Mount Carmel native skips music career, focuses on coal region youth in new book
Ron T. Miscavige has played music all over the world. In America, England, Mexico, Canada, Denmark, France, Spain, almost all the Caribbean Islands and Germany.
Those unique experiences, however, are not what the 77-year-old Mount Carmel native decided to write about in his debut book, “True Confessions of a Kid.” Instead, the 112-page autobiography features 19 true and mostly humorous short stories about Miscavige’s life growing up in the coal region in the 1940s and ’50s.
“Mount Carmel is the most memorable for me. It’s not just the physical location, it was the time period. It was a special time,” he said.
Now that he’s retired, Miscavige has the freedom to put the experiences he’s had into words.
“Every person I ever told these stories to would tell me I got to write a book some day,” he said.
So that’s what he did.
Miscavige writes in detail about how he played with dynamite one summer. Another story tells what happened to he and his friends in 20 degree weather while in Frackville.
He also writes about attending a clam bake one summer at the home of a family that owned a road construction company in Mount Carmel. While there were garbage cans full of steamed clams and french fries cooking, Miscavige and his father provided the entertainment with an accordion, bass drum and cymbal. But something went wrong.
“An adventure played out and you’ll understand why I’m happy and lucky to be alive,” he said by phone last week. “How that day ended up was such a relief for me as a kid. I thank my lucky stars.”
Chapters include such titles as “The Oak Tree Incident,” “The Hold Up,” “The Saloons and Dracula,” “Saving Money on Dry Cleaning” and “The Nights The Lights Went Out.”
It was the days of argyle socks, nickel cokes and anything goes, he said.
He describes this time as having charm and magic, and being able to depend on your neighbors during hard times.
“People had a higher moral code than they do these days,” he said.
It was the era of 17 cents a gallon gas and full service at the gas station, where an attendant cleaned the windshield, checked the oil and wished customers good luck and God bless.
They were the good old days, he said.
This book is one in a series he’s planning to write. He has part of a second book about his life written and knows what he wants to write for a third book.
Marines and music
Miscavige spent the first 17 years of his life in Mount Carmel. His father and brother, both named Anthony, owned and operated Anthony V. Miscavige Insurance Agency, which was run by family for 70 years until it was sold by his cousin a few years ago. The business at 42 S. Oak St. still operates under the same name.
Once Ron Miscavige graduated, he joined the Marine Corps and spent three years in the military, where he said he learned self-discipline and studied musical theory in the military band.
When he left the military, he started a career in music, playing with jazz musicians Isaac Hayes, Chick Corea and Edgar Winter, and traveling across the globe to play concerts. The largest show he played was with a band called the Polka Cats in New Jersey; the crowd was 20,000 strong.
He also sold insurance, he said.
Now, he and his wife, Becky, have been retired for a year and are living in Virginia with one of their sons after spending 26 years in California. They have four children, 10 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. He and his wife will soon be moving to Wisconsin to live with Becky’s mother.
Miscavige looks forward to more writing, and is pleased with his first creation.
“It’s a feel-better book. I guarantee a laugh out of these stories,” he said.
The self-published book “True Confessions Of A Kid” is available on Amazon as well as Kindle for $7.19.