coal region

Distressed to impress: Developers share their vision for blighted town

Last year, my brother Andrew (who you were probably looking for when you found this site #sorry) bought several derelict sites at a city auction: the former Coal Hole (which contrary to what its name was NOT a gay bar, but a live-music venue), F&S Brewery (which was also repurposed as a bar) and the Jones ACE Hardware Store on Independence Street of downtown all of which in addition to The Lark Building, another property on the periphery of downtown, that he inherited from our father (as Lark was our grandmother’s maiden name).

The (Sunbury, Pa) Daily Item had a feature story this morning about his plans for two of these properties – the former Coal Hole and the former ACE Hardware. He plans on eventually turning them into hotels to cash in on the recently opened Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area, arguing the area’s abundance of vacant/blighted land (as opposed to the over saturated Lehigh Valley) make it a prime spot for new developments in the coming years.

I have been laughed at for expressing the kind of sentiments – yes, even Andy thought I was overly optimistic about the city’s prospects at one point. I may not agree with all of his plans, but they are still a push in the right direction. We’ll see which ones materialize in due time.

While I like the idea of restoring the former Coal Hole to a hotel again (as it has better parking and is within walking distance to downtown), it makes sense to focus on the smaller ACE Hardware location first. The city doesn’t currently have need for a large hotel so a smaller “boutique” hotel may do for the moment so long as it maintains the character of the area without going overboard with the theming.

The story makes no mention of either the F&S or Lark buildings… but does describe the plans (by another developer) to turn a once famous church into a bookstore, a coffeeshop (not clear if they would be the same entity or not), a visitor’s center, a museum AND a bed & breakfast.

Times have changed, and it looks like my distressed hometown’s time may have finally come…

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The opposite of nostalgia…

Major accident directly in front of my building. Brought back lots of bad memories. All these people in passing cars slowing down and glaring at ME as if I somehow caused it, doesn’t help matters. Neither does the fact that TODAY – April 26 – marks ten years since the accident that very nearly took my life.

The resemblance between the two crashes (or at least the damage done in them) was uncanny… or should I say unsettling. The fact that I came within seconds of causing my own death on a random Sunday evening on a road in Coal Township, Pa – a mere thousand yards from my home at the time… by obeying all traffic laws to the letter. The reward for my pain and suffering: loss of license, loss of insurance, loss of freedom and, worst of all, loss of the first thing I ever outright owned.

So, while at least one OPD officer was on hand interviewing participants in today’s incident. At no point did anyone bother to ask ME what happened at mine, in fact, the first thing the responding officer said to me was: “yeah, I figured it would be you. Every time there’s an accident in this city. YOU are the who caused it.”

I take that back, he DID ask what happened, and his partner cut him off: “‘Green?’ You mean ‘green’ like graaaaaassss or RED like an aaaaaappulllllll?”

“I’m a college graduate – that means I graduated from Kindergarten too.”

“DON’T YOU TALK TO ME LIKE THAT, YOU STUPID MOTHERF-”

At this point, the first cop pulled his hot-headed partner away before he could punch me, but just as he was about to get back to interviewing me, a woman cut him off shouting: “I saw it. I saw the whole thing. He did it. He caused the whole thing” and I didn’t see either officer again for another six hours (for six seconds at the hospital, he looked down at me, shrugged and said “well, you know you’re guilty” and left).

Yep, since I never talked to them (or the newspaper [link not found] which declared me guilty of “causing an accident on SR-61”) that left only one choice: Tell it to the judge… except my dad’s attorney stopped me from entering the courtroom and said: “face it, YOU caused the accident, so rather than go in there and lose – which you will – you will instead plead ‘no contest’ so I can work on more important cases.” Fuck you too.

Sorry, that concludes my story, which is convenient since the trolley I was waiting for has arrived. I have not looked up whether today’s story made the paper or not, but the first thing the driver said when she opened the door was: “damn, that’s the second accident at this exact spot this week. I swear this place is cursed…”

Categories: adventures, coal region, florida, I-Ride Trolley, Orlando, Pennsylvania, transportation, Williamsburg | Leave a comment

A very difficult month

My mom died suddenly four weeks ago today (on March 3rd) and as you can tell from the lack of posts, this has been a very hard on me. Due to an inability to put my feelings in proper words, here are some memes which come close:

Categories: art, cartoons\memes, coal region, entertainment, family, Internet\FB, Pennsylvania | Leave a comment

A broken heart and tattered jeans (part 1)

As you can probably guess, this wasn’t the best week for me. My mom died suddenly on Monday night and I was told I had to come in on Tues or Wed so I could attend a viewing on “Thurs” that was moved to Saturday to be “more convenient” to out of town visitors (um, hi) meaning I paid DOUBLE the airfare (out of my own pocket no less) to fly out a day earlier than I wanted for absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, nearly everything about the combined service was a “disaster” (not my word). Thankfully, it ended quickly, and we could get on to more important things… like dozens of people I haven’t seen in 20 years (or more) asking me “when are you flying back.”

The real answer was “not soon enough,” but such honesty is kind of frowned upon in these settings so I was forced to repeatedly pull an arbitrary date from thin air right on the spot. Improv was never my strong suit so forcing me to do it on command can only end well, right?

Thankfully, after the obligatory, overlong, over loud “celebratory dinner,” my brother finally got the internet in the house working again (which is another story entirely) so I managed to book a flight a day earlier than I told people at the service. #winning

That day was Monday.

It started out by my aunts and uncle coming over and informing me to “get breakfast here as we aren’t stopping anywhere” in fact they left me alone in a dead woman’s house for almost 20 minutes so I could do that (apparently, the funeral home needed the flowers we specifically asked people NOT to send be returned that morning so they could prepare for another service). This whole self-serve breakfast thing would have been cool, but my older brother cleaned out the fridge the night before so there was literally nothing in there but two coffee creamers and half a container of guacamole… which would have worked out great, if they hadn’t taken the chips with them.

They get back shortly before noon giving me barely any time to breathe, let alone bring said flowers inside, before my Uncle Tom impatiently declares “we’re leaving. NOW. Let’s move.” Okay, fine, he also decides to take my mom’s car so he can leave his in the driveway (his wife is paranoid of people robbing the place post funeral).

Anyway, said car, actually a burgundy colored minivan, was flanked with trash bags (so animals won’t get into it) with the passenger side being blocked completely by a stack of bags nearly as tall as I am (no really). So, instead of waiting for him to pull the car out like a “normal” person, I scramble to climb over them and as I try to work my way into the cramped back seat, I hear a loud ripping noise.

I can’t check this immediately, but this cannot POSSIBLY be good. Unfortunately, there was nothing I could do about it until I got to the airport…

Categories: adventures, Autism, coal region, family, flying, Pennsylvania, sensory processing disorder, transportation | Leave a comment

Photo: My favorite part of going home…

Categories: adventures, art, cartoons\memes, coal region, entertainment, family, florida, flying, Harrisburg, Internet\FB, Orlando, Pennsylvania, Sanford, transportation | Leave a comment

Photo: Officially an orphan now…

She was only one month away from her next trip to Food/Wine…

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Cancelled weekend plans

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I was actually looking forward to working there this weekend, but I need to lift BOTH arms above my head to pass through security, and even if I could, the narrow airline seats would mean my already sore arm getting hit by the person next to me anytime she turned a page.

Oh, and I contacted Cheryl about a job opening, and there weren’t any I was interested in so it would have been a “wasted trip” anyway.

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Photos: St John’s Rummage Sale

 

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Two wasted weeks

I posted earlier about the “progress” I made sorting and binding up some of my dad’s old charts. The photos aren’t all that impressive because they aren’t – they are ONE wall of boxes. As you saw in the photos from earlier this week, the other three are jam packed.

Given the condition of the files I was bundling (so rotten the pages were not only unreadable, but impossible to separate from the folder they were in), I’d say we could easily just toss most of this stuff in with the normal recycling and no-one would be the wiser, but that’s not how the law works.

But that’s not why the 10-day sojourn was a failure. No, this boring, busy work (something Autistics like me are supposed to excel at) was just an unpleasant symptom of a much larger and far less pleasant problem.

I was tasked with that job since no-one else wanted it. Though it was supposed to a GROUP effort with my mom and both brothers setting a weekend aside to get this task done with as little hassle as possible… for them – they’re already in Pennsylvania. I’m in FLORIDA without a car or license so getting there is a LOT harder for me than it is them.

That weekend came and went without anything happening. Yes, I get it. Kids get sick, the car breaks down, a family member dies unexpectedly, but, just in case, I got a long, condescending lecture anyway when I asked my older brother if there was any other discussion for rescheduling the weekend.

“I am married with four kids and a full-time job… You on the other hand have none of these things. In fact, there is nothing stopping you from coming up here for three or four weeks and doing this on your own. You don’t need my ‘permission.’ Just do it. If you were a good son, you would volunteer to do this for mom’s sake. But you aren’t.”

I love that he used the word “IF,” but I told him it wasn’t a command performance – it was a question. JUST a question as “I understand that both of you have other things to do, but in order to make plans I have to know what they are first.”

“King of regurgitation”

What does that even mean? Seriously, I have no clue. So, I did what anyone else would do when they don’t understand something. I asked.

“Nice try, but your argument isn’t working on me. Oh, and pro-tip, capitalizing words in messages does not mean emphasis the way you think it does.”

There comes a point in all of my posts where I become the villain not the victim – and I suspect that’s exactly the kind of action he was hoping for when he sent it. Well, he got it, and I hated myself for losing my temper with him like that – that’s probably also what he wanted (that makes him the victim of MY abuse, see?)

“I had honestly forgotten about your little tiff. But I forgive you,” he replied. It’s noble, maybe this marks a thaw in relations. He then demands I both apologize to him and “take responsibility” for all the wrong deeds I did by asking simple questions and following up for clarification (yes, I told that to him in my reply).

In case you were wondering, he does not owe me an apology because his insults – both stated and implied – were figments of some sick “fantasy world” created by his lunatic brother, but my non-existent insults against him were real. Wait, what? Also, as you can imagine, it doesn’t get better from here – despite my asking him to STOP at least three times.

Clearly, he didn’t listen as he went off on a series of massively long texts that I honestly didn’t scroll up two or three screens to read in their entirety (the last one I didn’t even open, but the “preview” line in messenger was him telling me to “not message me again” which solved my problem, but I BLOCKED him anyway just to be safe). The last one that I did read said that to get back in his good graces and prove that I wasn’t “selfish, immature, and lazy” was to “prove me wrong. Go to Shamokin for three weeks and help mom with the files and anything else she wants you to do. Do that, and I’ll be forced to admit I was wrong.”

That’s how I ended up in Shamokin for two weeks, and I knew the second I picked up the rotting, mold covered box in the entry of the old office that he would say “you didn’t ‘prove me wrong.’ You proved me right as having to ‘prove me wrong’ is the very embodiment of ‘immaturity’ which is what I said you were. Nice try though.”

It’s also what I thought of with every folder I emptied and every stack I tied. Even looking at the two boxes of loosely bound files and the two crates of folders mom drove up to recycling, I didn’t feel pride. I felt shamed – ashamed of myself for falling for his trick and even more so for letting his bullying messages effect my work… which is the very definition of wasted time – especially since I knew darned well that what I did wouldn’t meet his standards anyway.

I came away from the week with one positive though, I cannot live my life to meet my brother’s approval – which I know he probably wouldn’t have given me anyway – but solely for my own. Trying to make HIM happy didn’t work, so I must focus on making ME happy…

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Progress at home

This is a picture of the corner my dad’s old office that mom and I grabbed last Friday…

 

Here is what that same pile of boxes looked like bound up. The two empty blue crates on the right which held the folders had just been emptied at CT
Recycling this morning.

Categories: coal region, family, Pennsylvania, photography | Leave a comment

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