The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Bill Eggert

January 27, 2013

BILL EGGERT | Anniversary reflections: Looking back over past 6 years

— January marks the sixth anniversary of my column in The Tribune-Democrat. As I embark on the seventh year of my column, I reflect back on the previous six years. I want to thank you, the readers, for your many kind comments, both in person and through email/postal mail. I am humbled by your kind words and thoughtful replies to my columns over the years.

I take my column very seriously, double-checking my facts and research. I try to keep my columns as positive and upbeat as possible, something that is not as easy to do at times. In a world filled with weekly tragedies, mass shootings and adults (often athletes/ politicians) behaving badly, it has been very difficult not using my column as a soapbox or bully pulpit to rail against society’s many transgressions.

Most folks in the spotlight try to avoid such hot button topics as politics and religion. We have a president whose most noteworthy achievement was being re-elected despite his lack of accomplishment in his four years in office, most significantly with the horrendous economy. Celebrities such as Alec Baldwin throw hissy fits at the drop of the hat and yet get away with it because of their political leanings.

I try to bite my tongue and avoid such topics because our country is polarized enough already.

I like to vary my column topics by focusing on different interests: Cultural (cinema, television, etc.), sports (also a minefield of controversy) and especially history (family, country, etc.). I feel that our society is increasingly ignoring our history on so many levels, and it shows everywhere.

Late night talk show hosts ask people on the street to identify historical figures in photos and said passersby are clueless. But ask them to identify anyone from the  TV ‘reality’ show “Jersey Shore” and they are instant geniuses. Social media and mainstream media are partly to blame.

Likewise many fail their children by not educating them in their family roots. When I was young, children were taught to be seen and not heard.

Today it seems to be the opposite. Obviously there needs to be a balance there.

One of the very few noteworthy shows on NBC-TV (based on a British TV series) has been the genealogy documentary series, “Who Do You Think You Are?” The show featured celebrities researching their family trees and discovering fascinating stories about their ancestors (slavery, witchcraft trials, etc.) that were compelling as well as emotional.

According to feedback I have received from readers, some of my most popular columns were the ones that focused on my family members, such as my dad. Readers comment that these columns strike a common chord, reminding them of their own fathers and family members.

Memory-themed columns have a universal yearning for all of us to return (if only temporarily) to a past that, if not totally accurate, we remember it as. Our memories are really our most personal sense of self. They are a culmination of our life experiences to the present moment and define us in a most personal way. Is it any wonder they say that our life flashes before our eyes in the moments before we leave this mortal plane?

One final note to end on: Many readers have suggested I collect my past columns and publish them in a book. It has been an idea that I have been contemplating for some time, and I will seriously look into that suggestion this year. I will keep everyone updated on this situation as it develops.

In the meantime, I look forward to your feedback and comments in the new year, as we look ahead (and back) as the year 2013 unfolds upon us, in hopefully positive ways for us all.

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Bill Eggert
  • EGGERT AND CHILLY BILLY Bill Cardille brings back childhood chills

    One of the nice things about moving back to this area was being able to connect with childhood heroes from local television. Some, like Paul Shannon (“Adventure Time”) and Hank Stohl (“Popeye and Kinesh”), unfortunately have passed on. Others, like wrestling champ Bruno Sammartino and Bill Cardille (“Chiller Theatre”) are happily still with us.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • EGGERT6 Riverboat reverie on ‘uncle time’

    Thoughts of the summer months bring to mind annual weeklong vacations with Granny, Pop-Pop and Uncle Don in Pittsburgh. One memorable summer, “Unck” took me to see the Delta Queen riverboat, sitting majestically in the Monongahela River, moored at the Mon wharf.

    July 5, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Bill Eggert | ‘Whatever it takes’: remembering Chuck Noll

    Once upon a time there was a colorful yet inept professional football team, owned by an equally colorful Irishman who participated in sports during his younger days. Unlike their crosstown professional baseball and collegiate football team counterparts, the pro football team never tasted the sweet nectar of success for about 40 years. That all changed in 1969, when Steelers owner Art Rooney and his family found a wise, humble and grounded 37-year-old man named Chuck Noll.

    June 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert columnist  photo Life after Dad: A Father’s Day reflection

    One of my dad’s favorite movies was the 1947 classic “Life With Father,” starring the great William Powell (coincidentally also born in Pittsburgh) as the stern but lovable family disciplinarian.

    June 7, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Eggert columnist  photo BILL EGGERT | Hollywood’s take on the Great Flood

    About 37 years after the Great Johnstown Flood of 1889, Hollywood decided to make a motion picture of Johnstown’s most catastrophic event.

    May 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • EGGERT4 75 years of Batmania: The Dark Knight’s evolution

    The appeal of Batman is universal. We can identify more with Batman.
    Local resident Wayne Faucher has been a professional artist/inker on the various Batman titles for over 20 years.

    May 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert Columnist Photo Travelogue of terror features Johnstown area

    A historic week will surround the venerable Silver Drive-In come the beginning of May.

    April 19, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bill Eggert BILL EGGERT | Captain America: Sentinel of liberty for 70-plus years

    When I was a kid reading comic books, my two favorite superheroes (Batman and Captain America) were not really super; maybe that is why they were my favorites.

    April 5, 2014 1 Photo

  • BILL EGGERT AND FRANK COONELLY BILL EGGERT | Pirates: a rite of spring

    Opening day for the Bucs is March 31. Every year, hope springs eternal for Pittsburgh Pirate fans. Especially for the past two decades, since outfielder Barry Bonds’ errant throw allowed gimpy-kneed Sid Bream to score the come-from-behind winning run for the Atlanta Braves in the 1992 National League Championship Series.

    March 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Eggert BILL EGGERT | Going home can sometimes be only walking distance

    One of the most popular topics during my eight years of writing this column is the one of looking into the past of the Johnstown (and my areas of Moxham and Richland) of my childhood. A lot of baby boomers relate to these time trips with a sense of nostalgia, remembering a kinder, simpler, more innocent era. Or at least that is the way we remember our childhood, looking through those rose-colored glasses.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

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