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Issue Home November 11, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Coming Home

"Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home," says the old folk song. And I learned what that meant recently when I flew to Chicago for an orientation day at a university there. I had held in my mind for the last four years, the idea of going back to school full-time. I’d talk about it, make tentative plans, write for course information and explore housing ideas. What I never really reckoned with was the cost. Pollyanna thought the money would rain down from the sky, I guess.

Finally I registered for a day of orientation and actually followed through by reserving a seat on the flight to Chicago, making arrangements to visit my daughter and son-in-law and their family, sent my registration form and money to the school. I was excited.

The orientation was as energizing as I had expected. I was thrilled to be back in an academic forum. I felt like I fit right in.

My daughter had driven me there, showing me the route and the major streets I’d use to get there on my own. Early in the day I’m thinking, I can handle this.

Lunch time came, and the cafeteria food was plentiful and good. Many choices, several of which were starchy and fatty.

The afternoon sessions dealt with the practicalities of life, and here was where my enthusiasm began to wane. The sheer volume of courses and the hours of reading that each would entail was overwhelming. They told us, as students at Garrett, our tuition would allow us to take three courses at Northwestern University. Yes! I pictured the writing classes I would take there with famous professors. Then I thought, but when will I have time to write? Dabbler that I am, this was beginning to look like way too much work.

Next we talked money. I was blown away at costs, around $23,000 each nine months. I asked, "What if I take your offer of a $25,000 loan, and then I die?" I was picturing my children struggling to pay off my college loans. All around me these bright-eyed twenty-year-olds had this "what’s-she-talking-about" look in their eyes. The instructor said, "The loan would die with you." At least that was reassuring. I’m still tracking and even took the packet of registration forms.

Now it was time to do the housing tour. I had been waiting for this especially because, in all my scenarios of living part time near my daughter, how to have my own place always loomed large. Not that she didn’t offer her home, but that isn’t an option for me. Kids need their own space.

We started with dorm rooms. Oh, my! And I thought I’d had it rough in the 1950’s. These were tiny, with one bath for three or four rooms. I don’t think so. Then we looked at suites. A lofty name for a very humble abode. Now we were off to apartments, which were a long haul from the campus with many more steps to the third floor. By now the muscles in the back of my legs were complaining sorely. But I persevered. A furnished apartment with a mattress in the closet was not too appealing. An unfurnished, now owner-furnished, with nice furniture was more acceptable, but very expensive by my standards. The young woman showing us around said, "My husband and I live here, and I don’t go out alone after nine o’clock at night." Hallways were littered with flyers, and dust in the corners gave an unkempt appearance. I was disheartened. I believe it was at that point that I decided the trade-off would be too costly. My big house and lawn, friendly neighbors, and safety outweighed the plusses of being a full-time student.

I had asked how many people in my age bracket might be found there, and the numbers were small.

All this added together made small town living with free time to pursue part-time classes look very appealing.

But, as a vacation, my trip was great. I ate Cajun and Thai foods, rode the commuter train and the riverboat, visited with friends, family and dogs, received more beautiful gifts, and arrived home safely, if late. Who could ask for a better life?


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100 Years Ago

UPSONVILLE: The flag raising at the East Schoolhouse was carried out in fine shape under the able management of W.H. Harrison and his son-in-law, L.A. Sherwoood. The exercises were fine, under the training and management of the teacher, Maud Harrison.

GLENWOOD: Quite a number of well-dressed ladies and gentlemen gathered in this place Saturday, on inquiry it was found to be Lenox Grange members looking over their new purchase, and discussing plans for the future. After the needed repairs are made we expect to see a large gathering in the hall every other Saturday. Long may it thrive.

SUSQUEHANNA DEPOT: The Susquehanna Hospital Association will soon begin the erection of a hospital near Laurel Hill Academy, on the site donated by Very Rev. Father Patrick F. Brodrick. AND: Whit says that a railroad man "a few days ago" killed twelve robins in the west Susquehanna yard, for which he is liable to fines of $120. The fine part is alright, but how many days is a "few"?

GREAT BEND: W.J. Day, of Great Bend, has taken his beautiful horse, "Wild Marsh," to New York city, where he will be exhibited at the horse show at Madison Square garden.

FAIR HILL: James Winner, of the Friendsville stage route, has, we understand, purchased a mule of N.H. Cool. Mr. Cool also sold a horse last week to parties in Montrose.

UNIONDALE: The telephone central has recently been moved to Mrs. Lockwood’s house, and we are looking for splendid service now, when they change the keys so lively now when the bell rings. Hello central! AND: It is reported that John and Edson Carpenter have taken the contract to bore six holes on the twelve hundred acre tract recently purchased by judge Purdy, of Honesdale, on the mountain east of Uniondale, this county, for coal.

FOREST CITY: The robbery of the store of Jack Alexander, of Forest City, is just now occupying the attention of the bankruptcy court, and some interesting complications are promised. Alexander conducted a gentlemen’s furnishing store, and a short time ago went into bankruptcy. Frank M. Gardner was appointed trustee of the estate. Matters went smoothly until Wednesday, when Mr. Gardner left for a day or two. Early yesterday morning the store was looted, several hundred dollars worth of valuables being taken. Deputy marshall Snyder, of Scranton, went to Forest City yesterday, and investigated the case.

OAKLAND: Mayor Connell, of Scranton, has vetoed a recently adopted curfew ordinance of that city, on the grounds that the city has no fit place to imprison children who would be arrested. The veto was sustained. The curfew is a good thing in Susquehanna and Oakland.

NEW MILFORD: George Shay of Peckville, formerly of New Milford, who for a number of years has conducted an express business between Scranton and Carbondale, has disposed of his business and property, with the intention of going to California, the health of his wife necessitating this step. Mrs. Shay is a daughter of S.V. Trumbull of this place. AND: Binghamton people are negotiating with our business men and capitalists with the intention of establishing a gas plant in town for lighting purposes. AND: Inez Shelp, of New Milford, has accepted a position in the crockery department of the Boston Store, Binghamton.

BROOKLYN: The traction engine has arrived in town and the horses have taken notice of the fact. AND: Howard Clark, who was recently serving in the U.S. Navy, was calling on old friends in towns last week.

MONTROSE: When the people went to Village Hall Saturday night to see Keene, the magician, they expected to be mystified and they were; they went to be entertained and they were. From the initial act in sleight-of-hand work to the close of the entertainment, when the spirit cabinet was brought into play, the spectators were in a constant state of amazement and admiration. In fact he had all so completely befuddled that had he proclaimed himself possessed of supernatural powers nine out of every ten would have believed him. The tricks presented were not of the variety usually met with on the stage, but ones which could be performed successfully only after years of practice. For instance after growing bushes filled with roses before the eyes of those present, he clipped them off and scattered them about the house; took from a borrowed derby enough stuff to stock a country store; pounded valuable rings out of shape and tore pieces out of handkerchiefs directly before the eyes of all, yet returning them unharmed, and scores of other incredible feats.

SPRINGVILLE: Fred Risley of Springville has gone to Buffalo to work for his brother, Warren, in the employ of the Jones Tea Company.

ELK LAKE: At Elk Lake a young man forced an entrance to Stevens’ store, in which is located the post office, and pocketed several knives besides a small sum of money from the money drawer used in connection with the post office. It seems that when a store and post office are in the same building Uncle Sam considers the offence in the same light as though the post office alone were there, so that when a store is broken into it is the same as though the entrance to the post office itself was forced. A hearing was given the young man and as it concerns the postal service it is outside the jurisdiction of the county courts and it will be necessary for all connected with the case to go to Harrisburg, where it will be tried.

BRIDGEWATER: James Clough, of North Bridgewater, killed a pig 7 1/2 months old that dressed 308 pounds. AND: H.J. Stephens’ residence in Bridgewater has been re-painted, L.H. Griffis doing the artistic work.

HOPBOTTOM: The new traction engine, which is to run from Foster to Brooklyn, started on the first trip Monday, with H. Hughes as engineer.

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International Recording Stars At P. J. O’hare’s

If you never had the chance to hear or see (in person) international recording stars, you have the opportunity now. On Sunday, November 23, at 7 p.m., The International Wolfe Tones (three of them) direct from Ireland on a world tour, will appear at the P. J. O’hare’s Irish Pub (on the Oakland side), Susquehanna.

The Wolfe Tones, personal friends of Dermot and Brooke O’hare, are making the stop while touring the United States and other countries.

The Wolfe Tones have appeared in the United States before and were widely acclaimed, appearing in New City one New Year’s Eve. The trio, Noel Nagle, Tommy Byrne and Brian Warfield, have been together for several years. A few years ago, after recording several albums, they were voted the most popular group in Ireland.

Tickets are available at the O’hare Pub or by calling (570) 853–3347. Foods – both Irish and American – are available. The pub is fast becoming one of the most likable and entertaining nightclubs in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Now would be a good time to visit the pub, and at the same time hear three international recording stars "belt out" songs that you will enjoy.

WILL IT NEVER END? Day in and day out, our servicemen are being killed, not only in Iraq, but all over the world. Does Mr. Bush believe that the $87 million he has requested will stop the killings? No way. It will take more than money to stop the terrorists. They are all over. At least one American is dying every day in Iraq. "We will win this," Mr. Bush said. Sure we will at the expense of many more American lives. Where is all the oil going that’s in Iraq? Where is the money going for the oil being sold? Why aren’t we using the oil proceeds to rebuild Iraq? Why do we have to use our money, when millions are starving in our own country? Not only are they not getting proper medical attention, but many just can’t afford it. Thousands are losing their jobs. Many companies are moving to foreign countries to have their work done. It’s cheaper. Thus, many Americans are jobless. And the only thing Mr. Bush is worried about – is all the foreign countries. It has taking years to come up with a senior citizen "fair price" prescriptions. Does Mr. Bush care? If he does, I haven’t heard about it.

MONEY IS GREAT – It helps – but it doesn’t buy everything. Take for instance this past World Series (where my beloved Yankees got "creamed" by the "poor" Florida Marlins). Poor George, after shelling out $164 million in salaries, saw his Mighty Bombers get beat in six games by a team that has a payroll of $53 million, not even a third of the Yankee payroll. It compares to a four-foot midget who, with all his might slew his seven-foot adversaries. To say the least, Mr. Steinbrenner is very unhappy. He no doubt will clean house, take the rubber-band off the bankroll and go out and get "the best that the market can offer" to bring the World Series flag back to New York. Who do I see leaving? Better yet, who do I see staying? Could be Derek Jeter, Jason Giambi, Mike Mussina, Hideki Matsui, Andy Pettite (?), Alfonso Sorianni, Nick Johnson, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera. It seems that Jeff Weaver and Dave Wells could be on the way out. But I believe that, with more tutoring Weaver could become a major league pitcher. He has the stuff – he just has to keep it away from the center of the plate. By the time this goes into print, Steinbrenner will have bought a new broom and is cleaning house. You know George’s greatest wish, "World Series winners above everything."

TURNPIKE TERRACE Fire Drill – With the help of the Susquehanna Fire Department and the floor captains of Turnpike Terrace, a "mock drill" was held (unexpectedly) during the evening of Wednesday, October 29. At promptly 7:10 p.m., Turnpike Terrace maintenance and the firemen activated the alarm. With bells ringing, and lights flashing, all of the tenants were notified by floor captains and led to safety. After several minutes, firemen gave the "all clear" sign, with T. T. going back to their normal routine. (Thank you, Susquehanna Fire Department.)

FEED A FRIEND – The CCD students of St. John’s Church will be collecting canned goods for the "Feed-A-Friend" program. The following items are needed to assist families in Susquehanna with their Thanksgiving dinner: boxed stuffing, canned turkey, gravy, sweet potatoes, vegetables, pumpkin, cranberry sauce, pie crust mix. Items can be placed in the boxes located in the rear of St. John’s Church by Sunday, November 16.

ANOTHER 700 SERIES – Not only are the men rocking the pins this season at Riverside Lanes, but the women – more or less – are keeping up with great scores. Several 700’s have been bowled by the ladies. Now we can add another 700 by Brenda Muiter, who on October 27, 2003 bowled games of 246, 236, 229 for a 711 total, in the Sunday Night Couples league bowling under the P. J. O’hare banner. Other members of her team are Moose Muiter, Steve and Theresa Felter. (Congratulations, Brenda.)

DAVE CONROY Bowls 800 – Dave Conroy of Susquehanna, coming close several times to bowling a 800 bowling series, accomplished the feat several days ago at the Great Bend Valley Lanes in the Bill McConnell League. Putting together games of 257, 300 and 243 for his first 800. The 300 game was Dave’s eighth of his career, bowling six of them at the Susquehanna Riverside Lanes and two at the Valley Lanes. He is – at present – averaging 205. (Congrats, Dave.)


GOOD GIRLS! – Are they any good girls in this town? Mister, all the girls in this town are good girls. Then how far is it to the next town?

LEAD ME TO IT – Doc, my neighbor’s been drinking something called "Magic Youth Potion" and he looks better every day. He’s being swindled, the doc said. How much has he spent on this crap? Quite a bit. He’s been drinking it for 112 years.

GOOD OLD PRETZELS – My first husband drowned in a vat of beer. Oooo, that must have been horrible for him! Not too bad, the wife said, he got out twice for pretzels.

SAME AS BEFORE – The pretty young secretary was transferred to the company’s Dallas office. Her new supervisor said, we operate here the same as you did in the Detroit office. OK, the girl answered, kiss me so we can get started.

SMART ANSWER – How many brothers and sisters do you have? Three. Are you the oldest in your family? No, silly. Daddy is.

WHERE WERE YOU? Dad to daughter: It’s a good thing you took accounting in school. Why is that Dad? I want you to account for coming home at five in the morning.

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Straight From Starrucca

A goodly crowd was in the Community Hall last Friday night, October 31, to view the parade of witches, goblins and all that scary Halloween stuff. The PR person, Susan Haynes, wishes to thank the judges, and all those who donated door prizes, baked goods, time and money.

Winners of door prizes were: Pete Downton, Christmas tree; Dee Hadden, crystal piece; and Tom Swartz, salon gift certificate.

Winners of toys were: Jacob Downton, Olivia Colwell, Kimberly Swartz, and Zachary Stanford.

Costume winners: best, Madison Stanford as the pink witch; original, Courtney Slocum as a Geisha woman; funniest, Got Milk Cow, McKenzie Rhone; and scariest, The Hulk, Eric Lee. Courtney Slocum has won three years in a row as the most original.

And a good time was had by all!

Seventy-nine voters cast their votes on November 4. Will list the successful candidates next week.

Wednesday afternoon, November 5, fifteen senior citizens and bag ladies attended a housewarming for Ed and Charlotte Sidorski, Jackson, PA. We shared a pleasant afternoon with them. Charlotte showed us her slipper and shoe collection, which numbers about four hundred and for which she began collecting at age eight.

Andy and Jen Bennett, accompanied by his father and mother, Peg and Bill Bennett, spent sixteen days in Florida recently.

To order fruitcakes: Thompson, Mary Gray, 756–2652; Ararat, Rosalind Lee, 727–2592; and Starrucca, Margaret Dickey, 727–2556.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Another Election Scandal In The County

It seems like an election cannot be completed in Susquehanna County without having some sort of stigma attached to it.

This year’s fiasco occurred in Gibson Township and involved a flagrant violation of election laws. Needless to say little or nothing will be done about it because that’s the way the system works –or fails to work- in this county.

I am looking at a specimen (sample) ballot from last Tuesday’s election. It contains two neatly folded pages, a pink one with the candidates listed and a blue one that is a specimen of the original judicial retention ballot.

Stapled to it is a slate card appropriately titled "Leadership for Pennsylvania." Underneath that slogan is a second slogan titled "Your Republican Team for Susquehanna County." And below these encouraging words are the names of endorsed state and county candidates. The names of Roberta Kelly and Jeffrey Loomis, successful GOP candidates for county commissioner, are highlighted in green.

And now, are you ready for this? The specimen ballots with the slate card stapled on top of the neat fold were removed from inside the Gibson Township Municipal Building next to another stack of specimen ballots. And where do Gibson Township residents vote? Inside the municipal building

Township Supervisor Len Bartkus told me that Donna Gelatt, a Republican County Committeewoman, brought these specimen ballots with the slate cards stapled on top of them to the municipal building.

"People wanted to get (specimen) ballots," Bartkus said, "so I called (Donna) and she brought them down and set them on the table. I did not look at them until the next day and that’s when I saw what they had stapled to them. I did not know what the rules or laws are so I did not pay attention. The next day, Barney Wilkins noticed they were there and he said that was illegal."

Barney Wilkins told me he called the Board of Elections and was advised by Commissioner Gary Marcho to remove the specimen ballots from inside the polling place.

Joe Plonski, former Democratic County Chairman, said he will file a complaint with the Election Board "so it doesn’t happen again." Plonski said the ballots with the slate cards stapled to them were brought to the Gibson Municipal Building the night before the election and were there from 7 a.m. when the polls opened until 1:30 p.m. when Barney Wilkins removed them. He said the judge of elections did nothing about it.

"Wow!" said Ivan Burman, Republican County Committee Chairman. "This is the first knowledge I have of that. I would certainly say it is not an activity that I would condone."

Burman immediately accepted some of the blame. "If she did it," he said, "it is because she didn’t know any better. Obviously she did not know the laws. Shame on me for not covering the rules."

My friends, a long, long time ago someone said, "Ignorance of the law excuses no man; not that all men know the law, but because ’tis an excuse every man will plead and no man can tell how to refute him."

Did Donna Gelatt know the law? Even if she didn’t, those ballots were inside the polling place more than six hours. It is difficult to imagine that during all this time none of the poll workers or watchers observed them. And most certainly the judge of elections and the other paid workers should know the law.

The feeling here is that members of the Republican Party in Susquehanna County should be the very last people to violate any election laws. With the exception of the candidates for commissioner, all other GOP candidates for county offices were unopposed. And most county voters know that, despite a team effort, the Democrats lack the political savvy and the money, to put together a campaign good enough to capture two county commissioner seats.

Oh, yes! One final bit of information printed on the slate cards. It reads: "Paid for by the Republican State Committee of Pennsylvania." Why is it that the Republican State Committee always seems to find a few extra bucks to help out county candidates, while it seems the Democratic State Committee does nothing but ask for money from Democrats in counties across the Commonwealth?

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