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Issue Home October 8, 2002 Site Home

Along The Way... With P. Jay
Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca

Along The Way... With P. Jay

County Has Plenty To Offer!

The Susquehanna County Department of Economic Development (DED) may have reached beyond its intended goals with one of its latest projects but it is a worthwhile endeavor that beckons industrialists and business entrepreneurs to visit the county and see all it has to offer.

DED Director Justin Taylor and his assistant, Liz Janoski, have put together the Susquehanna County Christmas Trail, a multi-fold brochure featuring a map of the county that pinpoints the locations of some 56 businesses who paid $15 each to be mentioned in the centerfold and have their places of business numbered on the map.

"This year," the Economic Development Department points out, "travel down country roads that lead you to that special gift for those special people in your life…enjoy friendly service where proprietors take the time to learn your name…then savor a well prepared meal and enjoy the comfort of a cozy Bed & Breakfast, a country inn or a modern motel.

"This year, relax for the holidays because you’ve discovered the Susquehanna County Country Christmas Trail."

While it is kind of schmaltzy, it reflects a sincere effort on the part of the Economic Development Department to lure shoppers and visitors into the county. The department’s web site also shows an atmosphere of camaraderie by featuring links to the county’s Chamber of Commerce and the Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau.

The County Christmas Trail suggests that visitors will find "that old-fashioned Christmas feeling at the top of the Endless Mountains." For an extra sawbuck, the advertisers could gain even more recognition by being named in the department’s Internet Web Site. At its last meeting, the Economic Development Committee extended the opportunity to all county businesses interested in being listed on the department’s web site.

The web site expands on the Economic Development Department’s theme "101 Things To Do" in Susquehanna County including such historical sites as Salt Springs State Park, the Mormon Monument, the Starrucca Viaduct, Pennsylvania’s Anthracite Coal Miners Memorial, and the Old Mill Village Museum. Other attractions include the Center for Anti-Slavery Studies, the Soldier’s Orphan School Museum and the Susquehanna County Historical Society and Free Library.

I would be remiss right about here if I failed to mention that the Church of the Latter Day Saints is planning to construct a shrine in the SOLIDA Industrial Park in Oakland Twp. honoring its founder, Joseph Smith, who resided in that area. This memorial in itself will probably bring thousands of visitors annually to our county.

For recreation, Susquehanna County has more than 50 lakes, half-dozen golf courses, the Elk Mountain Ski Resort, a 32-mile Rail Trail, the Florence Shelly Preserve, Callender’s Sugar House & Cross Country Ski Area, the Woodbourne Forest and Wildlife Sanctuary, and five State Game Land areas.

It just would not be a rural agricultural paradise without an annual countywide celebration and the Harford Fair; Susquehanna County’s "county fair" meets all of the specifications and expectations. Then there’s the Maple Festival at Warren’s Maple Products; the Fourth of July Celebration on the Green in Montrose; the Blueberry Festival also in Montrose, and Forest City’s Old Home Week, both annual traditions; Arts in the Park at Salt Springs Park; the Literacy Apple Fest; and, the Harvest Festival in Montrose. There’s also the Penn Can Speedway and the Steamtown Marathon, a 26-mile race that begins in Forest City and ends in Scranton; fishing, hunting, paintball, cross country skiing, canoeing and kayaking.

For those who want serenity and tranquillity blended perfectly in a religious environment, there is the Montrose Bible Conference, a Christian Conference Center and Camp with programs for all ages; and the Dimock Camp Meeting where music and religious programs are held annually during July and August; and there is the Endless Mountains Theater Company that features local talent in outstanding presentations of award-winning plays and musicals.

These are some of the places and events the Economic Development Department is using as bait in an attempt to lure visitors into our county. If it appears to be aimed at promoting tourism, it probably is. That’s because tourism is currently the number one industry in the county.

There is a lot of history and tradition in Susquehanna County and it is good to see the Economic Development Department promoting it.

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Slices of Life

Getting Together

It is so seldom that my brother, sisters and I get together that it was a real celebration for us to sit down and share the news and the silly stuff around tables laden with satisfying food. My brother was making his yearly visit from the west and all the family who could make it congregated at my eldest sister’s home. She is the one who always opens her home, makes the phone calls of invitation, supplies the paper goods, buys and cools the drinks – all those jobs that are taken for granted by those of us who don’t have to be the responsible ones. We all bring food, but that’s the easy part.

Because I got into town early, I had my brother all to myself for about an hour. Granted we were half watching a tractor pull at the Moose pavilion just outside of town where he and my brother-in-law were helping roast hot dogs and burgers. But there wasn’t much business being transacted, so he and I stood under the edge of the tent to keep dry and visited.

We talked about our lives and those of our grown children; their jobs, their families and their personalities. The personality thing was about whom they seemed to have gotten their genes from. And that led us to reminiscing about when we were kids. The interesting thing was that we were both raised in the same household by the same parents – but they weren’t the same parents. My brother, being the oldest, had a mother and father who were just learning to be parents. They were very young, feeling their way along and trying to prove that they were capable of raising this determined, headstrong child. By the time I came on the scene nine years and three children later, they were seasoned veterans, had their attentions on many things and I was allowed to just "be" without undo attention. How I loved that kind of upbringing.

The other compelling part of the conversation was how much of our parents’ traits re-appeared in our children. Probably many of those traits passed through our generation, as I do see myself sharing my parents’ idiosyncrasies. When I was a teenager (and beyond), I used to roll my eyes every time Mom would start a conversation with a perfect stranger. Like the time she told the bus driver in the Chicago Loop what a good job he did driving in all that traffic. Now I find myself doing the same thing. In fact my friend from the city tells me, "You wouldn’t last a week in New York City the way you talk to strangers."

That last retort was after I told her about the interesting Sunday morning conversation I had on the steps of Toni’s Restaurant with a man sitting there drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette because he couldn’t smoke inside. He was from Canada, vacationing at a nearby lake, and "hung over" from a Saturday night party there. Now how would I ever learn such fascinating things if I didn’t have my mother’s friendly demeanor? But I meander.

The older I get, the more I can appreciate the concept of Grandma’s Birthday Reunions. At this recent get-together, I sat with great nieces and nephews, some of whom are just getting into the real world of work and family. I listened to their dreams and plans, and it was a most satisfying visit. I didn’t realize they were so engaging. I shared stories with an aging aunt who has had many health problems, but still drove the twenty miles to be with us. I also visited with a nephew that I haven’t seen since Mom’s funeral three years ago.

God in great wisdom put us into families, and I pray that those of us gathered that evening may be lucky enough to all meet again.

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

EAST RUSH: The 13th of September '02, being the 77th birthday of Jacob Cronk, his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren assembled by invitation at his home in East Rush to celebrate the day with him. Although rainy, they began to assemble about 10 o'clock, and when the dinner hour arrived 40 were on hand to help take care of the bountiful dinner provided by Mr. Cronk and his good wife. Soon after dinner the clouds broke away and the sun came out bright, so that E. Smith could photograph the group. A few friends outside the family enjoyed the day with them.

FOREST CITY: There are 881 pupils enrolled in the public schools. This is something like 200 more than the number enrolled in Towanda, the one borough larger than Forest City in this congressional district. AND: John, the nine-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. George Lawrence, stepped on a rusty nail. Nothing was thought of the matter until his limb began to swell and blood poisoning set in and he died of lockjaw, Friday of the following week. Johnny was an exceptionally bright boy and a great favorite among his playmates who gave him the cognomen of "Mark Hanna," by which he was probably best known.

FLYNN [Middletown Twp.]: E. Whalen has erected a cider press and is converting apples into the best of cider. AND: Messrs. Riley and McNerny are furnishing the wood for the schools. AND: Misses O'Day and Kauffer, of Pittston, teachers of Triangle and Turkey Red schools, contemplate a visit home institute week, "but not to stay."

AUBURN: B.E. Thornton, the Auburn stage driver, has a pair of lamps on his stage, so arranged as to make the night as light as day, so far as his ability to see the road ahead of his team is concerned.

FAIRDALE:The Fairdale Ball Club gave an oyster supper and hop at Imon Very's, Saturday evening. A very enjoyable time is reported. Burt Horton furnished music. AND: Thursday evening last, while Mrs. Claude Downer was sorting beans, the lamp she was using fell of the shelf and broke, the oil taking fire; she tried to put out the fire, but failing in that she ran to the barn to call her husband, but before they got back to the house the fire was bursting out of the windows and soon the house, with all its contents, except a few chairs and some canned fruit, was consumed.

LITTLE MEADOWS: The Ladies Aid Society of the M.E. Church will hold an old time spelling school, to be in charge of Prof. A.C. Lowe at the church parlors, Wed. Eve. Oct. 15. A Chicken Pie Supper will also be served.

MONTROSE: A recent number of the Kansas City World contains an article under the heading "A Coming Man," relative to Harry McMillan, of Ottawa, Kansas, a native of Susquehanna county, and at one time a student in the Montrose Schools. He was some time ago, elected state senator from his district, on the Democratic ticket, and is prominent in political and business circles. He is a nephew of A.N. Bullard, of Montrose.

BINGHAMTON/FRIENDSVILLE: In Binghamton, Oct. 6th, in the hospital contagious ward, Miss Nellie McDonald, of diphtheria, aged 20 years. Her two sisters are sick there now. Her mother, Catherine McDonald, died in the same place of same disease just a week before. The family formerly lived at Friendsville, where Mrs. McDonald was for many years the organist of St. Francis Xavier's church.

SUSQUEHANNA: The Erie railroad has just sent to the "scrap heap" six locomotives, none of which was less than 30 years old. One of the six, No. 79, was the road hoodoo, having been in more accidents and killed more persons in its life than any other locomotive on the system. AND: The first boy to be arrested in the borough for truancy was placed in the lockup here, yesterday. There will be more if some lads don't show up regularly at school.

NEW MILFORD: Considerable excitement was occasioned on Friday by two prisoners in charge of State Detective Hooker jumping from the car window of train 3, a short distance below town. The officer gave chase as soon as the train could be stopped and succeeded in recapturing one of them. The other was not caught until evening, when he foolishly, for himself, walked into town. They were taken to the Elmira reformatory.

EAST LENOX: Recently, Robert Lewis, lost four very fine cows. The flooring directly under the animals gave away, and the cows were suspended in mid air, they being unable to release themselves on account of their inability to loosen their horns from the stanchions.

SPRINGVILLE: A horse belonging to William Mulligan, ran away last Friday while he was driving down the Meshoppen creek road below Parkvale. Mulligan was partially thrown out and got wedged in between the wheel and cart in such a manner that the wheel would not turn, and was dragged nearly a mile. Dr. Pickard attended him and although in a rather serious condition, succeeded in bringing about his recovery.

LATHROP: A grand parlor entertainment will be held at the home of Elmer Johnson, in Lathrop, on Saturday evening, Oct. 11. A rich program consisting of vocal and instrumental music will be rendered. Also, light refreshments will be served. Bill 25 cents a couple; proceeds for benefit of the church. All invited.

NEWS BRIEFS: The entire State militia is now in the coal regions and an extra effort will be made to stop rioting and see if the mines can be started up. The entire division of the guard has only been called out once for duty on account of a strike since the great railroad riots of 1877. That was during the Homestead riots in 1892. At that time two brigades were placed on duty at Homestead and one, the First, at Mount Gretna, to await orders. The cost to the State of this tour of duty will probably exceed $1,000,000. How long the troops will be kept in the field depends entirely on the situation in the coal regions. AND: Horses rarely live to a greater age than thirty, and are not generally very serviceable for speed or hard work more than half that long. Custer's horse, which was the only thing to escape when the Indians massacred Custer and his soldiers on the Little Big Horn, lived to the age of 45. AND: A weather prophet named David Mansides, of Bristol, predicts seventeen snow storms this coming winter, the heaviest fall to be between February 4th and 10th. The winter is to be long and severe.

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PRESIDENT "STILL WRONG": War is the last resort against any foe. We MUST do all we can to avoid it. We must not sacrifice our young men and women just to please G. B., who is intent on going to war. I know we must get rid of Sadaam. We must find other ways. If he does make a "MOVE" towards us then I suggest that we wipe him and his army off the face of the earth. (Remember President Truman’s ultimatum to Japan. No response, so Pres. Truman did what he had to do – the atomic bomb. It may have killed many Japs, BUT it did save the lives of many Americans and their allies.) Do any of our readers have a solution they would like to submit?

BRIAR’S TIKI BASH: I took a "peek" Saturday (night), September 28, at the advertised "Bash" and that’s just what it was. Bands, different kinds of music – six bands in all – played from 1 p.m. to 2 a.m. Food galore – eat all you want – the weather was a little cold, but that didn’t stop the "guests" as some kept warm dancing to the "rock ‘em" music most of the day and night. (That Bill Briar sure knows how to throw parties!)

WORLD WAR II Cartoonist Needs Help: Nearly anyone who wore an American GI uniform can remember cartoonist Bill Mauldin, who gave "life" to Willie and Joe, as a private in the United States Army. Due to his skill he was assigned to the Stars and Stripes, an Army newspaper. He became world famous with his cartoons. He worked for several papers after his discharge. He is now 80 and suffering from severe burns.

A friend says he would like to hear from GIs. If possible you can drop a card to Bill Mauldin, in care of Gordon Dillow, Orange County Register, 625 North Grand Avenue, Santa Ana, CA 92701.

A MEMO TO ONE Mr. (Ron) Griffis: I was shocked and stunned at my testimonial dinner given to me by Legion Post 86, Susquehanna, when the MC (Jesse Gow) was reading a "tribute" to me from a weather-torn old napkin, signed by Ron Griffis. If that was the best R. G. could afford, to send to a (former) pal, maybe some of his friends could find it in their hearts to help poor (Mr. G.) out. If his friends (minus ONE) are unable to help, we can supply Mr. G. with a phone number that helps "down and out" individuals like him. (Have a good day, Mr. Griffis!)

DOWN MEMORY LANE: September 25, 1952 (from the Deposit Courier) – An All Star Baseball Team – all members of the Sun- Susquehanna League – on Sunday will meet the powerful Great Bend team in a benefit game at Deposit. The benefit is to help Graydon Begeal, a first-string catcher for Deposit, who was injured in a recent game. Binghamton players are Don Clow, (?) Zdimal, and (?) Wasnick; Harpursville players, Doug Gell, Ira Kunkel and (?) Rhodes; Deposit players, Tony Gemma, Hank Raymond, Chuck Ward, and Skinney Conklin; Susquehanna players, Bob VanFleet played short stop, Jack Harmison third base and Lou Parrillo did the catching. The team was managed by Paul Buck. (If memory serves me right, the All Stars defeated Great Bend in a well-played (close) contest.)

ADDITIONAL THANKS: to all my friends (and the recent one) that sent me congratulatory cards due to my recent testimonial party at the Susquehanna American Legion. Your messages will be kindly remembered.

ARE YOU 60 PLUS? If so you may be eligible for prescription assistance. The PACE/PhRMA programs assist individuals 60 plus in applying for benefits. The programs benefit (especially) those without prescription insurance. Married couples below $25,000; single, below $20,000; those that are uninsured or under insured. More information and applying for an application can be obtained by calling toll-free 1-800-982-4346.

FIGHTING SMOKING: The PA Dept. of Health (PDOH) in conjunction with the American Cancer Society (ACS) have launched a toll-free tobacco QUITLINE – 1-877-724-1090. Service by the above units will be provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week for anyone that wants to quit smoking. They can call anytime of the day or night for help. (Now is your chance to quit. Why not give it a try? You have nothing to lose, and in addition, just think of the money you and yours will save!)

A LAUGH OR TWO: A minister decided to do something a little different one Sunday morning. He said, "Today, in church, I am going to say a single word, and you are going to help me preach. Whatever single word I say, I want you to sing whatever hymn comes to your mind."

The pastor shouted out, "Cross." Immediately the congregation started singing in unison, The Old Rugged Cross.

The pastor hollered out, "Grace." The congregation began to sing Amazing Grace.

The pastor said, "Power." The congregation sang There is Power in the Blood.

The pastor said, "Sex." The congregation fell in total silence. Everyone was in shock. They all nervously began to look around at each other, afraid to say anything. Then all of a sudden, way in the back of the church a little 87-year old grandmother stood up and began to sing Precious Memories.

STATE GAME NEWS: A Mifflin County man was sentenced recently to pay nearly $6,000 in fines and replacement costs for killing a large black bear in April that he claimed was killed in self-defense.

David Vogt, 45, of Lewistown, was sentenced on September 6, by District Justice Jackie Leister to pay a mandatory $800 fine for illegally killing a black bear and $5,000 replacement costs after PA Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officers and a biologist proved he did not kill the bear in self-defense.

PA Game Commission Law Enforcement Director Dave Overcash is asking hunters for their cooperation and assistance in reporting violations of the game and wildlife laws and regulations.

"The illegal killing or taking of wildlife is not just a violation of hunting’s ethics of fair chase and sportsmanship, but also is a crime committed against all Pennsylvanians," Overcash said. "In many cases, the Game Commission would never have been able to successfully prosecute such criminals without the information and assistance of the public.

To report a violator, call the Game Commission region office serving the county where the violation occurred. You can also report a violator via the Internet. To participate, go to, then click on "Hunting Information." Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on "Sport and Tip programs."

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Straight From Starrucca

I’ve finally seen a bear at closer range than ever before. It crossed the road in front of us as Helen Kerr and I drove to Susquehanna. At first I thought it was a big, black, shaggy dog as it ambled to the other side, but soon realized my mistake.

Don and Carol Brownell, accompanied by daughter, Debbie left for Florida last Thursday just ahead of the hurricane and arrived safely in Jacksonville, where Don was going to have a complete physical.

Roger and Barbara Glover spent overnight in Salem, VA, last Wednesday–Thursday, where they had gone to visit Janet Lepro, who is putting up a valiant fight against cancer. Sorry to say the odds are against her.

Carl and Virginia Upright had business in Scranton, last Wednesday.

Sue Davis and daughter, Sharon and David Moore, Florida are spending some time with Sue’s parents, Gifford and Vivian Baker. Vivian is having a lot of trouble with her back.

Sunday, October 6 the Wayne-Susquehanna Association of the Baptist Church met at Aldenville. The program for the afternoon was a personal account of the Mercers’ trip to Russia.

About once a year I make this announcement: if you wish to have a greeting from the White House to someone 80 years or older on their birthday, or to someone who is celebrating 50 years of marriage or more, send request to: Attention: Greeting Office, The White House, Office of Communications, Washington, DC 20500. Request should be sent several months in advance, making sure to include the complete name and address of those to be remembered.

Another vignette from life in 1500: The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt, hence the saying "dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in winter when wet, so they spread thresh* on the floor to keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they kept adding more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entryway – hence a threshold.

*Thresh is straw, stems of cereal plants remaining after grains are harvested.

Enjoy the autumn.


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