The Way We Were or Where Are They Now?????

OK, let’s get one thing straight. I am not a gushy sentimentalist. However, when I decided to begin this blog, little did I know how much I would enjoy thinking about various experiences as I grew up. I can’t help but remember the lyrics to The Way We Were. They seem so appropriate for my blog, especially in light of this post’s subject.

Memories, light the corners of my mind
Misty watercolor memories of the way we were.
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we give to one another
For the way we were.
Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line?
If we had the chance to do it all again
Tell me would we? Could we?
Memories, may be beautiful and yet
What’s too painful to remember
We simply choose to forget
So it’s the laughter we will remember
Whenever we remember
The way we were.

 What has driven my sudden burst of sentimentality are some pictures I recently unearthed that were taken in 1961. The event was the May Crowing in Grade 4 at Holy Name Grade School. I had just gotten a camera the past Christmas and was given permission by Mom to take to school to be a photo journalist for the day and document the epic event. Mrs. Smith, our teacher, consented and I rather sheepishly snapped away. I remember my mom telling me to not go crazy shooting the pictures since flashbulbs and film developing cost money and we didn’t have money to waste. I complied and was very frugal with my endeavors.

As a Duquesne hunky who was Catholic, the May Alter and Crowing was a BIG event for us. Praying to the Blessed Virgin was a way of life for the hunkys, especially the women. I would venture a guess and say that the vast majority of hunkys in Duquesne were Catholics. The number of Roman Catholic and Greek Catholic parishes in such a small town would probably validate my assertion.  I remember always seeing the little old ladies, aka bubbas, in church on any day of the week, with their babushkas in place, and their rosary beads clutched in their hands. Their lips would silently mouth the Hail Mary as the prayed the rosary, even while the Mass was being celebrated. Their devotion to the Virgin Mary made the May Crowing event the big deal that it was.

 So take a moment and look back in time with me. Perhaps some of these faces or names are familiar. Perhaps you can help me fill in some of the ?’s!

1. Wanda Jeffries (now Wanda Jeffries Giles)   2. Jane Smouse   3. Karen Dagle                     4. ElaineTorres   5. Bernadette Lucas   6. Mrs. Mary Smith (4th Grade Teacher)                    7. Carol Gibbons   8. Mary Beth Higgs   9. Barbara Wirth (The May Queen)                        10. Amy Mariani   11. Noreen Shanley   12. Debbie Abbatangelo   13. Judy Needham        14. Mary Petrozza     ?  Unknown     ?  Unknown

1. Carol Gibbons   2. Debbie Abbatangelo   3. Jane Smouse   4. Amy Mariani                          5. Candace?     ?   7. Judy Needham   8. Barbara Wirth   9. Mary Petrozza?                               10. Bernadette Lucas        ?        12. Mrs. Mary Smith    13. Johnny Lalor!! (LOL)

 1. David Newmeyer  2. Raymond Lucas  3. Michael Balaban                                                     4. Mrs. Mary Smith   ?   Candace  5. Mary Petrozza ?    6. Amy Mariani                                 7. Judy Needham   8. Barbara Wirth    9. Mrs. Geraldine Julianna

Here are some of the same pictures without the number in case you’d like to copy and save them for yourself. Also, here are a few more that I found from the same event. The last, rather poorly lit photo contains a group of children that I am not familiar with. They must have been from the various grades in a group shot. If you know who they, please let me know!

Check back in a few days. I have received some information from Sister Karen at the Sisters of St. Joseph’s Mother House in Baden about the Sisters that taught at Holy Name. Until then… be safe!

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12 Responses to The Way We Were or Where Are They Now?????

  1. Barbara Wirth Smith says:

    Someone recently told me about your site. It truly is amazing. I have never seen these pictures nor do I have any of my childhood, so I genuinely love going through the pictures and comments as some trigger a few memories. Thank you for all of your hard work in organizing this site!

  2. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    Your class was the year behind mine. I think your brother was the year ahead of me.

  3. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    I remember those First Friday breakfasts, too. They were so good. The cost was fifteen cents. I graduated from Holy Name with Diane’s brother Henry Buzinski. Diane, was you husband, Paul Kasten who played the organ at mass?

  4. Dianne Kasten says:

    The more we talk, the more we remember. My brother, Henry Buczynski, just called and he remembered how Father Shaughnessy sometime yelled in the confessional. He heard things like, “You what!!!” “You did that for 8 weeks!” No wonder children didn’t want to go to confession!
    My husband and I remember those wonderful maple rolls and milk we had after First Friday Mass. He thinks they were 15 cents. (and it shortened class time).
    There was a (50th Anniversary as a Priest?) celebration for Father in the basement of the school. They built a large book that was titled something like “This is your Life” and students represented people important in his life. The book was closed as the scene changed. I played his mother at the marriage to his father. I think this was June right after my First Communion in May because I remember wearing my Communion veil as a bridal veil.
    I had Sister Joseph Catherine as my 7th Grade as well as my piano teacher. I was so afraid of her.
    Two stores I frequented most were Benovitz’s Market and John Lesko’s where I bought 12cent cakes. They are a little more expensive now.
    Thanks again.
    Dianne Buczynski Kasten

    • Jim says:

      Dianne, when I attended Holy Name, I think the First Friday breakfasts were 25 cents. You could choose from little glass bottles of white or chocolate milk or orange juice. You are correct, the maple rolls were delicious. Wow, those were the days!!

    • Michelle Sullivan says:

      Hi Diane….how are you and where are you? Haven’t seen you for years…hope all is well with you guys! Isn’t this an interesting site? I remember sitting on your front porch many summer evenings (your dad would be on the glider with his newspaper!). I forgot about lst Friday breakfasts.!! Anyone remember how all the Holy Name kids would fight for the honor of carrying the nun’s bookbag from the school to the convent?! Email me or check FB, talk soon.

  5. Paula Smith says:

    I remember these photos Jim!!! How wonderful to see them again. BTW, how was the “May Queen” picked? One of those popularity contests? Contribution amount? Seeing the photos of Smith and Julianna really brought back “memories.” Good job.

    • Jim says:

      To tell you truth, I don’t remember. It might have been a drawing or maybe an honor based on who drew the best pricture of Mary or something like that. Maybe someone else remember and with write!

      • Dianne Kasten says:

        I don’t remember how Mary was picked, but I remember being one of her attendants. Maybe “nice” girls because I remember Mary and the other attendant, and I think we were all good students. Of course, this was first grade!
        Because of this wonderful site, many memories are flooding back to me:
        The car with the speakers on the top that rode back and forth on the streets, announcing “tonight’s little league game”
        The field itself below the high school with the concrete steps and pads that we sat on to watch. Did they have concessions?
        The popcorn machine outside of Tassovich’s shoe repair shop (on First Street, closer to Hamilton). The shop was the front of the house where they lived. In the summer, or good weather, the machine was outside on the sidewalk, otherwise inside and I’m thinking 5 cents a bag.
        Every few years they paved Second Street, where I lived, and you couldn’t park there for a day, but the kids could run, skate and bike all over the street. This was a real treat since Second street was a busy thoroughfare to Kennywood especially before the ramp (highway was built).
        Also, the Second Street Playground, near Oliver School. They had fabulous counselors and activities all summer long.
        Well, keep writing, and I’ll keep remembering. Thank you to all.
        Dianne Buczynski Kasten

  6. Eileen Phillips says:

    Jim,
    Enjoy the pic’s, but am interested in anyone out there who graduated Duquesne High in the 1961 of your pic’s
    Eileen

  7. Beth Amber (a/k/a Mary Beth Higgs) says:

    Thanks for the memories. Debbie told me about your site and I’m enjoying it as much as she does. We can’t believe you remember so much!!!

    Candace’s last name was Sinai (I think that’s spelled correctly).

  8. Tom Lane says:

    I grew up in Catholic Duquesne as a Presbyterian. Often, I felt out of it with the kids around me. I also found that the Catholics were by far more “mature” in many ways. You know what I mean. tom

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