Main News
County Living
Church Announcements
Dated Events
Military News
Subscribe to the Transcript

Watch This space for information on upcoming events in Susquehanna County.

Please visit our kind sponsors

Issue Home July 15, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

Straight From Starrucca
Along the Way...With P. Jay

Slices of Life

Getting Away

What is the hardest thing to do? For me it has to be getting out of the house. It makes little difference whether I’m heading out for my daily walk or flying away on vacation. As soon as I shut the door, my mind starts playing the recording – did you turn off the coffeepot, shut the windows, check the stove, let the cat in? I can’t tell you how many times I have unlocked the door and checked the coffeepot, even when I was nearly positive I’d taken care of that duty. I have even driven back to the house more than once from ten miles or so out to check that miserable coffeepot. It would be almost enough to make a person give up coffee!

My mind vividly replays the scene of the time a friend asked me to ride along with her to Vestal. We hadn’t driven more than five miles when I thought, with a start, did I unplug the coffee-maker? I tried re-enacting my morning. What had I done and in what sequence? Vainly I tried to picture myself turning off the coffee-maker and unplugging it before I went upstairs to get dressed. But having done that same sequence over the years, how could I be sure it was this morning that I was remembering and not two months ago?

I was stuck. I couldn’t ask her to turn around and drive back so that I could run in and then return to the car to say, "Yes, I had unplugged it." So I worried as we rode, worried as we walked through the store, as we went on to the next store. I kept trying to figure out how long it would take the little bit of coffee to evaporate. Then I could envision the pot breaking from the heat. Would the plastic lid melt and catch fire? Lucky for me, she is a fast shopper. Get in, buy what you want and get out.

"Is there anywhere else you want to go?" She asked as we left the second store.

"No, there’s nothing in particular I need," I said nonchalantly, stomach in knots.

You guessed it. No red light glowing on the coffee-maker when I got home. No fires shooting to the ceiling.

But there have been just enough other times to keep me always on edge. Like the time my husband and I drove half an hour distance to visit a friend. It was a spur of the moment trip and he was hurrying me. That was in the days before the automatic coffee-maker, so I didn’t have that on my mind. But I did have a vague uneasiness, and with good reason. I got home only to realize I had left a back burner on and the wall above the stove was very warm indeed. It was lunch time and I immediately set a pan of soup to warming lest anyone question where the heat was coming from. Then, more recently, I took off on a day trip, when twenty minutes out of town I remembered I’d left a bedroom window open. I convinced myself that no harm would come from it because the skies were clear and the sun was shining. Half an hour later the sky turned menacing and the wind came up. Too far along now to go back. When the rain was coming in sheets so hard the wipers wouldn’t clear it away, I pulled off at a rest stop outside of Elmira. Shouting into my cell phone as the trucks howled by, I finally made my neighbor understand that I needed the window closed.

So, with vacation coming, I think I had better make a checklist before I head out for the airport at 5:30 a.m.! I will be on automatic pilot at that hour. If all goes well, I will be safely home with more stories to tell by the time you read this.

Back to Top

100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: Dr. F. A. Goodwin, the county coroner, has taken the initial step in establishing a hospital in Susquehanna by leasing the Curtis property on Willow street for three years. The dwelling as it stands will be converted into the hospital building of four ward beds, two male and two female and one private room. The operating room will be under the personal direction of Drs. Goodwin and Washburn. This department will be fitted throughout in the latest improved manner with all modern appliances. Drs. Boyle, Peck and Birdsall will constitute the advisory and consulting board. Drs. Pratt and Ard, of Binghamton, will serve as specialists. Dr. Washburn will be the resident physician and specialist in diseases of the eye, ear, nose and throat. This hospital is a much-needed institution in this county and will undoubtedly receive such support as to make its extension and enlargement imperative. The hospital will be opened about October 1.

GREAT BEND: J. W. Cleveland, proprietor of the Kingston House, with his wife and child were out riding Saturday morning when the horses became frightened and ran away. They were thrown out and Mr. Cleveland had his hip injured while Mrs. Cleveland and son escaped with a few bruises. The carriage was badly wrecked. AND: Prof. Thorpe, of Forest City, has purchased a house and lot in Great Bend near "Lover's Bridge" and is having Knoeller remodel the same.

BIRCHARDVILLE: L. T. Birchard & Sons received by express on Saturday a Jersey bull calf imported by T. S. Cooper. His sire is the Island bull What's Wanted, by Financial King, imported by P. J. Cogswell of Rochester, N. Y. and sold to William Rockefeller for $5,000. This calf's dam is Flying Fox's Pansy, now in T. S. Cooper's herd. She is one of the best daughters of Flying Fox, who was considered the handsomest, the best bred and the most popular bull the Island has had for many years, and at Mr. Cooper's last sale sold for $7,500. This calf is the most fashionably bred animal ever brought into the county. Mr. Birchard & Sons feel proud in having so fine an animal to head their fine herd. They are always on the lookout for the best. AND: Mrs. Arthur Gary, of Iowa, is visiting relatives in this vicinity.

THOMSON: A new corps of teachers has been engaged for the ensuing term. Prof. O. R. Maynard, of Harford, is the new principal and Miss Kate Stevens, of Susquehanna, will have charge of the other rooms.

HOPBOTTOM: The Ladies' Aid of the Universalist church met with Mrs. Linda Hilton last Wed. About fifteen enjoyed the straw ride on Will Brown's "rigging" which took part in the parade the 4th.

DIMOCK: Don't forget the Annual Union Picnic at the Dimock campgrounds, Friday, August 7th. Ice cream, fruit and confectionery will be sold at the dining hall to defray expenses. The Springville Cornet Band will be present to discourse music. The chapel and cottages will be open and no admission will be charged to the grounds. Addresses will be made by well-known and fluent speakers both in the morning and afternoon. Choir music and recitations will be among the many entertaining features on the day's program.

LANESBORO: The small pox epidemic in Lanesboro and Harmony townships, where Dr. Groff of the State Board has official supervision, is gradually subsiding and the quarantine has been raised.

HEART LAKE: The click of the mowing machine is heard in every direction.

SOUTH GIBSON: A heavy wind and rain storm accompanied by heavy thunder and lightning passed over this place last Friday afternoon, overturning apple and shade trees, and leveled the cheese factory to the ground; the workmen had just finished putting on the rafters.

MIDDLETOWN: We are very sorry to record the sudden death of one of our highly esteemed young men, Frank Millroy, who died on his way home from the creamery at Rushville, July 9, 1903. When he got near John Wood's he became very sick and called for help, and was taken to Mr. Wood's house where he died two hours later. He was buried in Irish Hill cemetery, Saturday. We extend our heartfelt sympathy to his aged foster mother and his many friends who mourn his loss.

SPRINGVILLE: H.D .Wilcox, a traveling salesman, was badly injured at Springville. While driving along the road a runaway team dashed into him from the rear and he was thrown out of the buggy and dragged some distance. He suffered bruises from head to foot and his wagon was demolished. The owner of the runaway team settled. AND: In Lynn, Booker Washington wishes to announce that he is prepared to shave or cut your hair at any time or place as he is a traveling tonsorial artist and carries his tools in his pockets.

FOREST CITY: Michael Krantz, of Forest City, was in Honesdale on Friday and took home with him Patrick Igo's iron gray horse. The bargain was made in about one minute. Mr. Krantz said: "Mr. Igo, is that your horse?" "Yes sir," was the response. "Is He sound?" "Yes sir, through and through." "How much do you want for him?" "$200." "Here is your money" and Mr. Krantz counted it out and Mr. Igo reluctantly took it.

BROOKLYN: It is said Arthur Mack intends building a sawmill and shingle mill at Lindaville.

STEVEN'S POINT: George Sampson killed a rattle-snake 4 ft. and 1 in. long with 10 rattles.

NEWS BRIEFS: The Philadelphia North American is authority for the latest fashion in women's hose. It says that the gentler sex have taken to wearing half hose, commonly called socks. A reporter called on a sales lady in one of the department stores and she said: "Why shouldn't they! They are cool and comfortable and if you have any doubt about women wearing socks, you keep your eyes peeled if you ever visit Atlantic City, or even in Philadelphia on a windy day." AND: An exchange states that a western medical association has attributed liver and stomach troubles to the practice in the majority of families of warming up coffee for table use and adding coffee once used to fresh coffee to be drunk. In such families addicted to this practice it was found that 50 percent were victims of stomach and liver troubles.

Back to Top


"NEW COUNTRY" Discovered – Over the past July 4th, I was invited to a cookout. I was given directions how to get there. I was told to go to Hickory Grove, make a right at the little bridge, go up Hawkins Road "for a bit" and you will no doubt see my home, says one Carl Tross.

We (me and my friend) started up the hill, went one mile, then two, then three, then four, then we quit counting, and finally reached the Tross home. To say the least, I thought I was in a "country" I never heard of. But evidently the country and the Tross abode have been there for quite awhile, due to the large amount of guests present. Some came from Florida, Maryland and other parts of "this country."

We were given a tour of the Carl and Bea Tross residence. By looking at the home now, you would never believe that at one time it was a "large barn."

After getting accustomed to the "new country" (you couldn’t pay me to live "up there") I settled in and partook of the delicious food served by the Tross family – that included the "head honcho" Carl, Bea, Kevin and Tracy (next door to Dad), Lisa and Theresa and their spouses, plus several other relatives.

Was it a real Fourth of July? You better believe it was, as Carl was all decked out in a USA shirt, along with shorts of red, white and blue.

The heavy rains did not put a damper on the picnic, as Carl ran around wiping the tables and benches and yelling, "You all come back now and sit down, a little dampness won’t hurt you."

(Thanks Carl and Bea for the invite.)

(PS: After hearing the bear stories from the Tross’ – even if they gave me a piece of land – I would never reside in that "country.")

CAN THIS BE TRUE? Especially of my favorite bowler (and friend), one Ronnie Griffis. According to my "informer" a group of about five friends were attending a social function. Four of them arrived early and were in the process of paying for their "beverage" when Mr. Griffis came storming through the door announcing, "Hold on, bartender! The drinks are on me!," handing the bartender a $20 bill. "Sir," said the bartender, "that will be $6.00 more." To say that Mr. Griffis was totally embarrassed would be putting it mildly, as his face turned a pale red. (Sorry, Ronnie, but I have to believe my "informer.")

WANTED – Riddles of Any Kind – Here’s one that you can bite your nails on: A farmer left his three sons 17 horses. The first son would get on-half of the horses; the second son, one-third; the third son, one-ninth. How were the horses divided without cutting up one horse? (Answer next week.)

"VETERANS DAY" At Legion Post 86 – "It’s that time of the year again," says Chairman Tom Hurley, "when the Post collects clothes, etc. for the veterans in the Wilkes-Barre Hospital." The 13th "Help A Veteran Day" is set for Saturday, July 26 in the Post’s Memorial Hall, starting at 6 p.m.

Refreshments will be available. Music by the "Ole Maestro," Johnny Edwards. Admission is free and open to the public to those 21 years of age and over.

Donations can consist of all new (please, no seconds) of shirts, pants, socks, underwear, undershirts, bathrobes, pajamas, slippers and/or cash.

PLEASE NOTE: The Legion can not accept used items of "any kind." All items will be delivered to the veterans at the Veterans’ Hospital, Wilkes-Barre.

NOTE: You need not be a member of the Legion to participate. Come to the American Legion and "Help A Veteran."

TED GORDON A T.T. Resident – Edward (Ted) Gordon, a longtime resident of Oakland Borough has made "the move" to Turnpike Terrace. Ted, for many, many years was Oakland Borough secretary, following in the footsteps of his father, Morris, who held the post (also) for several years.

Ted, prior to retiring from the post a few years ago, was very active in borough affairs and was instrumental in getting projects for the community.

Ted, no doubt will be sorely missed by the Oakland residents along with borough council members, as he was called upon many times for input in managing the Oakland community. Welcome, Ted, to Turnpike Terrace, for I am beginning to enjoy it "as a home away from home," and no doubt, you will too.

IS SOMETHING Wrong Here? A small headline in a national newspaper read: "Holiday Security Scaled Back." Isn’t that wonderful news to the so-called terrorists? The article went on to say, "Strained budgets will limit the presence of police in vital areas of the country." To me, anyway, that is a stupid news release. Better if they didn’t say anything at all. (I can see the terrorists with a big smile.)

MORE AND MORE Are Walking – Nearly any time of the day you can see area residents at the high school track – some walk at a slow pace, some walk at a slower pace, some walk at a fast pace, some jog, some run (especially the younger ones). Regardless of the pace, it is good exercise for all, regardless of age.

YANKEE FANS "All Over" – Are the Yankees "in" for this year? In talking to a "real" Yankee fan, Rob of Rob’s Market, Great Bend, he has no reason not to believe that the Yanks will be in the World Series. "They were in a little slump for awhile," he said, "but now they are back on track and looking good." Other Yankee fans like Pat Parrillo, George Wilcox, Jerry Caffrey will be pleased to know that.

BINGHAMTON Bowlers "In the Money" – After the close of the National Bowling Tourney, held in Knoxville, Jim (Lefty) Thomas and Jeff Ripic placed in the money. Thomas finished tied for seventh in the singles, with a 778 total, worth $2,350. Thomas and Ripic bowled 1402 in the doubles, for eighth place, Thomas having 711 and Ripic 691, good for $3,900. Thomas also earned $1,712 in the All Events. Overall, Thomas won $6,000 and Ripic $2,304.

Back to Top

Straight From Starrucca

A correction on last week’s news. The senior picnic will be held at June Downton’s Wednesday, July 23. Please be there by noon.

The last Saturday in June, the historians of Starrucca presented an interesting program commemorating in part the sesquicentennial establishment of the borough of Starrucca.

The late afternoon program started off with the B. F. Harridan Morris Dancers, most of whom came from the Binghamton area, dancing vigorously in the street, outside the Community Hall on a very hot day. The dancers kept in step to tunes played on a button accordion and also on a concertina (both very small). One formation was danced with sticks, each person with two sticks, precisely clicking the sticks with partners, moving forward to click with others and at one time clicking over their heads with the one in back, always stepping lively to the music. It was a very good show, each performance receiving generous applause. The dancers were brought to us through the auspices of Ruth Lunt, whose daughter-in-law is a member of the team.

After the forty-five minutes or so of the dance, we congregated in the hall for a delicious potluck supper. Before the supper, Loreda Everett had set up a computerized TV show on the stage of the homes and businesses of Starrucca in its heyday. This show was continuous and drew a lot of attention.

A highlight of the after-supper scene was the reading of a poem from the 1891 everyday cookbook written by Miss Meill entitled, "High Heeled Boots Must Go" and as Loreda read, who should appear from the side door but Lou Gurske, dressed in high heeled boots, silk stocking, a long dress, 1890’s style, wearing a hat and carrying a muff and posing theatrically. That brought quite a laugh.

After that interlude, the thirty-some present were introduced and stories were told of happenings in Starrucca years ago. It was a most interesting and pleasant afternoon and evening.

One day last week, I was sitting on the back porch enjoying the evening breeze, had just closed the book I was reading and, looking up saw this black head behind the tall grass at the top of the lawn. At first I thought it was the sisters’ cow that had roamed afar. As it came through the grass onto the lawn I realized it was a bear. I shot out of my chair and called the neighbors to tell them it was coming down the lawn, then I stationed myself in the back door to watch - you bet! First he turned over the burn barrel, then strolled down to the bird feeder, which it had taken down from the pole previously and set on the ground. Got right down on his belly and slurped up what few sunflower seeds were left (feeder is about five feet from my back steps), then went over to the flowering crab tree where I had hung a plant, got up on his haunches and smelled that and that’s when I realized how big he was. Back to the feeder again on his belly. (When I was telling my son about his actions, I asked him what would have happened if I’d stayed on the porch; he said to be sure I was close to the door.) Anyway, after sniffing here and there he strolled across the lawn to Gardner’s. That was my cue to go finish drying off my car that I had just washed and was sitting in the drive just beyond the corner of the house. When finished, I started to the back door and oops! There was the bear again on the patio. With heart fluttering I made it back to the car and decided to move it to the side yard where I could see better what was going on. That move was stymied too, when I realized the keys were in the house and the front door was locked. So, I sat in the car ten or fifteen minutes when I finally took courage and some cautions steps toward the back and saw the bear was gone, so I zoomed into the house, looked out, and he was on his belly going through the burn barrel. What I missed while I was in the car - the neighbors saw the bear get up and sprawl on the bench of the picnic table. You’d think my patio was the bear’s living room! The tale probably isn’t ended, as I assume he’ll be back.

Adam Beam, Joy Mead’s grandson, left last week to go home after spending some time with his grandmother.

The turkey buffet was very well attended. Thank you all for coming.

July 26, the Starrucca School reunion. It’s not too late to get your reservations in.

Also on that date, at 11 a.m. at the memorial park, weather permitting, Gerald Mealey from the PA State Association of Boroughs will be here to present a plaque to Mayor Wendell Swartz, commemorating the 150th year of Starrucca becoming a separate entity from Scott and Preston township in 1853.


Back to Top

Along the Way...With P. Jay

Is it PennDOT or PennNOT?

When it comes to selecting the worst roads in the nation, picking the winner – or, if you prefer, the loser – is a piece of cake. It’s Pennsylvania. And Northeastern Pennsylvania has to be at the top of the list of lousiest roads in the Commonwealth.

Around these parts, they should refer to it as PennNOT rather than PennDOT. If a dentist filled your cavity the way these guys fill potholes you would sue him. From the way they repair roads, most PennDOT workers have to be descendants of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders.

Consider this. A couple of weeks ago I hit a pothole that was so deep at the bottom of it there was a road sign pointing straight down that read, "Hong Kong 3,123 miles." A PennDOT engineer was walking around inside the pothole munching on a fortune cookie. Two workers were arguing over whose turn it was to lean on the shovel.

Anyhow, when I hit that pothole, I broke a front strut in my Caravan. Three days and $260 later, I had new struts and somewhere at PennDOT a worker was carving another niche in his shovel symbolic of the way bandits in the old west notched their guns whenever they claimed another victim.

I went to PennDOT’s regional office in Montrose –or is that a district office– whatever, and they gave me a form to fill out and mail back to them, which I did. I have not heard back from this mighty state agency and I really think I have a better chance of being visited by Ed McMahon on behalf of Publisher’s Clearing House, than hearing from PennDOT.

But they did get me again.

I was returning from Montrose to my home in Forest City and, as usual I was on Route 247 heading toward the borough when suddenly –BAM! I hit another rain-filled pothole. This time I snapped the sway bar in two and it set me back another $200. Did I go back to PennDOT for another form? Hell no! They’re still trying to find someone who reads English to interpret my first incident report.

One PennDOT employee told me not to hold my breath waiting to hear from anyone regarding my claim. I believe him. If you think the wheels of justice grind slowly, watch a PennDOT crew on a repair site and you get some idea of the speed of typical PennDOT employees.

* * * * * * * *

Mining Suit Filed

The state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has filed suit against a New York contractor alleging violations of state laws relating to noncoal surface mining and land reclamation activities.

Papers filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County seek a judgment against Anthony A. Masciarelli of Binghamton in the amount of $23,200.

According to the complaint, DEP is seeking court approval to collect civil penalties incurred by Masciarelli while he was involved in noncoal surface mining in Franklin Township, Susquehanna County. The complaint states that at all times relevant to the dates of any allegations, Masciarelli was authorized to conduct noncoal surface mining in Pennsylvania.

DEP states that on Oct. 16, 2002, the department issued a compliance order requiring Masciarelli to conduct reclamation activities, including backfilling, grading, topsoil, replacement and revegetation of land concurrent with mining activities. On Jan. 31, 2003, DEP filed a failure to comply notice alleging that Masciarelli did not comply with the compliance order prompting DEP to slap civil penalties against him.

* * * * * * * *

New Councilman in Forest City

Nick Cost joined the Forest City Council last week. He was appointed by the borough’s Vacancy Board to replace Mary Cicco who resigned for health reasons. Mrs. Cicco had been council president for a number of years. Cost is a lifelong resident of the borough.

Back to Top

News  |  Living  |  Sports  |  Schools  |  Churches  |  Ads  |  Events
Military  |  Columns  |  Ed/Op  |  Obits  | Archive  |  Subscribe