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Issue Home December 23, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

Straight From Starrucca
Along the Way...With P. Jay
Food For Thought

Slices of Life

The Cookie Blitz

‘Tis the season for baking cookies; the time of year when all the old traditional recipes re-appear from boxes, books, and memories. At my house it used to be cutout cookies, decorated in many colors. Now that the kids are grown and gone, the bells, Christmas trees and Santas have vanished and we've gone to other favorites that get shipped across the country. Today my son-in-law’s goodie box went out with his two favorite things; peanut butter fudge and, what we call, Aunt Babe’s peanut butter bars. In talking to my daughter tonight, she said her husband had been expressing his desire for peanut butter.

I said, "That’s very timely, because the peanut butter goodies went out on the UPS truck today."

Later this evening I was visiting with a friend and she was describing the varieties of cookies she was making. The marshmallow kind sounded light, delicate and delicious, but much more detail-oriented than I want to do.

My next venture is date bars, which will be part of a box of sweets headed for Florida. I hope the weather down there isn’t so hot that the treats melt together before they arrive.

Someone I talked to recently was telling me about making macaroons. Those are a dangerous temptation when they appear in the stores at holiday time. You look at them and think, how could anything so little ruin your figure or your cholesterol levels? But they will do both because one is never enough. In fact, one package is never enough once I get started.

My sisters are both great bakers, and my eldest sister makes a ginger cookie to die for. Rolled and cut with Christmas cutters, then baked and iced with confectioners sugar icing. I could eat twenty at one sitting. This same sister is the fudge-maker. All kinds; some plain, some filled with nuts. Then there’s her penuche and peanut clusters. Her countertops get heavy-laden at holiday time.

My other sister is also a prolific cookie-baker. She’s a "try-er of new recipes." She now has an extensive collection of favorites.

I tend to stick with familiar recipes. Although the favorites have changed through the years. To me there is no such thing as a bad cookie. Although, thinking back, I may have to amend that last sentence. For all the delicious food my mother made, cookies were not her best thing. Regardless the recipe, they all turned into dunking cookies. But that was all right because the ubiquitous Pyrex coffeepot was always on the stove. The coffee might have been warmed several times, so it was now strong enough to break down even the toughest cookies.

Mom had this aversion to anything not fully cooked. There was no moisture left in her Dutch oven cooked pot roasts. Scrambled eggs were solid, and any lingering moisture was suspect. So, it’s no wonder her cookies got hard.

But the cakes were a whole different matter. They never failed to be light, fluffy and delicious. It was almost like they knew they were her favorite children.

By the time you read this, the cookie baking will mostly be done, and we will be enjoying the fruits of our labor. Dare I ask how many you’ve eaten?

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100 Years Ago

THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS–1903 Version: T'was the night before Christmas. In each little house, The Children were waiting, As still as a mouse, To hear the puff, puff, And the pish, chug and squeal, Of good old St. Nicholas' Automobile!

SPRINGVILLE: Some hauling is going on lively from some of the quarries just now. Lott Bros.' especially, doing a land-office business. AND: The milk station ice pond was cut over last week and the product stored. AND: H.B. Lathrop received a nice Portland cutter [sleigh] as a Christmas present from his wife.

FRANKLIN FORKS: The election of officers of G.A.R. resulted as follows – G. P. Stockholm, commander; J. W. Palmer, senior vice; Israel Monroe, junior vice; A.E. Stockholm, chaplain; Simeon Stilwell, officer of the day; J. Devine, guard; A.M. Snow, quartermaster.

NEW MILFORD: Hugh McDuffee, the old veteran who has been ill for several months, died last week at the residence of Mrs. R.B. Ainey, who was employed to care for him. The deceased has resided here for about 30 years, coming from Massachusetts when the present tannery was erected and became an employee of that institution, where he remained until within the past three years when illness compelled the abandonment of continuous hard labor. He served through the [Civil] war and had a creditable record. He leaves one daughter Ethel who resides here and one daughter in Massachusetts.

FAIRDALE: There are now living in this town two boys, neighbors, both direct descendants of the land of steady habits, both living in the home where they were born, neither have ever had any other residence–David Olmstead, born June 9, 1829 and Edgar Bolles, July 13, 1833. AND: Henry Daly recently purchased the Montrose Steam Laundry.

FOREST LAKE: J. W. Hoag had a severe attack of nosebleed recently. AND: Elder W. C. Tilden had the misfortune to lose his horse. His friends made him a Christmas present of another one.

HALLSTEAD: Hallstead's opera house will be opened January 3, 1904, Hi Henry's minstrels being the attraction. Three new sets of scenery are being painted for use in the remodeled house. AND: A boycott of the Lackawanna railroad by hotel men of Hallstead seems to be in existence at the present time, says the Binghamton Herald. Two hotelkeepers are known to have refused to accept goods sent over the Lackawanna railroad. The cause for this boycott is said to have originated in an order which is claimed was issued by the Lackawanna railroad forbidding its employees to frequent hotels. A couple of employees of the Lackawanna are said to have been discovered in a Hallstead hotel by an agent of the road and severely disciplined for it. Two hotel men have notified the liquor dealers and other merchants in Binghamton with whom they deal, that if their goods are sent by the Lackawanna, that they will not accept them.

CRYSTAL LAKE: Mrs. A. Russell, who resided near Crystal Lake, was forced by the burning of her home to walk nearly three miles barefooted, thinly clad and with her two children in her arms to the home of her nearest neighbor, Mrs. J. Hawke. The route she traversed was across fields, through deep snow drifts and, burdened with her children, she was completely exhausted and sank in a faint when safety was reached. The fire originated from an overheated stove, which had been allowed to burn fiercely owing to the bitter cold night, that of last Saturday, and when discovered it was beyond control. It was impossible to secure any suitable clothing for herself and children as they were aroused from their sleep and made their escape with difficulty, the children, however, being wrapped in her husband's overcoat and that of a neighbor, who endeavored to save some of the furniture, but with little success.

RICHMONDALE, Lackawanna Co.: Because Mrs. John Dilleo lost her much prized diamond ring and suspected that a chicken had swallowed it, she proceeded to kill off the whole flock of chickens one day last week. She had chopped off the heads of twelve of the chickens and was about to execute the thirteenth when the flash of the valuable shiner caught her eye a few feet from her execution block. There was a gathering at the Dilleo home on Monday night and chicken was served in every style.

MONTROSE: The menu for the Christmas dinner at the Montrose House is printed below. The price per plate will be only 35 cents: Menu - Blue Points on Half Shell, Consomme with Tapioca, Lobster a la Newburg, Olives, Celery, Radishes, Green Onions, Prime Ribs Beef Au Jus, Roast Turkey, Giblet Sauce, Cranberries, Roast Pig, Mashed Potatoes, Apple Sauce, Fried Egg Plant, Asparagus Tips on Toast, Browned Sweet Potatoes, Creamed Turnips, Chicken Salad, Mince Pie, Plum Pudding, Orange Ice, Boston Cream Pie, Wine Sauce, Fruit Cake, Nuts, Raisins, Wafers, Cheese, Tea, Coffee, Chocolate.

HOPBOTTOM: A dancing party was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Milton Bailey, Monday evening.

LENOXVILLE: If you wish to see a good display of Christmas goods, call on our merchants, Stephens and Ross. AND: Soap club No. 1 met with Mrs. Emma Hallstead, Dec. 19.

FOREST CITY: Forest City never was a "prudish" town but there should be a limit. When there is a prize fight at the Opera house it matters not that most of the "sports" are from Carbondale, Jermyn and Archbald. The moral effect is felt only by the one town – our town. The curse for a lot of unseemly things has in the past years been attached to Forest City. Pretty soon somebody will arise and speak out in meeting. (Forest City News)

BROOKLYN: Mrs. T. E. Penny, of the township, has a sauce plate bearing the date 1664.

AUBURN: Mr. Hardic is now sawing logs, making shingles, planing and grinding, but not making butter. AND: Our school, taught by Miss Lena Bushnell, is in a very prosperous condition. Miss Ethel Young took a vacation this week and did not teach.

NEWS BRIEFS: Keuka College, Keuka Park, N.Y., finds among her best debaters Susquehanna County students. This year Carl Churchill, until recently of Springville, belongs to the College debating team and last year G. B. Hubbard, of Thompson, was on the team that won a good victory from Alfred University. Susquehanna county students have distinguished themselves in mathematics in that institution. Charles Moxley, of Hallstead, gives a gold medal in mathematics every year. Two years ago, Chas. Finn, of Montrose, won it and last year Churchill received first mention.

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More On Old Post Office

My good friend and "historian" William S. Young, of Starrucca has come to my rescue in regard to the history of the old post office building. (Thank you, Bill.)

Dear Lou,

I read the mention in your column of the old post office building in Susquehanna, the Persons Building.

It was built in 1906 by a Civil War veteran who was grandfather of the Hank Persons many of us knew; the high school teacher and sports coach. The Susquehanna Tri-Weekly Journal (now, Susquehanna County Transcript) for November 28, 1905, reported as follows:

"Henry J. Persons, who owns the wooden building at corner of Main and Drinker Streets, has been notified that his building site has been accepted by the Post Office department and will at once begin the erection of a brick building at that point. The store is presently occupied by A. Scheur, dealer in flour, feed and meal."

Construction began in the spring of 1906. The architect was a man named Lacey, from Binghamton.

B. F. Skinner’s father, William A. Skinner, had his law practice in the second-floor corner office until he moved to Scranton in 1922.

I rented the side office on that floor from 1959 to 1964. At the time there was a beauty parlor in Skinner’s old office. The postmaster, Dave Scales, died in 1959 soon after I moved into the building. A year or two later the present post office was built. The first use of the downstairs after that was for a laundromat, which was cared for by Harry and Eileen Ryan. Then it was the Widmann Drugstore for a while.

Living in the apartments on the two upper floors when I was there were Hank and Ann Persons, Noreen Sullivan, and the Ed Kelches – good neighbors all. Ed, I believe, was quite a baseball player in his younger days.

In the early 1960s the Persons family sold the building to Walter Konsur. After I moved out, the rooms I had occupied became an apartment.


Bill Young

BRIDGE PHOTO "Going Around" – A framed photo of the Susquehanna County Veterans Memorial Bridge is "making the rounds" and will be placed in the Service Clubs of the county. The plaque had "rested" in Post 86, then to the American Legion in Hallstead and is now "resting" in the Elk Mt. VFW, Post 8488.

Pictured (l-r) are: Mark Webster, Greg Carroll, Ton Mongno, Lee Smith.

The Bridge committee, on October 2, 2003 met at the Elk Mt. Post where the plaque was presented to them by committee member Lee Smith. The plaque will remain there until next October when it will be presented to the Great Bend VFW Musa-Stiles Post 6223.

Bridge committee members present at the luncheon were: Lee Smith, Tony Napolitano, Chuck Glidden, John Bronchella, Evan Price, Ray and Carol Rockwell.

TWO "Very Old" Newspapers – This past August 2, 2003, the Susquehanna County Transcript was 117 years old. Since 1886, the Transcript was published as a daily until January of 1964. After that, it was published as a Tri-Weekly, a Twice-Weekly and now is a weekly newspaper, published and owned by Chuck and Rita Ficarro. On December 8, 2003, the Forest City News observed its 117th Birthday. The weekly newspaper is published by John Kameen and daughter, Patricia Striefsky. The two papers should be complimented on their long existence, as well as the owners. Without newspapers (we) would be in the dark, even though TV has many news programs, but when you read it in "a paper" you can go back to it if you would like to refresh your memory. (Can you do that with TV?)

FANS TO PAY Baseball Salaries! With salaries going "sky high" and he Yankees announcing ticket prices will go up 10% – the fans "for sure" will be paying the salaries of the "millionaire players." The tickets will jump (in the infield section) from $52 to $70. The way I read the news release, the tickets (notice I didn’t say the cheapest tickets) will cost around $30 (and up). The bleachers are the lowest, at $10.00 –Pitcher Bartolo Colon will get $51 million for four years from the Anaheim Angels – Kazuo Matsui, fresh from Japan, a shortstop, untried, will get $20 million from the NY Mets for three years. The Yankees may be generous – to a point – they are only paying their back-up catcher "about" $800,000. Matsue said he is excited to come to NY and play for the Mets. (I would be too, for that kind of money.) – Haven’t heard from that "world’s greatest mouth" as to what he is asking; maybe, part of the team. What’s his name? Oh yeah, Barry Bonds.

PAGANOS OBSERVE (60th) – Tom Pagano, former Susquehanna resident and his wife, Fortune, of 63 Spindler Terrace, Saddle Brook, NJ (07662), recently celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. The couple were married November 14, 1943 in Holy Rosary Church, New York City.

"A Laugh or Two"

JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, an honest politician, a generous lawyer and Santa Claus were riding in the elevator of a posh hotel. Just before the doors opened, they all noticed a $20 bill lying on the floor. Which one picked it up? Santa, of course. The other two don’t exist.

CHRISTMAS IS THE ONLY holiday when we sit around looking at a dead tree and eating candy out of our socks.

A MOTHER DECIDED that her 10-year old daughter, Cathy, should get something practical for Christmas. "Suppose we open a savings account for you?" the mother suggested. Cathy liked the idea.

"It’s your account, darling," the mother said as they arrived at the bank, "so you fill out the application."

Cathy had no problems until she came to the space marked, "Name of your former bank." After a moment’s hesitation, she write, "Piggy."

A MAN WALKS into a bar, orders a triple of the best in the house and slams it down in one gulp. He then orders another, slams it and reorders.

"That’s expensive whiskey to drink so fast," the bartender says.

"You’d drink it fast too if you had what I have," the man answers.

"What do you have?"

"Two dollars."

FATTEST ONE OF ALL – Husband: "What have you been doing with all the grocery money I give you?"

Wife: "Turn sideways and look in the mirror."

MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR – To one and all of the "NewsBeat" readers, especially to those that contributed news articles and photos throughout the year. May we all continue to do as well during 2004.

May God Bless.

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Straight From Starrucca

It was a festive occasion, amid several beautifully trimmed Christmas trees, Christmas decorations set out, doorways trimmed with greenery and lights and John and Charlotte Keyser, the hosts, dressed as Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. The occasion of the open house was to benefit the Susquehanna Christian Children’s Bureau and it was very successful. Some forty people attended and left under the tree, one hundred nineteen gifts for underprivileged children. Refreshments were served.

Marie Swartz had the misfortune of falling on the ice and breaking her wrist. She says she’s fine.

Bad weather forced the cancellation of the community get-together last Sunday, sponsored by the Historians of Starrucca. Rescheduled for next year.

Volunteers are still needed to put together and set out the luminaries for Christmas Eve. Call Marie Swartz at 727-2802.

The Baptist Church had their children’s program on Saturday evening, December 20.

Ralph Hadden, Boyerstown, PA spent the weekend a week ago with June Downton.

Dee Martin had an early Christmas present. Her husband, Bob planned a trip to New York City, along with guides Paul and Loreda Everett. They left December 9, saw the play "Forty Second Street" at the Ford Theater, stayed overnight and toured the city, taking in the sights. Paul and Loreda were knowledgeable about the city, having lived there for a few years. Dee said it was the best Christmas present she ever had.

Christmas Eve service for the Methodist Charge will be held at 7 p.m. at Thompson Church.

Joy Mead and I spent a pleasant day shopping in Honesdale last Tuesday.

The Baptists have retained Al Rodriguez as their pastor, awaiting reevaluation in June. He seems to be working out very well.

I wish you all a very joyous holiday.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Are New GOP Commissioners In Hot Water?

The new county commissioners have not taken office yet and already majority commissioners-elect Roberta Kelly and Jeff Loomis find themselves steeped in controversy.

Word has leaked out that the Republican majority on the new Board of County Commissioners plans to fire Justin Taylor, director of the county’s Economic Development Department (EDD). The way I hear it, some members of the EDD’s Board of Directors are mighty upset.

From reliable sources, I also learned that a few pretty influential Republicans who called the majority commissioners in support of Taylor were not too pleased with the way they were treated. I called incoming chair, Roberta Kelly, and asked her to reconsider her position. While she would not confirm or deny that Taylor is on the way out, she did tell me that she had received calls about Justin but she has a mind of her own and will not be influenced by others.

I was also told that one of the majority commissioners said Taylor is a "Lackawanna County Democrat who is not needed in Susquehanna County."

This leads me to believe that Kelly and Loomis must have had their heads buried in sand somewhere for the past couple of years. Nobody has done more for Susquehanna County in the past two years than Justin Taylor. Before he took the reins of the EDD, it was barely noticed and, at best, was spinning its wheels searching for an identity.

With backing from a progressive Board of Directors, Taylor breathed new life into the EDD. He is always on the lookout for bigger and better things and charting new directions for the county to travel in its search for the commercial and industrial growth that would bring needed employment opportunities into the county.

With the help of the county’s Rail Committee that was a spin off from the Economic Development Committee, Taylor aroused new interest in restoring rail service to Susquehanna County. He has been working with the Canadian Pacific Railroad to add freight stops at strategic locations in the county for receiving and shipping products to and from the county. And he is looking ahead to the possibility of returning passenger service to the county.

As you know in a couple of weeks Justin Taylor will be the new mayor of the City of Carbondale. He was a Democrat Councilman in Carbondale when a previous Republican-controlled Board of Commissioners hired him in Susquehanna County.

When he won the primary election in Carbondale last May, I was probably among the first who wondered where his allegiance would really take him if an industrial broker sought his advice on an industrial site.

It did not take long for me to realize that the Democrat from Lackawanna County proved to be the shot in the arm that Republican-dominated Susquehanna County so desperately needed and was not getting from the county commissioners or any other source.

My belief in Justin Taylor was renewed as recently as two weeks ago with his announcement that a new industry will be moving from Lackawanna County into Susquehanna County thanks to his efforts. He could just as easily have suggested that this industry move into the industrial park in his City of Carbondale that is also a KOZ-designated zone with infrastructure in place and easy access to a nationwide network of interstate highways. But he did not do that because that just isn’t Justin Taylor’s style.

One more all important subject – money. Justin is paid somewhere in or around $30,000 in Susquehanna County. He will be paid about $1,800 as mayor of Carbondale. He plans to get married next year. Do you think he would jeopardize his full-time job in Susquehanna County for $150 a month he will get as mayor?

Apparently Kelly and Loomis are not concerned that they are stepping off on the wrong foot. Word has it that they have already committed the position to Liz Janoski who currently holds the number two position in the EDD.

And finally, I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas.

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Some "old wives tales" are true.

As kids, we always heard not to touch caterpillars because they would bite, or sting. I was always cautious, but did touch caterpillars, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident.

Quite by accident a few weeks ago, I had a caterpillar crushed on the top of my foot. Within 5 minutes, I had an extremely itchy patch. Within 30 minutes, I was willing to cut my foot off, the itch was so intense. It lasted about 3 days. Nothing relieved it. I did everything, tried everything except fire, called everyone I could think of. NO Remedy.

Even the medical profession has none. They simply give a cortisone injection and benedryl to moderate the symptoms. You just have to live with the symptoms: itching, blistering, redness, until they go away on their own.

I got the most relief from putting a toothpaste poultice on it!

It seems that caterpillars have toxins at the base of their little furry, spiny, hair-like things. It is a defense mechanism so that they do not get eaten. I am not sure if it is in all caterpillars, or just some. I know it was in the one that got me. One of those white ones, with the dark gray spots that make it look like it has a black stripe down its back. Not a nice experience.

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