July 10, 2008: Looking for Pavilion Baptist School

We started really trying to get everyone set up with Pavilion Baptist School email addresses yesterday.  So far there are less than ten of us able to get email from the PBS addresses.  Those of us who have found each other are few and far between.  I think that my class, the class of 1994, may be having the most luck as we have email contact between at least six of the classmates and are pretty confident in being able to contact two more.  We only had about twenty-five students pass through my class en toto over the years and we never had more than eighteen students at a time.  We were the largest class to ever pass through the school.  No other class ever hit eighteen and we held that number through kindergarten and first grade (but not with the same roster.)  In the end we only gradated one – and no it wasn’t me.

It is amazing to me that when looking online neither Google nor Yahoo seach returns any blogs, but this one of course, ever mentioning ol’ Pavilion Baptist School.  Technorati doesn’t even bother to list SGL but I suppose that PBS is only ever mentioned in passing.  It is sad to see such a major part of so many of our lives reduced to a few lines on the Internet.  No history, no contacts, no nothing.  A seach of the name turns up many automated school search engines listing the school as if it still existed but no real information.  I don’t even know how to definitively discover when the school actually closed.  It just vanished while none of us were watching.

Sadly, even an image search for the school name turns up only picture of or by me.  It’s almost as if the school never existed.

One of my goals, but not a high priority one, is to create the Pavilion Baptist School web site.  We need to have a central repository of news and contact information.  Being from PBS really encourages a lot of people to not be very tech savvy and in this day and age that is the difference between finding lost friends and not.  Those of us who have reconnected have done so almost exclusively through FaceBook – which is extra difficult as FaceBook won’t recognize PBS as a school so we aren’t allowed to have a school group through them.  Although now that we have official email addresses it might help a little.  A few people have found me through my personal web page too but not very many.

I was up bright and early again today.  This is a really long week.  Oreo was so tired last night that he completely forgot about his dinner and just went to bed without it.  We don’t offer him dinner unless he asks as we don’t think that he needs any “extra” food.  His weight is under control but he is very sensitive to weight gain and if he isn’t hungry enough to ask for his dinner then he certainly doesn’t need it.  He knows how to ask for food when he is hungry and isn’t shy about doing so.

Lots of stuff to do today.  Tomorrow is too busy with work and I will be in the office on Wall St. tomorrow so I can’t do the “little things” that need catching up with around here.  This weekend we are taking the nieces camping in Watkins Glen so we need to be ready.  Today is extra laundry, some light shopping and Oreo needs his flea and tick preventative treatment so that he is ready to face the wilds of Upstate New York.

It turns out that Josh is coming down to Clifton, NJ this weekend with the Empire Statesmen but, obviously, we won’t see him as we will be out of town.

I got a call from Craig today.  Craig, who has been missing in action for months now.  Turns out that they are expecting in December!  We have so many people that we know having babies within several weeks of us.  It is really crazy.

Anyway, Craig had some info on a rent controlled apartment up in Inwood (the northern most bit of the island of Manhattan) becoming available so we called and are going over there this evening to take a look at the area and the apartment.  We have only ever driven through Inwood on the highway and don’t really have a good idea of what the area is like.  It had never occurred to us that getting a rent controlled apartment would even be possible as they are rare and highly coveted.  So we are rushing out to see what the deal is.  We already know that Oreo won’t be a problem and that there is a grocery store very nearby as well as a train.

We would love to live up in Westchester but we are nervous about house prices right now.  They are lower than before but it seems like there is quite a bit of a possibility of the prices falling still before they hit bottom and investing in property in the New York area is not an easy prospect.  We definitely don’t want to get trapped having bought something that loses value immediately and then find that we need to move!  We would be in rough shape.  Renting, even if just temporarily, would be very good for us to give us time to get to know the market and the area better.

Inwood would still be closer to our families but only by about half an hour or so and driving into the city isn’t very easy.  The car situation would not be ideal.  But commuting for me would be great.  Almost as good as it is now and almost as cheap.  It would mean that I would have a lot more time at home with the baby – especially if I end up being unable to be at home as much as I am now.

Moving into Manhattan would only make sense for us if the cost was really low which is a possibility.  We will see more tonight when we look at the apartment.  Neither of us has ever looked at a New York City apartment before, let alone a Manhattan apartment.  We don’t know very much about rent control either.  This might be a great opportunity or nothing that we are interested in at all.

Dominica got home a little before six and we pretty much just got ready to go and left around twenty after.  It took about an hour and a half to get from Newark to Inwood.  We took the PATH from Newark’s Penn Station to 33rd Street near NY Penn Station.  There is probably some trick to the train to train transfer but we just popped up in midtown and walked from the PATH to Penn Station to catch the A Train (Express) up to Inwood (200th and Broadway.)

We looked at two apartments that are coming available up there, a one bedroom and a three bedroom.  The three bedroom was a little interesting but, unfortunately, the style of the whole place was totally not our scene.  The prices were amazing and the deal really is quite good.  For people looking to really live in Manhattan it is hard to beat.  For us, though, we would be much happier, we feel, being out in Westchester.  The difference in commute time really isn’t that much different.

We decided to save the effort of taking the PATH and to just catch NJ Transit back between New York and New Jersey.  NJ Transit is more comfortable and we have now figured out how to get the better trains and it barely costs any more.  Plus there is only two stops totally to get us back home so that is pretty easy.

We tried to get a bite to eat at Penn Station in Manhattan on the way home but like everything else down here, it was all closed by the time that we got there.  Upstate New Yorkers have such an incredibly skewed view of the world.  We are used to so many things being open twenty-four hours a day and we are always told how we are from the “sleepy north” and that Manhattan is the city that never sleeps.  Ha!  We are so spoiled in Rochester, Buffalo, Syracuse, Elmira, Ithaca, etc.  Everything downstate closes early.  New Yorkers are so trapped in their own little universe that they don’t even realize that they have no more late night services than any random city.  Nowhere near what a small, “sleepy” town like Geneseo has to offer.

There was one restaurant still open in Newark’s Penn Station so we ate there.  Now it is a seriously sad statement that we were able to get food in Newark and not in New York.  Our biggest complaint (well, maybe not the biggest) about Newark is how we aren’t able to get any food in the evenings!

There was laundry, email and a few other things that we needed to do before we were able to get to bed.  We were up far later than either of us wanted to be.  We were both totally exhausted coming back from New York.

I am on Wall Street tomorrow.  Dominica has a baby shower for her friend Elaine at the office so she has some work to do for that to do.  After work we are heading north to Frankfort and then taking our nieces camping over the weekend.

Manned Orbiting Laboratory MOL

In 1963 the United States Air Force announced that it would begin work on a project called the Manned Orbiting Laboratory or MOL, as it was commonly known.  The idea of the project was initially to determine the efficacy of putting American military personnel into space.  The cold war was near its peak and the United States and the Soviet Union were racing to get control of extra-terrestrial militarization zones.  As the project progressed, however, the mission became more focused on building a space station for military reconnaissance.  Eventually, by 1969, the funds for the MOL had dried up and then President Nixon pushed to cancel the program to cut back on spending.  The more visible NASA Skylab project would receive some of the funding instead.

On this past February 12th the PBS program NOVA ran an episode called AstroSpies.  Coming out of college in 1967 the MOL was the very first project that my father worked on at Eastman Kodak in Rochester, New York.  He was on the project from 1967 until its cancellation in 1969.  Dad watched the show when it aired, completely by coincidence because the show he was planning to watch was a rerun and he just flipped over to Nova, and even recognized one of the engineering models shown on the show as having come from his drafter!

The NOVA episode AstroSpies can be viewed online.  Dad was involved in the training of some of the USAF Astronauts as well.  He helped to train Colonel Albert Crews and Colonel Richard Lawyer.