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Monday, January 19, 2009

A Few Canonsburg Stories - Norma Jean

Hi Norma Jean, thank you for another interesting email, BTW, I did copy Donna on my previous Email to you, so hopefully she will respond with her pictures..

Boy I sure do remember Louis Prima and Keely Smith, saw them in Vegas, Wow could they entertain;  they sure made quite an impression on me as well.. Attaching to this email one of my favorite Louie Prima songs. hope it doesn't take long to download(4MB) and you enjoy.  Please send a copy of their picture outside the Colonial Inn for posting with this email on the  blog.

You guys must have been something and had alot of fun toolin around and up and down those hills around Canonsburg in that brand new(Stick Shift)  "Yellow VW Conv." 
Hadn't thought of the Circus that set up around Curry Field in a long time. Did it come town every year, growing up in close proximity, you must have alot of memories of it.


Dick Garboski
1978 Havenwood Drive
Thousand Oaks, CA 91362

On Mon, Jan 19, 2009 at 6:36 AM, Norma Jean Salvino <> wrote:
Hi Dick
Donnas' e-mail is
If you want to contact her about any photos, do it.  She has the one of the gas station.  It is in the brown tones, on  a cardboard type mat.
We also owned the Colonial Inn, on Rt. 19 past Donaldson's Cross Roads.   It was a motel and restaurant that hosted many US Steel, and Jessop Steel and other big companies banquets.  We had famous people stay there.
Remember Louie Prima and Keeley Smith and their orchestra?  Well, Louie stayed there many times with his whole orchestra.  I have a photo of him and Mom on the steps in front of the motel door. I also had a 'crush' on Bobby Nelson, the trumpet player and have his photo.  They were driving those big long Nash cars that the seats folded all the way back.  I was 13 at the time.  WOW!  What an impression they made on me.  The band would practice in our main dinning room every day.  They rented the whole upstairs that was rooms for the motel.  They loved Moms home made cooking, the Italian way, and her pies. 
The first restaurant we owned was Chief's Restaurant at the Cross Roads.  Mr. & Mrs. Donaldson owned it and Mom rented it for 5 years.  I was five or six at the time.  They they went to Washington and rented the White House Restaurant, on E. Bowe Street.  There was no bar in that restaurant.  Dad built the Kroger store right across the street from the restaurant.  That Kroger was next to the Salvation Army building.  They had play ground equipment in the back of the S. Army bldg.  We used to ride the merry go round that you had to push with your feet.  Neither are there now.  They are offices or something else. 
They had that about 4 years then Dad bought the old building that he transformed into the Colonial Inn.  It belonged to Mrs. Beal - who had motel cabins behind our restaurant.    I believe those cabins are still there for rent.  Behind one of the fast food places.  The Colonial Inn burned between 1958 and 1960, I can't remember which, but it was April 19.  I was baby sitting for Jay Michael at the time.  It was his brothers birthday, that is how I remember the date.  The Andy Brothers had bought the restaurant & remodeled it.  The fire started in the kitchen. 
Well, I bent your ear long enough.  Did I ever tell you I used to drive Dolly Dobbins, (aka, Mrs. Bobby Vinton) to school on rainy days?  Saw her a few years ago.  She looks great.  Remembered me and Donna, as they were in Ellen H. Richards Club and Home Ec. together.
I had a Yellow Volkswagen convertible in 1958 and was dating someone from Bobby's band.  We picked Bobby up at the airport and drove him to Dolly's house, when she was living in Philly Patch.  Remember when the Circus used to set up their tents there?  I could see the circus from my bedroom room at the top of the hill - Curry Hill that is.  Now it is Morganza Road
By for now
Norma Jean