2017 Trip East to see the Colors travel blog

The furnaces of Bethlehem Steel

Hex Sign

The hexed

Our little hose in town after we moved from my grandparents

The view from my chair when sitting outside at our Saylorsburg spot

Rio sitting in his gazebo - by my chair

Our plan was to leave Dillsburg/Harrisburg PA and go to Wet Point (military academy) for 8 nights. With our set-back we had to make an adjustment so I could experience some childhood memories. So West Point will be visited later and we stayed in the Bethlehem area for 5 nights. The park we are staying in is in the Pocono Mountains and very close to Bethlehem, where my mother was raised – the family was here for generations.

I lived in Bethlehem for 2 years (1 yr with my sister and mom at my grandparents and 1 in town with my parents and sister), which is the longest time I had lived anywhere as an Army brat, until we moved to Santa Fe. I have a lot of family memories from the time in Bethlehem and the Lehigh River Valley.

One of the things I wanted Tom to see was just the scenery of Pennsylvania: the way the farms come right up to the roads, the hex signs on the barns, the rolling hills, and all the shades of green. We took a drive one day in search of the hex signs on the barns but did not see very many. It was raining and roads in PA are narrow. Houses have been here a long time and there's not any way to make a road wider. But the amazing thing is that the speed limit through a town will be 45 miles an hour - with virtually no way to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. Many homes in the cities are right up to the road - some people know them as row houses. In Bethlehem they call them twins. That day took us up to the Lehigh River Gorge that offers rafting and other vacation experiences – we did not stop for an of that.

Another day we went to Bethlehem to see the houses that I lived in, the church we went to and the steel mill. The steel mill was amazing but it is closed now. It was almost magnificent when we lived here and it was still operating. The glow of the burn-off was never ending. We took a tour that could have been better (the guide kept drifting off topic) but we did learn a lot. My family never worked at the steel mill although I had one uncle who was involved with the union and my grandfather worked at a production plant.

In my child's mind, Bethlehem was a big town in those days. Again the streets are narrow. Downtown has retained its historic character. Buildings are just as I remember them. I remembered it as if I was just there a couple years ago – rather than 53 years ago. A primary reason for staying near Bethlehem and not just popping in for a day was that I wanted to be able to spread some of my Mom's ashes at the grave site of her mother who is buried in Bethlehem. So Tom and I found the cemetery and then I had to walk the cemetery for a little while to find exactly where the grave site was but I was able to do that and bring my mom back to a place where she had grown up.

It has rained for at least a little while everyday b (green, green) but the weather has been good. We leave today for Rhode Island and then New Hampshire but we will defer to Hurricane Jose. .. LATER

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