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Issue Home October 15, 2002 Site Home

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

Along The Way... With P. Jay

Memories Are Made Of This

In the early 1980’s, I was mayor of the Borough of Forest City and one of the first calls I received from the electorate was an older gentleman with a graveled voice.

This is how the conversation went:

P. Jay: Hello

Caller: Tomorrow I have to go to a funeral.

P. Jay: I’m sorry.

Caller: I can’t even buy a new white shirt in this town to wear to the funeral.

P. Jay: I know that. We just don’t have a man’s clothing store in the borough.

Caller: You’re the mayor. Whatcha gonna do about it?

P. Jay: What size shirt do you wear? Maybe one of mine will fit you.

Caller: I don’t want your damn shirt. I wanna store in this town where I can buy one.

P. Jay: I would love to see a couple of new stores open up in our borough, but I don’t think that will happen. At least not in time for you to buy a shirt to wear to the funeral.

Caller: You’re like all the rest of the politicians. You get elected and then forget the people who voted for you.

With that, he hung up the phone.

In Montrose, the Ames Department Store will soon be closing its doors forever. And there will be no place in the Montrose area for a guy to buy a white dress shirt. There will be a lot of things people will not be able to purchase in the Montrose area when Ames is gone.

Ames is the only department store in Susquehanna County. It is going to be missed by many, many people, including me. I shopped it frequently during my weekly trips to Montrose.

The other day, a fellow asked me where the farmers in the county do their shopping. I told him they probably drive to Scranton, Binghamton, Honesdale or Tunkhannock, depending on there they live.

And, of course, being an old timer, I told him I can recall when Forest City was a thriving metropolis especially on Friday and Saturday when the farmers came to town and did their shopping, ate a hearty meal in one of the local restaurants, and topped the night off with a few cold drafts in one of the local drinking emporiums.

"I remember," I said, "when Forest City had a store to meet just about anyone’s needs from socks to suits, kiddies’ wagons to wheelbarrows, ice cream cones to hot fudge sundaes, and Clark Gable to Zsa Zsa Gabor in the local theater."

"Hell," I said (I was on a roll now), "I can remember boarding a train in Forest City and riding it to Carbondale or Scranton. I can remember when you could take a Rapid Transit bus from Forest City to Carbondale or from Forest City to Binghamton.

"I can remember when Forest City’s Main Street was lined with clothing stores, shoe stores, jewelry stores, and, of course, the Sweet Shop and the Sugar Bowl, two hangouts that were jammed to the rafters with teenagers just about every night."

"What happened to the town?" the fellow asked.

"Well, first the coal mines began shutting down one-by-one," I answered. "That put about half of the male population in the welfare line or on a bus to faraway places where there were job opportunities. With no coal to haul and few industries here needing freight service, the railroads began hurting and finally they either went belly up or abandoned the area."

In the post war years (Archie Bunker’s Big War), a whole new world filled with opportunities lured the small town boys and girls into the big cities. Automobile production was booming in places like Newark, Detroit and Buffalo. With Uncle Sam recognizing a need to keep its military strength at peak level, battleships and submarines had to be built, as did airplanes, tanks and ground weapons. Munitions plants popped up all over the country, like Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, for example. Jobs were plentiful everywhere else but not here. And so the exodus started.

The rest is history. As if the small town merchants did not have enough trouble trying to survive in the wake of dwindling populations, more automobiles and improved highways led to the birth of the shopping mall. That turned out to be the proverbial straw that broke the backs of so many individual merchants who just could not compete with the price or the selection of nationwide chain stores.

And that is one man’s theory on why we still cannot buy a white shirt in Forest City.

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Slices of Life

Ah – Temptation

They say it’s low fat, but we all know there is no really low fat ice cream that is as creamy as what I was eating. The occasion was that I was waiting for my car to be inspected, and I was near McDonald’s. Some of us will use any excuse to indulge.

Ronald McDonald smiled at me from the little paper strip that covers the bottom half of the cone and keeps me from getting germs on what I was definitely going to eat. That soggy cone is a big part of the treat.

I remember reading an inspirational story for dieters about a woman who was feeling so deprived while on an "eating plan" that she drove ten miles for an ice cream cone. She took one bite and threw it out the car window. What willpower! What a waste.

I’ve had a partially eaten half-gallon of Neapolitan ice cream in my freezer since the first of August. My daughter and I had gone to three stores looking for vanilla ice cream to accompany a dessert at a family dinner when the grandchildren were visiting. But there was no vanilla to be had that day. Being that it was the weekend of the Blueberry Festival, the vanilla had probably all been purchased to be served with the many blueberry confections that were being made in homes throughout the county. Anyway, we settled for Neapolitan. Bad choice, because there is something about chocolate, strawberry and vanilla together that makes my mouth water. Unfortunately for me, no one wanted ice cream. So there I was with a big temptation.

Two months and it’s only half gone. Not too bad. I suppose most folks would have thrown it away by now, but I have the box sealed up in a gallon ziplock bag, and that is keeping it from growing whiskers like it does when the air hits it. Now and then I sneak it out of the freezer and indulge in a small amount. Ah, the ultimate comfort food.

As an expert on ice cream, I can tell you that the perfect texture is when it just starts to melt. That probably explains why I’m partial to the soft ice creams that spiral out of machines.

I remember, with mouth-watering longing, the time I decided to throw away two partially eaten half gallons of ice cream. We had had a birthday party, and, once again, not much ice cream was consumed. That was back a couple years ago when the memory of chest pains was more vivid, and I would throw away forbidden food rather than be tempted. I set these two containers in the sink and went off to do some errands. When I got back, they were melted to that point of perfection where they would still hold some shape, but I knew they would melt in my mouth in creamy, cold perfection. I slowly opened the silverware drawer and sneaked out a spoon. Then I stood transfixed, doing battle with temptation. I lost. I found myself avidly savoring spoonsful of this food fit for the gods. Not too far into this feeding frenzy, I came to my senses and reluctantly ran water in the containers to wash away further enticement to sin.

I’ve decided that it’s much easier to not have ice cream in the house. And as soon as this half-gallon is gone, that’s exactly what I’ll do. Until the next party, of course, because what’s a party without ice cream even if no one eats it but me?

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100 Years Ago – 1902-2002

RUSH: Take heed, all ye fair maids and mistresses, brave youths and gentlemen! On Friday evening, Oct. 31st, at Jack-'o-lantern light, will gather in the lower room of Trinity church, those spirits of the air which are wont thus to gather on All Hallow E'en. All people are asked to come and join their revels, but lest some spell be cast upon you, maids and mistresses bring in your hand this charm:--A box wrapped in a paper of color brown, and in this box 2 pieces of pumpkin or apple pie, 2 fair-cheeked apples, 2 slices of bread and butter, 2 pieces of plain cake and nuts for two, and youths and men carry in your pockets some pieces of silver that ye may not be spirited away. Once more we say thee, come! Signed-"Witches of the Night."

NEW MILFORD: An extra freight train running east was wrecked at a point a few miles west of this place Monday morning. The accident was caused by the breaking of an air hose; several cars containing merchandise were demolished, but no lives were lost.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Graves and Bow Bridge schools, which have been closed on account of Diphtheria in the vicinity, both opened again recently much to the satisfaction of the teachers. AND: The Neville school house, number 4, caught fire recently and must certainly have burned but for Mr. Baker, who luckily happened to be passing, saw the smoke and succeeded in extinguishing the fire.

GLENWOOD: P.P. Squires will draw his carp pond off on Oct. 25th. All are invited to attend and eat a carp dinner. AND: Would it not be a good idea to know where our young girls go evenings?

FRANKLIN FORKS: Earl Tiffany is hard at work building his excelsior factory at Steam Hollow. AND: The Epworth League will hold an experience social at Mrs. William Osborne's the first Friday evening in November. It was decided last summer that each member was to earn some money by something outside their usual work, and give that to the League. Supper will be served. Price given later.

MIDDLETOWN: Thos. Golden bought a colt to mate his, now drives a span of 2 year olds, weighing 20 hundred.

LATHROP: Mrs. Dennis Johnson had her breast bone broken by a barn door which she and her daughter were trying to replace on the track, and which lost its balance, falling over on her shoulders and bending her with force to produce the fracture as above noted. Dr. Decker, of Nicholson, was called and reduced the fracture. Mrs. Johnson, being 74 years old, the injury is more serious than if she were younger.

KINGSLEY: The D.L.&W. Railroad company have been making decided improvements at Kingsley station and their grounds, tracks, buildings and water ways have all been remodeled and greatly changed for the better. A force of more than 50 men have been employed since early in the season at a cost of $5,000, erecting new buildings, moving the station, changing the tracks and building a new storage reservoir, and in many other ways changing the entire property at that point.

BROOKLYN: A patent has been issued to Wm. L. Sterling, of Brooklyn, for an attachment for wagon endboards. AND: Word was received a few days ago from our State Superintendent that he had granted Brooklyn Graded School the title of "Brooklyn Township High School," which carries with it an extra appropriation from the State. Prof. M.W. Stephens has put forth strong efforts to secure this and the people of Brooklyn are to be congratulated upon having [the] teachers and [the] school having qualifications entitling them to such recognition.

SUSQUEHANNA: Rev. J. L. Williams, pastor of the Baptist church, proposes that popular meetings be held in each city and town and people express their views on the coal strike. He has called for a meeting of the editors and clergy in Susquehanna to arrange one. But one can hear people express their views, on all sides, without holding a meeting and some of the things that are said would not sound well in a church.

MONTROSE: Sidney W. Park, of Red Wing Minn., the youngest son of the late Dr. Ezra S. Park (who removed from Montrose to Iowa in 1858, and to Red Wing in 1862) has been visiting his many friends in the place of his nativity and childhood. He came east to attend the recent meeting of the G.A.R. Encampment at Washington, and on his way homeward stopped for a few days at Montrose. His mother was a sister of the late D.D. and N.C.Warner and there were numerous cousins to welcome him. He finds that many changes have taken place in the past 44 years, and many whom he knew in boyhood are now sleeping on the hill.

CLIFFORD: The death of Thomas David, published last week, was a mistake. It was intended for and should have been Thomas N. Doud, one of Clifford's oldest and most highly respected citizens. He was 85 years old, formerly a very hard worker, and quite active up to within a few days of his death, Sept. 27. He leaves a wife, one of the most amiable old ladies of our town and one daughter, Mrs. Frank Bennett.

DIMOCK: Stang & Whitney have sold out their stone quarry in Dimock, and as Mr. Stang has the western fever, he will probably depart for the West soon.

FOREST LAKE: H.B. Stone was kindly remembered on Wednesday of last week by about 20 of his neighbors and friends who went to his house and assisted him in cutting his corn.

FAIRDALE: Names of pupils receiving 100% in spelling: Mattie Hewitt, Carrie Shelp, Wilber Hewitt, Pearl Fowler, Lee Robinson, Fannie Shelp, Lillian Rosenkrans. Those having 90% or above: Harry Clark, Carrie Shelp, Mattie Hewitt. Nellie Hewitt, teacher.

NEWS BRIEF: In reply to a subscriber we would say that Miss Blackman's history gives the number of Civil War soldiers accredited to this county as 3,100 and from best possible information there are about 850 still living. Authentic figures as to the number enlisting from this county are hard to obtain, as a great many enrolled outside the county.

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County Democrats Meet And Eat; Going All Out For Rendell

The Susquehanna County Democrats – along with some big names from surrounding counties – on Sunday, September 27 at the Hallstead Rod & Gun Club, after a delicious steak dinner for close to 200 people, rallied the troops to the point that they sincerely believe that Ed Rendell will be the next governor of Pennsylvania.

With notables from Scranton, Wyoming County and several other communities, newly-elected Susquehanna County Chairman Joe Franks took over the podium, welcoming all of the Democrats and several Republican friends at the rally.

Are the steaks ready? Seems to be what fellow Democrats are asking Chef Dick Pelicci. Pictured (l-r) are: Rick Franks, secretary of Susquehanna County Democrats; Joey Franks, chairman; Mr. Pelicci; Paul Kovitch, manager of Hallstead Rod & Gun Club.

After recognizing several county office holders and other well-known people, Mr. Franks called on the first speaker of the day, former Lt. Governor Mark Singel, who served during the Bob Casey regime.

Singel (who you could tell was a skilled politician) first complimented the county Democrats for their dedication to their party, due to the "full house here today." In part, he said, "You must be strong at lower levels, to help those in the higher levels. I can’t think of a better candidate than Ed Rendell to be our next governor. He has more experience than his opponent to run the state. He has an outstanding record in Philadelphia as its mayor. Contrary to reports, Ed is a true friend of the sportsmen. With Rendell, the state’s best days are ahead of us."

The second and last speaker of the day was John Petrizzo, from Bushkill, a candidate for state senate. In a short, but stirring speech he called it an honor to be a candidate for state senate. "I am committed," he said, "to do something to lessen the burden of school taxes.

"I also want to get some of our roads repaired that are in very poor condition. I am running because I think I can do better than my opponent." Mr. Petrizzo isn’t afraid to stand up and question the powers that be in Harrisburg. With the critical issues of school taxes, Petrizzo believes he can do something about them. "Give me a chance," he said, "and I will do just what I promise."

Chairman Franks asked that more people consider running for county offices. "Right now," he said, "we must work on getting out the vote and supporting Ed Rendell for governor, and Petrizzo for state senate of the 110th District."

Responsible for serving a delicious meal that included steaks, corn, potatoes, coleslaw, sausage and onion sandwiches, and several kinds of dessert were: super steak Chef Dick Pelicci, who has been "turning" the steaks for over 25 years; Sue Eddleston, Sheriff Lance Benedict, Mike Vaccaro, Ceil Vaccaro, Rick Ainey, Rick Ranks, along with Vice County Chairperson Nancy Hurley and State Committeeman Tom Hurley.

(I don't really know why, but several prominent county Republicans were present. Could be they heard of the "mouthwatering" steaks that our former sheriff, Dick Pelicci "charcoals" along with corn and potatoes. I know I enjoyed them.)

30 MORE TV CHANNELS! Did I read that right in the Council report in the October 2 Transcript? Adams Cable is planning 30 more channels. WHY? We already have 36. It’s all I can do to watch half of them. Will we have to take them? Do we have a choice? Will they cost us more money? Pray tell, what other channels do we need? I hope our council – if there is going to be an added charge – will let us know through the Transcript when and how much. Also, will we have "town meeting" to discuss the added stations? Could be, some of the residents would like more channels – but I sincerely believe the majority are satisfied just the way it is right now. How do our readers feel about it? We would like to hear from you.

HOW ABOUT That "Marcho Man"? According to P. Jay Amadio’s column of October 5, County Commissioner Gary Marcho (a Republican) again failed to show at a regular scheduled commissioner meeting, September 25. On top of that, Democrat County Commissioner Cal Dean failed to show, leaving Republican Lee Smith as the only commissioner on hand. After waiting for several minutes for the others to show, Smith called the meeting off. To those in charge of the payroll I ask, "Do the commissioners receive pay when they fail to attend a meeting? Is it taken from their pay?" If I (when I was employed) did not show for work, it was taken out of my pay. It shouldn’t be any different with the county commissioners. They should be docked. How much a year are they making? I am not sure, but it is around $40,000. Not bad pay – even when you stay away!

FEARSOME FOUR – SOME FLOP: Although a dyed-in-the-wool Yankee fan (me), I must admit that Steinbrenner’s multi-million dollar payroll players certainly did not earn their keep in the playoffs. They barely won the second game against the California Angels, and were greatly outclassed in the other three games. Can you imagine a crew of pitchers, such as Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Mike Mussina, David Wells, not lasting over five innings. And the relievers didn’t do any better. Congratulations to the Angels, who I believe had more desire to win than the Yankees. Money does buy good ball players, but if the desire is not there, they’re not worth a plugged nickel. Give me the players that go "all out" – win or lose – that’s my kind of a team.

SMOKER GETS BIG MONEY: What a farce! A Los Angeles jury awarded a woman smoker, Betty Bullock, who smoked since she was 17 to her present age of 64, $28 billion. Personally I don’t believe it’s fair to the tobacco industry to award such fantastic sums. I don’t see the tobacco companies holding a gun to your "head" to buy their product. I say, in the past they were at fault – but now they advertise the effect it has on smokers. 28 billion dollars, that’s outrageous.

I’D QUIT, TOO: Sen. Robert Torricelli, of New Jersey, decided not to run for reelection. Why should he? Come next January, he will be in line to receive a yearly pension of $74,000 – after living for the past 20 years at taxpayers’ expenses. Now the taxpayers will also pay for his "retirement." (Most of us sure missed our "calling." Next time around we could choose to run for political office. Every pension is a "plum.")

WORTH REPEATING: "So, Your Honor, the pledge is unconstitutional because it says ‘under God.’ Guess that means when you were sworn in with your hand on a Bible, and at the end of your oath you repeated ‘So Help Me God,’ that makes your job unconstitutional! Therefore you have no job, which means your ruling doesn’t mean squat." Dennis Miller, comedian.

A boy’s father picks him up at school. Knowing the cast for the school play has been posted, he asks his son if he landed a part. "I play a man who’s been married for 20 years," the boy says. "That’s great son," the father replies. "Before you know it they’ll be giving you a speaking part."

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Straight From Starrucca

Paul and Bridget D’Agati have returned from a three-week stay in Berlin, Germany, where they went to visit Bridget’s ninety-two year old mother. I asked her about airport security; she said once she had to take off her shoes because they had a steel shank in them, making the detector go off. Otherwise they were not held back and had delightful time.

Joyce and Roger Smith, Concord, NC have been visiting her mother, Eleanor Buchanan for a week or so.

Sue Davis, granddaughter of Gifford and Vivian Baker, has returned to her home in Maitland, Florida, after a visit here. Coming to stay awhile with his parents are Allan and wife, Wendy from Delta Junction, Alaska. Mother Vivian is suffering from a bad back and it is difficult for her to get around.

Nelson and Phyllis Dickey pulled in last Tuesday night with their fifth-wheel camper. They were returning from a six-week tour of Western US and Canada. One of their side trips took them to a very remote area in Canada where one of Phyllis’ relatives lived.

Marguerieta Kennedy, one of the quilters who meet here on Thursday mornings, celebrated her ninety-fourth birthday on October 9. That is also my birthday, but I have eight years to go to make ninety-four.

I did have a lovely birthday, with lots of cards and telephone calls and visits. At night my family treated me to dinner. Attending were two sons, Nelson and wife, Phyllis, Dan and grandsons, David and Stephen, with their lady friends. A good time was had by all.

You are invited to a harvest fellowship supper, Wednesday, October 23, at 6 p.m. at the Starrucca Baptist Church. Bring a covered dish, then Anna Young will give a talk on her prison ministry to women. A freewill offering will be taken to help her with this ministry.

Charlotte and John Keyser spent the last week in September at Myrtle Beach with friends. They rented a house right on the beach with three other couples from New Jersey. The weather was great and the water was warm, making swimming every day just perfect. The hurricanes went all around them, making the ocean a bit rough one day, but other than that, they all enjoyed the sand and sun. While there they saw three shows, the Carolina Opry, Legends, and a show at the Alabama Theater called "One the Show." In addition they enjoyed an afternoon riverboat cruise down the Waccamaw River, where they explored the scenic beauty, history and wildlife of the Waccamaw River. They spent a very great time with their friends and had a restful and much needed vacation.

One more item from life in the 1500’s (author unknown): houses had thatched roofs, using straw, piled high with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm so all the pets – dogs, cats and other small animals such as mice, rats, and bugs lived in the roof. When it rained, it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof. Hence the saying, "It’s raining cats and dogs." There was nothing to stop things from falling through the roof into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom, where bugs and other droppings could really mess up the bed. So they found if they made beds with big posts and hung a sheet over the top, it took care of the problem. And so we have those beautiful four-poster beds with the canopies over top.


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Barnes-Kasson Corner

Halloween Safety Tips

Halloween is a fun time for both adults and children alike, but it can also however be a dangerous time as well. At Barnes-Kasson we have put together a list of safety tips to keep you and your family safe this Halloween.


On Halloween it is very important for motorists to use extra caution. Children are sometimes dressed in dark clothing and that makes them very difficult to see. Children may also dart out from in between parked cars and could also be walking down the middle of the road or on the median. Perhaps the most important thing for motorists to remember is to use a lot of extra caution when exiting or entering their driveways.


Parents need to make sure that their children are well protected on Halloween night. Parents should make sure that an adult or an older/responsible child is with their children as they trick or treat. Plan and discuss the route that your children will take on Halloween night, this will insure that you always know where your children are. Discuss with your children that they should only stop at houses that are well lit and to never go into the home of a stranger. Establish a time for the children to return home and go over all traffic safety tips with them.


Only buy costumes that are made of fire retardant materials, they should also be loose but not able to trip a child. Masks can sometimes restrict a child’s vision, you may want to consider using a non-toxic face paint instead. Reflectors can also help to keep your children safe and more visible to motorists.

One of the most important things that parents can do is to inspect their child’s candy before they begin to eat it.

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With folks heading into the woods and working a lot outside for the end of the season, it occurred to me that a few refreshers in how to take care of ourselves in emergencies and in general might be a place some would like to we're at the gate and off!

CPR is a very important quotient in lives when there are accidents anywhere, so I found a terrific place to visit. They even have a CPR simulator. To do that you have to click on to interactive in the sidebar. Basic first aid came out in "sterling" fashion at this site: This has a very clear easy to read format.

You realize that we are still basically a farming community. So, I stretched a little and found This site has excellent illustrations available in English and Spanish. I strongly suggest you go to locate by state at the top of the page. There click on Pennsylvania for important farm safety information.

While out in the north-forty, you might run into a nasty snake. Go to for very important pertinent tips. Of course, we are all hearing about West Nile Virus. Many get whacked with this when the mosquito, who is about to go into hibernation for the winter, strikes for the last time this season. The following site: has state and local facts that are of use to everyone.

Out and about, and in the house, the following are sites that are of significant value: can help with health, nutrition and exercise, while will give you terminology necessary for your heart. For food and nutrition a look at will point you in the right direction. Kitchen safety is paramount and the following is an interactive site particularly good, if you have children in your home: Another good spot for kids left at home for one reason or another is

If you are feeling depressed see to help with coping and for emotional support.

For auto safety I found these sites to be useful: and The latter even deals with jump starting and hydroplaning.

Who did I miss? Fido! Check out for help if he is moving slowly these days, and to help when they are hurt print out some information from

That's all for this month…hope it is a safe one for you and your loved ones.

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