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Thursday, November 02, 2006

A Butler Personality ~ Hart Graham

 Friendly and kind. And what a memory. 

35 comments:

Bob Dorcy said...

I cannot remember the name but I do remember being amazed at his ultra remarkable photographic memory.

James Zambroski said...

I believe this man's name was Hart Graham, a member of St. Paul R.C. church who was noted for his savant-like memory. He was a special needs person with that peculiar memory talent. If you told him your birthdate, he was able to instantly tell you on what day or what holiday (like Easter Sunday) that birthday would fall in years (or decades) ahead.

Susan said...

Thank you, thank you! I had forgotten about this wonderful man.

bob said...

yes i remember him walking main street and he always had an invisible dog with him on a leash. he remembered everything and he could tell you how many syeps he had to take in a block. and the neighbors would complain anout him cutting his grass at nine oclock at night in the dark.didnt really know his name but he was very fasinating and friendly
bob

Tom McIntyre said...

my father introduced me to him in the mid 60's and at that time he remembered my dad's army serial number from 1945

Anonymous said...

Call me critical....but...he looks retarded.

Anonymous said...

Hart Graham was an autistic wonder that I knew as a teen in the 1950s - able to recall days of the week for any date you could give him. He also could do math calculations faster than a calculator. He was one of the special and somewhat different people of Butler in those years, which also included Johnny the newspaper stand man at Main & Jefferson, and the Pickle brothers that were garbage men that all the kids used to tease.

Steve Gray

Anonymous said...

My father introduced me to Mr. Graham on the steps of St. Paul's after mass one day when I was a child. He studied my face for a moment, looked into my eyes, and then correctly (without assistance) announced the date of my birth.

I guess one could say he "looks retarded" - I could say that about a lot of people, or at least about the comments some people make on blogs. Hart Graham wasn't your average guy, he was clearly different. But there's nothing retarded, which means slow, about a man with a brain like a supercomputer that would make Bill Gates blush.

Rich Monteleone said...

Hart Graham a man so innocent to life must now be surely in heaven. Probably amassing everyone there with his magical mind

Pat said...

I remember Hart very well. When I was a young child we lived across the street from a playground where Hart used to go. I remember him walking along with his umbrella even when it was sunny. He was such a sweet man and even used to come over to our house to wish me a Happy Birthday.

Bob Purvis said...

What a marvelous memory! Hart lived with his brother on McKean St., 2 houses down from me. One of my strongest memories is the day, when I was about 4 or 5, that Hart saw me fumbling to tie my shoe. He taught me a different way that I still use today, 52 years later.

I don't recall neighbors complaining about Hart mowing the lawn at night, but I do remember that he was regarded with affection by all of us. And I was always amazed by his feats of memory and calculation.

I only knew Hart within the small world of my neighborhood. It's wonderful to read so many accounts of his much bigger life around Butler.

Anonymous said...

This was so great, seeing Hart after all these years. He was amazing. He gave charm and character to this small town.
Pat S.

David Hape said...

I use to work at Dixon Drug Store. Hart Graham use to come in and sit at our soda bar for hours. Drink one soda and talk to everyone when they came in. He would ask for their birth date and tell them what day they were born. He would also tell them something important that happened on that day. I admit, sometimes Ithe customers would get a little annoyed. I was fascinated with him and found him entertaining on a boring job, Soda Jerk for Dixong Drub and Mr. Johnson

MaryAnn Swanson said...

Hart Graham certainly left his mark on this community. Not only did he remember everyone he'd ever met but he made us all feel as though we were important. If only we could all reach out and touch lives as comfortably and compassionately as he.

Anonymous said...

In response to the comment that Mr. Graham looked retarded, I must say....."He was much smarter than a lot of the people today, he also obviously had more common sense and class so not to remark that someone looked retarded"!

Anonymous said...

I| remember one Sunday when my Father took my Brothers and I to the Hot Dog
Shop after delivering papers. My Father introduced us to Mr. Graham. He looked at each of us and told us when we were born. My brothers and I were amazed. Was he retarded ? NO, Amazing ?,YES. The only retarded person I knew in Butler was Bill Morgan owner of the Eastland Diner and other Toxic Waste Dumps.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think anyone else knew the Pickle Bros.

Anonymous said...

This world would be a better place without people like the one who said he looks retarded. If he/she had half a brain, they would know that it (the work 'retarded') is not an insult when used in it's proper context.

But, when used in the context that it was, they were clearly trying to insult this old, kind unforgettable soul.

"May my dog piss in your Cheerios, you small minded wimp".

Colleen Blakemore

Anonymous said...

So many people are so quick to use the term "retarded" if a certain individual doesn't look like everybody else and the majority of these people are neither psychologists or psychiatrists --- how dare they make such an inflammatory remark without justification! "Oh,he doesn't look like everybody else" --- well,guess what? We're not suppposed to look like everybody else! We're not robots,we're human beings with our own distinct characteristics and mannerisms --- some of us are tall,some of us are short,some of us are fat,some of us are thin and,just because some of us choose to "march to a different drum" or "do our own thing" doesn't mean that we have any type of mental deficiency,it simply means that we are ourselves and I sincerely wish that people would begin to understand that

Anonymous said...

Another Butler character was the older gentleman who frequented the city parking lots directing people to spots with time on the meter.
The Butler Eagle did a story on him, but I don't recall his name.
Butler has had several other characters, some not so helpful.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember the "Pickle Brothers?" They used to walk along Rt. 38 gathering up pop bottles. They wore wool army coats even in the summer. There was also a baby doll tree along 38 that they constructed. What were their real names?

Anonymous said...

Yes I remember the Pickle Brothers and Hart Grahm. He sat in the same pew every Sunday no matter how many people were in it there was always room for one more, Hart. He also carried a brown paper bag with handles he sat in the aisle, he always sat on the end. My brothers and I tried for years to see what was in that bag but never did. J.B.

R. Wertz said...

Hart Graham!

I first met Hart at the Inn. A bunch of us would be sitting in the booths eating a sandwich made by "Mom" or "Pop" Campbell talking with Hart. He always had a pile of books that he had borrowed from the library with him. Give him a date, he would tell you what day that was.

Frankly, I was suspicious. I would say that date fell on a Thursday rather than a Tuesday and Hart would look at me...you could see the wheels turning...then solemly announce, "No, you are wrong...it was a Tuesday!"

Hart also knew the value of Pi to an ungodly number of places...well over 2000 if I remember correctly. It was from him that I finally memorised Pi to 15 places.

I really don't recall anyone I knew suggesting that Hart was "retarded". We all accepted him as he was...perhaps 'odd' but so gentle...child-like...so approachable and friendly.

R. Wertz said...

As an addendum to previous remarks, I would direct you to the following to get a better understanding of Butler's "Rain Man".

http://videos.komando.com/2008/11/09/the-real-rain-man/

Anonymous said...

I believe Hart was a decendant of one of the founding families of Butler. The Grahams owned the farm where Heckett Engineering was located and sold 7 acres in 1851 to start the North Cemetary. My brothers were friends of his niece and nephew when I was growing up. The nephew's name was Chris Carlson and I think his niece was Erica? I remember meeting Hart many times with my parents. I was always amazed by this man with the brown paper bag.

Anonymous said...

Does anybody remember the short old drunk that used to hitchhike around Butler? His name was Mike Dicuccio or something like that. It was sad how people used to treat him, myself included. People would stop to pick him up, and then drive off once he got near their car. I am sorry how we treated you Mike.

Anonymous said...

I remember Hart from St. Paul's Church and the community back in the 50's and 60's. He was always a sweet man I found very gentle.
Mimi McCorry

Anonymous said...

I remember Hart from St. Paul's. He was so amazing. Didn't he have a sister who worked at Trader's?

Anonymous said...

I believe Hart and his sister owned the building Trader's was in.

Now the left side of this classic 1890's building has been remuddled to look terrible. Butler needs historic zoning to keep downtown from looking worse and worse. Mike Kelly wants to run for Congress, but in his time on Butler City Council he did very little.

Anonymous said...

Of course, Butler's going to make a memorial for someone special needs. I guess that constitutes for what the rest of the population is, inbreds and dirty hicks.

Anonymous said...

I just wish the guy who bashes Butler on so many of these posts would knock it off and leave us to our memories. Sure, Butler isn't what it used to be, but what is?

Anonymous said...

The Butler Basher is probably someone to be pitied. Maybe because they are dealing with their own demons. Their own life undoubtedly falls in a category far below that of what they consider to be an "inbred" or "dirty hick." Guess it is just their way of coping with their own situation. It's called name calling and it's very immature

Anonymous said...

Hart died in 1978 and was only 53 years old. His family the Grahams built the first home in Butler in 1797. This is at the red brick road entrance to the North Cemetary. If you go back in the woods you can see the original spring house from this long ago Graham homestead.

Anonymous said...

I remember my Dad pointing out this gentleman. He had a true "photographic" memory. You could tell him your SSN and he could recite it back to you several years later. My Dad said his brain was so full of information he struggled to reason. A very pleasant gentleman who would always say hello if you saw him on the street.

BHS '64 said...

I remember him from the later 50s to early 50s. A very nice person. He could recall when I was born and my mother, etc. And like others have said, he recalled dates, day of the week, etc.