Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Discovering Dad
I spent another Tuesday evening at the Chestnut Ridge Historical Society located in Stahlstown, Pennsylvania across Route 711. The Society is in the Cook Township Community Center. The speaker for the evening was Mr. Bruce Shirey. His talk was more of a slide show, sharing multiple photographs of the Pennsylvania Turnpike from several different time periods and the highway was built. He received the slides when the museum discarded them. There was a question and answer time after the presentation was finished. Many of the people in the audience either recalled the views on the slides or had relatives that collected tolls, surveyed the proposed routes, or held other positions. It was a give and take session where the audience learned much and Mr. Shirey gained new facts about the pay to drive road, Route 76.
There were stories of the bridges, the difference of exchanges then and now, and occurrences that happened on the pike. I shared the story of my dad driving hid 12 cylinder Lincoln to Shamokin, Pennsylvania to sell it, but the man said it had a cracked block. My dad was so upset, he told us he had the rear end sliding around the curves and the toll taker said to him, “I’ll just sit on this ticket for a bit or the police will be coming to your door.”
As is my norm, I arrived early and was looking over the displays. Hanging on the wall was a school photo of the students from Longwood School 1935 - 1936. I remembered my dad telling us that he went to school there. I looked closer and what to my surprise, there was someone who looked as though it might be him. The president of the society pulled it from the wall and on the reverse were the names. Yes, it was my father, Edson Carl Beck. He was standing in the back row, third from the right. Our family didn’t have photos of him as a kid. The society was generous and made a copy for me. Thank you all.

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