Sunday, September 15, 2019

The Office

This will be a very short post - with Rob's two favorite clips from The Office. 

Rob, as a birthday bonus this year, Steve got you a novelty tshirt with Dwight Schrute's picture and the label "False" underneath it.  You've worn it a lot over the past few weeks  :-)

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Uncle George

Great Uncle George

Uncle Jason and Mary Ann invited us to Salerno's in Old Forge a couple weeks ago (Mary Ann grew up in Old Forge, and I think she worked there at one time). It was great to see them and Lia, Colton and Natalee. And sadly, we found out that Uncle George recently had a heart attack. Luckily we were able to see him the following weekend in Maryland, Rob and I on Saturday then Aunt Pam and Alex on Sunday. He wasn't well but knew us and was so glad for the visitors, and had good days especially on Sunday. We were shocked when he passed a few hours later. Below is Uncle George's obituary. 
We all went to his viewing and then his funeral last week. Very sad !  We learned a lot about the challenges of inter-denominational relationships in the 1950's. We did get to catch up with extended family - Gerboc, Rogers and Warner.  And Alex, you brought Taylor to meet everyone at a local hotel following the viewing.  They liked her and she made quite an impression as a Bernie Sanders supporter!
Here are some highlights of things you may remember about Aunt Rebecca and Uncle George.                
  • Front Porch: At 278 Monument Ave where they lived, there was a lovely long porch. I remember Rob pushing trucks there, as well as along the sidewalk in front of the house. You might also remember that every spring a woodpecker spent its early mornings pecking the utility pole outside their bedroom window. We could hear it clattering away over at our place (272 Monument Ave).  Uncle George had some choice words for the woodpecker.
  • Toy Box: Aunt Rebecca and Uncle George had a box of toys for pre-schoolers, saved from their kids' childhood ☺ Every time we stopped over, it was a bee line for the toys.

  • The Garden: The garden was near and dear to Uncle George. He and Aunt Rebecca planted lovely flowers, and most importantly tomatoes and other vegetables which Uncle George had grown from seedlings on the enclosed back porch.  He enjoyed working out there, and kept a sharp eye (and sometimes a BB gun) out for critters such as rabbits and at least at one point (Eeek!) a groundhog.

  • Meow:   When he was away at Penn State, Uncle Jason brought home a fluffy grey kitten.  As happens in some cases with kitties acquired by college students, she ended up living back home.  Her name was simply Meow.  I would say she was sponsored (fed and cared for, as I remember flea bathing behind the house) by Aunt Rebecca & Uncle George.  But was actually the neighborhood's cat, as she got around to visit everyone.  She stood her ground and then some with dogs (I remember swats across the doggy noses).  Meow was also a great huntress, and brought her captured prey home regularly (such as birds, squirrels and rabbits).  In her spare time, she came calling upon indoor kitties who lived nearby.  This included climbing up the walnut tree and onto our deck, then coming to the sliding door - which drove Tiger crazy, there was much hissing and spatting.  As well as climbing up the dogwood tree to the porch next door, going over the roof to Aunt Pam's kitchen window to greet Wolfie who jumped up to the counter/sink area for a stressful visit.  Uncle George often said that he hated cats; I think was quite fond of Meow all the same.
  • Christmas Eve: When you were quite young, we all went to their house after church for Christmas Eve, which included a Slovak tradition of exchanging "Merry Christmas" greetings while breaking off pieces of Oplatki wavers, then dipped in honey and eaten. You can read more about it here: Oplatki Christmas Tradition  Then there were many treats, including piggies and kielbasa, and presents to exchange. Little children made out like bandits on Christmas Eve. Once Uncle Jason gave Alex a 100-piece set of plastic army men - you were thrilled and we just hoped no adult would get one wedged into a bare foot. 

  • Halloween: Aunt Rebecca and Uncle George always had a special treat bag for both of you on Halloween. In later years, Uncle George was very happy when you came. His greeting was always a loud "Hello" !  After he moved to live with David & sometimes Laura, we always sent him a Halloween card.
Uncle George also sent cards for your birthdays. (When Rob and I visited him, he commented that Laura had been helping to get the cards but he didn't always like her selections... made me smile!)  It is wonderful to have family close by, and you were blessed with having Grandma & Aunt Pam, along with Aunt Rebecca and Uncle George on our street in Wyoming.

George David Gerboc

1932 - 2019
George David Gerboc Obituary
George D. Gerboc, 87, formerly of Wyoming, died Sunday evening, Aug. 18, 2019, at Calvert Manor Healthcare Center in Rising Sun, Md., after a short stay.

George was born in the Pittston Junction on July 22, 1932, to the late George and Katarina Mackanic Gerboc. He was a graduate of the Pittston High School, Class of 1949.

After high school, he served in the U.S. Army from 1949 to 1952, during the Korean War. Upon returning home, he worked at Rex Shoe Factory, Exeter, later working several years for and retiring from Techniglas Inc, Pittston.

He was married to the late Rebecca Warner Gerboc of Wyoming, who preceded him in death on Aug. 23, 2005, after 43 years of marriage. In addition to his wife and parents, he was preceded in death by his siblings, Michael Gerboc, Mary Russick, Helen Schnitzel, Ann Rachwalski, Agnes Havrilla, John Gerboc, Elizabeth Rakowski and Joseph Gerboc.

George and Rebecca were life residents of Wyoming. In the last few years, he lived with his children, spending the majority of time in Virginia and southern Pennsylvania.

Surviving are his three children, Laura Balint and her husband, Jimmy, Avondale; David Gerboc and his wife, Tracey, Chesterfield, Va.; Jason Gerboc and his wife, Mary Ann, Lake Mary, Fla.; grandchildren, Courtney and Nicole Gerboc; Mitchell Balint; Lia, Colton and Natalee Gerboc; sisters, Juliana Kopec, Bradenton, Fla.; and Margaret Kalina, Pittston.

A blessing service will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Metcalfe Shaver Kopcza Funeral Home Inc., 504 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, with the Rev. Peter Tomczak of St. Monica's Parish, West Wyoming, officiating.

Interment will be in Wyoming Cemetery.

Friends may call 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the funeral home.

Published in Citizens' Voice from Aug. 20 to Aug. 21, 2019

Friday, August 23, 2019

Wyoming's Memorial Day Parade

Well guys, I started this post in late May.  That meant uploading pictures and finding the Victor video below on You Tube.  So now to finish it!

This year "we" (Alex, Taylor and I) went to the Wyoming/West Wyoming Memorial Day Parade.  Last year you, Alex, became a member of the Wyoming Cemetery Association - following a line of membership that from Grandpa Bob Carroll and later Dad Bob Carroll.  It seemed like a good idea to attend the cemetery program, which we did - and enjoyed patriotic selections by the Paci Band (in which Uncle Jason played trumpet for a time).  It's nice to participate in old-time traditions such as speeches at cemeteries to commemorate individuals and their sacrifices that have contributed to our amazing, wonderful country.  I'm so glad I went.

The ceremony follows the parade, which we also attended (at most, it lasts 30 minutes!).  I have many memories of the parade, and I'll share a few with you.  First of all, it was a significant town event NOT to be missed.  Grandpa was often in the parade - I'm sure he was the Grand Marshall at least one as well as the main speaker at the cemetery program.  Dad was often in the parade too, in my memory as a boy scout troop leader (West Wyoming troop 366), Wyoming councilman or Little League parent.  Both of you boys walked in the parade with the Little League, and Rob you probably walked in it as a cub scout.  Meanwhile, Grandma and I tried very hard to arrive in plenty of time at the designated parade-watching corner which was at 7th street across from Avenue News (now Sorrick's Jewelry).  Uncle George, Aunt Rebecca and cousins Laura, David and Jason were often there (they also walked in the parade with the WA Marching Band - I remember Laura played flute and David was a drummer).  Grandma was absolutely thrilled when grandsons came along, and we would be sure you each had sunglasses and a drink in the stroller.  She was very proud to introduce you to friends and enjoyed as you watched the military color guard, old cars, bands, scouts, teams and fire trucks.  And as pre-schoolers, ran out to get candy when it was thrown from floats, trucks, etc.

One very unique feature of this parade was Victor (whose last name I forget) who rode his old bicycle in the parade for many years.  I remember him as an older man (not entirely clean), standing on the seat of his bike with one leg out behind him.  Amazingly, I did find a video!  So below are pictures from the 2015 parade & cemetery program, along with a 1993 video of Vic.  As indicated by the name of the video, everyone yelled "Vic, Vic do a trick!"  He definitely loved to oblige.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Dual Posting: Notes for After Our Passing

What follows is a joint post by Ms. Rivers a.k.a. Chris a.k.a. Mom and Steve.  After watching numerous YouTube videos of the Long Island Medium (Theresa Caputo) and developing a slightly unhealthy fascination with her spiritual readings, Ms. Rivers wants to ensure our wishes are known about a future time after one or both of us have died.  (On a side note, Ms. Rivers believes that our souls continue to an after-life, while Steve sees no reason to believe this in the absence of any evidence or proof.*)

Ok, here we go; please note, no firm decisions have been made about our final arrangements.  Should either of us pre-decease each other and once we have both passed, we do not want anyone including our children to do the following:
  • Place cremated remains in a cigar box until a decision can be reached about their permanent location, then lose the cigar box when moving.  [Steve here:  If you do this, I will haunt you, even if there isn't an afterlife.  I absolutely hate cigars!]
  • Place ashes in an urn/vase and keep it on the mantel (in lieu of burial).  Or strap it into the passenger side of a vehicle to keep the driver "company" on outings.  
  • Divide up ashes and place them in vessels as keepsakes for multiple family members.  In particular, do not fill up glass Christmas ornaments with ashes so that we can literally participate in each holiday season as decorations on your Christmas tree.
  • Scatter ashes outdoors (especially on a windy day!) in a body of water, where it's likely they would immediately become lunch for birds, fish, and other land-dwelling things.
  • Bury us in a cemetery without trees.  Or rabbits.  We want rabbits and other assorted non-human critters to frolic on top of our graves.
  • Have some kind of enormous, gaudy, "I want attention" headstone.  Neither one of us like show-offs, be it in this life or the next.
  • Putting anything plastic (flowers, crosses, etc.) on our graves.  We want to be buried in a cemetery, not a Dollar General.  
  • Unless you plan on taking care of them, no live flowers either.  But if you do put live flowers on our grave and you were to take care of them, then I [Steve] would like Marigolds, as long as they are the multi-colored ones.  But not the really big poofy yellow or orange ones. 

Lastly, and most importantly, don't be sad when you think about us.  Life is measured in countless ways, none the least of which is in the amount of love one gives.  In our case, we've both been blessed to have found each other and to have children that will help us live on in spirit, always.

* * * * * *

(*) Slight rebuttal from Steve:  It's not that don't believe (in an afterlife), as that would be far too easy, and by and large I've never been one to do things the easy way anyhow.  Rather, it's more like "I want to believe" and "if the universe would just churn up some evidence, well, all the better".

Friday, March 22, 2019

Carroll & Warner Family Origins

Well guys, I've decided to write a bit about Dad and his family.  I realize Aunt Pam can share a lot more with you, but I'll go ahead and plug in some family information that I know....

Dad was born in 1960, when Grandma & Grandpa lived in West Wyoming on 8th Street. The house is across the street from Diamond Manufacturing, between Marianacci's Restaurant and Cookie Corner.  I think the address is 260 W. 8th Street.  It was a 2-unit home, and they originally lived upstairs as they were married about 10 years before Dad came along.  You've heard that they eloped, right?  I believe they got married in Maryland (possibly when visiting Aunt Gloria & Uncle Melvin, I think Grandpa was 19 and Grandma was 21) and didn't tell anyone for quite some time after they got back.  They had waited a long time to have kids, and I've heard had almost given up (Grandpa came very close to buying two matching sports cars before they got their good news).  Once Dad came along, I think they were living downstairs.  Grandma so wanted children and was thrilled to have Dad, then Aunt Pam about three years later.  They moved to 83 E. 7th Street in Wyoming about the time that she was born.

When I first knew Dad, the West Wyoming house was a rental property.  Dad was pretty much in charge of renovations and repairs between tenants, and I got my first experience with interior house painting over there.  That house had aluminum siding, so there was limited external painting.  However, the Wyoming house had clapboard siding and Dad was also in charge of scraping & painting the outside of that house every few years....  which is really quite large, and it was a LOT of work (and easily took an entire spring/summer season working on weekends).   Dad stayed pretty busy between the apartments and outdoor work at the Wyoming house, including gardening and landscaping.

Going back to family stuff, here are some basics on the Carroll & Warner families.
  • Dad is Robert Rexford Carroll, Aunt Pam is Pamela Ruth Carroll.  
  • Grandpa is Robert Davis Carroll and Grandma is Gladys Mae (May?) Warner
  • Grandpa was the youngest of 3 children born to Daniel and Vera Carroll.  He grew up on 5th Street in Wyoming.  He had two older sisters, Aunt Nancy who lived in town and Aunt Shirley who lived in New York City.  It was a great event when Aunt Shirley visited - you should ask Aunt Pam about this.  
  • Grandma was the fourth of 5 children born to Donald and Ada Warner, living on Breese Street in Wyoming.  Her siblings in order were Uncle Don (who lived in Moosic/Duryea to the ripe old age of 100, and just passed last year) who was married to Aunt Betty (who we saw this weekend); Uncle Morris who was married to Aunt Marion (they lived in Syracuse, NY, and I'm sure you remember visiting Aunt Marion before heading over to the NY State Fair); Aunt Gloria who was married to Uncle Melvin (who lived in Perryville, MD and I know you remember visiting for day trips into Washington DC with Dad as well as summer vacation / Rogers family reunion time in Ocean City, MD); and Aunt Rebecca who was married to Uncle George (who of course lived practically next door to Grandma; we hope to visit Uncle George in the Richmond area this summer).
  • Next generation of Warners, most of whom we have stayed connected with:  Donny Warner, son of U Don and U Betty; Ellen Warner and George Warner, children of U Morris and A Marion; Susan Mintle, Melvin (Brud) Rogers, Jimmy Rogers, Becky Preston and George Rogers, children of A Gloria and U Melvin; Laura Balint, David Gerboc and Jason Gerboc, children of U George and A Rebecca.  (Did you notice that George and Rebecca are popular names?)
From what I can tell, Dad had a happy childhood and kept pretty busy with things like boy scouts - he was an Eagle Scout and advanced to Order of the Arrow (quite an accomplishment!).  He enjoyed the swimming pool at home, outdoor time with friends including wandering on the river flats, paper routes (which continued into his 20's on Sunday mornings), reading volumes of the family encyclopedia and helped out a lot at home.  Grandpa worked as a reporter and news anchor at WNEP and was also in the Army National Guard 109th Field Artillery (which he commanded!), and was away regularly.  Grandma worked for AT&T before the kids came along, then at Pomeroy's which later became BonTon once Aunt Pam started high school.  

Of course, Dad graduated from Wyoming Area.  Rob, we were able to borrow and look through WA's 1978 Yearbook which was fun!  He went on to King's College; I met him while he was working at Camp Lackawanna (in Vosburg, past Tunkhannock) over the summers.  My first memories of visiting in Wyoming are of Grandma's Sunday dinners, Grandpa's somewhat intimidating presence, the large garden and laundry hanging to dry on the outdoor "umbrella-style" clothesline.  Sometimes it's the simple things that get your attention....   And life was simpler then, before cell phones, the internet and before we realized global warming was a real thing!  One of my fondest memories of early years with Dad was canoeing on the Susquehanna (during and after Camp years).  I know you both like kayaking and hope you will also have pleasant memories of paddling on lakes, rivers, etc.  Hopefully you and your paddling partners get along much better than these critters appear to :-)  

Friday, March 15, 2019

A Child of the '60's

The Allentown Years

How much do you remember from your toddler years.....?   Maybe the train platform set up between the living room and kitchen, with multiple tracks & Lionel engines?  Maybe our early kitties like Nicki or Kyle?  Playing at the train table or eating in the TV room at Grandma's?  The toddler room upstairs at Cookie Corner (where AJ once bit Alex's shoe during nap time)?  Outdoor time in the back yard..... like going down the slide into the kiddie pool on a hot summer afternoon?

I was born at Allentown General Hospital, the second baby to arrive early on New Year's Day in 1965.  Grandad's first church was in Allentown, PA, and I'm pretty sure I came along soon after he and Grammie settled there.  The first story I've heard is that Grandad was leading a church service when Grammie needed to go to this hospital (in these times, expectant fathers were not welcomed into delivery rooms).  And the second story I heard was that Grandad was disappointed they wouldn't get an extra tax deduction in 1964, since I was born a couple hours too late (even if not true, he would definitely say that!).  Of course, he got pretty lucky in that regard as it turned out he got 2 extra tax deductions in 1965 - with both Aunt Julie and I born that year.  Of course, the really amazing true story is that we were both holiday babies since Aunt Julie was born on Christmas Day. 

On March 20th 1965, Grandad was ordained and I was baptized at the same service.  Upstairs in my bedroom is what I call the "coronation picture" of Bishop Warnecke *, your Great Grandad, your Grandad and Myles Edwards who I believe was also being ordained, along with your basic, cute practically hairless baby.  I hear that I was bald most of my first year, which was disappointing to Grammie because she had to keep pointing out that I was a Girl not a Boy.

* I just did a search on Bishop Warnecke and to my astonishment, I found his obituary which you can see here - he was quite an impressive person.

We stayed in Allentown until I was 3 years old.  I have just a few memories.....  of riding my tricycle in the driveway/alley behind our row house, falling down at church and hurting my hand, and riding in the car to the doctor's office.  The later sticks in my mind because Aunt Julie and I had to be inoculated against certain tropical diseases before we traveled outside the U.S. once Grandad decided to become a missionary.  Little girls do not like this because shots hurt, and I remember that we got clued in to the upcoming doctor's visit by bumping over a set of train tracks - an omen that bad things would be happening soon.  When she was upset Aunt Julie tended to be more loud & dramatic than I was....  which didn't help matters.  One time she hid under a desk at the doctor's office, which as you can imagine resulted in only a temporary stay.

Here are Grammie and Grandad in 1964, the summer before I was born.  And then Grammie with Aunt Julie and me in 1968.

The 1960's were a different time, with lots of cultural change taking place in America.  The civil rights movement was in full swing and men just a few years younger than Grandad were fighting in Vietnam (to his distress).  Grammie and Grandad like folk music, and we heard a lot of Peter, Paul and Mary when I was growing up.  One of the songs we heard and sang as kids was Blowin' in the Wind.  I had not realized it was written by Bob Dylan, who is now one of Rob's favorite artists.  Rob, I think you'll like this (and the picture complete with cigarette - or whatever that is - reminds me of your Bob Dylan t shirt!).

Sunday, March 3, 2019

The Institute

Church started late today because a Canadian Pacific train was unexpectedly stopped on the tracks in Jenkins Township, delaying Pastor Laura on her way to church.  And also delaying arrival of the bulletins for this morning's service.  On the way through the vestibule, I picked up a historical pamphlet about Wyoming Presbyterian Church and the Institute.  The Presbytery of Luzerne established the Luzerne Presbyterial Institute in 1949 as a parochial school - which included in its curriculum Latin, Greek, German, music and painting.  We learned that it had a natural science collection as well as a library.  The school closed about 1875, and ultimately the property was transferred to the Church. The photograph above must have been taken after 1927, when the east and west wings were added on.  You can clearly see the bell, which was taken down last year after determining that the bell tower was in very bad condition and the bell was in danger of crashing down.  It's now mounted to the right of the front entrance - quite handsome.

When Grandad became the minister at Old Swedes Church and we moved into the rectory on the same property, the parish hall next door became a fixture of our lives.  I tried coffee as a very young girl during coffee (and usually cake) hour after church - a styrofoam cup filled half way with coffee, then lots of milk & sugar.  Aunt Julie and I helped at church dinners there and ultimately a kitchen utility cart was named after us - the "Chris & Julie".  Now that was annoying.  Eventually we lost interest in helping, but I never lost interest in old parish buildings including their old fashioned kitchens.  (I never heard if the next contingent of Rivers children had any equipment named after them e.g., a "Diana and John" tea pot.)

Much later, I occasionally went to Wyoming Presbyterian with Dad.  My first memory of the Institute is the rumage sale.  This was a major annual event, staffed by many long-time church people like the Murdoch's, Mrs. Helfrich, Mary and Paul Williams, Aunt Rebecca & Uncle George and Grandma.  Grandma was always in charge of the jewelry table.  Set up was by far the worst stage, since it requires going through the many bags and other items that people dropped off.  It was usually quite successful as well as exhausting.

Another fundraising event was making Welsh cookies.  Well, now things sound a little more familiar, right?  Rob, you are now a fixture of cookie-making Saturdays which are typically in May and October.  It's a highly organized production, under the stern direction of Mrs. Murdoch.  There are mixers, rollers, grillers (mostly ladies), and baggers (men*) - but only one (VERY important) position as a runner.   Rob, you are Mrs. Murdoch's right-hand assistant in charge of getting flour & other ingredients, delivering cookies to the grillers & baggers, etc.  If I can't it make to rolling or grilling duty that's not a big deal, but your attendance is essential.  As we work away, I am often thinking about our predecessors and wishing we could all be together again.

*Specifically, Mr. Fleming and Mr. Kanaske...  who are not to be trusted, as I discovered while taking a break from rolling to sample a cookie.  After munching on a cookie they offered me from the pile of cookies that were cooling, they had a good laugh after letting me know that it had been picked up after falling on the floor.

Rob I hope you too will have fond memories of the Institute, which also include Sunday School & confirmation classes with Pastor Jim, church dinners and now tutoring with fellow Key Club members a couple times each month.  Your contributions to church life really do matter and are appreciated.