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Issue Home September 16, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life


My young friend came for a visit one afternoon this week with her two young sons in tow. They are now nearly two and four, and have been around my house enough that they are not shy anymore. This particular afternoon they were wired! I don’t think I ever had that much energy.

It is such fun to entertain them. Well, actually, they entertained me. The eldest one had taken his time about starting to talk, but when he did begin to talk, it was in complete sentences. It was like he’d been taking everything in and waiting until he got it all sorted out before he said anything. Now his vocabulary and knowledge are amazing. To hear those profound sentences coming out of this young child is a bit mind-boggling. Because his father, mother and grandfather have built, and are still building, the house they live in, he knows the name of every building tool, and exactly what each is used for. His conversation is peppered with construction talk.

We have a limited amount of toys at my house, but mostly they were ignored as a considerable amount of time was spent building a house out of a turned-over coffee table, sofa cushions, afghans and pillows. This house changed to be many objects before it was demolished.

That reminded me of one of the summer vacations the grandchildren spent here when they were about six and eight. It takes a lot of projects to fill sixteen hours a day, and my mind was busy, their minds were busy and our hands made lots of messes. On one particular day about ten days into the visit, the living room furniture had been converted to a stage for a puppet show. Bits and pieces of puppet material and scenery (along with much dust as there was not time to clean) were everywhere. The house was in chaos, when the doorbell rang. There stood friends who had moved away years ago and this was their first visit since. I was mortified at the condition of my living room, but they were nonplused, having raised five children.

No matter what "toys" I brought out for these boys visiting on this day, none could compete with the fascination of Mrs. Morris. She did her legs-tucked-under cat-sit in the dining room where the sun was warming her back, and didn’t move for a long time. The boys would screw up their courage to get as close as they dared and watch her; the younger one reaching out a finger and crowing to her. She didn’t budge or even acknowledge they were there. Disdainful is a wonderfully accurate adjective to describe a cat. Back they would come to the living room where their Mom and I were drinking coffee and visiting, what little we could, while watching them. Then back they’d go again, entertaining the idea of touching the cat, but not having the courage, given that they were getting no encouragement from her.

When it was time for them to leave, their Mom changed the younger one while I took the older one to the bathroom. After he’d accomplished his task, while smiling broadly at me, I ran the water so he could wash his hands. He came downstairs, went right to his mother and indicted me with, "We didn’t use soap!" Busted! I always knew my slovenly ways would catch up with me one day.

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100 Years Ago

LANESBORO: Buckley Brothers' store was entered by burglars Tuesday night. Among the goods stolen were thirty pairs of shoes, twelve or fifteen hundred cigars, pocket knives, razors, etc., valued at about $200.

HALLSTEAD: School opened Monday morning without a principal in charge. Prof. Cornelius Manning, who was elected principal after Prof. Pease resigned, did not go to them because he has a position at Old Forge, in Lackawanna county, where he receives much larger pay than he would had he accepted the Hallstead school. Thus the situation becomes more complicated and is a bad state of affairs viewed from any standpoint.

DUNDAFF: Six burglars entered Hill's store, about 1:30 o'clock yesterday morning, and escaped with a large amount of money from the cash drawer. Mr. Decker, the proprietor of a nearby hotel, heard the sound of breaking glass as the burglars smashed a window to gain entrance. He hastily summoned a number of citizens and armed with shot-guns they went to the store. The man on guard warned those inside and the burglars exchanged about 40 shots with the citizens. By this time the town was aroused and a large party secured horses and followed the men, who jumped in a wagon and lashed their horses into a mad gallop [and] started toward Scranton. The pursued and pursuers passed through Carbondale shortly after 2 o'clock. The burglars left a number of tools and a quantity of dynamite in Hill's store.

GIBSON: The descendants of Wright and Moses Chamberlin, pioneer settlers of Gibson Township, held their first united union at the pleasant home of Whitney Chamberlin, in Harford Township, on August 20th. After dinner a prayer was offered by the presiding president, the report of the Secretary and several interesting letters from absent relatives were read, also a letter written by William Chamberlin, son of Moses Chamberlin Sr., of Gibson, in the year 1839, while on his way as Missionary to the Cherokee nation, which fully described the mode of travel at that time from New York to St. Louis; the average rate, with a horse, being 30 miles a day. The letter was folded to form its own envelope and the postage was marked as 25 cents.

NEW MILFORD: Beginning Sept. 21, the following merchants will close their stores every evening except Saturday evening, pay night in the tannery and on the railroad, at 8 o'clock-John Hand, Benjamin Bros., C. N. Wood, J. C. McConnell, Sam Moss, F. G. Inderlied, E. W. Boyle, J. A. Werner, Mrs. F. T. Austin, F. T. Austin, New Milford Hardware Co., Mrs. Gillespie, H. D. Albee. During the holidays, the early closing hours will not be observed.

SUSQUEHANNA: The Susquehanna ball club is anxious to play the Montrose club at Great Bend, with an outside umpire, with [the] same teams that played at Montrose, Sept. 9, for a purse of from $100 to $300.

BROOKLYN: James Bookstaver was drowned in Acre Pond, Lenox Twp., Friday night last. It is believed he lost his balance while trying to anchor his boat. The boat was found drifting about at 10 p.m. by a fishing party. The lantern was burning in the boat and everything indicated he had not begun fishing when the accident occurred. His body was found Saturday morning. Mr. Bookstaver leaves a widow and seven children to mourn his loss.

UPSONVILLE: While picking blackberries on the hill above Shields' quarry, Mrs. E. J. Lindsey saw four black snakes. In stepping on the edge of a large brush pile to reach a bush of fine berries, four large blacksnakes raised up out of the brush pile and showed signs of flight. They were large and between four and five feet long. Mrs. L. tarried long enough to be sure what they were and then hastily left the field.

HEART LAKE: Therman Griffing is preparing to build a boarding house.

FAIRDALE: Earl Sherwood, aged 12, disappeared from the home of Christopher Shelp, in June. He is supposed to be in the company of another boy. His mother, Mrs. F. M. Sherwood, of Hydro, Oklahoma, is very anxious to learn of his whereabouts. AND: At Fair Hill, Mr. and Mrs. O. S. Lewis and two children, of Gold Bar, Washington, were present at the Lewis and Ross family reunion on Thursday last at the residence of F. A. Lewis. They will spend a month or six weeks in this state before returning home. Mr. Lewis is engaged in lumbering, having in his employ nearly 100 men. Mr. Lewis has been in Washington about 17 years and thinks it pays for people to go west.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp.: Mr. and Mrs. Wm. McCormick, of Fort Wayne, Ind., are visiting relatives here; John McCahill and sister, Miss Minnie, of New York, visited friends here; John O'Brien is teaching school in Jackson Valley. AND: Mrs. Hugh Kelly, Mrs. Joseph Delaney, Samuel and Frank McCormick, of Binghamton, and Sister Mary Philemeno, of Troy, were called home last week by the serious illness of their mother, Mrs. John McCormick.

MONTROSE: If the people of Susquehanna County could have had the privilege of selecting what they considered the finest day in the year for the [agricultural] fair, they perhaps could not have chosen a better day than Wednesday, Sept. 16, the one on which the annual exhibition took place. Between 9 and 10 o'clock the well known Gibson band arrived and with its enlivening airs, thronged streets and moving herds of cattle, sheep, etc., the town presented its usual pleasing fair day aspect. At 11 o'clock the Cycle Whirling Bretons gave a public performance below the rocks, which was witnessed by a large crowd of spectators and as the fearless riders sped around the almost perpendicular course, there were numerous expressions of surprise at their daring to perform this exciting and seemingly impossible feat. During the noon hour many enjoyed themselves in partaking dinner with their friends and relatives on the famous rocks or under the beautiful shade trees. The exhibition hall commanded the greatest attention showing grain, fruit, vegetables, canned goods, pastry, ornamental needlework, fancy work, paintings, school work and many others. The "baby show" awarded prizes [name of baby or one of its parents] for the handsomest baby not over one year old. It went to Samuel Bennett, of Glenwood; second to Mrs. Ida Schmidt, of Fairdale. Between 1 and 2 years, Arthur Hayes, of Silver Lake; second Isaac Terry (one of pair of twins) of Rush. Largest and fattest baby, awarded to Mrs. Perry Besteder, of Tiffany. Between 5 and 6,000 people were in attendance, S. A. Pettis, age 92 years, being the oldest.

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Moose Lodge 794 Presents Rizzuto Photo To Member

At a recent informal meeting of the Susquehanna Loyal Order of Moose Lodge 794, a presentation of a photo "that was part" of the lodge since December of 1983 took place. The photo is of Phil "Scooter" Rizzuto, New York Yankee shortstop for many years and eventually inducted in the Cooperstown Baseball Hall of Fame. Mr. Rizzuto was guest of the Lodge through the generosity of the Gow brothers – Scott and Jesse. Phil was also a guest of the Lodge at a later date.

Pictured (l-r) are: Artie Trynoski; Lou Parrillo, past governor; Lodge Governor, Lyn Swan; Ed Trynoski.

Prior to leaving the Lodge, Rizzuto autographed a photo of his "playing days" that also included the names of Louie (Parrillo), Cy (Patrillo), Spin (Battisti) and Paul (Plutino).

Oh, the photo was presented to Lou Parrillo, a past governor of the Lodge.

(My sincere thanks to the Moose Lodge officers and members for the wonderful gesture. A special thanks to Tom Trynoski, who was instrumental in arranging the presentation.)

O’HARE’S "Non-Committal" – Dermot and Brooke O’hare, new owners of the former Nataline’s Olde Colonial Inn, Briar’s Olde Colonial Inn in Oakland Township, which has been aptly named "P. J. O’hare’s Irish Pub," when questioned about their allegiance to sports teams, politely declined (in a way) to name their favorites. Brooke said she likes the Yankees, but being from the Boston Red Sox region, kind of hesitated to express her "real team," saying it would be "politically" unwise to do so. Mr. O’hare (Dermot), who I believe is still making up his mind (coming here about 16 years from Ireland) but "believes," reluctantly, that his team is the Yankees. One thing for sure, the O’hares must like the New York Giants football team, according to the large banner gracing one of their walls. (Maybe after listening to their many patrons, it may help them make up their minds about "a favorite team.")

LISTEN UP, Bob Mireider – My Yankees may be having a tough time now, but when the "chips" are down, they will survive. One thing for sure they are a lot better than your Mets, who are a fantastic 26 games out of first place and in the cellar of the National League East.

SUSQUEHANNA Centennial, 1853–1953 – Who were the town officials during 1953? I was asked by a reader. Just so happens, I have a book of that Centennial. They were:

SUSQUEHANNA – Burgess, James H. McMahon; Secretary, John Horrigan; Treasurer, Mrs. Dorothy Reddon. Council members: C. T. Wagner, Garland Huntsman, Frank Reddon, Mark Murphy, Reed Knorr, Clarence Scales, Charlton Williams, Frank Matthews.

OAKLAND – Burgess, Kenneth Meyers; Secretary, Morris Gordon; Treasurer, Mrs. Geraldine Drake. Council members: Stuart Button, Gordon Mallery, Frank VanAntwerp, Fred Warner, Clarence Washburn, Carroll Drake, George Stringer.

LANESBORO – Burgess, Rennison Robson, Sr.; Secretary, Clyde Wheeler; Treasurer, Mrs. Mabel Kane. Council members: Winthrop Hobart, Frank White, Emory Storer, Richard Moore, Walter Jordon, William Cooper, Donald Soop.

ADDITIONAL History – The population of this area (1953) according to the 1950 census: Susquehanna, 2,653; Oakland, 874; Oakland Township, 450; Lanesboro, 589; Harmony Township, 414. Total, 4,980.

POLICEMEN: Susquehanna, Willard Collier and Anthony Sellitto, plus special officers: Carl Houlihan, Leslie Schell, Lawrence Schell, Tracy Vincent, Joseph Buckel; policewomen: Ruth Thorton, Jean Mahaffey; Constables, Edward Lannon and Grantley Cooke.

OAKLAND – Gerald Hadden, William Edwards and Norman Valentine.

LANESBORO – Peter Luciana and Francis Adornato. Constable, Edgar Snyder; Oakland Township Constable, R. C. Hurlburt; Harmony Township, Lester Bigelow. (More Centennial info later.)

DEADLINE NEAR – The last day to register to vote in Pennsylvania's upcoming municipal election is October 6, 2003. Those wishing to register, change address or party affiliation may do so by mail or at the Voter Registration Office. Forms to register by mail may be obtained by contacting the office at (570) 265–1717. The forms must be received by 5 p.m., October 6.

CONGRESS "Ups Pay" – The Hose recently approved a 2.2 percent pay raise for its members to keep them off of welfare. With the increase, they will collect $158,000 a year. One legislator, in objecting to the pay increase said, "We are fighting terrorism on numerous fronts, our economy is in serious trouble, thousands are unemployed, and all they think about is more money and now is not the time to vote themselves a pay raise."

WOMEN PRISONERS Increasing – The number of women in Pennsylvania prisons has risen at a faster pace than the male population, potentially stressing the state’s cash-strapped prison system, though there remain far more men behind bars, according to a state report. Women, however are paroled more often than men.

DEADLINE PAST – The deadline to call the "do-not-call" list for consumers is past. Non-callers will have to wait until next year to get their names off the telemarketers list. (Just a note: "think it over." Saw a letter to an editor in a national Sunday paper reminding the public that they are putting people out of a job when they sign on against telemarketers calling.)

ALWAYS IN "TUNE" – "Friends don’t let friends drive drunk." (Even if your friend isn’t a Yankee fan.)

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Straight From Starrucca

College students are back to school. Shannon Martin is now starting her second year at Bloomsburg, hoping to become a secondary math teacher. Jordan Downton, son of Jack and Kathy Downton, is a first year student at Bloomsburg, University, hoping to make a career in the field of law enforcement/criminal justice. Chadd Downton is in his second year at SUNY, Oswego, NY, majoring in technical education, also son of Jack and Kathy.

Attending the wedding of Brian Thomas to Annette Folk in Deposit were Bob and Dee Martin, Mike and Roxanne Downton, Jack and Kathy Downton, Pete and Vicki Downton and Jan and Casey Bennett on Saturday, September 6.

Sunday, the daughter of Tom and Tracy Swartz, eleven months old, Kimberly Augusta was baptized by Pastor Sue Hardman Zimmerman in the East Ararat Church. Witnessing the ceremony from here was grandmother, Marie Swartz, Joy Mead, June Downton and Florence and Denny Downton.

Mr. and Mrs. Reynolds, Surprise, Arizona were here in town over the weekend seeking information on the Penn family. I sent them to Wendell Swartz, whose mother was a Penn, and I’m sure they went home with volumes of information.

Senior citizens met on Wednesday with nine present. We had good food, fun and fellowship. After the business meeting, conducted by Beverly Walker, Arlene Travis read a few good jokes and after we played two rounds of bingo.

The reunion of the Petroski family on Sunday, the seventh of September was saddened by the death of Joseph Petroski’s wife of Linden, NJ, who was buried on the sixth. The family reunion was held at the cabin of Florence and Denny Downton, Starrucca.

Barb and Roger Glover, accompanied by Marilyn and Dave Czapnik, Lake Ariel, drove to the RV show in Harrisburg on Thursday.

The history group met at the home of Loreda and Paul Everett on Tuesday night, and they have planned a big affair for October eleventh. More details later.

Dan Dickey, Harpursville, NY, visited me on Monday night and did some needed work.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Sharp Off To A Shaky Start

Susquehanna County’s newest agency, the Susquehanna County Railroad Authority (SCRA) was launched last week and it is just a matter of filing the proper articles of incorporation to make it the real thing. In about 45 to 60 days, the authority should be up and running.

I, for one, am happy to see the authority finally coming to fruition. I believe that, just as the railroad was the dream of the nation about 150 years ago, so will it blossom into the salvation of our country in the future. We cannot go on much longer with the number of cars, trucks and buses that are cramming our highway systems.

As a member of the Rail Committee that was created to study the feasibility of creating a rail authority in the county, I can tell you a lot of time and effort was put into this project. I can single out guys like Committee Chairman Rowland Sharp, Sam Merrill, Ed Tourje, and Tom Wooden for their individual energy and efforts.

But, alas, I can also find fault with Rowland Sharp for deserting two of his committee members at a time when his support might have mattered. I happen to be one of those members that Sharp hung out to dry. The other is Paul Healy of Springville. By the way, we were replaced by Joe White and Janet Haulton, both of whom only recently moved into the county, Joe from Meshoppen and Janet from one of our southern states.

Anyhow, permit me to give you a little background so you will know from whence I cometh. Uh?

Back in March, when the rail committee knew it was going to endorse the idea of a county rail authority the subject came up as to who would serve on this shiny new authority. After some discussion, seven individuals were selected and approved by a vote of the committee. They were Sharp, Merrill, Wooden, Richard Ainey, P. Jay Amadio, Paul Healy, and Edward Tourje.

Now, my friends, my mother did not raise any fools. Us kids may not have been Jolly Green Giants, but we weren’t a bunch of dummies either.

I knew that I would never see a seat on the county’s first rail authority. The only reason I was put on the rail committee in the first place was because someone volunteered me at a public meeting of the commissioners. I mean you don’t write the truth about what is going on inside the hallowed walls of the county courthouse and then expect the commissioners to nominate you for a seat on anything except, perhaps an electric chair.

Gary "Marcho Man" Marcho and Calvin "I’m a logger" Dean vote for P. Jay Amadio. The thought in itself is absurd. I told you about Marcho taking the office girls from their work in the courthouse for a cruise on his boat at Lake Wallenpaupack. I told you about Cal Dean’s real estate taxes not being paid. And they are going to appoint me to the rail authority? You and I both know it would never happen.

So how does Rowland Sharp fit into the scheme of things? Perhaps a better question would be where does Rowland Sharp fit into the scheme of things? Well, for openers he and Marcho Man are associates in a business venture. Then too, Sharp is a real estate broker and what better position to be in than chairman of the county’s Rail Authority.

I was not the fly on the wall I would like to have been when Sharp gave Marcho the original list that was approved by the rail committee. But I do have a vivid imagination and I think the conversation might have been along these lines:

Marcho: What the (expletive) is Amadio’s name doing on this list?

Sharp: He is one of the seven the committee selected to be on the rail authority.

Marcho: I don’t care if he was one of the 12 apostles. Get him off this list!

Sharp: Well I can’t just take him off. It would be too obvious.

Marcho: Well, pick some more. I don’t care who they are as long as Amadio goes.

Sharp: OK

Now, if you will look back, you will find a paragraph that tells you the rail committee voted on the first seven individuals selected. But the second time around, Sharp did not go back to the committee and discuss his dilemma with them. Uh, uh! Instead, he arbitrarily selected Paul Healy as the sacrificial lamb simply because he could not remove me without removing others. Oh, yes! He also had Tom Wooden on the hit list but he put his name back when Peter Janicelli turned down an appointment to the authority.

The conclusion?

Commissioner Lee Smith said it ahead of me when he said Sharp should have added two or three more names to the list and let the commissioners pick the seven members they want. But he chose to alter the list that was approved by the rail committee without consulting with the committee. Not a very good beginning for a man who wants to be dictator, uh, chairman of the rail authority.

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