NEW CASTLE —
Pivovar spoke only Polish as a child. His parents arrived from their native land in the early 1900s.
“I didn’t know any English words until first grade,” said Pivovar, who remains fluent in Polish. He stuttered as a child, which Pivovar attributes to not having command of English at the time.
But Pivovar quickly adapted to schooling in America and excelled in the classroom. He graduated from New Castle High and Youngstown College, majoring in chemistry.
He worked on the railroad as a conductor yard master, retiring in 1980. In had other ventures, running a music store in Ellwood City and operating a photography studio for 35 years.
He still plays guitar in a band as music runs in the family. His son, Ron, is one of the world’s premier accordion players.
Pivovar, who has two sons, a daughter, six grandchildren and one great-grandchild, stays fit by exercising. He used to make regular stops at the downtown YMCA, but those visits have decreased with age.
Pivovar is an inquisitive sort. “I’ve always wondered how things work,” he said.
Despite his vision problems, Pivovar is still able to drive. “Everything is starting to wear out, but what are you gonna do?” he shrugged.
His memory, which seems amazing by any standard, also weighs heavily on him. “I’m starting to forget things.”
And for Pivovar, there is so much to forget.
“I’d like to go to New Guinea,” he said. The relatively unexplored country is home to millions of people who live in isolated rural villages and maintain traditional practices that, by many reports, sometimes include cannibalism.
“I’ve seen a lot in my lifetime, but I’m not done seeing things yet.”