An orange for Christmas was unbelievable treat
My Brother, Rev. Robert Logan, has many more memories of Lopez than I. As a youngster, younger than Bob, I can recall our visits to Lopez to visit Fr. and Mrs. Dubroski. She was a cousin of my mother, Ann Shymansky Logan. Many times we sat in their kitchen while Mrs. D. urged us to eat, eat, eat! At Easter time, she sent us home with beautifully decorated Easter eggs done in Russian/Ukrainian style. (Recently I tried to learn to decorate eggs in the same way but I failed miserably.) After Father D’s funeral, she circulated among the mourners smiling and asking if we were having a good time. I think she knew better than we that her husband was indeed having a good time, having gone home to be with the Lord.
Bob’s recollection of the bucket’s falling in the well is still vivid in my mind. My Dad came to the rescue, as he always did when a difficulty arose. The water in the well had a very strange taste, but to this day I cannot identify it. Perhaps the taste came from the moss we could see growing in the well.
I understand that winter temperatures there fell to -40 or -50. The coldest I have experienced in the Adirondack Mountains just north of us was -43, but I foolishly skied in a -55 chill factor and was rewarded with frostbite of my face. In a few days the redness disappeared and the skin began peeling. My generation is not as hardy as the children of my mother’s time, I think.
Mother told us of the 3 hour long Easter Masses. Only the very old or ill were allowed to sit while the rest of the worshippers stood for the entire Mass. She and her siblings frequently were without adequate food, and they would go to the back of the McGee Hotel where the cook, taking pity on them, gave them leftovers. The food they received may have been the scrapings from other diners’ plates, but they didn’t mind. And yes, I heard stories of picking up pieces of coal along the railroad tracks where they had fallen from the coal cars. Those pieces were brought home by the children to put in the stove for heat. A really memorable Christmas gift was an orange, and that was the ONLY gift the children got. I often think about our lifestyle these days, how many possessions we feel are necessary these days, and yet in those days children went hungry, as my Mother and her siblings did. Miners and their families had very hard lives. I think about some people today who break the law and blame their actions on their terrible childhoods. If that were the case, our mother should have been a criminal!
I often wish I could relive those sweet days when our family visited Lopez. Whenever we are in Pennsylvania we always drive to this lovely town and visit Grandfather Theodore’s grave in the old cemetery on the hill behind the town. Acid rain has taken its toll and the inscription on the stone is barely readable. My husband helped me make a rubbing of the gravestone which is now laminated for safe-keeping. There are plans to restore the foundation and to affix to the stone a brass plate with the information for easier reading. I wonder how many folks now living in Lopez are able to read the Russian inscription.
Brother Bob has enjoyed sharing time and memories with you and your wife. He has delved into both our Mother’s and Dad’s history. Both families were hard-working ordinary folks, so I believe they were not so ordinary after all. They gave us a loving Christian home. We have been very blessed and carry on those beliefs in our own families.
I shall return to the website again and again to keep in touch with the news of Lopez. Be certain that I’ll be in town as often as possible. How good it is to know one’s roots!
Donna Logan Blackburn