My parents grew up in the coal-mining city of West Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Both of my grandfathers were first-generation American coal miners, and both died of coal-mining related diseases. One lived in Old Cranberry, while the other lived right up the road on the corner of S. Broad St. and the new-fangled road (“Can do Expressway!”) that brought cars from the then-new interstate into town.
When we visited, I have many fond memories of sitting on that front porch doing what people did back then — watching the cars go by and talking (although, when you’re a kid, it’s mostly the adults doing the talking).
If you looked across the road, all you could see were the shale banks of the long since-abandoned coal mines.
A waft of pipe smoke drifted up from my grandpap’s (pictured above) pipe.
And like most kids, I wanted to be anywhere but there.
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