The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

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February 25, 2013

Posting of 'E.J.' photo stirred lots of memories

---- — I sat with the Brothers Cardamon - Jim and Vince - at Farrell’s E.J. McCluskey Gymnasium during the recent Sharon-Farrell basketball game.

When the Cardamon family moved to the Shenango Valley from Mount Lebanon in the late 1950s, older brother Jim already had graduated, but Vince entered Farrell High as a sophomore.

Throughout the years, he has proudly said that the move was a life-changing event for him Ð that the Farrell experience for his three years until he graduated in 1960 provided unforgettable and some of the best times in his life.

He’s not alone in that sentiment. Before the game started, Vince was telling fans around him that it hardly seemed like more than 50 years since his days at Farrell High, particularly mentioning the gymnasium as he surveyed the surroundings.

Throughout the years, the gym has experienced some cosmetic changes - bleachers were removed from behind the baskets, the ceiling was lowered, the stage was remodeled, and coats of paint have been added here and there.

But for the most part, the gymnasium remains much the way that alumni remember it - year to year and generation to generation.

Thinking about this, I snapped a photo of part of the gym with my smartphone at halftime, and uploaded it to Facebook, saying in the post that it was especially meant for the many Farrell High grads who have been away from the area for a while and for others who haven’t set foot in the gymnasium in decades.

The comments were as I expected, but ran much deeper. At least three of the Farrell grads who responded said that when they first saw the photo, it brought a smile and brightened their day.

It was a simple photo of a gym, nothing fancy. But it evoked the emotional ties to that gym that decades later still live within every one of the grads, despite the miles and the years. Gyms will be gyms, but Farrell’s was a special place for us.

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