Former East End ‘Mayor’ starting a new chapter

To the editor:

If you have traversed the East End of Lewistown with any regularity, particularly the area of Feeder Avenue and South Pine Road, over the past 45-plus years, you know Carl “Buddy” Kodish. Whether you lived on an adjacent street, were heading to Rec Park for a ball game, on your way to work, or just passing through the area on your bicycle or in your car, chances are you encountered Buddy more than a few times.

Usually armed with his radio, Buddy has always loved to walk through the neighborhood to extend greetings to people. You never had to be a family member, a friend or a resident of Feeder Avenue to receive a greeting, either. Buddy has always waved and offered a smile to everyone that went by. If he happened to be excited to see someone that he recognized and liked, perhaps he tossed in a little dance. He was even known to blow a kiss or two as well.

With food being one of his favorite points of conversation, he often told neighbors what he was having for his evening meal. People who knew Buddy was my brother stopped me on many an occasion to inform me that they knew what Buddy had for supper the night before!

One longtime Feeder Avenue resident and friend, Ed Moore, moved away several years back, but that hasn’t stopped Ed from continuing to provide Buddy with a birthday cake each and every June 25. That is a kindness none of us will ever forget. I am pretty sure that it was Ed that gave Buddy the nickname, “The Mayor of Feeder Avenue.”

Born in 1953, Buddy arrived in the school system a little too early in my eyes. During the late 1950s, schools didn’t offer special education programs. The result was that Buddy couldn’t stay in school to learn with the other kids. He wasn’t a disruption; in fact, he didn’t say a word to anyone. The school district simply said there was nothing they could do for him and he could not attend school any more. Today, there are numerous opportunities for children with learning disabilities, and that’s a great thing.

To this day, Buddy can’t read or write, but he carries within himself a love of people and a simple desire to please everyone around him. If someone he waves at responds with a beep of the horn or a wave, that makes Buddy feel like a million bucks.

The reason I am writing this letter is to inform all of Buddy’s friends that he is moving to a group home on Little Kansas Road above McVeytown. With our mom turning 87 this month and recovering from a major surgery, it is difficult for her to provide all of the care Buddy needs. The group home will offer a lot of new activities and opportunities for Buddy, and he will also have the chance to keep his job at Skills – where he has worked since 1975. The best part for us is that he can come home for visits and we can take him out to eat and on other excursions.

Buddy is going to miss his friends and neighbors very much, and if you ever want to send him a birthday card, Christmas card, or just a “hello” card at his new location, his new address will be: 1057 Little Kansas Road, McVeytown, PA 17051.

For those of you who happen to travel on Little Kansas Road in the area of the group home, don’t be surprised if you receive a wave and a smile when you go by. If you didn’t know him before, now you will get acquainted with the former “Mayor of Feeder Avenue!”

Kevin Kodish