In Connellsville, Pennsylvania, across from the Troutman building, there used to be a hotel called the St. James. I would have never known it was there, but several people would bowl there as a group. When I thought of a hotel, I always thought of a place to use while on vacation or to sleep, but a bowling alley?
I think the most unusual thing about the alley was its location. The lanes were on the second floor. Its position in the building truly fascinated me. Who would have thought bowling alleys on the second floor? It was rare for me to bowl. Money was tight and my brother and sister were too young to go bowling as a family, but my parents allowed mo to occasionally tag along with the church friends.
The bowling lanes were old ones without the pin setting machines. It was necessary for pin boys to gather and reset the pins at the end of the lanes. They would also retrieve your ball and place it in the return trough. The ball would rumble back to you.
I can’t remember which nights of the week we would bowl, but there was a man there who scared the pin boys and sent them scurrying. He had huge muscles in his arms. When he would bowl, he would hurl the ball down the lanes. The ball was air born until halfway down the lane. It would hit with a crash and begin to spin on the polished boards. The torque was tremendous. As it hit the pins, they would scatter in all direction. It was a dangerous situation for the pin boys. They would scatter as well, heading to opposite sides of the room to escape possible injury.
It was almost like a dance with the pin setters waltzing out of the way at the crescendo of the thunderous music. I was amazed at the power of the young bowler and the finesse of the young pin setters at the opposite end of the lane.