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Issue Home December 30, 2003 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

It’s All About The Plan

It was two days before Christmas and the kitchen was a beehive of activity. My granddaughter, Lacey, and I had eaten lunch, the dishes were stacked in the sink, and we were about to embark on our baking. After forty-some years of keeping house, one would think that I would have learned to clean up one mess before I started another, but alas, that has not happened.

Lacey is ready to begin mixing the cookies. I start gathering the ingredients and paraphernalia that she needs. Living nearly two thousand miles away, she is not too familiar with my kitchen.

As she starts measuring and mixing on the kitchen table, I commandeer the other half of the table to begin stirring up rolls. Yeast rolls were not my idea. My son volunteered me for this job. I had asked my daughter-in-law what I could bring for dinner, and he said, "Ask her to bring rolls. She makes great rolls."

He should have phrased that in the past tense. I did use to make great rolls, but haven’t made them in a long time. But I was about to learn again.

I decided to make butterhorns, being that this was a holiday dinner. We’ll forget the extra calories for one day. With my 1950’s Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook lying along-side my mother’s 1930’s Woman’s Home Companion Cookbook, I started prepping the yeast and scalding the milk. I should have put away one of those cookbooks because I kept getting confused as to which recipe I was using.

I was going along reasonably well until I realized I should have taken the butter out of the refrigerator sooner because that hard lump did not want to melt in the warm milk. With my wooden mixing soon, I’m trying to break it into smaller chunks, but it’s only cooling the milk. (And if the kitchen police from the Department of Health see me using a germ-carrying wooden spoon, I’ll spend Christmas in jail!) I finally remembered that I own a wire whisk, and that helped accomplish the job.

Now it’s time to measure the flour, but my one-cup measure is being used at the other end of the table. All I can find is a one-third cup, so I begin ladling four and a half cups of flour into my bowl one-third cup at a time. Math done in my head is not too reliable, and to make matters worse, somewhere in the process I realize with a start that this is not a one-third cup, but a half-cup measure. Now I’m really in a mess. All I can do is go by looks and feel, hoping those latent skills kick in.

Finally the dough is set to rising. It takes a long time because the kitchen is not that warm. I eventually put the bowl in the still slightly warm cookie-baking oven and that helps.

When it’s time to shape the rolls and I begin rolling out circles of dough and cutting triangles, Lacey questions my knowledge as a baker. But I assure her I have a plan. And that is not the only plan I teach her. I tell her, "Everybody needs a backup."

So with no confidence that my rolls will ever rise or be edible, we head out for the bakery where I order two dozen rolls to be picked up the following day just in case mine are a disaster. If I don’t need them, they’ll go in the freezer. Now that’s really what being a woman is all about. We always have a plan!

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100 Years Ago

UNIONDALE: The Uniondale Milling Co. is presenting its patrons with handsome calendars containing a life-like picture of their big mills.

LINDAVILLE [Brooklyn Twp.]: Clarence Williams and Miss Anna Lord, of this place, were united in marriage, Dec. 23, 1903, at the home of the bride. We extend congratulations. AND: In Brooklyn, Christmas trees, well filled with presents in the three churches here, made the children and the parents happy.

MONTROSE: The Montrose Democrat offers the first young lady that makes a leap year proposal and is accepted, will have 100 wedding invitations free of charge, at the Democrat office. Be prompt, girls, but don't crowd. AND: Miss Lillian A. Sampson, of Tarrytown, NY, graduate of Wesleyan College and Miss Sarah E. Clark, of Washington, D.C., graduate of Wellesley Women's College, have been elected teachers in [the] Montrose School. All the teachers now employed in Montrose High School are college graduates.

SUSQUEHANNA: J. F. Bronson, in the hope of benefiting his health, will take up his residence in Cuba. He left for Havana, Dec. 24.

HOPBOTTOM: Miss Ethel Titus, a student at Bloomsburg State Normal School, and Bessie and Dean Tiffany, students at Keuka College, are home for the holidays.

GLENWOOD: The exercises at the Grow chapel, on Xmas eve, were a success in every way. The recitations by the younger scholars were fine, the pieces sang were well rendered and a good attendance and perfect order was noticeable on every hand. Mrs. G. N. Bennett, the master spirit, was in great demand, her time was principally taken up with the younger classes and will be remembered through all their lives, as she has pointed the way to mansions in the skies.

AUBURN: Miss Lena Bushnell takes her vacation this week, so no school. AND: Do not miss going to the men's oyster supper at the M.E. church next Friday night. You are promised one of the grandest entertainments ever witnessed; besides a phonograph will be present.

HARFORD: The dance at Kingsley was well represented from Harford and all report a good time except they broke their sleigh on the way home.

FAIRDALE: The ladies of Fairdale will have their annual oyster supper in the basement of the M. E. church on Friday evening, January 9. All are cordially invited.

EAST BRIDGEWATER: B. R. Jewett will give a phonograph entertainment at the East Bridgewater church on Wednesday evening, Jan. 6, for benefit of the church. A small admission fee will be charged.

WYALUSING: L. B. Frink, foreman of the Wyalusing Rocket and a former resident of Montrose, has been elected chief of the Wyalusing fire department. "Verne" will make a good chief and we congratulate the people of that town in having such a wide-awake and competent head for their fire fighters.

ST. JOSEPH: Rev. Fr. James A. O'Reilly, a native of St. Joseph, who for several years has been connected with the Cathedral in Scranton, was recently presented with a beautiful gold chalice by members of the Holy Name Society, of Nativity Church. Fr. O'Reilly, since the organization of this society, whose noble purpose is to discourage the use of profanity and obscene speech, has taken a personal interest in its welfare to such an extent that its growth and power for good seems phenomenal and in recognition of the fact, that the gift was presented. He is one out of four brothers, all ordained to the priesthood.

FOREST CITY: Early Christmas morning, between the hours of three and four o'clock, Patrick Fleming stopped before the residence of Festus Madden and by throwing snowballs, ice and other missiles at the house aroused the anger of its occupant, who ordered him away, and he departed for his boarding house just across the street. Returning in the course of a half hour, Fleming fired a shot from a revolver, which he had evidently just procured and Madden, stepping to the door, fired a shot skywards from a double-barreled shotgun, the intention being to scare the intruder away. This, however, did not frighten him and he continued to advance again sending a bullet in Madden's direction. The latter, intent upon preserving his own life, fired the remaining barrel at his assailant, the contents of the weapon taking effect in the young man's side, below the right shoulder, tearing a hole about two inches in diameter, and he expired almost immediately.

Madden was taken to jail to await the grand jury's action after F. T. Gelder, J. P. at Forest City, heard the evidence. The reason given for Fleming's attack on Madden's house was said to be a desire on the part of the former to continue a quarrel with the latter's son, a young man of about 23 years of age. Both men were miners; Fleming being unmarried, 26 years of age, about 3 months ago went to Forest City from Plymouth, Luzerne Co., and he was well-known and popular; he served during the Spanish-American War, and possessed a fine physique. Madden is 46 years of age and has a wife and 6 children; he also possesses many friends who are confident that the affair is a justifiable case of homicide, an opinion which is shared by a majority of the people of Forest City.

On the contrary, it is said that as a result of investigations pursued by friends of the young man killed, that they are in a position to prove that the revolver was placed by his side when he had been lying in the snow for some time; that he had never been seen with a gun of any kind in his possession.

While there are good grounds for the belief that Madden committed the act in self defense, yet there is a strong probability that when the case is tried, possibly at the April term, there will be some interesting, if not sensational, developments.

NEWS BRIEFS: Christmas was a beautiful, mild day, followed the next day by a "rip-snorter," with well-defined blizzardy symptoms. AND: The Catholics of Scranton diocese and of the whole world for that matter, were granted a dispensation to eat meat on Christmas Day and on New Year's Day, both of which this year fell on Friday. This dispensation is nothing new. It is allowed whenever Christmas and New Year's fall on Friday but, as it is several years since that happened before, it is new to most of the rising generations especially.

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AN APOLOGY – Had a phone call from one of our readers – who in a very polite manner – didn’t think I should use the word Jap in any of my articles regarding the Japanese people. According to our conversation, she is a "well-read person" and prefers people to be called by their birth nationality rather than their "nicknames." So, from now on I will refer to them as Japanese. How can I not please the "young" lady when she was so kind to call and tell me that she reads my column "NewsBeat" and P. Jay Amadio’s "Along The Way" columns religiously.


I am kind of glad that the Players Union has stopped (maybe temporarily) the Alex Rodrigues trade to Boston Red Sox. Owed $179 million by Texas, he is trying to get a better deal with Boston. How greedy can a Millionaire get? The Sox must be crazy to offer that kind of money when they have a first-class shortstop in Gasparrara.

Gary Sheffield is now a Yankee. This makes about the tenth team he has been with. I keep wondering, "If he is that good, why is he traded so often?" (P.S. He is a loner and a clubhouse distracter, I understand.)

John Hinckley, Jr., who 20 years ago shot President Reagan and Jim Brady to impress a movie actress, has been granted unsupervised family visits for eight days. Hinckley, now 48, has lived at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington since he was acquitted, in 1982 by reason of insanity in the shooting of President Reagan and his presidential Press secretary, Jim Brady and two officers. Brady remains permanently disabled.

Former Governor Ryan, of Illinois was indicted for "all kinds" of crooked dealings in office. A Republican, 69, he and his family took cash, gifts, vacation and other favors while governor. He was against the death penalty.

The National World War II Memorial in Washington is slated for dedication this spring. The Memorial will pay tribute to all Americans who served their country during World War II and also to the nation’s resolve for victory. The Memorial will not only laud the heroism of combat veterans, but will give recognition to the entire 16 million plus servicemen and women who joined the fight, as well as contributions of an entire nation.

Welfare investigators in Broome and Tioga Counties have cracked down on welfare cheats. That has saved the counties close to $5 million. Many welfarers had fake applications.

The New York Yankees and Tampa Bay Devil Rays will open their 2004 season playing two teams in Japan on March 28 and 29.

Hall of Fame quarterback Otto Graham, who led the Cleveland Browns to a championship game in every season that he played, died Wednesday, December 12. He was 82. He took Coach Paul Brown’s teams to the title game in each season from 1946–56. They won four championships and three NFL titles. They won 105 games, lost 17 and tied four.

Montrose High School graduate Rich Thompson, an outfielder, is doing will on his way to the majors. He has climbed from Double-A to Triple-A as a member of the Kansas City Royals farm teams. He will get a tryout with the Royals come 2004.

The Pennsylvania Republican controlled Senate has agreed to a deal with Governor Ed Rendell (a Democrat) that would increase the state income tax by nearly ten percent to raise an additional $700 million dollars a year. Like in baseball, the fans will pay the players’ salaries; in our case the taxpayers will help Rendell’s Democrats and the GOP get their bonuses, in addition to their salaries.

Lackawanna Trail, a powerhouse football team this season, had three players who helped lead the team to the PIAA Class A semifinals selected to the Associated Press Class A all-state team. Wide receiver Colin Golden earned a spot on the first-team offense. Quarterback Devin Myers and linebacker Ryan Dixon were second-team honorees.

The Boston Archdiocese, mired in a sex scandal, will pay for the $85 million owed victims by selling the Cathedral of Holy Cross, as well as the archbishop’s residence.

"Hats Off" to the Wright Brothers, Wilbur and Orvile of Ohio, who in December, of 1903 flew their airplane an amazing 20 feet. As we know, planes are doing a lot better now.

According to the casualty list on the Pentagon Web site (a few days ago) 200 Americans have been killed in combat since May 1 – for a total of 315 killed in action since the war began, March 20. Another 145 soldiers have died in non-hostile circumstances.

The NEW Medicare bill has "many older people up in arms." From what I can gather the cost for prescriptions, etc., will depend on your annual income. For instance, a family with an income under $13,000 and assets under $9,000, will pay no premiums or deductibles and have no gap coverage. They will pay $2 for generics, $5 for brand names and nothing above the catastrophic limit. All others above the $13,000 will pay according to their assets.

WHY ENGLISH ISN’T EASY – the bandage was wound around the wound; the farm was used to produce produce; the dump was so full it had to refuse more refuse; a bass was painted on the head of the bass drum; I did not object to the object; the insurance was invalid for the invalid; they were too close to the door to close it; the wind was too strong to wind the sail; upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear; I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

A LITTLE GIRL, dressed in her Sunday best, ran as fast as she could, trying not to be late for Bible class. As she ran, she prayed, "Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late." Soon she tripped on a curb and fell, getting her clothes dirty and tearing her dress. She got up, brushed herself off and started running again. As she ran, she once again began to pray, "Dear Lord, please don’t let me be late. But please don’t shove me either."

WHAT DID THE MOTHER turkey say to her disobedient children? "If your father could see you now, he’d turn over in his gravy."

A WOMAN picked through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store, but she couldn’t find one large enough to feed her family. "Do these turkeys get any bigger?" she asked a stock boy. "No, ma’am," he replied. "They’re all dead."

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Straight From Starrucca

The Sisters of Oblates of Mary held an open house on December 29, for friends and neighbors.

Luminaries were set out and lighted towards evening, Christmas Eve.

Senior Citizens will meet the second Wednesday in January with a potluck dinner. If weather is bad, meeting will be canceled and each one will receive a phone call.

Sunday, the 21st, we celebrated family Christmas with my grandson, David and wife, Michelle in South New Berlin, NY. It was very entertaining as my other son, Nelson, wife, Phyllis and daughter, Diane brought her nine-month old baby, Olivia Ann, along with her other daughter, Rebecca, eight years old.

Have you seen the windmills on Moosic Mountain? They are quite a sight.

The cards are addressed, the decorations put up, the baking is done, and I hope everyone attended a Christmas Eve service to help them remember why we celebrate Christmas. Now is the time to look forward to the New Year and all its possibilities. May you all have a happy and prosperous one.

God Bless each and every one.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Sure Would Like To Learn Marchoism

With the departure of County Commissioner Gary Marcho in a couple of days, I guess I will never totally get to understand some of his explanations on decisions he makes. Gary would need to remain in office for at least one more term in order for me to get a handle on the logistics of Marchoism.

For instance, in November Joseph "Joey" Franks, chairman of the Susquehanna County Democratic Committee, resigned from the county Planning Commission because of a change in his work schedule.

Commissioner Lee Smith made a motion to appoint Debbie Dissinger to replace Pal Joey. The motion died for lack of a second. Commission Cal Dean then offered Richard Franks to replace his brother on the commission. That also died for lack of a second.

At last week’s final meeting of the Marcho Administration, Smith again made a motion to appoint Debbie Dissinger with the same results – no second. Dean then made another motion to appoint Richard Franks and – bingo! Marcho seconded the motion and it passed by a 2-1 vote with, naturally, Smith dissenting.

Marcho explained that he did not second either motion the first time around because he had not been given a chance to learn something about the nominees. The second time, he said he found both of them to be equally qualified but he gave the nod to Franks because Ms. Dissinger is employed at a bank and, as he put it, "it could be perceived as a conflict." He reiterated that he was not labeling Ms. Dissinger’s appointment as a potential conflict but only as something that could be "perceived" as a conflict.

Marcho said he also took into consideration that Ms. Dissinger is already serving on the county’s Incubator Committee and Richard Franks has no committee so now they will each serve on a committee. This my friends is Marchoism.

Take a look across the Commonwealth and probably across the country, and you will find that bankers are constantly being tapped for an assortment of appointments on municipal and country agencies. I would bet there are more than a dozen bank employees in Susquehanna County who hold either an elective or appointed political office. I know of three that hold seats on county agencies and two more that are serving on municipal agencies in their hometowns.

As for Part II of Marcho’s explanation that Ms.Dissinger is already on a committee, he did not offer that excuse when he voted to appoint Joseph Franks to the county Planning Commission when Joey was a councilman in Hallstead and chairman of the Democratic County Committee. He did not say it when he voted to reappoint Cyril Cowperthwait to the same Planning Commmission and Cy is a township supervisor in Oakland Twp. He did not say it when he voted to appoint Roland Sharp on the county Rail Committee and Sharp was already on the county Planning Commission.

According to the Planning Commission’s Annual Report, Cowperthwait attended 10 of 12 meetings in 2002; Joey Franks and Rowland Sharp each attended nine meetings. Not bad! Not bad at all!

What was it in 2001 when Paula Mattes was a member of the county Planning Commission and Marcho, Smith and Dean hired her for a position in the Soil Conservation Department? Could that also be a "perceived conflict?"

This is not written with the intent of criticizing those who serve on municipal and county agencies or bank employees who serve their communities with honor and distinction. Hell, it’s not even written with the intent of criticizing Gary Marcho. This is just something that needs to be exploited.

Traditionally, politicians try to perpetuate themselves in office by catering to three classes: (1) the rich and famous; (2) members of their respective political parties; and, (3) individuals who will work like mules for the privilege of rubbing elbows with successful politicians. It is frustrating when politicians try to cover up their prejudice with smoke and mirrors.


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