Growing Up In Waterford, PA


Mr. Dove and me
by the late Herb Walden

Fort LeBoeuf Class of 1956

I was glad to see an article by Lew Dove in "Bisonalities, Again" awhile back. Mr. Dove was one of my favorite teachers, which may seem odd since I was never in any of his classes.

I got to know Mr. Dove when I was working on the yearbook a lot after school back in '55-'56 ("Working" is used very loosely here). He would stop by the art room often to see how and what we were doing. I always enjoyed his sense of humor.

The fact that I was not in his classroom didn't stop Mr. Dove from teaching me a very important lesson. Inadvertantly, of course.

One snowy winter evening, I left the warmth and comfort of Helen's Ice Cream Bar with another kid, (I've forgotten who), to ride around Waterford's side streets in the midst of a near-blizzard. I liked doing that, because my old Chevy would go anywhere in the snow whether Hoot Gibson had plowed or not.

We drove down to the end of West 1st Street and I was about to turn right when we noticed a car setting in the middle of the road leading to The Inlet. We could see through the storm that the car was jacked up. Good Samaritans that we were, we stopped, backed up, and went to see if we could help.

Lo and behold, the car was Mr. Dove's, and he was in the process of putting on tire chains. He said that he had found he could go nowhere without them.

We offered to help, but he said he was almost through, and for us to stand out of the way.

The car was jacked up on a bumper jack.

We stepped back, and instead of lowering the car in the standard fashion, Mr. Dove gave the car two or three pushes from the side. The car rocked back and forth and fell off the jack with a "thud" and all sorts of dirt, mud, and slush fell out from underneath it!

He calmly picked up the jack and placed it in the trunk. As I recall, his exact words were: "She goes up, but she won't come down!"

We laughed until I thought we'd suffocate!

A couple of years after that, we were living in Edinboro, and if there is any other place that has "Waterford Winters" besides Waterford, it's Edinboro!

Our driveway, one winter day, consisted of a sheet of ice with about a foot of wet snow on top of it. I backed my car out of the garage and was stuck immediately. I tried the usual rocking back and forth, but the result was that the car slid sideways. That in itself was a problem, but to compound things, a fence with extra-big posts bordered the driveway. It didn't take much rocking until I found myself, (the car, actually), snuggled up tight against the fence. Any further attempt on my part would have either removed the fence or the side of my car. Or both!

Well, I sat there fuming away, not knowing what do do. I had already used all the profanity I knew and was now making up some original stuff. Suddenly, Mr. Dove popped into my mind!

I got out my bumper jack, jacked up the read end of the car, and pushed it off the jack! I did the same at the front end. I kept alternating front and back until I had moved the car sideways about eight feet from the fence. By that time, I had the snow pretty well tramped down, and of course, a lot if had melted from the heat generated by my temper tantrum. I backed out and went happily on my way.

So thanks, Mr. Dove, for a lesson well taught. And until I take up residence in Florida, I'll continue to carry a bumper jack in my car every winter!!

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