The Official Historical Society of Schuylkill County

A Rainy Day at the Museum


I am taking a pause on history blogging right now.  Today I am blogging about the rainy day at the Society.  Jean Dellock was “on duty” Saturday May 13th and I stopped by to make sure everything was under control.  Diana Prosymchak, who usually is at the Society every Saturday had a long-deserved break.  Diana is basically the earth mother of the Society and keeps it together.  It was Mother’s Day weekend and she was visiting her son.   I told Jean that I would only be staying about ten minutes as, although it was raining out, I had things to do.  I asked Jean if she knew how to retrieve phone messages as the light was on.  She responded in the negative.  We tried multiple attempts to get the voice mail, but were unsuccessful. Just then a group of six came in from Arlington Maryland to do family history.  They did donate a neat photograph of the Larkin Hotel in Pottsville before heading back to see Jean.  The Larkin Hotel photo, by the way, was from about 1888; the hotel was located on West Market and Railroad Streets.  Another family stopped by from Pine Grove area, Mollystown to be exact, to join up and do research or take a tour. No sooner was that tour completed a quiet knowledgeable gentleman from Schuylkill Haven came in to tour the museum. Heading up the stairs to the second floor we past the area where a new Molly Maguire exhibit is being planned, hopefully under the leadership of Girardville’s Tom Dempsey.  While we were in the Civil War Room I heard a voice in the hall, “can someone let me in to see my exhibit.  I called early this morning but all I got was voice mail.”  I promptly followed orders and let General and Mrs. George Joulwan into the Room that bears his name to review his awards, memorabilia and possessions.  I thought it wise to forego mentioning the $3.00 tour fee.  Although they did not stay long as the General was to be keynote speaker at the Vietnam Memorial Commemoration in Schuylkill Haven, we had a pleasant conversation after I explained that, although computer hacking is so prevalent today, I still have trouble retrieving messages from voice mail and probably will by Monday retrieve his message.  Jean Dellock, still researching with those folks from Annapolis, did not get a chance to talk to her old Pottsville High classmate.  John Walsh, a board member and educator at North Schuylkill came in to get ready for one of dynamic presentations to school kids and walked past us, not aware that it was General Joulwan. The General looked at the clock and realized that he had to get into his car, so not to be late for the somber speech he was to give.  He also must have recalled from his days in Pottsville, that the city’s traffic lights are not synchronized and getting out of town can sometimes be time consuming. I forgot to mention that I knew a good lawyer if he would happen to get a speeding ticket.  Luckily he did not need one.  I understand he arrived on time at his destination to a large crowd and was well-received.   As for Jean, I told her that the General may be back later this year for his 60th class reunion from old Pottsville High and it would be a more relaxed atmosphere to reminisce about growing up in the Eisenhower Years.  Just then two more visitors came in to see the World War I Exhibit that they heard about on Tom Drogalis’ monthly “fireside chats” on his WPPA radio show (second Tuesday of each month from 10 to 11).  They were quite impressed with Tom’s radio show and quite impressed with the Society’s World War I items, with kudos to Deb Reed for her large amount of family history.  They spent a lot of time reviewing what the Society has; so impressed that one signed up for membership before leaving. After the last visitor left I tried retrieving the voicemail but again, no dice.  If Diana doesn’t return I may have to contact Julian Assange or the Kremlin to declutter our voice mailbox.  In any event, visitors who have an appreciation of history make being a volunteer at the Society so satisfying and also a learning experience for all.  Each visitor taught me something.

Jay Zane, President