you know you’re from the valley when

Es­ti­mated reading time is 7 min­utes.

A FEW MONTHS BACK, I stum­bled over a Face­book page ti­tled “You know your from they Valley when” which in­cludes posts from former and cur­rent res­i­dents of Wyoming Valley in North­eastern Penn­syl­vania, of which Wilkes-Barre is the hub. Now, de­spite all the clap­trap you non-Wilkes-Barreans may have heard, in Wyoming Valley the city’s name is most com­monly pro­nounced wilks-bar-ree with the bar pro­nounced hard as in barrister.

(I would send you to a site called “So, how do you pro­nounce Wilkes-Barre?” pre­sented by the city of Wilkes-Barre, but it is more con­fusing than elucidating.)

I loved the gram­mat­ical humor in the page’s title, ‘You know your from they Valley when,’ so of course I chimed in! Here was my first post (and I do not have the dates for each post and I have ab­bre­vi­ated the names of those folk who took the time to post what ap­peared to be hos­tile com­ments on the page):

NU: You know you’re from the Valley when someone has to point out to you that this page’s statement/question, “You know your from they Valley when . . .” is missing an apos­trophe and an “e” but has an extra “y” in it, hennah?!? Been in the Pa­cific North­west since 1987 and I can tell you that the best pizza out here wouldn’t last a month in the Valley . . .

Okay, light, breezy, hu­morous, and I com­pli­ment the pizza of the Valley by stating that the best pizza in the Pa­cific North­west couldn’t make it in the Valley.

Heynabonics 101

Um, “hennah” is a Valley col­lo­qui­alism that seems to be a trun­ca­tion of “ain’t it” by pre­vious gen­er­a­tions of Polish denizens who had dif­fi­culty with the pro­nun­ci­a­tion. It is usu­ally used at the end of a sen­tence in which the speaker takes for granted that the lis­tener is in ac­cord with him. A vari­a­tion is “heyna,” pro­nounced hay-nuh. The cor­rup­tion of the lan­guage is now known as heyn­abonics and there is a funny al­most ironic video on a class in ti­tled “Heyn­abonics” on YouTube.)

Anyway, here is the first re­sponse that I received:

MR: Dis­cussed sev­eral times.

Huh?!?  (Get used to that in­ter­jec­tion here.) Um, hardly a friendly greeting from who­ever MR is (aside from the ‘host’ of the page). And, un­less I took the time to look up every post on the page prior to mine, that is some­thing that I couldn’t know.

So, I re­sponded NOT in kind but with some more levity (not a prop­erty nor­mally as­so­ci­ated with many res­i­dents of NEPA):

NU: So, then you know you’re from the Valley when you don’t take the time to check to see if anyone else from the Valley took the time to no­tice the mis­takes that someone else from the Valley made ages ago and al­ready posted same! (Now you can tell me that someone else that didn’t do what I didn’t do and then did what I did was no­ti­fied by you and re­sponded like I am.) (And hoping that they felt better than I do and didn’t go drown their sor­rows in a ham­burger with cheese let­tuce onions mus­tard and Ranch dressing while watching the fifth and final season of Brothers & Sis­ters like I’m about to . . .)

Okay, some ex­ces­sive word­play there, but the levity is ob­vious and I did not ex­press any sur­prise at the blunt­ness of MR’s less than em­bracing em­brace of my pres­ence on the page. Here is the next response:

FRANK DE ANGELO: Neal, home is where the pizza you love is, hennah? Just got done with a fan­tasy draft and the only thing the one out of towner re­quested was some Pizza from Sabatini’s and Pizza L’oven.

Okey­dokey, Mr. De An­gelo (and I used his full name be­cause he was friendly) gives me a much warmer wel­come and un­der­stands clearly my very pos­i­tive ref­er­ence to the Valley’s pizza—which is, trust me, jus­ti­fi­ably leg­endary in the tri-state area (Penn­syl­vania, New Jersey, and New York). Here is my response:

NU: Frank, I say this without ex­ag­ger­a­tion: when the NEED for pizza is upon me (usu­ally sev­eral times a day), I buy Red Baron’s frozen pizza in­stead of any of the shit that passes for pizza at the local pizzerias!

Please note here that as I live in the Pa­cific North­west and made that per­fectly clear in my first post above, when I say “local” I mean local to where I live: Red­mond, Wash­ington. Ap­par­ently that was not ap­parent to some readers:

MEME: I don’t get what you’re saying by your best pizza in the North­west wouldn’t last a month here?? Meaning the place would go out of busi­ness I’m sure be­cause of all the amazing places we have to enjoy all the real pizzas NE PA has to offer - not the Dominos, Little Ceasers, Pizza Hut and the other card­board you have out there that you call pizza. I took the naming of the site as a joke - not that we’re un­e­d­u­cated id­iots here. Get off the site if you’re so hu­mil­i­ated by the fact you too were from “they” Valley!

Huh?!? What just hap­pened? MEME’s first two sen­tences in­di­cate that she un­der­stood that my com­par­ison of North­west pizza (ugh!) with the Valley’s pizza (yum!). The third sen­tence in­di­cates that the irony in my pre­vious posts was lost on her. Her final sen­tence is baf­fling: what did I say that in­di­cated hu­mil­i­a­tion at my place of origin? Not only no humor here, but’s also damn right unfriendly.

The next re­sponse was this seeming non se­quitur from the of­fi­cial greeter:

MR: Delete the pro­fanity and re­frain from its use or you it will be deleted for you. Your call.

Huh?!? What pro­fanity? And by whom? So, whose “call”?

SEJ: I’m. From nj but all I have to say to you is. Your an ass

Huh?!? Is this a joke? Is someone taking all of the above to the next level down? And who is the ass? I tend to take people’s state­ments at face value, in­fer­ring as little as pos­sible, so I per­ceive nei­ther warmth nor humor here—but I do feel, ahem, mis­un­der­stood. So I re­sponded with:

NU: Are all of you people talking to and at me, be­cause I am con­fused? And who­ever you ARE talking to, I sure don’t talk to people I don’t know like you do . . .

I want reg­ular readers of this blog to know that the above is NOT rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the many won­derful and loving people that I know and have known from the Wyoming Valley area of Penn­syl­vania. (Or even New Joisey.) Mr. DeAn­gelo’s greeting is what I think of when I think of ‘the Valley.’









Accurately aiming apparent barbs

And that was that! No fur­ther words of wisdom from MR; no more slights from ei­ther MEME or SEJ. No an­swers to my con­fu­sion or at­tempts to clarify po­si­tions or ac­cu­rately aim the ap­parent barbs. My first re­ac­tion was to di­rectly ad­dress the three com­menters and see if we could reach some un­der­standing, but then I thought less might be better.

So I posted nothing else and waited.

When­ever I am back there vis­iting my family, I es­sen­tially live on pizza. Last time I was there in June 2012, in ten days I ate pizza from eight dif­ferent places in the Valley and one in New York City! While I am par­tial to Old Forge style pizza and con­sider Ar­caro & Genell’s restau­rant to be a per­sonal Mecca when back there. (And the story of Berni’s first bite of pizza there and her re­sponse to the taste is worth a story it­self.) Don’t tell An­gelo or Mark, but I usu­ally find a way to have a cuppla slices and a beer at their com­pe­ti­tion across the street, Rev­el­lo’s.) 

My par­ents love Tom­my’s Pizza Corner (Kingston); my brother Charles and sister Mary Alice have eclectic tastes and like to sample each and every new pizzeria as it opens; my friend and fellow pizza-snob John Styk­lunas han­kers after Ghi­gia­rel­li’s (Old Forge); il mio amico and valley legend Joe Nar­done prefers Bet­tel­li’s Villa (Wilkes-Barre); former steady Jaygee still loves pizza from Nan­ti­coke; and I al­ways make it to Dugan’s Pub (Luzerne). I could go on but will save it for an­other post. But I can say with cer­tainty that vir­tu­ally any local es­tab­lish­ment can be rec­om­mended (and here ‘local’ means there).

Now, back to the issue at hand: I just re­vis­ited the ‘You know your from they Valley when’ site to see if any­thing had hap­pened. And some­thing had: I found a blank page with all the posts gone! This note was in their place:

“This post has been re­moved or could not be loaded.”

Huh?!? What the heyna! Were my posts so of­fen­sive that the whole she­bang had to be pulled?

I dunno.

I guess that I never will know.

Life’s like that . . .



Notify of
Rate this article:
Please rate this article with your comment.
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Did Vic­tory Pig fall off the radar screen?

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x