Letters to Santa – 1955

SantaAs we sit on the cusp of December today, I began researching Letters to Santa from The Duquesne Times. In previous post, I have posted letters from 1921, 1948, 1956 and 1957. The letters in this post are from 1955 and there are some kiddies names that sound very familiar to me, including my neighbor for across the street on Thomas Street, Judy Gregory.

Let me know if you recognize any names, including your own! In the meantime. Just read and enjoy the innocence of times gone by!

96 Res

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15 Responses to Letters to Santa – 1955

  1. Colleen Byrne Travis says:

    I remember Jane Ohrman. She was a few years ahead of me @ Holy Name. She lived on Krill Street in West Mifflin. We used to play outside they way kids did then. I mostly remember us roller skating with those skate that were worn on your shoes and we tightened them with a skate key. I also remember Judy Gregory from Holy Name. Great stories.

    • Michelle Sullivan says:

      Hi, nice to see these names. I went to Holy Name and Jane Ohrman was a classmate and I think Judy Gregory as was also. Hope everyone is well

  2. Alan Belancik says:

    To Bob Chermonitz (of Clearview Ave)

    I haven’t been reading these Duquesne Hunky blogs for very long, but I think they are great. Thanks, Jim… I DO remember you from the days of Serra High School. Bob, I remember the day your Dad was working on his car; he sent us to the gas station and we got the wrong kind of oil. Anyway, I was blown away when I scanned the section called “Duquesne Place” and I saw that Jim had mentioned me by name. Wow! That made my year!

    Anyway, I also remember the exact day that Chuck P met his death. i was with Richie Racan (remember him from 24 Overland) at his house. The other name was Jack McCullum wasn’t it? I could be wrong.

    I promise to start writing more often, because once the memories start rolling in….they’ll be hard to stop.

    Like friday night football games at the Duquesne High Field. Man, that hot chocolate was good. and The Ironmen games too. The occasional West Mifflin North game….


    Alan Belancik

    P.S. a shout out to our neighbor from 25 Oakmont Ave…. Claudia Repko Misage. I am Kieran’s age and spent a lot of time running around with Kieran and David. I remembered that Father Cyril’s name was really Mark…. and then Claudia mentioned it in one of her responses.

    • Lou Andriko says:

      Hello, Alan.
      Great to have to have you back on the blog. I guess it’s the holidays, ’cause I got to thinking about you and Harry Chiesi and Greg Vesonder. On the rare occasion that I do get on facebook, I’ve seen posts from Greg, but haven’t seen anything anywhere mentioning Harry?

      • Jim says:

        Lou, I was thinking about Harry Chiesi too! I am now on a mission to locate him. Greg and I touchbase once in awhile on Facebook. HARRY, WHERE ARE YOU?????

      • Beth Pastrick Keane says:

        Just catching up with some Duquesne Hunky comments…Lou, I will never ever forget you in “once Upon A Mattress”. I went to DRA then Mon Yough when DRA closed. Rode the Port Authority buses from McKeesport to Duquesne after school. (DRA had busses that dropped us off near the old Penn McKee where we picked up the busses in the morning) I think you were in THird Order as well. Gregg and I were good friend..I am still in touch with him. You and Gregg and ALan were two years older than me. My brother , David, went to Serra (’67) and I think he was in the Serranaders with you. Jim, thanks so much for this blog..you do an incredible job!!
        Beth Pastrick (DRA through 1970..graduated from Mon Yough 1971). ..now Beth Pastrick Keane. Jim, I remember walking down the hill with you from the bus stop. WE got off at the annex and walked down to Kennedy Ave…I lived on Sherman Ave, further down Kennedy turning off at Teicharts.

      • Jim says:

        Beth, I remember you very well. I am sure I had a crush on you too! I was very receptive to attention! LOL I hope you are having a SUPER Christmas Holiday. PLEASE keep on reading my blog, I love the company of friends!

      • Lou A. says:

        BETH –
        “boy flower, girl flower, Oh, tell me more…..” That was the high point of MY stage career. Yep, your brother Dave, and Alan B and I were all Serranaders, along with Carl Manns and Paul Stafura… Haven’t seen Greg V in years; he posts to Facebook, I do not…. Stay well and keep posting.

    • Jim says:

      Alan, WOW! Its great to hear from you. I am so happy that we’re all connecting! I hope all is well with you. Can’t forget the school bus rides to Serra during our Freshman year and stopping for you in Duquesne Place. Our bus driver was Tony. I remember the upperclassmen taunting him all of the time. I think he ended up with a chipped ham sandwich on his bald little head one time! I think we only had the school bus for one year before we had to use Port Authority buses…..but I’m rambling. Welcome Buddy! Amor A Dios & Pax Et Bonum!

      • Lou Andriko says:

        OK, this is a story about Tony that might not have happened, but could have and should have…
        The bus was heading up Pin Oak Drive out of Renzi Park one winter morning. It snowed the night before and that morning and the road was unusually slick, naturally no chains on the bus. Tony was double clutching like mad to get us to the top. One of the more common taunts I remember was, Hey, Tony, Grind me a pound!
        Anyway, snowy, slick, starting to slide… Tony yells back, Everyone get to the back of the bus, put some weight on the wheels.
        Must have been a collective auditory hallucination or something: everyone immediately jumped up and ran to the FRONT of the bus, which then slid 90 degrees into the ditch! We learned a few new nouns, verbs and adjectives which had not as yet been a part of the vocabulary of a Serra Man. LOL!! Not sure about how we got out of the ditch, but we we late for class and when we got there, Tony ratted us out and Fr Owen had a few choice words of his own.
        Then we got a new driver, can’t remember his name, but he did get a speeding ticket for doing 80 along East Pittsburgh Blvd over in Green Valley.
        Riding a PAT bus just wasn’t the same.

      • Jim says:

        Oh my God Lou! I vaguely recall the incident, But it definitely sounds like something we would have done. We were pure evil at times.

  3. Frank Mullen says:

    Reading each of those letters-to-Santa brought me to the very pleasant surprise of the one by Charles Petraitis, my neighbor. His backyard abutted my own. What I remember about Charles is that he was a very good friend to all, used to love screaming out loud as hard as he could (all us kids used to enjoy getting him to do so,) always shared his many toys and bottles of soda (he had a refrigerator in his garage full of Nehi, always) with his playmates (I am sure Santa must have brought Charles all of those gifts listed in his letter,) had platinum blonde hair, and his parents had an in-ground pool built for him, encouraging him to become an Olympic swimmer. All that exercise grew Charles very quickly into a fine, healthy young man. Unfortunately, before he had a chance to fully blossom, he was killed in a car accident driving his new Corvette into an abutment of the Duquesne-McKeeesport Bridge. None of us, his friends, were ever exactly the same again. I still miss him and his joie de vivre.
    Frank M. of Miller Avenue, Duquesne Place

    • Bob Chermonitz says:

      Frank, now I remember you. Couldn’t place you before now. I often played with Chuckie at his home. I can still recall the smell of the poplar trees which seperated your properties. I recall the garage with the pop machine, too. Chucks father owned a distributorship in the city. There were two older sisters, Linda and Diane, as I recall. Both as blonde as Chuckie, and I had a 6 year olds crush on them. It was so sad when he was killed. Broke his mother’s heart. I believe another Duquesne Place buddy was in the car. His name was Jack Ballis (sp?) and lived across from Mary’s store on Overland. He spent the better part of a year recovering in a body cast.
      On another note, talking about a small world in a previous post, my dad’s ship put into Jacksonville, Fl. during WWII. As any group of sailors would, they headed to a bar. Dad was still 17. As he raised the glass of beer off the bar he heard a voice say “If you drink that I’ll tell your father!”. It was Mr. Petraitis from Duquesne. Dad used to tell me that story often, as a lesson I’m sure, that you can never get away with anything. However, Mr. Petraitis laughed and bought the sailors the first round and, as far as I know, never did tell my grandfather. 🙂

  4. Bobby Beal says:

    Jim, Grew up on Crawford St. at the top of Center St…I knew the Weir girls growing up as they were my neighbors..Their father was the Chief of Police in Duquesne and their brother later played football for DHS…Good Job !!

    • John (Jack) Berta says:

      Bobby, Merry Christmas! Haven’t seen you since I meet you at Guentherts Bakery in Braddock back when you were patroling there. I hope you’ve been well. I too remember the Weir family from back in the day. Great neighborhood. Great memories.

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