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Issue Home September 23, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Welcome Home

All you over-the-road truckers out there listen up! I want to announce that I made it all the way to Erie and back without getting lost. But, not without incident, even though I did have a co-pilot for part of that way.

Originally I was going to be a passenger for the last one hundred miles from Port Allegheny to Erie, but that didn’t work out, so I picked up my sister in that area and we headed west. She used to live both on Chautauqua Lake and also in Harbor Creek, so she kept me on the right road all the way. Then I commandeered my brother (who was visiting from New Mexico and car-less) to drive us around the city to the wedding, to the reception, and back to the motel. Our mission in Erie accomplished, it was time to head home.

All went well. We whizzed along through beautiful country having a grand conversation. We seldom get to see each other for long stretches of time, so we had much to talk about. I pulled into her driveway about 11:00 a.m. I’d be back home by four o’clock at the latest. Or so I thought.

When I tried to start the car, all I got was a grinding noise. Subsequent attempts got it going, but running very rough and only prolonging life by pumping the gas pedal repeatedly. No way to start on a 200-mile trip.

My sister said, "My neighbor is a pretty good mechanic. If he’s home maybe he can figure out what’s wrong."

He figured it out very quickly, but unfortunately it was not a band-aid job. It’s now 11:45 on a Saturday; not a great time to call a dealership. But I did call and told them my sob story of being so far from home, etc., etc.

It worked. "Get it here before 1:00 o’clock and we’ll look at it," he said.

Well, that was hopeful, but I wasn’t about to limp that faltering vehicle with no power brakes to an unknown location. "Can I pay you to drive my car and me to the garage?" I asked the neighbor.

"Sure, I’ll drive you down, but I don’t want any money," he said. "This is what people do for each other."

He made sure I got there on time, explained to the service manager what was going on, and left with his wife who had followed us down. An hour and a half and $300+ later, I was on my way. I decided I’d cut back and hit Route 6 rather than driving on the interstate, because there would be more service stations available in case the new part failed. But first I needed to get gasoline. I headed toward Olean and there was the interstate ramp to Binghamton. What to heck, I thought. I’ll take Route 17. Five minutes later I looked at my fuel gauge, now on red. Darn! I’d forgotten to gas up.

Taking the next exit, I found nothing but country road until a man in a pickup pulled up to a stop sign. I got his attention and called out my window, "Can you tell me where there’s a gas station?"

I got there, filled up, and four hours later I was greeting a very happy Mrs. Morris. It’s nice to go on vacation, but so good to get back home.

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100 Years Ago

HARFORD: Although yesterday was a rather unfavorable day the attendance at the Harford Fair was up to the ordinary large number, the receipts being about $1,300. all classes of exhibits were well represented. Owing to unavoidable reasons over which we had no control we are unable to make a full report. AND: Mr. and Mrs. T. M. Maynard, of Harford, have gone to Wisconsin to visit Mrs. Maynard's sister, whom she had not seen in 38 years.

MONTROSE: We consider ourselves particularly fortunate in securing one of General Charles King's latest stories, "A Daughter of the Sioux," Which will soon appear in these columns. This is General King's latest novel, and like all of his narratives is brimful of action, yet containing sufficient romance to suit the most sentimental. To the older ones it will bring back memories of the bloody times in the West during the seventies, which with the youngsters always has a peculiar fascination. It is a story which will suit every member of the family. Watch for it!

SUSQUEHANNA: The marriage of Dr. William Edward Kelly, of Susquehanna, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Kelly, of Pleasant View Farm, and Miss Esther Helen Caton, of Jessup, was solemnized in St. Mary's Catholic Church, on Wednesday, Sept. 23d, at noon. Many relatives and friends witnessed the pretty ceremony. The bride was attended by her sister, Miss Rose Caton, of Scranton, and the best man was Dr. John D. Kelly, of Susquehanna, the groom's brother. The bride is a very popular young lady of St. Mary's parish and for several years has been a successful teacher in the district schools of the county, while the groom is one of the leading dentists of Susquehanna.

NEW MILFORD: Burglars entered the New Milford post-office, Saturday night, and for their trouble found $1.00 worth of stamps. They also entered Carpenter and Heitzman's mill and secured $1.00 in change. Some carpenter tools were also taken from the barns owned by Henry Morse and N. Burdick. The next thing that happened in this line was something else. Early Wednesday morning the Erie station at Great Bend was entered and the safe dynamited. The building was nearly wrecked and the safe ruined, but they got nothing, as Station Agent Donohoe had sent his money away by express the night before. The windows of the building were blown out and the floor torn up. It is presumed to be the same artists who operated at New Milford. Detectives are at work. AND: The Lackawanna Company have their new iron bridge east of the depot nearly ready to be placed.

HALLSTEAD: James Humphrey, of Hallstead, a Lackawanna trainman, was found early Tuesday morning beside the track between New Milford and Alford with one of his arms crushed. The crew of the work train picked him up and he was taken to the Moses Taylor Hospital at Scranton. His brother lost an arm through an accident on the railroad several years ago. AND: At the Hallstead chair factory more people are employed than ever before and the company is unable to keep up with orders not withstanding that the factory is run night and day. The silk mill is continually taking on more help and is being run to its greatest capacity. Railroading is good and all the men are putting in good time and altogether business is booming here as compared with a year ago.

THOMPSON: The Teachers Association meeting held at Thomson, last Saturday, was quite interesting. The following is the list of educators present: M.W. Stephens, Brooklyn: Mary Davidson, Thomson: Virginia Cargill, Thomson: Nellie M. Clancey, Uniondale, Electa Potter, North Jackson: Mary A. Donovan, Lanesboro: Nettie Crandall, Thomson: Catherine Stephens, Thomson: O. F. Maynard, Thomson: B. W. Pease, Hallstead: Cornelius Manning, Old Forge: Charles E. Moxley, Hallstead: F. H. Greene, Lanesboro: C. T. Thorpe, Great Bend: Carrie E. Gregory, Elizabeth Davies and Isabelle Johnson, Forest City: Nora Hill, Laura Landis and George A. Stearns, Harford. The next association meeting will be held at Forest City.

DIMOCK: Mrs. Nancy Main, widow of the late Lansing Main, died at her home in this place last Friday night, aged 83 years. The funeral services were held on Monday at the Dimock Baptist church, being conducted by Rev. J. W. Raynor, in the absence of her pastor, Rev. A. F. Von Tobel.

RUSH: Our enterprising harness-maker, Wilbur Terry, will soon erect a building to be used exclusively for his special industry.

GREAT BEND Fiddler Charmed Rattlers: Here is one of the latest reports by Whitney, of Susquehanna. It was printed in the New York World. "Fiddler Sam Needham, of Great Bend Township, who has considerable local fame, played a solo under remarkable circumstances. He was wending his way toward a farmhouse along a narrow mountain road, which at one point winds around a sharp spur. As he reached the spur he heard the warning noise of a rattlesnake. Looking up he saw a big rattler directly in his path. He turned to run back when from the weeds at the side of the road another rattler rose up and there was not room to safely pass the snake. In his dilemma he backed up against a ledge of rock and gazed spellbound at the reptile. Then, an inspiration came to him. He remembered to have heard of Eastern magicians charming snakes with music. Drawing his violin from its box he began to play the weirdest air at his command. Presently the snakes gradually uncoiled themselves and began to slide slowly toward him, obviously attracted by the music. Needham's impulse was to drop his violin and flee, but he realized that that might be fatal, so he stood his ground and continued to ply his bow. Nearer and nearer drew the rattlers, until they reached a point within two feet of the terrified fiddler, when they coiled again and lifted their head threateningly. Then Sam's nerves gave way and with a yell, he struck out with his violin, bringing it down with crushing force on the reptiles, stunning them. Before they could recover Sam grabbed up a rock and killed them. His beloved fiddle was a wreck, but it had saved his life.

NEWS BRIEFS: An innovation in the line of railroad telegraph service has been put into use on the New York Central railroad between Utica and Albany. By means of the apparatus a single wire can be used for telegraph and telephone messages at the same time. While the operator is ticking away a telegram in the Morse code, another person can telephone a message without the least interference. AND: Thirty-three women keep light-houses for Uncle Sam. From New England to the gulf and from Key West to California are scattered the beacons of which they have charge. The pay is from $500 to $800 per year and a few perquisites.

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JUSTIN ANDERSON, 13, Bowls 300 Game – The Great Bend Valley Bowling Lanes, on Saturday, September 13, 2003, was the scene of a perfect score – a 300 game was bowled by Justin Anderson of Great Bend. Justin, only 13 years of age, an eighth grade student at Blue Ridge School, is believed to be the youngest bowler in the county to hit a 300 game. His previous high single was a 289. In addition to the 300, he bowled 146, 160 for a 606 total. He is averaging 178.

Not only does Justin excel in bowling, but is involved in basketball, baseball, soccer and track. He is the son of Al and Tina Anderson, with his dad (Al) being (also) one of the topnotch bowlers in the county. For many years, while residing in Susquehanna Al was a member of the American Legion Bowling team. (Just a note: young Justin, at 13, has beat his dad to a 300 game.)

To say that Justin was overcome with joy, would be an understatement, as he flitted around the lanes as "the happiest young man in the world."

He is a member of the Valley Lanes Youth competitive League, that has, over the years, produced some high scores.

Not only are his parents elated with young Justin, so are his grandparents, Alf and Dolly Anderson of New Milford and Aletha Monahan, who is in charge of the Oakland Food Bank. (Congratulations, Justin, and may you keep up the good scores.)

More from Centennial Book – 1853-1953:

DOCTORS – Dr. Raymond Davis and John John Zavoy.

DENTISTS – Dr. E. V. McCawley and Dr. Anthony Canale.

ATTORNEYS – Joseph Carrigg and M. Donald O’Malley.

HISTORY of Susquehanna was well written by Mrs. Arthur Webb, whose first paragraph reads: "The name Susquehanna was derived from the Indian name meaning ‘crooked river.’ The borough and the county take their names from the river which first enters the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on the Northeast corner of Susquehanna County."

STARRUCCA VIADUCT (Located in Lanesboro) is built of solid masonry, 1200 feet long and 110 feet high and has 17 great arches with spans of 50 feet each and 18 piers.

SCHOOLS Combined – On July 4, 1952, the combined boards of Susquehanna, Oakland, Oakland Township, Lanesboro and Harmony Township voted to consolidate the public schools of this area. For the past year the schools have been working under a consolidated system. The new school was built near the corner of Turnpike Street and Lanesboro Road. The officers were: President, Carroll Smith; Vice Presidents, Wesson Lamb and Howard Carl; Secretary, Terrence Cotter; Treasurer, Howard Boerner. Supervising principal, Dr. J. T. Yurkewitch and Stuart C. Button, Principal.

The first newspaper was the Northern Pennsylvanian published in 1858. In 1869 the Susquehanna Journal was published and on August 2, 1886 the Susquehanna Transcript was published as a daily. Fire destroyed the Transcript in 1945 but was "put back in action" 51 days later by Erie Railroad and townspeople. The editor/owner since 1917 was U. G. Baker.

Following the close of war (1918) the "roaring twenties" came, life was great again. (We) remember roadsters, raccoon coats, jazz, flappers, bobbed hair, bootleg gin, the Charleston and the Black Bottom (dances). This was a new era – an era of speed. (More later.)

SUSKY Bowlers "Hot" – With the bowling season just underway, several big scores were bowled. In the John Baumann Monday Night League (September 8) Jeff MacDonald bowled a 300 game along with games of 186 and 221 for a 707 total. On the same night Jack Beamer rocked the pins for an 817 total on games of 276, 279, 262. On the female side, Melanie Lee scorched the pins for 222, 212, 228, total 663. Congratulations, to all. (Also Roger Williams, a 140-plus average bowler, bowled a career high of 627.)

ANSWER to Question – "Does Pennsylvania have a recall law for state officials?" According to the National Conference of State Legislatures Pennsylvania does not have a recall law.

I LOVE THIS ONE! – (Two ladies talking) "For our PAPER anniversary my husband bought me the local (County Transcript) newspaper."

THE ECONOMY IS "GOOD" – That’s what a lot of Washington politicians are telling the people. Then, why(?) do we have nine million unemployed in America? That’s 700,000 more than in 2002. (Do we have two sets of figures?)

MILK FARMERS "Hurting" – Let’s see – a couple of weeks ago Congress boosted their salaries close to $200,000 a year, but are ignoring the farmers who are "fighting" to survive. Farming is not an easy job. They should be allowed an increase, along with state and federal workers.

"IT’S IN YOUR TOWN" – Readers like to see stories about people in our communities, doing good for others. There is a lot of "unpublished" kind deeds by organizations and individuals. Let us know about your projects. Let the readers know of your efforts in "improving the community." Call 853–3835.

"LISTEN UP" Veterans – Congress is planning to cut veterans’ benefits. Legion Commander John Brieden is urging veterans and their families to lobby their lawmakers in Congress for restoration of our much needed funds. Write now. Write to your state and national representatives. Tell them you want the funds restored.

UN HELP "Really Needed" – Too many of our people are dying in foreign countries. Why? We can’t patrol the world – alone. We need the United Nations’ help. If we don’t get UN help, will President Bush call the National Guard and Reservists to battle? Asking the UN for help is a good move – just hope the UN is interested. If not, we are in deep, deep trouble.

A "QUOTE" By U. G. – Known for many "worthwhile" remarks, the late Transcript editor, U. G. Baker, for a time, carried this slogan in his paper: "If you didn’t read ‘it’ in the Transcript, it didn’t happen."

DO YOU have an item for NewsBeat? Give me a call, 853–3835.

US PAYS N. KOREA – The United States greed in July to pay North Korea $2.1 million for four additional MIA searches this year. The first two-month long excavations – near the Chongchon River north of Pyongyang and in the Chosin Reservoir area – began August 23. The next two will be in the same areas and begin September 28. According to the Pentagon, the $2.1 million is to reimburse North Korea for the use of aircraft for any medical evacuation of US search personnel. Since 1996, 25 recovery operations have yielded what are believed to be 178 sets of American remains, of which 14 have been positively identified.

MORE ON BOWLING – September 11, Barb Wolf may have established a high ladies’ three-game series at Riverside Lanes, as she bowled a 720 series. In her first game, Barb had nine strikes in a row for a 278; in the second game she finished with eight strikes for a 258; in the third game she opened in the tenth for a 184 game, for the 720 total. Barb, one of the consistent average bowlers, maintained a 178 average last season. Congratulations, Barb.

A LAUGH – Morris, an 82-year old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.

A few days later the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young lady on his arm. A couple of days later the doctor spoke to Morris and said, "You’re really doing great, aren’t you?"

Morris replied, "Just doing what you said, Doc. ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.’"

The doctor said, "I didn’t say that. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur. Be careful.’"

Three proven rules for good, healthy teeth: 1. Brush after every meal. 2. See your dentist twice a year. 3. Mind your own business.

Barber: "Haven’t I shaved you before?"

Sgt.: "No, I got this scar at Pearl Harbor."

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Straight From Starrucca

Set your sights on October 4. That’s when the Methodist Ladies will put on their annual pork dinner with all kinds of goodies. At a meeting at my house a week ago Sunday evening, we planned it all out. Takeouts at 4:30, dinner at 5:30 p.m.

On Wednesday last the administrative board met at my home with seven present. We decided to close church the last Sunday in October and go to Thompson. If any members of the Starrucca U. M. Church who haven’t contributed lately would do so now, it would help tremendously. Send donations to June Downton, RR 1, Starrucca, PA 18462.

The Starrucca History Group invites you to join on Saturday, October 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Starrucca Baptist Church social room for "Raymond Sampson’s Original Starrucca Slide Show." Raymond Sampson, author of The History of Starrucca and Starrucca Remembrances will provide narration and commentary. For admission, bring a covered dish to share. Come enjoy these historical photos of Starrucca.

The adventures of the Piercy family are always interesting and since I haven’t heard from her all summer, following is a synopsis of the "coming and going" of the Piercy’s.

The end of school brought two more Perfect Attendance awards to the Piercy home. Harrison received his second one and Natalie received her eighth award; she has received one for every year starting from kindergarten to seventh grade.

The Piercy family visited Grandma Piercy, in Florida for two weeks this summer. They swam every day in the 90-degree Gulf water and the 90-degree pool water. They even took an airboat ride to find alligators. The airboat operator stops the boat and then throws marshmallows to draw the alligators right up to the side of the boat. It made the Piercy’s nervous. Hungry alligators were eating within inches of their hands and feet. They were very relieved when the airboat started up again. They then traveled to Connecticut to visit with their cousins, the Cooper family. They spent one day on the Ben C. Rose, a 30’ sailboat. They moored just off the shoreline of Watchhill, Rhode Island while they swam in the Atlantic Ocean, which was not 90-degrees warm like Florida.

Natalie Piercy entered a self-portrait at the Harford Fair. It was an art project for the seventh grade under Mr. Demora. She was rewarded with a First Premium Blue Ribbon for her effort.

Harrison has now joined his sisters, Caitlin and Natalie in the Susquehanna High School Marching Band. Jessica, an alumni band member helps with the color guard. Also from Starrucca in the marching band are Danielle and Cindy Williams.

Danielle Williams, Caitlin and Natalie Piercy have started traveling to Binghamton every Saturday to practice with the Binghamton Youth Junior Symphony Orchestra. They had to audition in May and all three of them were accepted into the Symphony. The concerts will be in January and May.

Congratulations to these young people who continue to develop their talent in music.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Joey Gets Support

A letter in last week’s Transcript makes scores some points for Joey Franks, chairman of the Susquehanna County Democratic Committee. Of course, I take exception to letter writer accusing me of "yellow journalism." A yellow journalist is afraid to tell it like it is. On the other hand, I am on the firing line just about every week for not holding back regardless of where the chips might fall.

As the writer points out and it is true, I have never met Joey Franks. Perhaps he is a very nice gentleman. But that doesn’t allow him to bully his committee people, by threatening to throw them off the committee if they talk to this writer. And, while it is perfectly within his right as party chairman, his conscience should not allow him to reach into the party coffers for hotel costs when he attends statewide party meetings.

Old timers tell me he is the first party chairman to do this. By doing this, I am told that he has limited the two Democratic challengers for county commissioner to a paltry donation of $500 from the party. Hell, a few years ago, one Democrat candidate for county commissioner spent $30,000 on his campaign.

My ties with the previous Democratic leadership? Wow! I think Joe Plonski, Joey Franks predecessor, would be only too glad to refute that. I have been critical of the Democratic leadership in this county for almost 30 years. I have tried to stir them up, to get them to start flexing some political know-how and make this a two-party county. Sadly, it hasn’t worked. Like all the county chairmen before him, Joey Franks is satisfied with the few crumbs the Republicans allow the Democrats to have in Susquehanna County government.

The letter writer suggests that I dissect the issues in the forthcoming election. Obviously the writer does not read this column every week. The issues in the Susquehanna County Courthouse are exposed here more than in any other publication. If I dissected them any more, I could be arrested for practicing surgery without a medical degree.

And, just for the record, the opinions expressed by columnists across the country are based upon how they perceive a given topic and in no way reflects the opinion of the publishers, editors or anyone else affiliated with the publication.

What’s Going On In Forest City?

Is the Forest City Board of Education making up rules as it goes along? There are times when it surely appears that way. Consider the events that finally led up to the departure of Director Ken Goben.

At a special meeting on August 25, the board declared Goben’s Region 8 seat vacant. The action came after Director Tom Heller noted that Goben has sold his house to Heller’s sister and she was now living in it and Goben wasn’t. Was Goben’s removal from the board legal?

Section 319 of the Pennsylvania Public School Code states that if any qualified school director who is a member of a joint board misses two successive regular meetings, the remaining members of the board may declare his office as director vacant. I know Ken Goben was not at the board’s regular meeting in August, but I got a hunch he was at the July meeting. Other than absenteeism, I see no other grounds in the School Code that would allow the board to pass a motion declaring a director’s seat vacant.

Copies of Goben’s letter of resignation surfaced at the board’s work session on Sept. 8. But since it was only a work session, the board could not conduct any business. At its regular monthly meeting on Sept. 15, the board did not formally accept Goben’s letter at a public meeting. It has always been said that a letter of resignation is not valid until the agency receiving it passes a motion accepting the letter.

Also at the Sept. 15 meeting, the board passed a motion appointing Kenneth Swartz as "acting elementary principal effective Sept. 15, 2003" and compensating him based on a 245 day year. But local newspapers are publishing classified display ads seeking applicants for the position of elementary principal in the Forest City Regional School District. The ad states that it is a full-time, 12-month position and application deadline is October 3, 2003.

I have read that last paragraph several times and if I didn’t write it, I wouldn’t believe it. But the information in it is accurate. You figure it out!

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