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Issue Home November 4, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Pencils, Pencils Everywhere

If I lived to be two hundred, which isn’t likely, I could never use all the pencils that I have in my house. Long, short, hard lead, soft lead, mechanical, colored; I’ve got them all. I even have a metal-capped hectograph pencil from the days before copiers when I was going to make my own hectograph machine out of glycerin. I’ve also still got the bottle of glycerin! Because of the age of most of the pencils I’ve accumulated, the erasers no longer erase, but leave big black smudges wherever I try to use them.

Last night I was working on a crossword puzzle in the GRIT. Usually I do them in ink, not because I’m that sure of my answers, but just because I love Bic pens. Then I keep my whiteout pen handy. This particular puzzle was not going well, so, because I was using a pencil which was the closest tool, there were many big, whole-word black smudges on my paper. I finally gave it up as a bad job and went to the kitchen to fix supper.

The question I keep asking myself is, "Where did all these pencils come from?" And I guess the next logical question would be, "And why do you keep them all?"

Of course I know the answer to the second question. It’s my age. As a child of the post-depression era, you throw nothing away. I am really trying to break out of that mold. A case in point. Last week I received my absentee ballot and in the envelope was this tiny number two pencil which is the required tool for voting. It was so cute. I knew if my husband had been here, it never would have left the house, being as how he loved unusual things like that. But I am proud to inform you that I actually threw it away! It wasn’t easy, and I hesitated. But eventually it ended up in the kitchen wastepaper basket and quickly got swallowed up in the layers of other debris. I had thoughts of digging down through that stuff to find it again, but I nobly resisted.

It used to be that I could, in good conscience, save those kinds of things for my grandchildren. We had a "making drawer," and when they would visit, they would be awed by all the "making stuff" Grandma had accumulated since their last visit. And being artistic and creative, they made some spectacular things that went back out west in big boxes as airline luggage. But at eighteen and twenty, I doubt that the "making drawer" would hold too much attraction anymore. Now, for my granddaughter, it’s the fabric drawer that gets her attention.

I do have younger children who visit, but so far they are content to make a few crayon marks on the unused backs of first draft writing. Then they explain to me what it is that they have created.

I wish I knew the way to get my excess to the places of greatest need. I think that is the other reason that I can’t throw usable things away. I know somewhere in the world someone desperately needs them. I try to figure out the where and how, and sometimes come up with a match, but in the meantime I’m hanging on to a lot of stuff in and out of my "making drawers." I was struck by just how much there is when my son and I cleaned out a bedroom and closet. Getting it ready for a new floor meant that everything had to come out of there, and you should see my upstairs now. Wall to wall furniture, boxes, bags, and miscellaneous containers of goodies. I promised I would go through all of it before it went back into that room, and possibly even get rid of some. We’ll see.

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100 Years Ago

FRIENDSVILLE: On Monday, Patrick Bahan, of Friendsville, drove in with some calves, which he disposed of at Hibbard's stock yards near the L & M station. After transacting the business in connection with the deal and attending to some other matters, he, in company with a friend, started homeward. As they near Thomas Houghton's farm in the township, Mr. Bahan's companion had occasion to leap from the wagon, which had in some manner unknown, become overbalanced by the load shifting to the further end of the vehicle. The result was that with the removing of the man's weight the wagon box tilted suddenly, and the horses, scared by the commotion, started on a run. Mr. Bahan was thrown to the ground and dragged a number of rods, sustaining a broken leg. The injured man was taken to the Exchange Hotel [Montrose] and Dr. Gardner attended. When a leg is broken between the knee and the hip, as it was in this case, the leg almost invariably is shortened if the bone is immediately set, owing to the contracting of the tendons when the ends of the broken bones slide by each other. It was therefore considered advisable to attach heavy weights to the injured leg and thus gradually draw it back into place. Contrary to the general supposition, he was not in very great pain during this trying ordeal. His brothers, Martin and D. J. Bahan, of Friendsville, were in Montrose to learn his condition and secure means for giving him all the required comforts. It will probably be a month before he can be removed from his room at the Exchange [Hotel] to his home in Friendsville.

HOPBOTTOM: Javan Sterling has moved his meat market into the photo gallery. Can Stone will open a feed store in the rooms vacated by Javan Sterling.

SUSQUEHANNA: The Baptist and Methodist congregations will unite in a temperance rally at Hogan Opera House on Sunday evening. AND: The Erie laid off 123 men in the shops here last week.

BRANDT: At a special meeting of the Lackawanna Presbytery, held at Scranton on Monday, the pastoral relation between Rev. Samuel H. Potter and the Brandt Presbyterian Church was dissolved and the pulpit declared vacant. Mr. Potter will assume the pastorate of the church at Bridgeton, N. J.

EAST BRIDGEWATER: Messrs. F. W. Bishop, Charles Lamb, Herbert Walton and George J. Mack, of Montrose, were here Sunday morning. Being great lovers of Nature in all its beauty, it is not at all surprising that these young men are prone to wander away from the noise of the city on the hill, to enact the thrilling drama, "Babes in the Woods." Alonzo McNeil, late of the U. S. Army, was along and made a good chaperone, and disciplinarian as well. Mr. Bishop, who is an up-to-date draughtsman from Binghamton, is spending long hours in sketching scenes and incidents along the way.

HARFORD: Allie Capron will be at the Seaman's House with a fine line of millinery from Nov. 18 to 30. AND: The people of Harford were very much surprised to hear of the death of Mrs. Geo. Peck, as she was able to get supper Thursday night and was dead Friday morning, Oct. 30.

NEW MILFORD: The owners of the creamery have put in a dam just below the railroad bridge for the purpose of turning the water into their pond at the creamery. AND: Inez Shelp has accepted a position in the crockery department of the Boston Store in Binghamton.

NORTH BRIDGEWATER: Charley Holbrook caught a raccoon recently that weighed 18 pounds.

LAWSVILLE: The Smith house on the hill from Lawsville, burned last week; the house was vacant; the origin of the fire is unknown. AND: B. L. Bailey and wife have a new piano.

LAUREL LAKE: As Miss Lydia Rodgers has accepted a position in Binghamton for the winter; a farewell surprise party was given her at the home of her sister, Mrs. A. A. Hayes, Wednesday evening, Oct. 28. Dancing was indulged in, music by Laurel Lake orchestra. After refreshments, remarks were made by G. C. Hill and Miss Rodgers was presented with a purse containing several dollars, with a desire for her to select a present as a remembrance from her friends.

SOUTH MONTROSE: Saturday, Oct. 31, marked a red-letter day in the history of our town, it being the initial trip of a wide gauge Lehigh Valley R. R. engine and passenger coach. The making of our road to a standard gauge will be of much value to the surrounding country and this place is destined to be one of the largest shipping points on the Montrose branch of the L. V. R. R.

BIRCHARDVILLE: All speak in praise of our new Doctor, A. L. Hickok.

LATHROP: Messrs Johnson & Lord have been pressing hay in this vicinity. Harry Kinney, while driving team for them, slipped from the seat and caught his foot in the press, hurting it very badly. AND: Samuel Marcy's place is much improved by a new barn being erected by the Oakley Bros.

WEST AUBURN: On Saturday, between the hours of 12 and 1 o'clock, the large barn of C. A. Place burned with all its contents. Origin of the fire unknown.

SOUTH GIBSON: An entertainment and oyster supper will be given on the evening of Nov. 12, in McNamara hall, under the auspices of Morgan's Band. AND: Truman Woodard and wife of Humboldt, Ia., are visiting relatives.

BROOKLYN: Geo. W. Sterling was born in Brooklyn, July 20, 1823, and has lived in the same neighborhood all his life, dying within a mile of his birthplace, Nov. 2, '03. He was converted when about 17years. His name appears on the class book of the M. E. church in 1841. He was married in 1850 to Lucy Grace Garland, with whom he lived happily for 53 years; she survives him. Three children were born to the couple, two daughters, Mrs. Eldridge and Mrs. Case, both of Brooklyn; and one son, Willis, who departed this life at the age of 8 years. They had another son by adoption, Herbert, who shared in their love and care for30 years, "and he was not, for God took him." Brother Sterling needs no eulogy; his life was an open book read and known of all men. His last Sunday on earth he attended public worship morning and evening. The end came at the breakfast table. Clasping his hands over his heart and exclaiming, "O blessed God I'm dying," he mounted the chariot and ascended to Heaven.

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DEER WATCH – If a deer is struck by a vehicle, but not killed, drivers are urged to stay their distance because some deer may recover and move on. However, if a deer does not move on, or poses a public safety risk, drivers are encouraged to report the incident to a Game Commission regional office or other local law enforcement agency. If the deer must be put down, the Game Commission will direct the proper person to do so.

Other tips for motorists include:

Don’t count on deer whistles or deer fences to deter deer from crossing roads in front of you. Stay alert.

Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulder of the road. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down.

Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population; where deer-crossing signs are posted; places where deer commonly cross roads; areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forest land; and whenever in forested areas between dusk and dawn.

HUNTERS’ "ORANGE" – Responding to input from a broad cross-section of hunters, the Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners adopted a slate of regulatory changes that simplify and consolidate the Commonwealth’s existing hunter fluorescent orange requirements. The action significantly changed the proposal given preliminary approval by the Board in June, but will reflect much of the current orange requirements.

With a few exceptions, the adopted regulations require hunters to wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing on the head, chest and back combined –visible in a 360 degree arc – when they hunt, or assist to hunt any game or wildlife, or move to or from a hunting location, from one hour before legal hunting hours to one hour after legal hunting hours, outside a motorized vehicle.

POPE INSTALLS 30 New Cardinals – Pope John Paul II added 30 names to the list of his possible successors Tuesday, October 21, 2003. Among the 30 is one American. There are now 130 Cardinals, who will vote for the new pope. The breakdown of Cardinals: Europe 66; Latin America 24; Africa 13; Asia 13; United States 11; Oceania, including Australia and New Zealand, 4; Canada 3. The 83-year old pontiff, Polish-born, was the first non-Italian Pope in 455 years.

PENNSYLVANIA "Still Looking For More Taxes" – The latest is that income taxes will be raised to support education. Not a bad idea to help education. But I was always under the impression that lottery proceeds (which is plenty) is earmarked for education. Gov. Rendell sure seems to be "the state’s tax man."

SPEAKING OF TAXES – How low can New York State legislature get? The state now wants school children, who sponsor car washes, school dances, spaghetti dinners, etc., to pay sales tax of 8.25% on their proceeds. Poor New York State, maybe a benefit could be held for their coffers.

SPORTS QUESTION – It’s not a difficult question, but I was asked, "What number never appears on the ball and strike count board?"

COUNTY GAINING People – Susquehanna County gained 1,527 people from 1990 to 2000, an increase of 3.8 percent, according to US Census information. In 2000 the census reported the county population at 42,238. Historically designated building in Susquehanna is the Starrucca House (formerly an Erie Railroad station); and the hand-built Starrucca Viaduct in Lanesboro, built 150 years ago, with trains still running over it. The Starrucca Viaduct, one of the "World Wonders" attracts visitors from all over the country. I recall a few years ago, when I had company from England, we visited the viaduct. Lo and behold, would believe that after being there a few minutes, a freight train came puffing over the bridge. A beautiful sight.

I JUST CAN’T WAIT! Now that the World Series is over maybe Coach Don Zimmer, of the Yankees (who resigned prior to being fired by George) is planning to "tell all" about his relationship with Steinbrenner during the past year. George and Zimmer haven’t spoken all season – but Zimmer is about to speak his piece. It should be a good one. (Ordinarily, when a ball player is fined for misconduct while playing, his team – usually – pays the fine. Not George, Zimmer paid his own $5,000 fine.)

LOTS OF SPAGHETTI – Husband yelled to the wife, "Don’t tell me we’re having spaghetti again tonight?" The wife answered, "You liked it on Monday and Tuesday, and it was good enough on Wednesday and Thursday. Now, all of a sudden on Friday you tell me you don’t want spaghetti!"

A GOOD KISS – He says he’d rather kiss his wife than eat. So would I, I tasted her cooking.

A FAIR WARNING – I must warn you, everything you say will be held against you – Dolly Parton, Jesse Colter, Madonna, Crystal Gale. (Wow!)

A GORGEOUS MAN – I had that gorgeous man we’ve all been trying to date banging on my door all night. Why didn’t you open it? I didn’t want to let him out.

A DIARY – What’s that you’re reading? A diary. What’s in it? I can’t tell you that. A diary is a highly personal and confidential affair. It has important secret dreams. It’s private. It’s not meant to be shared. Besides, the diary belongs to Mary.

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Straight From Starrucca

With her husband, Ron off to Colorado for some elk hunting, Laura Brownell took off for LasVegas to visit her mother for two weeks and take part in some of the activities there. Both have returned home, Ronnie’s hunt being successful and Laura sporting a nice tan!

Billy Reddon spent the weekend with his grandparents, Virginia and Carl Upright.

June Downton, Joanne and Raye Thomas were on hand in Newburgh, NY a week ago Sunday to witness the christening of a niece, Jo Shawn.

Mary Pat Upright, Windsor, NY called on her mother, Doris Davidson a week ago Sunday. She also visited Jim and Debbie Kelly. Debbie seems to be holding her own.

Barb and Roger Glover, along with Marilyn and Dave Czapnick and friends from Florida attended the Blue Grass festival in Tunkhannock last Saturday.

On Thursday, the Glovers went to Binghamton and celebrated grandson, Connor Knox’s third Birthday.

Tickets are available from members of the Civic Assoc. for a complete Thanksgiving dinner (the basket of goodies is worth about $40.00).

We are making fruit cakes this year, along with Thompson and Ararat. More details later.

The senior citizens will meet Nov. 12, in the Baptist Social Rooms and we have a surprise for you! Along with a Thanksgiving dinner, at noon, we will have a guest speaker who has entitled her presentation, "A Farmer’s Daughter". It promises to be amusing and interesting.

There wasn’t much news last week, as my sister passed away and I was in York, PA for the major part of the week. She now rests in peace, in the arms of the Lord.

Sympathy is extended to Gale Williams and Naomi Getter and families over the loss of their fathers.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Another election bites the dust

Tuesday’s election is over and, since my deadline was before the election, I really have no idea who the winners are except, of course, for those who ran unopposed.

My gut feeling is that Jeff Loomis and Roberta Kelly will continue the Republican domination of the three-member Board of County Commissioners but who will join them is too close to call. I remember 1948 when the headline in a Chicago newspaper boasted that Dewey had defeated Truman.

All things considered, the race for county commissioner was about as exciting as watching water boil. I did not attend the big debate in the county courthouse but that too, I am told, featured a lack luster performance from the candidates. Of course, the Republicans are noted for putting on layback campaigns once the primaries are over. And the Democrats are noted for…putting on.

My only wish is that, whomever the three commissioners are, they do more than work together. I watched the current administration "working together" for eight years while the pension fund lost millions right under their noses. I watched them "working together" while the Teamsters Union organized the county workers. And I watched them "working together" while dedicated hard-working employees left and some new employees did not hang around long enough to be recognized on a first-name basis. Mayor-elect Taylor Cleared –14 pt bold italic, blush left

Unless the City of Carbondale experienced an election that was totally unexpected, unexplained, and unmatched in political history, city Councilman Justin Taylor is now Mayor-elect Taylor.

Justin, who is director of the Susquehanna County Department of Economic Development (SCDED), trounced incumbent Mayor John "Jigger" Jordan in the May primaries overcoming a campaign that was dirtier than Ed Norton’s clothes after a day in the sewers.

The biggest –and perhaps the most legitimate- obstacle Justin had to overcome was a complaint lodged against him alleging that he was in violation of the Hatch Act when he filed nominating petitions as a candidate for mayor. In short, the Hatch Act states that an officer or employee of a state or local agency is subject to the provisions of the Hatch Act if "as a normal and foreseeable incident of his principal position or job, he performs duties in connection with an activity financed in whole or in part by federal funds." An employee covered by the Act may not be a candidate in a partisan election, an election in which any candidate represents a bona fide political party.

After an extensive inquiry into the complaint, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) concluded that, while Justin does participate in filing grant applications relevant to infrastructure and other needs in industrial sites, he does not administer or have discretion over the various grant programs. Based upon its inquiry, which included contact with an assortment of agencies and a number of interviews, the OSC concluded that Justin is not covered by the Hatch Act and, therefore, he was not prohibited from being a candidate in a partisan election for mayor of Carbondale.

The concern of many is whether Justin Taylor will be in conflict as a mayor trying to lure new industry into Carbondale and as director of the SCDED seeking to bring industrial development into our county. He believes he can wear both hats comfortably. I, for one, will not prematurely challenge that belief. But you can bet that he knows and we know his actions will be monitored in the City of Carbondale, in Susquehanna County, and probably in Lackawanna County.

No Authority Yet

Sources tell me that the county application to create a railroad authority has been rejected. As I get it, just a few glitches in the application, nothing all that serious. But a delay nonetheless.

I am not sure where our newly elected commissioners stand on the idea of creating the authority. Roberta Kelly was on the Rail Committee for a while but she left to campaign for office. If the authority is not approved by the end of the year, we will find out quick enough how the new commissioners feel about the idea. I hope they endorse it.

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