I was born in Oil City, Pennsylvania, on March 21, 1948, and reared in a small farming/lumber community named Marble, Pennsylvania. My dad was postmaster of Marble, and the post office was in the front part of our house. I remember each spring when the local farmers would have their baby chicks delivered by mail. The boxes were about four feet square and six inches high with small holes throughout, where my brother and I would stick our fingers in and the chicks would peck at them.
Although it was a two-story house, we would be awakened each morning by the muted sounds of activity downstairs when the carrier arrived with the mail between 6:00 and 6:30 A.M. I would often “help” Dad with mail sorting and postmarking envelopes. We also owned an eighty-acre farm a mile from town, where we raised cows, pigs, and chickens. We milked cows every single morning. Although my brother and I got out of that chore on school mornings, there was never a full day off. Not for Christmas, or any other day. Cows have to be milked twice daily.
I attended Catholic parochial school, grades one through eight at St. Michael’s Catholic parish, just a short walk from home. At that time, Benedictine nuns ran the school, and we attended Mass every day. The church is very large for a rural area, and sits as a dividing line on top of a hill between the towns of Marble and Fryburg. German Catholic immigrants settled the community in the early 1800s from the Black