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I’m Herb Bierly, and this is my life history in a nutshell – just the part that has happened since those crazy years covered by Fools and Children.
Ed and I made it through junior and senior high school, where I quarterbacked the football team and wrestled on one of the best teams in Penns Valley Area School District history (1963), winning the Tri-Valley League Championship, and destroying State College's seventy-six meet winning streak. We also produced the school's first PA State Wrestling Champion (the only one as of this writing) in Max Dinges.
During my senior year in high school my brother, Curt, also featured prominently in the book, formed a band at Penn State. I joined as a keyboardist.
When Curt graduated, we replaced him and continued to play while I attended Penn State. During those years we were known as The Sashades; we played at forty-one Penn State fraternities and all the local bars.
After graduation, we played on the road professionally for 9 years during the "flower power" era. Along the way we changed our name to The Pennsylvania Turnpike and played alongside many famous groups of that era. In 1975 we played our last gig in Lebanon, PA at a now defunct local hot spot. The count at the door that night was close to 5000 people.
What a crazy time. If I could write like Ed, I would pen hundreds of stories. Alas, I can't.
After the band retired, I needed a job. First, I managed a bar with the option to buy. It was not my thing.
For more than 2 years I worked in Boscov's department store, managing the garden department. Being self employed most of my life, I was rather unhappy working for someone else. I resigned.
I had an opportunity to partner with my brother in our father’s business when he retired. Dad established "Stanley C. Bierly's Radio & Electric Shop" in Millheim in the 1930's. He provided plumbing, heating, electric services and sold, installed and repaired large and small appliances. Everything from LP gas to tennis balls. He had parts, fittings, radio & TV tubes, motors, everything stocked on hundreds of shelves, and he was the only person who knew where everything was hiding.
When was the last time you had a toaster repaired?
Dad had received the prestigious award of being the "Second Oldest Philco Dealer in the United States (1939).” Does anyone remember the name "Philco"?
Curt accepted the offer, but I declined – I guess I just enjoyed life on the road. Curt and his sons now operate the business, the third generation of Bierlys to do so, which continues to flourish on Main Street in Millheim.
During this time I experienced an apartment fire and lost everything I owned. Thank God for the Red Cross plus insurance.
Concern with fire and security issues brought me to Lancaster, PA where I established a fire and burglar alarm company. Over the next twenty-five years, I established 7 other alarm companies in PA and Maryland.
At the same time I began to buy real estate around Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster, renting the homes to students.
Just before retirement I began selling the real estate and sold my last home just before the crash of 2005. I'd like to say I timed it perfectly, but it was mostly luck.
In 2003 at age 59 I decided to retire and enjoy life, although I'm still busy.
After 35 years The Pennsylvania Turnpike reformed. We practice every week and play private gigs, mostly for pleasure.
I live in York County with my lovely wife Susan. We love to take our motorhome camping in PA state parks which are now being ruined by gas drillers, who bought and paid for our new governor (my latest pet peeve).
We enjoy joining Ed and Doris at Raystown Dam for an outing on their houseboat plus a great weekend of camping.
I am a 7 year prostate cancer survivor. Don't forget to get a PSA test! It's easy.
I leave you with my definition of Life:
Life - A continuous series of never-ending chores.
Soooo.....Party when you can!
Hope to see you all sometime.
Enjoy yourself while and when you can.
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