday. But it also took me back a bit because it was the same day as the 18th anniversary of the day my father died as well. 

I don't remember my dad being a huge Jerry Lewis fan but I do know that he really liked his typerwriter routine. Although I think of and miss my dad a lot on August 20th, watching that clip earlier made me miss him even more. 

I want to conclude this post with one final tribute to Jerry Lewis. It's the You Tube clip from Labor Day 2010. It was the last time Jerry Lewis hosted the MDA telethon. He closed it out with his signature song. The clip is a little long but the part I want you to see is between the 3:04 and 5:07 mark. It was the way he ended the show every year. This time he barely gets through it. 
Jerry Lewis: You'll Never Walk Alone

Thank You Jerry Lewis for all you have meant to me, my family, and friends. You were one of a kind. Your legacy will always be the hours and hours of laughs and entertainment you've left behind for us all. 

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Going Back Part 1: On The Road

Yes, I am back!! It's been over a week since I posted that I was going on a break. Now I can share with you exactly what that break was. 

For the first time in 7 years I went back to the Pennsylvania/New Jersey to visit my family & friends. This was a solo trip whose purpose was attending this year's family reunion. More on that later in this series. 

To start things off I would like to share with you some of my travels and how I made the solo trip across 4 states to visit the places where I spent my first 38 years. 

I made the 750 mile trek from south central Kentucky to the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania on Thursday August 10. Here is a link to a video I shot along the way. BTW, this was shot safely and hands free using a dash mounted phone.  Movin Right Along I-71

I ran into some construction delays on the Kentucky side of Cincinnati. You can see the bumper-to-bumper traffic in front of me, the Riverfront area sign on the right, and Paul Brown Stadium in the distance on the left. 
After I got through the slow down in Cincy, it was mostly smooth sailing all the way through to Pennsylvania. I stopped a couple of times along the way to get a drink, fill the car's gas tank, and other things. My choice of places included truck stops, Cracker Barrels, and Speedway convenience stores. 

I ran into a bit more of a delay between the Pennsylvania state line and the turnpike. But I passed the time by listening to a baseball game on the radio. The Reds made an unlikely late inning comeback against the Padres. It was an afternoon game played at Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, which I had passed earlier in the day. 

The PA turnpike was the next to the last leg of my trip. If you've never traveled it before let me tell you that there is a series of tunnels that you have to go through. In the middle of the day it makes for a cool transition. Here's a quick video I shot. 
After a rest stop at one of the service plazas, I got off the turnpike at Carlisle. I ran into some more construction along Rt 81. But once I got on Interstate 78 it was clear sailing to Easton. 

I parked in front of my sister, Peggy's house on Berwick Street at 8:30 EDT. That was 12 1/2 hours after leaving the grove. I was tired but not exhausted like I usually am on such a long trip. 

Let me quickly skip ahead to four days later. It's Monday August 14 at 7AM. I have checked out of my hotel and stopped at my sister, Shari's house. She lives right near the I-78 on ramp so I stop to say "good-bye". 

My drive back home is pretty much the same as the one the previous Thursday. The only exception was that due to a lousy night's rest, I was rather tired. I yawned a lot during the first few hours on the road. 

On my way through Columbus I was getting a little road weary. I took a bit of a detour north of the city to find the Lego Store in the area. This would give me a much needed break. 

I was a little curious about the store. When I got into the area I received a double surprise. The first was that my GPS was guiding me to a town called "Easton".  
The second was that the Lego Store was part of a very large shopping area called "Town Center". It was very much like the "Commons" area Paula and I spent time at while in Destin, Fl this past may. 

Here's a bird's eye view of the fountain that's the centerpiece of the area.
I found a parking spot and, after asking directions from a family eating on a restaurant's outdoor patio, found the Lego Store. There was a fun "Lego Friends" sculpture sitting outside. 
The store was sold out of the Najago Movie mini-figures I was looking for so I came away empty handed. 

As I mentioned, the Town Center was quite a place. Here's a link to a video I shot just looking around.  Easton Town Center

My wife and I have talked about taking a weekend trip to Columbus sometime to visit their famous zoo. Now, that I know there's a nice shopping area to visit as well. 

Rush hour traffic and yet another construction detour made getting through Cincinnati quite a chore but soon I was back on track heading down 71 toward Louisville. 

A quick trip on the Gene Snyder Parkway around Louisville got me on my final leg of my trip; an 80 mile drive on I-65 South. 

I pulled into my driveway at close to 7:30PM CDT; making my travel time getting home close to the same as the drive there. 

My total mileage for the entire adventure was just under 1700 miles. 
So there you some of the details of my time on the road during my "Going Back Home" trip this past week. 

Now that I've shared the details of my travel time, the next few posts are going to share what I did during my stay. 

That includes revisiting some of my childhood hangouts, "stepping" back in time, meeting some family & friends again after many years, and going back to a unique church. Come on back and I'll be happy to share the details. See you again soon.