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Issue Home December 16, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

Straight From Starrucca
Along the Way...With P. Jay
An Inside Look

Slices of Life

Weather Makes No Difference

It is a beautiful morning. The sun has made it above the horizon again. Isn’t that miraculous how it never forgets its purpose or how to make it happen? Diamonds are sparkling on the lingering snow. Rabbit tracks zigzag across the snowy driveway. Interesting that I never see a rabbit, but only evidence of where they have been. They must travel at night or in the pre-dawn hours. The deer, too, have left a trail. Many dainty hoof prints decorate my back yard.

Mrs. Morris has disappeared. Very early this morning, when I had finally found a comfortable position in my bed, she decided it was time for me to be up and going. No amount of coaxing could convince her to come up on the bed with me or to settle down anywhere else. In fact she hadn’t been on the bed all night, which is very unusual. I could hear her scratching in her litter box a few times in the early morning, and then she was back to racing through the upstairs hall and yowling. I finally got up and checked the litter box to see, if in fact, it might have a speck of something in it. It didn’t. So I went back to bed. But she didn’t. When the alarm rang, I decided I might as well bite the bullet and start my day, because she was determined not to let me sleep.

We came downstairs and I groped my way to the cat food. With half a can of Friskies under her belt, and a trip to the litter box in the basement, she headed back upstairs for a lengthy nap in front of the heater in the hall.

With all the frost on the cars this morning, I am glad that I took my friend, Paul’s, advice and drove into the driveway rather than backing in like I normally do. Now the rising sun is cleaning off my windshield with no scraping by me.

There is much to do today. It’s clean-up time from the Christmas Department Store, which was a big success despite the weather. Many volunteer hours and hard-earned cash went into preparing this sale. I was deeply touched by the many toys that lined the shelves this year. The plea went out to our congregation that we needed more toys, and they appeared like magic. That is part of our Christmas gift to the community. The other gift is our open doors for anyone who will join us to hear the good news of God’s gift in the presence of his Son.

Before the sale, the weatherman had predicted that the calm and beauty would soon be interrupted by winds and snow. While we want our weather forecasters to be correct in what they do, I was desperately hoping that they would get fooled this time, as my daughter was flying in from Chicago to work at the sale and to bake her decadently-rich cookies. She would have been very disappointed if her flight was canceled, and with the prediction of heavy snow, I would be anxious if it wasn’t canceled.

But all turned out well. The snow did arrive, but not as much as was predicted, and not until after that little jet was safely on the ground. Going back was delayed, but also a safe journey. Snow and cold did not deter shoppers from joining us at the sale. It seems that good weather or bad weather, life goes on.

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100 Years Ago

EAST RUSH: There will be given an entertainment at the church here on Wednesday, Dec. 23d, by the children of the district school. A patriotic farce entitled "Our Country," and "Mother Goose and her family," will be there. No admission charged, but a collection will be taken to cover expenses of costumes, etc. Come and see Uncle Sam, John Bull and Mother Goose.

SUSQUEHANNA: In St. John's Catholic church, on a recent Sunday, over $700 was raised to pay the expense of improving the parochial school building.

OAKLAND: The Oakland Methodist church will hold a roast pig supper on Saturday evening next.

FAIRDALE: Our new blacksmith from Birchardville, Mr. Shoemaker, has proved himself an efficient shoe setter, during the past weeks.

UNIONDALE: Joseph McAvoy, a 13-year-old lad of this place, had 3 fingers severed from the hand last week by the [railroad] cars.

SOUTH GIBSON: Edgar Belcher is expecting his son, Oscar, home soon. Since leaving three years ago, he has traveled in Alaska and Siberia. When last heard from he was in Oregon, where he has a farm. AND: After an illness of but a few days Mrs. Murandie Coil quietly entered into rest on Sunday evening, December 6, at her late home on East Mountain. She was born in Gibson on May 18, 1829 and is survived by one son and three daughters, they being Frank, who still lives at home; Mrs. Richard Burns, of Uniondale; Mrs. Geo. Holmes, of Gibson; Mrs. Chas. Day, of Clifford; and Mrs. H. Howard, of Olyphant.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Dr. Clarence Klear [or Klaer] , a well known Tunkhannock homeopathic physician, has located at Little Meadows.

ARARAT: Farmers near Starrucca, Poyntelle and Ararat have lost in the neighborhood of $36,500 by the failure of A. L. Wiclage, of New York city, who operated milk stations in ten different places. An effort to communicate with Wiclage has been fruitless. Many of the former patrons of the Ararat station are now drawing their milk to the Thomson creameries.

MONTROSE: Skating on the streets about town is fairly good, although rough in places. AND: It is reported that the McCausland Medicine Company has purchased the VanWye property on High street for manufacturing purposes. The D.L. & W. runs at the rear of the lot and splendid shipping facilities can be arranged for.

CHOCONUT: A horse balked with a woman lately and she quietly took out her knitting and sat there for nine hours, when the horse concluded to go on. He'd never had an experience with a woman before.

GREAT BEND: Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Bond, Mr. and Mrs. E. Hartman, Bert Beebe and Miss Mollie Cornwall, Rev. and Miss Singer, enjoyed a sleigh ride to New Milford, Tuesday evening.

BROOKDALE: Our school is very small now as nearly all the pupils are having hard colds and coughs.

AUBURN CENTRE: Chas. Nicholson, the mail carrier from Auburn Centre to Skinners Eddy for the past two years, was stricken with paralysis recently and he has been given a home in the Auburn and Rush Poor Asylum, and the Directors sold his personal property to assist in maintaining him. But T. C. Allen had previously issued an execution on it and hence there is a misunderstanding just now as to whom the proceeds belong to.

HALLSTEAD: John Cole, a young man who was shot in the leg while attempting to escape arrest at Hallstead, on Saturday, is at Moses Taylor Hospital, at Scranton. He is charged with attempting to break into a [railroad] car and says he is from New York and was only stealing a ride.

SPRINGVILLE: The Lehigh Valley branch had unusually bad luck this week. Monday night, the train went off the track near Springville. It took so much time to get the cars back on track that the train next day didn't reach Montrose till afternoon; and when returning, when near Ballantine's, the engine again left the track, but with no serious results beyond the necessary delay. The road is not yet in best shape, since being made a broad gauge, but is being improved upon as fast as the men can get to it.

GLENWOOD: We don't like to borrow any trouble but we fear of an accident during the hunting season. So many small boys carrying guns and shooting promiscuously even in the streets of the town. AND: Capt. Lyons Post elected officers as follows: Post Commander, A. W. Miles; Sr. Vice, Theron Hinkley; Junior, C. E. Smith; Surgeon, Dr. Davidson; Chaplain, B. McDonald; D. M., Paul Lewis; Officer of the Day, J. P. Kline; Officer of the Guard, W. W. Hardy; Delegate, D. M. Hardy. The camp-fire will be held on Dec. 29. A small fee of 15 cents will be charged to help defray expenses. The G.A.R. members will be admitted free, with their families. Come, come, and in goodly numbers, and encourage the old vets by your presence. It will not be many more years that you will have the privilege of meeting the old soldiers of the war, '61 to '65.

BROOKLYN: A new traction engine arrived in Brooklyn last week and proved its ability by pulling five tons up the hill to the condensery, in spite of the deep snow. It will probably do much of the hauling between Foster and Brooklyn until a railroad is built.

NORTH BRANCH (Middletown Twp.): John H. Jones is working for the Jones boys at the Centre. AND Mr. and Mrs. Thos. Guiton attended the McAvoy-Murphy wedding at Kirkwood.

LANESBORO: There is a report that Rev. George Comfort, who is in the railroad hospital at Ogden, Utah, has suffered the amputation of his injured arm.

NEWS BRIEFS: The automobile factory at Towanda, which was closed a few months ago on account of the manager skipping out, has again been opened up under a new management. The company will manufacture gasoline machines instead of electric, as formerly. AND: There are nearly half as many more girls last year in Susquehanna county's schools as there were boys; the number of girls being 5,818 and that of boys 4,008. AND: The snow storm in the eastern section of the county was a hummer. According to an old saying, the snow that sticks to the trees is a forerunner of plenty of fruit the coming year.

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American Legion Auxiliary Making "Bags" For Homeless

A project that has been making the rounds in many communities throughout the country is the making of sleeping bags for the homeless. Due to the many different pieces of material used, they are known as "Ugly Quilts."

The women of the Susquehanna Post 86 Auxiliary have been making the bags for the past couple of years. They have already donated a large number. During the recent project they have finished over ten more bags. Inside the bags will be placed gloves and socks.

Standing behind some of their multi-colored bags (l-r) are Mary Ficarro and Mary Gow.

The "Legion Ladies" should be highly complimented for this worthwhile project, especially with the winter months upon us, and as we know, many, many homeless people will be sleeping wherever they can find a place to lay down. The "bags" will be a big help to them, for this year according to reports, thousands of bags will be distributed to the homeless.

(I have watched the Legion girls put the bags together. It’s no easy task. It’s very tedious work, with needles stitching "here and there." So it’s "Hats Off" to all the women that participated in the project.)

Many Auxiliary members took part in the "bag" project.

REPUBLICANS UPSET! – Due to a movie unflattering to former President Reagan, some Republicans are so upset that they want to take President Roosevelt’s image off the ten cent piece and substitute Reagan’s. Is there something wrong here? Did the Democrats put together the Reagan film? If so, I didn’t read about it. How low can politics become. Roosevelt was one of the best presidents ever – be it Democrat or Republican. If this happens, I will re-register Democrat. Yes, I am a registered Republican and have been all my life, due to when Transcript Editor U. G. Baker ran for the General Assembly; I registered Republican. (But the way I vote is my business.) How low can politicians get? Wanting to remove FDR from the ten cent piece? The GOPs resent the movie depicting Reagan’s wife running the country, as the President was failing in health.

PEARL HARBOR DAY – Has come and gone, December 7. It was on December 7, 1941 that the Japanese Air Force swarmed over the United States Fleet at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Many men were killed. Among them is Robert Dineen, who lived on Willow Avenue (just a few houses from where I resided). Dineen is one of the several men buried in the bottom of the Arizona, that was sunk by the Japs.

DO YOU REMEMBER? I do – when Gertrude Ederle became the first woman to swim the English Channel, in 1926. She was 20 years old at the time. She died November 30, in New York City. She was 97. Being a little familiar with the English Channel (as I crossed during World War II) Ms. Ederle must of had a terrible time making the crossing, due to the turbulent waters of the Channel. The waves were numerous. According to a news release: Because of the stormy weather, she had swum 35 miles in crossing the 21-mile-wide channel. Yet her time for the crossing stood for 24 years before it was broken in 1950 by Florence Chadwick, who negotiated 23 miles in 13 hours and 20 minutes.

REMINDERS! Have you been calling - or writing - to your legislator, or anyone else that can help us keep the Maternity Ward open at the Barnes-Kasson Hospital, Susquehanna? If not, what are you waiting for? It will be a little late, "after it is closed" to say I wish I did something to help keep the ward open. If you know anyone that can help, call them, drop a letter, talk to them if you see them on the street. We need the Maternity Ward, as much as we need police protection, the firemen, and the hospital itself. Take a minute, call someone you know that can help us.

ALSO – Have your ordered your ‘Centennial Book? Don’t wait until it’s too late. Don’t be sorry you didn’t call. The book, even if it is not available for the holidays, will always make a pleasant gift to a family member, a relative, a friend or anyone else you believe would love to have a copy. All you have to do is call – 853–4729 – leave you name, address and phone number and a book(s) will be saved for you. The books sell for only $10.00.

ALSO, DON’T Forget – To call Mike Gall at 853–9019 or Shirley Gall 853–4327 if you would like to make a contribution of money or a gift to the United Charities Home For Boys. The home houses 64 abused children, some who have never experienced a Christmas. The home is in West Hazleton. In Great Bend, you can call Terry Marshman 879–4396, or the Country Lounge 879–4414.


A QUICKIE – Does you husband play cards for money? No, but the men he plays against do.

A BIGGER Cheater – John said, I know Bill cheats at cards. How can you be sure. Last night he had four aces, but I only dealt him two.

THE JUDGE’S Friend – Judge to defendant: You are in my court charged with gambling. The judge looked at the defendant and asked, don’t I know you? Sure, Judge, I’m your bookie.

AN EARLY Entrance – A golfer hit his tee shot into the woods. His second shot hit a big tree, bounced straight back at him, hit him between the eyes, killing him instantly. Next thing he knew he was at the Pearly Gates. Saint Peter was looking for his name, finally found it. St. Peter said, you’re not due here for another twenty years. How did you get her? In two, the golfer replied.

A LOT OF BREAD – Wife to husband. Have you looked in our cupboards? There’s 18 jugs of whiskey and two loaves of bread. Said the husband, what are you going to do with all that bread?

OUR ANCESTORS – I wonder what our ancestors would think of our country today, said the first man. The second man said, when I get to heaven I will ask them. What if they didn’t get to heaven. Then you ask them.

NOT TOO GOOD – The young woman was telling Santa what she wanted for Christmas. A sports car, a new wardrobe, plenty of jewelry and a new mink coat. OK, said Santa, but I’ll have to check if you were a good girl all year. In that case, the woman said, how about if I settle for a Timex?

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Straight From Starrucca

The concert given by the Binghamton Youth Symphony Band will be held in January and every Saturday Danielle Williams and Caitlin Piercy will wend their way to practice for this event. The two girls are also in the Marywood University Honors Band.

Natalie and Sarah Piercy are on the Susquehanna Community School’s Junior High Basketball Team.

Debbie Kelly has asked me to announce her desire to practice doing nails. She will not charge for this but any donations will be accepted. Her telephone number is 727–2687.

What a wonderful afternoon was spent last Thursday when the seniors, Bag Ladies and guest speaker came together. A bountiful meal, a visit from the old man Santa himself and an animated guest speaker led to a great afternoon.

A short business meeting was held and this year we are putting out four hundred fifty luminaries; we are asking for volunteers. If you would like to help with these, call Marie Swartz, 727–2802.

Linda Dix Lee donned her straw hat, tied a red kerchief around her neck, picked up her auto harp and gave us her version of "Old McDavid Had A Farm" to prelude her talk on "Growing Up On A Farm in the Forties and Fifties." She emphasized the fact that family farms have dwindled seriously and the two greatest changes that have attracted agriculture were the coming of tractors to replace horses and the advent of electricity. She gave a good imitation of her mother calling the cows, "Here Boss, Here Boss!"

Linda brought some items with her to display. Among them was a quilt her mother had made with milk strainer disks. Also, a three-tined hay fork and a hay fork which was set in a load of hay and, via pulleys lifted the hay to the mow. And, an item I’d never seen before, a tool with holes in to skim the foam off jelly. It was an interesting talk and being a farm girl myself, brought back many memories.

Linda lives at Coxton Lake with her husband, Lewis and is on the Speakers Bureau of the Wayne County Historical Society. She will give her talk free, if interested.

Before ending the afternoon the ladies made up eighteen plates of cookies, to be distributed to shut-ins.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Tax Increase May Be Imminent

In an article we wrote in last week’s edition of The Transcript we told you there would be no increase in county taxes next year if the new Board of County Commissioners accepts the 2004 budget it inherits from the outgoing commissioners.

Well, my friends, unless some drastic changes are made in the budget before the departing lame duck administration leaves office, the new commissioners will be forced to reopen the budget. Moreover, they will need to increase appropriations in certain departments if they expect those departments to survive for the year.

Unfortunately, small though it may be, the end result will probably be a tax increase. Present indications are that taxes may go up one-half mill. The move should generate an additional $350,000 in revenue that may cover the amount needed to make up the deficiencies proposed for some departments by the lame duck commissioners.

What happened? There are a number of theories floating around out there.

Some say the present commissioners reduced the appropriations in various departments that might have been somewhat freewheeling with their spending habits in the past. Others will tell you there are some department heads that inflate their budgets deliberately, knowing that the amount of money they request is going to be reduced by the commissioners. And finally, there are those who believe that a couple of outgoing commissioners collaborated on what could best be described as an obvious attempt at political chicanery.

Consider this. For those departing commissioners who may want to try a comeback in 2007, what better ammunition can they conjure up than reminding the voters that they left the incumbent commissioners with a budget that would not increase taxes, but the new board reopened the budget and raised the taxes by an additional one-half mill?

Ah, but guys and ladies – someone told me I display male chauvinism when I refer to the distaff side as gals – history has recorded a phrase about fooling all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time but not fooling all of the people all of the time. I grew up believing it was Abraham Lincoln who said that but recently someone with nothing better to do, did some research and now claims Honest Abe never uttered the statement. We can’t even let history speak for itself without trying to change the source of some famous quotations.

A look at the appropriations in the 2003 budget and the appropriations proposed for the 2004 budget is all it takes to realize that something is rotten in the county courthouse. By the way, at last look, Shakespeare is still being given credit for the statement, "Something is rotten in the state of Denmark."

For example, the same commissioners who appropriated $662,500 in the 2003 budget for county buildings, cut that appropriation by more than $200,000 in the 2004 budget. They also sliced some $35,000 from what was appropriated for the county court system in 2003.

Some other cuts in the proposed 2004 budgets are as follows: Clerk of Courts, reduced from $158,573 to $143,872; Law Library, from $29,000 to $25,500; solicitor, from $33,611 to $27,083; Coroner, from $107,597 to $97.951; Cooperative Extension Dept., from $158,472 to $145,327; West Nile Virus Protection Program, from $148,604 to $104,960; Emergency Management Agency, from $74, 872 to $63,263; Economic Development, from $159,654 to $128,042; and, Recycling, from $169,872 to $160,772. There are probably more cuts but these are some of those that I spotted.

There may be logical explanations to some of these cuts but so far none of the commissioners appear eager to address the issue. At last week’s meeting, Commissioners Lee Smith and Cal Dean said if Chairman Gary Marcho would schedule it, they would attend a meeting with representatives of the Cooperative Extension Service regarding the county’s reluctance to put enough money in the budget to pay for an office employee needed in that department. Marcho was at a seminar in Harrisburg and missed last week’s meeting.

The present commissioners have until the end of the month to revise the budget. If they decide to leave the new commissioners holding the bag, the Kelly Administration will have until January 16 to reopen the budget and make changes.

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An Inside Look

With being a junior this year, I can’t help but look down the hallways of the younger grades and watch the way they act and think to myself, "That couldn’t have been me, I was so much more mature than them!"

I know I’m not alone with this idea. Each year a common complaint revolves around the attitude and appearance of these kids, not only from other students, but teachers and advisors as well. And although I stand by the idea that there isn’t any possible way that we once behaved like that, I’ll have to admit that perspectives do change.

I can remember, even after a little more than four years, how it felt to first start high school. New things were happening, new freedoms, new friends, new teachers, and new surroundings. It was hard enough to try to adapt to that, but throw in the idea that this first year alone can sculpt our future in high school with reputation and such, and you have yourself an epidemic of kids trying to fit in.

The upperclassmen look down at these kids because we have found our spot; we’ve figured out where we fit in. When we look at the seventh, eighth, and ninth graders running and screaming down the hallways, we tend to think to ourselves that our future of school students is on a horrible downfall.

However, what we are viewing is kids attempting to fit in. They all are apt to act like one another, not only from the "raging hormones", but because they are all going through a common ordeal – junior high. While trying to be seen as unique and forming their own character, they are being tremendously sculpted by what goes on around them, producing conflicting emotions and actions. Not all of the younger ones follow these trends, but on a majority scale, those just beginning their high school career tend to be a little on the wild side.

No matter what, I am definitely not saying that I always understand their actions. Unfortunately, it was a somewhat long time ago, and to say the least, I’ve forgotten what it feels like and can’t quite communicate exactly what is going through their heads. But we were all there once. I can remember my brother coming home and saying the exact same thing about my grade when we were just entering junior high. It happens. And it’s all about perspective. You can look at these kids and think that there is absolutely no hope for the future, or you can wait. Because believe it or not, these kids will turn into us, slightly more mature, if not completely mature, high school students. They’ll mature, they’ll grow up, and they’ll, most importantly, behave. We could always hope that it would happen sooner, but we all grow on our own schedule.

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