My story is typical. I was born a poor, Black child. I survived the mean streets of the Buffalo suburbs and four straight losses in the Super Bowl, grew into a mature adult and pillar of the community, and made my parents proud. OK, well, part of that is true. I was indeed raised in the Buffalo 'burbs...North Tonawanda, to be exact. The rest? Well, can't a guy dream?
Here's some highlights. I was a big baby. Like, 20 lbs. Maybe a few less. Mom always reminds me of the pain. The guilt ensures she gets great birthday presents. I have a brother two years older, and he used to make my life a living Hell, like any good brother should. That stopped when I turned 12, and was bigger than him. I spent most of my formative years annoying my elders. That includes parents, teachers, and the police. If I wasn't in after-school detention, I was being questioned for the latest neighborhood "incident". Looking back, it a was all pretty harmless. Well, maybe not the thing we did to our Spanish Teacher. But that's a story for another time. Sports helped keep me out of any serious trouble. Get suspended...and you were kicked off the team. So that only happened once. Maybe twice. With hopes and dreams, and a suitcase filled with Molson Canadian Lager, I headed off to college. Less than a year later, and a plea agreement with a reduced sentence (like I said...never convicted), my college experience wasn't exactly going as planned. But, with threats of bodily harm from Mom solidly in my back pocket, I managed to graduate from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and looked forward to a lucrative career in broadcasting. Soooooooo...I've bounced around from station to station in such vacation hot spots as Clearfield, PA, Joplin, MO, Evansville, IN, and Fayetteville, NC. In February of 1999, I took the job that I have now (more or less).
I never did find that pot of gold, but I've had a lot of fun along the way. And moving here was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met my beautiful wife, Stacy, while watching a Bills game at what used to be Damon's on Tunnel Road, and we were married in September of 2001. I lost my wedding ring in a bizarre chicken wing incident (true story), so I really have no proof. But I think she'll vouch for me. We don't have any children, but we do have cats...lots and lots of cats. I'd love to tell you exactly how many, but I lost track. Seriously, I started counting them the other night, but had to stop after I'd used all my fingers and toes. I was plum out of digits.
So that's my story. Of course, some of the sordid details have been left out due to pending legal action. But, Judge...I swear I had no idea that pig was your pet!
Built in 1800, the White House at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C., has been the temporary residence of every U.S president since John Adams. In 1814 (during the war of 1812) the White House was set ablaze by the British army, destroying the interior and charring much of the exterior. Since then the building has undergone countless changes, putting undue stress on the centuries-old building (a brick and sandstone structure built around a timber frame).
20th-century innovations like indoor plumbing, electricity and heating ducts all took its toll. In 1948 a Congress-authorized survey was undertaken revealing just how dire the situation had become:
- The house was declared to be in imminent danger of collapse
- The ceiling of the East Room, weighing seventy pounds to the square foot, was found to be sagging as much as 18 inches
- The marble grand staircase was in imminent danger of collapse
- Supporting bricks, bought second-hand in 1880, were disintegrating
- The mansion’s plumbing was deemed “makeshift and unsanitary”
- The president’s bathtub was sinking into the floor
- Wooden beams had been weakened by cutting and drilling for plumbing and wiring over 150 years
- The addition of the steel roof and full third floor in 1927 added weight the building could no longer handle
Interestingly enough, completely tearing down and rebuilding the White House from scratch was found to be cheaper than a full interior restoration/renovation, however Truman deemed the ‘cultural’ value of keeping the original structure intact greater than any economic cost savings a total tear-down would provide.
So in December of 1948, President Truman moved to the Blair House across the street and so began a multi-year renovation that would cost $5.7 million USD. The entire process was faithfully documented by Abbie Rowe, a photographer for the National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Photos (seen below) of the renovation were uploaded yesterday to the Flickr Commons Account of the U.S. National Archives.
I have downloaded them for your viewing pleasure. Click the pic of Harry Truman and friends to begin.