---- — AS I GET OLDER, I appreciate more things in life. That only can happen with experience. As years pass, it becomes clearer how significant some things are, and how others are trivial at best, although at one time, they seemed earth-shaking.
My old boss, Ed Schenker, told me when I worked in his Sharon grocery store and meat market while in my teens that you can count your real friends probably on one hand. Ed was in his 40s and was speaking from the experience that today I can appreciate. He may have been exaggerating a bit, but I got the point.
When we reflect on our younger days, what seemed like possibly a passing acquaintance of many years ago, has throughout time, grown into one of the valued friends whom Ed was talking about in my youth.
I would like to think we have all had such people pass through our lives. It's the ones whom we only knew for a short time, the ones we seldom see, but whom have stood the test of time. Of course, the irony is that time must pass before we can appreciate them.
When I was a freshman at Westminster College, I lived with fellow Farrell High alum Rick Skody in Russell Hall. It was the guys dorm filled with zany freshmen who learned quite well (and quickly) about frat parties and other college experiences.
Tom Ritchey, who was a year older, was a resident assistant on the floor across the stairwell. Ed Newmeyer, director marketing at Sharon Regional Health System, was one of the residents on Tom’s wing, but hardly one of the zanies that occupied our part of the hall.
I remembered Tom from his basketball days at Knoch High School, where he was one of the stars on that terrific team in Saxonburg, near Butler. When Farrell was making its run at the WPIAL championship in the 1968-69 season, Knoch played in the game before the nightcap at the former Pittsburgh Civic Arena.