I decided to write a series of posts based on one of the biggest regrets in my life – not keeping in touch with those who touched my life during my earlier years. My ‘mid-life’ crisis – when I turned forty – was based on the many good people I’d met during those first thirty-nine years… who I’d never see again.
Once I made my basic decision on today’s topic, I went looking for appropriate music. I hit the jackpot with the video for “That Old Gang of Mine” when I saw the Victrola. Did you notice the ‘volume control’? It was the two doors that swung open on the side. To lower the volume, you simply closed the doors!
All right. Now, without further ado, here are the fellows who were my first friends growing up on Stratmore Avenue in Pittsburgh.
The house immediately to the right of our front door (on the other side of an alley) was the home of Billy “Bibby” Ault and his younger brother Bobby “Baboo”. The Ault’s home faced Steuben Street. Bobby was my age and Billy was the same age as my older brother Lewis, who is now known as Doug.
The house directly across the street was the home of Joey Steiger. The house immediately behind us was where Frankie Sabash grew up. Frankie’s house was on Hollywood Street. Joey Geagin’s home was directly across the street from Frankie’s.
At the left end of our block – on the same side of the street as Joey Steiger – lived Donny Yarling. And at the end of the alley that ran beside our house lived Marvin Hess and David Raspanti – along with his sister, Cathy, who we boys all ignored… she had cooties!
There was one other boy who’s home faced Steuben Street with its back yard on ‘our’ alley. I don’t recall his first name – he moved away when we were barely four or five years old – but the family name was Vater.
There were a couple of other older boys in the general neighborhood, but we rarely played with anyone other than the boys I’ve already named.
Dave Raspanti was killed in an automobile accident while we were all in high school. Joe Geagin died a few years ago from a heart attack. I know where my brother is, but the whereabouts of the rest of our gang is a complete mystery to me.
So, if you recognize any of these names – Frank Sabash, Bill or Bob Ault, Joe Steiger, Don Yarling, of Marvin Hess – tell them you read about them on my blog, and ask them to contact me. I’d love to hear from any and all of them.
As an added incentive, tell them that if I don’t hear from them, I’ll start telling about the things we did as children… especially our Halloween pranks that we pulled throughout the year!