The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA


January 3, 2014

Readers' Forum 1-3 | Poem touched reader's heart

JOHNSTOWN — In regards to the poem, “ ’Twas the night before Jesus came,” printed in The Tribune-Democrat on Dec. 24. If you missed reading it, check out Page A10.

The company responsible for the poem was Thornton Oil Co. Thank you for that gesture on an article worth printing.

As a rule, we read of rape, murder, suicide, fraud or politicians making promises they will never keep. I have not read an article that has touched my life with truer meaning than that poem.

May God bless all who were, in any way, a part of that publication.

Thelma Smay

St. Michael

Remembering flooding in 1936

In March 1936, we arrived at the Reformed Presbyterian Church manse in Cambria City. The Conemaugh River was rising due to rain-soaked hills.

After sunset, dad would get his flashlight and go to the riverbank, crossing a  dirt alley and railroad tracks to get there. He did this periodically to gauge how fast the river was rising.

As we kids slept, the suitcases were packed.

In the morning, we all loaded into dad’s Nash and headed toward friends’ homes in Westmont.

As we drove down Broad Street, I remember fountains of water shooting up through the grab holes of the sewer manhole covers.

We stopped for gas at the Sunoco station.

We also stayed at the Bethlen Home in Ligonier.

Dad drove back to the house, and I watched workers shoveling weeds out through the kitchen door.

The wooden garage floated a block away. Dad drew up plans for an interior rebuild of our house with red brick outside, and a cement block garage.

During construction, we lived in a rented house on Conemaugh Street next to the Pennsylvania Railroad tracks. Every train that passed rattled dishes and stopped all conversation.

We moved back home after the winter of 1937.

Mom’s coal stove was replaced with a gas stove, and a new Kelvinator refrigerator replaced the icebox. Furniture was purchased from Penn Traffic, and we all got new toys.

Robert Varkonyi

Orlando, Fla., formerly of Johnstown


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What is the biggest key to reducing gun violence in Johnstown?

Tackling the area's drug problem.
Controlling folks moving into city housing.
Monitoring folks in treatment centers and halfway houses.
Tougher sentencing by the court system.
More police on the streets.

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