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Issue Home June 3, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Straight From Starrucca

Slices of Life

Keeping Busy

Mrs. Morris has had a busy day. She’s been helping me get dirt from the garden to mix with potting soil. While down there, she had to stop at the catnip plant for her daily fix. Then there was the snake that she wanted to interact with but, like me, was a little skittish. We both decided to give up ground and move to safer quarters.

Just this morning I was telling a friend on the phone about my aversion to snakes. And the reason we were even talking about them was, that while working in her flower garden, she had unearthed this big white egg.

Getting ahead of her in her story, I said, "If it’s round and leathery, it might be a turtle egg."

She said, "It’s sort of leathery, but it’s tapered more like a chicken’s egg." She, who has lived by the river for many years and is an avid gardener, went on to say, "I think it’s a snake egg."

Now that was new to me. I didn’t know that snakes laid eggs. But she had seen them before. They have lots of big black snakes there and have found skins and skeletons in the attic and crawl space under the house. She even saw one crawling up the wall in her laundry room one day. That was while her husband was still living. Now she’s doing battle with the snakes on her own. I’d be moving!

I asked her what she did with the snake egg. "Oh", she said nonchalantly, "I put it in a pint Mason jar and made some tiny, tiny air holes in the lid before I screwed it on tight."

"And what will you do with the snakes when they hatch?" I wanted to know.

She wasn’t sure, but thought she might put the whole thing in the garbage can. I couldn’t figure out why she would let them hatch if she wasn’t going to set them free. Maybe just to satisfy her curiosity that it is a snake egg.

But Morris and I left our garden snake alone as we dug, planted, and watered. We fixed a nice pot for the cemetery, changing to impatiens this year because the spot is so shady that nothing grows well. They will take a lot of watering, but that’s all right. I can use the exercise, especially if I walk there and carry water. I have a little backpack and I carry a two-quart plastic container full of water. That works.

My buddy and I also weeded, pruned, transplanted and admired. Now we’ve settled down in our favorite chair where she sprawls on my lap and I write with my notebook propped on the arm of the chair. She yawns and I yawn. Maybe it’s time to close our eyes for a few minutes before going to the computer to do our thing.

Later she will wander out the front door and guard the robins’ nest while Mom and Pop Robin forage for food for their young. The neighborhood cat is very curious and tries to climb up the post to reach the babies, but Mrs. Morris and I are vigilant. When we hear the adults squawking in alarm, we know there’s trouble brewing and we head out the door.

Just one more job in the life of a busy cat.

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100 Years Ago

LINDAVILLE, Brooklyn Twp.: The sawmill, belonging to E. P. Mack & Son, was destroyed by fire Tuesday afternoon at about five o'clock, including the machinery and contents. The house and barn, which are located near the mill, caught fire several times, but by hard work on the part of the neighbors who had gathered at the scene of the conflagration, the buildings were saved. There was no insurance, and it is not probable that the mill will be rebuilt.

HALLSTEAD: A steam stone crusher will, in the near future, be placed in the O'Neill stone quarry at Hallstead for the purpose of breaking stone for use in making roads. Nothing but crushed stone can ever lessen the muddy condition of our roads.

DIMOCK: The managers of the Dimock camp-meeting met on the grounds on Tuesday of last week and fixed upon August 26 to September 3 as the time of the fall meeting. The privilege of running the boarding hall was let to Howard & Baker, of Lynn, and the barn was let to Fred A. Risley, of Springville. The management will do considerable in the way of repairs and improvements to the grounds this season. The boarding tent will be overhauled; Epworth Hall will be repaired; the board walks relaid, and a great deal of cleaning up done. The Sperry cottage, next to the preacher's stand, which was purchased for the presiding elder's use, will be fitted up and furnished. The usual admittance fee of ten cents to the grounds will be charged.

MONTROSE: The many friends of Miss Clara A. Winans will receive with regret the news that she will not hold next year her former position as assistant principal in the High School, having accepted a very fine offer from the Mansfield Normal School. Miss Winans is a teacher and disciplinarian whose equal is seldom found, and during the number of years she has faithfully taught in our schools the high standard of education has been greatly advanced, both directly and indirectly, through her efforts. The loss to the school and town will be keenly felt, and for her a pleasant remembrance will always exist in the memories of our citizens and students.

LANESBORO: While catching baitfish in the river on the Oakland Side on Saturday afternoon, Bert Chase, of Lanesboro, aged 27, was seized with a paroxysm and was drowned in two feet of water. The body was soon recovered. Deceased, who leaves a widow, was employed in the Susquehanna [railroad] shops. The remains were on Monday taken to Sherburne, N.Y. for services and interment.

SUSQUEHANNA: Mrs. Kate Taylor, who has been convicted and sentenced to death for the murder of her husband, the late LaFayette Taylor, in the court at Monticello, N.Y., was the former wife of the late Willis DeKay, who some 12 years since was a prominent druggist here. Ida May, the daughter, who saw the murder and the burning of the body in the stove, is the only child of DeKay and Mrs. DeKay Taylor. The murderess came from a fine family and before marriage studied medicine and graduated.

AUBURN CENTRE: The Auburn Centre Wrecking Co. took down a barn for E. W. Tewksbury, last week.

THOMSON: Telephone meeting here June 11; about 200 stockholders are expected.

UNIONDALE: An ice cream social for the benefit of the Public Library will be held in the rooms, Friday evening, June 5. AND: Patterson Brothers, of Carbondale, have purchased a timber tract owned by Hon. Philo Burritt near Uniondale.

HARFORD: Mrs. Chester Williams was one of the oldest residents of Harford. She was born in Massachusetts, Oct. 25, 1811. Her maiden name was Parker, and after her marriage with Chester Williams she came to this state to reside. They settled on a farm about three miles from Harford village. Here they lived until Mr. Williams died in 1875. Since that time Mrs. Williams has lived with her children. She was the mother of five children, three of whom survive her. In her last sickness she was cared for by her daughter, Mrs. Mary Brundage and Mrs. Austin Darrow. She was laid to rest beside her husband in the Peck cemetery. Her age was 91 years, 6 months. AND: The school directors met Monday and the following teachers were hired for the Graded school the coming term-Principal G. A. Stearns; assistant, Carolyn Brewster; primary, Nina Moore. It was also decided to give Kingsley an 8 months term.

BIRCHARDVILLE: The friends and neighbors of Chester Bennett gave him a pleasant surprise May 21st, it being his 41st birthday. Dinner was served at 1 P.M., followed by ice cream and cake and soon the friends took leave, wishing him many returns of the day, leaving him money for a rocker for his declining years. Among those present were: Mr. and Mrs. W. A. Pickett and son, Mrs. V. E. Cobb, Mrs. N. C. Babcock and daughter Pansy, Hazel Potter, Mr. & Mrs. H. F. Baker and son, of Birchardville; Mr. and Mrs. C. B. Colver and son, of Opposition; A.E. Turrell, Mrs. Frank Turrell, Mrs. Newell Turrell, of Forest Lake; Fred Webb, Mrs. J. E. Webb, who is 84 years old, Mrs. Hulda Green and daughter, Bina, of Montrose.

NEW MILFORD: Chas. M. Howard has brought suit against the borough of New Milford, because of the drowning of his little girl last spring, claiming the bridge she walked off was not sufficiently guarded. Suit is brought for $10,000. W. D. B. Ainey is his attorney.

NEWS BRIEFS: So far as can be said at present there have been 955 cases and 64 deaths from typhoid fever at Ithaca. This ranks the epidemic among the most important of modern times in this part of the world. AND: As shown in the annual report of the 13th Regiment's inspector of rifle practice, Co G. [of Susquehanna County] may well be proud of the magnificent record it has made. The company is now composed of eight sharpshooters, twenty first-class marksmen, thirty-two second-class and three third-class. No other company in the regiment has either as many sharpshooters or first-class marksmen, which speaks volumes for the clear eye and steady nerves of those composing G Company. Out of the twenty-seven company officers who are ranked as expert in the use of the revolver, we find three of our company: Captain Dennis and Lieutenants Barron and VanScoten. With the new magazine rifles, which have a greater range than the old Springfield, much more effective shooting can be done, and with plenty of practice our boys, we are certain, can win even higher standing in the regiment.

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RON GRIFFIS Elected To Southern Tier Bowling Hall of Fame

Ron Griffis, of Susquehanna and Great Bend, on May 17, 2003, was elected to the Southern Tier Bowling Association’s Hall of Fame. The Association is composed of bowlers from the Great Bend, Johnson City and Endicott, NY area.

According to the Second Annual Hall of Fame and Sportsmanship Awards Banquet program booklet, Ron was a Hall of Fame inductee in the Ability Category.

Ron is 66 years old and is still an active bowler in the Binghamton City League. He has been bowling in the classic league for 38 years, starting in the Midway Classic in 1964-65. During the 38-year classic career, Ron was a member of five league championship teams. In 1964, Ron received the Cris King Award for high average in all Ansco leagues, averaging 198.

Ron was part owner of State Bowling Center, from 1985-95, and a promoter of the Chuck Bowman Tournament for 17 years. His accomplishments are as follows: 34 years bowling in the National ABC tournament, with a composite average of 187.8.

His 37-year composite Binghamton City League average was 200.8. High series was 791, high average 224, high single nine 300 games. He had 11 in a row four times.

After installation, Ron remarked, "To be able to have bowled and competed with the great bowlers, both past and present, in the Triple Cities is a privilege and to have been selected and accepted to take a place with many of them in the Southern Tier Bowling Association Hall of Fame is truly an honor."

(A personal note: in addition to bowling in the Triple Cities for many years, Ronnie was also one of the top bowlers in Susquehanna, at the old St. John’s Lanes and Riverside Lanes - now owned by Dave Passetti. His Nick Nataline’s Olde Colonial Inn team was always in the "thick of the fight." Over the years while here, he averaged in the high 200s. His high series was 791. Of his nine 300 games, four were bowled at the Riverside Lanes. His first came in January of 1964 - which earned him a "headline" in the Susquehanna Transcript; I was a witness to that game, and the following three. In addition to his great ability on the bowling lanes, he was also a cog - playing first base - for the Ole Timers softball team. Ron also claims that he is a great fisherman - as long as the fish markets stay open. Congratulations, Ron, and may you bowl many more high scores.)

THREE WOMEN As Commissioners! It’s a possibility, as Katherine Shelly and MaryAnn Warren will be the Democrat candidates, while Roberta Kelly of Susquehanna and Jeff Loomis will be the Republican candidates. It could also be a possibility that - probably for the first time in the county - two Democrats could be elected. Mrs. Kelly led all candidates with 1806 votes, followed by Loomis 1724, Shelly 999 and Warren 948. To say the least, the November election could be one of the closest and most interesting in a long time. (Note: it could also be a possibility that some of the defeated candidates will run on a "write-in.") Any way we look at it, we will have three new commissioners.

LEGION’S "SAL" Champs – On May 16 and 17, two bowling teams representing the Susquehanna American Legion Post 86 took part in the State’s American Legion Bowling Tournament, held in Blue Ball. Placing first in the team event were Sons of the American Legion (SAL) Kevin McKee, Chuck Beamer, Matt Frailey, Mike Kuiper and Bill Kuiper. Several bowlers also placed in the singles and doubles. (Full details will be published at a later date.)

FLY A FLAG For the Military – "Fly A Flag Day" appreciation was set by Congress, in 1999. Every American is being asked to fly the flag in honor of those who have defended this country. You may not realize it, but more than 80 million Americans have ties to the military; they’ve either served or are serving today, or they have a family member who wore a uniform. Special events are going on in celebrations across the nation - from an open house at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to a Festival of Flight Fayetteville, Nicholson. Fly your flag, especially on June 14, Flag Day. Many of us will proudly display the American Flag. Will you be one of them?

ATVs Ruining Game Lands - Riders of all-terrain vehicles - ATVs - are causing thousands of dollars of damage and ecological harm to state game lands, officials say. It is illegal to ride ATVs on game lands. The fine for riding illegally is $100. Officials plan to crack down on illegal riders.

A FAIR WARNING - The Pennsylvania Sheriff’s Association wishes to alert all Pennsylvanians "we have never solicited for members by telephone. All of our solicitations for new members are by mail, through the United States post office. If you receive a call solicitation by a company claiming to represent the Pennsylvania Sheriffs, please call us at (717) 236–7336."

SEAT BELT CHECK – Police departments across Pennsylvania will set up checkpoints this month to monitor seat belt use. Edward Boothman, regional law enforcement liaison for the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, said that local departments determine the location and frequency of the checkpoints.

SPARE VA HOSPITAL – Rep. Paul E. Kanjorski recently urged Veterans Affairs Secretary Anthony Principi to spare the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center from closing or cutbacks as the VA evaluates its entire health care delivery system. He delivered petitions signed by more than 30,000 area residents asking the VA to keep the hospital open. A final report on the evaluation process is due in October.

MEDICARE "GOING UP" - Medicare actuaries are already working on the amount of the Part B premium for 2004. Early indications are that it will increase by 12.3 percent, representing an additional $7.20 a month deducted from the checks of Social Security recipients. According to this new calculation, the premium rate would rise to $65.90 a month, compared to the current rate of $58.70. Medicare attributes the increase to higher health care costs.

A DEFENDING ATTORNEY was cross-examining a coroner. The attorney asked, Before you signed the death certificate, did you take the man’s pulse?"

"No," the coroner replied.

"Did you listen for a heartbeat?" the attorney asked.


"Did you check for signs of breathing?"


"So when you signed the death certificate, you had not taken any steps to make sure the man was dead, had you?"

The coroner, weary of the browbeating, said, "Well, let me put it this way: the man’s brain was in a jar on my desk, but for all I know he could be out practicing law somewhere."

OPPORTUNITY only knocks once, which means it would make a lousy Avon lady.

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Straight From Starrucca

Because of the drizzle, the following Memorial Day program was held in the Community Hall. A good-sized crowd participated. Opening prayer, Kurt Rhone; flag carrier, Dan Downton; Pledge of Allegiance, Future Generation of our Country; song - My Country ‘Tis of Thee, led by the Rhone family; reading - The Gettysburg Address, read by Marie Gurske; placing of the wreath, Gina Upright; Memorial Day message, Private Andy Cizike; roll call of servicemen who gave their lives four our country, read by Art Kopp; placing the plant, Joy Mead; Taps, Danielle Williams and Donnie Cottrell; song - American the Beautiful, led by the Rhone family; closing prayer, Steve Stanford.

The rain let up by this time, so those who were able walked and others rode to the cemetery. At the cemetery, opening prayer was offered by John Keyser; recitation - In Flanders Field, recited by Margaret Dickey; song - Battle Hymn of the Republic, led by the Rhone family; closing prayer, John Keyser. Flowers were placed on the graves of veterans.

The Cemetery Association met in the Baptist Church, with Charles Levchak presiding. The endowment fund for perpetual care is in good shape. If any of you can spare the time, the association is having a work day on Saturday, June 7, assembling at the cemetery any time after 8 a.m. The history group showed pictures of old homes and businesses in Starrucca. Following the meeting, over two hundred people enjoyed the chicken and biscuit dinner put on by the Baptist ladies and helpers. Lots of good cheer prevailed as old friends and neighbors renewed acquaintances. On sale were reprints of the 1972 "History of Starrucca" and also "Starrucca Remembrances" by Raymond Sampson. Raymond was born and raised in Starrucca and a descendant of the very first settlers.

James and Patrick Romanofski, Jacksonville, Florida, are going to keep Grandma Joy Mead on her toes for the next six weeks this summer.

Jim and Debbie Kelly have been informed that the new baby boy born to Chad and Shannon Crawford at Wilson Hospital last Thursday will be calling them Grandpa and Grandma in the not-too-distant future.

Marie Soden, Tyrone, PA, who has been visiting her daughter and son-in-law, Rosemary and Carmen Cosentino, Steinbach Corners, spent an overnight with me last Sunday.

Nelson and Phyllis Dickey and Rebecca, Judy Fairchild, Waymart, attended the Memorial Day dinner with me.

Another wild animal has entered the village. Doris Davidson, my neighbor, saw a coyote looking at her through her kitchen window last week.

The new stainless steel gas stove, a gift from the estate of Minnie Brooker, was delivered just in time for us to prepare our second turkey buffet at the Methodist Church, Thursday, June 5. Takeouts at 4:30, dinner at 5 p.m. Just remember the bridge in middle of town is closed.


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