The Garage

 It was a simple cement block building that housed our car, but more importantly served four generations of family in many ways. Performed there were oil changes, tune-ups, brake replacement, and engine overhauls with the company of a cozy coal fired stove. My father, brother, and older relatives also introduced me to the behaviors deemed needed in life; some were proper, some were not. The vices included smoking, sampling homemade wine, and swearing. We were hunters. In the garage, we learned to skin squirrels & rabbits, pluck pheasants & grouse and process deer. We liked to do things ourselves. For making furniture, old lumber was re-purposed, bent nails were straightened and used over. My father, a miner, had an explosive license and therefore stored dynamite in the garage. To perhaps demonstrate its power, my dad taught us how it was used. The garage's cement block walls provided an excellent surface to throw a baseball against and then have it returned as a pop-up or hot grounder. Many projects were performed with the benefits of exposure to our family history, family values, life instruction and religious expectations.  The home and garage does not exist anymore. This was due to a government buyout in 1987 for Centralia homes threatened by an underground mine fire. At times I walk by the empty overgrown lot, stand by the nonexistent garage and remember the experiences noted above. Who would know what once existed there.   

Place(s): Centralia, Pennsylvania
Year: 1910

– Joe Mushalko

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant