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Issue Home January 6, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Christmas Vacation

Can you remember the Christmas vacations of your childhood? It probably began with that long-awaited Christmas party at school. The class had exchanged names and chosen the gifts for their recipients with great care. Sometimes there was under-the-table trading of names if you just had to have your boyfriend’s name. You couldn’t be so bold as to just buy him a gift unless, magically, you had chosen his name from the decorated shoe box with the big hole in the top. So you discreetly asked around until you found out who had drawn his name and you maneuvered to trade for it.

Party day brought the gift exchange plus those little boxes with string handles filled with hard candy – never my favorite candy, but a sweet diversion anyway. School was let out early and you were looking at about ten days of freedom.

Sleeping in was a great treat, but there was much to be done before the big day actually arrived. If you were my eldest sister you cooked, baked and cleaned. If the next younger tomboy sister, you helped do barn chores and waited impatiently for the magic moment when Dad would let you tag along to cut the Christmas tree. For me the excitement nearly peaked when we made our family trip to the 5 and 10 cent store to do our shopping for each other. And the even more exciting day when Dad and Mom took us to McCrady’s Dry Goods Store. There we knew Santa was busy as we actually tried on clothes that immediately disappeared when we got home.

Christmas morning was a jumble of packages under the tree and the excitement of unwrapping them. We turned our attention to whatever we had opened as Mom and the older kids began work in earnest on preparing Christmas dinner for our family, my beloved Grampy and his resident housekeeper, and perhaps an assortment of other guests who needed a family for the holiday.

Dinner was spectacular. And when the day was over, the real Christmas vacation of several unstructured days began in earnest.

Books were always part of my loot, and I would immediately become lost in them. This would go on for days. And time has not changed that part of my Christmas vacation.

Several new books appeared under my tree this year and I lost no time getting into them. In my excitement I’ve been going from one to the other; reading a preface here, a chapter there. As part of my reading frenzy I’ve also pulled out some others that I’ve only partially read and am working on them, too.

My repertoire at the moment includes "The Christmas Tree", a heart-tugging story by Wall Street Journal writer Julie Salamon. "Sacred Contracts" by best selling author, Caroline Myss, delves into the process of learning to see life symbolically. This is to be taken in small bites, as it’s much too deep to comprehend at one time. From my Chicago family came Anita Diamant’s "The Red Tent"; a novel based on Bible stories. I’m eager to open the cover of this one. Then there’s also "The American Directory of Writers' Guidelines"; a compendium of markets stating exactly what they want to see in a manuscript. A neat book on how to stay healthy completes that gift. With all this good reading material, it looks like it may be a long Christmas vacation.

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100 Years Ago

BIRCHARDVILLE: One of the prettiest and happiest events of the season occurred at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Melhuish, Dec. 29th, it being the marriage of their daughter, Emma, to Mr. Kenneth D. Johnston, of Hallstead, and their son, Fred, to Miss Nettie L. Lewis, of Syracuse, N. Y. The very impressive ceremony was performed under a canopy of evergreen, holly and mistletoe by Rev. Clinton B. Henry, of Luzerne, Pa., a cousin of Mr. and Miss Melhuish. The brides wore gowns of cream white brilliantine and carried bridal roses.

AUBURN: Pern Harris moves to his grandfather Lott's farm near Auburn Centre. Mr. Lott lets him have the farm and stock, implements and household goods, by paying $90 a year during the life of Mr. Lott, and at his death the whole thing falls to Pern. Who wouldn't like such a grandpa as Uncle Milton?

GLENWOOD: The camp fire held at the G.A.R. hall, Dec. 29, was a hummer, the house being crowded and standing room at a premium. Vocal music was fine, instrumental was of the kind that kept the young people keeping time with their feet; the graphaphone selections by Prof. Gardner were excellent, also the zebo band was well received with hearty applause. The principal speakers were Prof. Payne and Roy Austin. Then came the Grand Army bean and hard tack: 130 plates were filled, which did not go around and 30 or 40 more had to be added. The exercises closed at 11:30 p.m. One bad feature occurred, Jule Bennett lost a valuable horse. It was taken sick and died within an hour after getting to the hall.

FLYNN, Middletown Twp: Several from this place attended the ball at I. Haire's Hotel [Rush], New Year's Eve and report a very pleasant time. AND: Mr. and Mrs. Patrick O'Brien and family attended the funeral of Mrs. O'Brien's brother-in-law, Patrick O'Shaughnessy, at Little Meadows, Tuesday.

ELK LAKE: The patrons of the East Rush creamery are cutting and hauling ice from the lake.

CHOCONUT: Creynos Donley is smiling--twin boys. AND: The Friendsville stage could not get to Binghamton last Monday on account of the snow drifts.

FAIR HILL, Forest Lake Twp.: Mrs. Emma Ace, of Rock Springs, Colorado, is visiting her sister, Mrs. Silas Jagger. Mrs. Ace is a fine musician and ably assisted the choir in the rendering of the Christmas music at the church here, Christmas night. The whole program was very interesting and entertaining.

SPRINGVILLE: Mrs. Henry Strickland, we understand, has had another attack of appendicitis. It seems strange that so many suffer from that disease when but a few years ago we never heard of it.

HARFORD: It was 21 degrees below zero on Monday.

TUNKHANNOCK: Workmen on the new vehicle and foot bridge across the river have now completed the first span. There are four spans between approaches. The abutments and piers are built of imported rock. When completed the bridge will be one of the finest structures of its kind in the state. During the construction of the piers and the other work, traffic across the river has been by means of two ferries. Large loads of bark, logs and other material have been thus conveyed across.

GREAT BEND: Miss Carrie Lines, matron of the Conneaut (Ohio) General Hospital, spent the holidays with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. P. H. Lines. Miss Lines and Mrs. Nellie Gillespie leave for New York city January 1st where they will take up their profession as trained nurses.

SUSQUEHANNA: Through the agency of Capt. R. H. Hall, of Susquehanna, Sidney Galloway has received increase of [military] pension from $17 to $24; Rufus Barnes, Gelatt, $8 to $10; Daniel S. Mayo, Hickory Grove, $6 to $10; Nelson F. Shutts, Starrucca, $6 to $10; Elizabeth States, McClure, widow's original pension, $8 per month. AND: Eight hotels have applied for licenses in 1904: Thomas H. Reddon, Reddon's Hotel; Thomas J. Reilly, Eagle Hotel; Martin J. Ryan, Canawacta House; Andrew J. Ryan; European Hotel; John H. Connelly, Susquehanna Hotel; F. F. Langford, Hotel Langford; Fred O. Stearns, Cascade House; W. F. Moran, Central House.

MONTROSE: At 4 o'clock on Dec. 31, the first engine was run over the new L.V.R.R.'s "Y" in this borough, being a part of the extension into the borough. Foreman Welsh had said all the time he would have it completed before Jan. 1st, and he did, notwithstanding the severe weather.

FOREST CITY: Five establishments have applied for hotel licenses in the borough. They are: Julius Freedman, The Fleming House; John H. Cunningham, The Forest House; John Prozopovitch, The Bennett House; W. J. McLaughlin, Forest City House; Martin Muchitz, The Davis House.

NORTH JACKSON: At the home of her daughter, Mrs. A. A. Wayman in North Jackson, occurred the death of Mrs. Catherine Coleman, aged 80 years. H. M. Benson, Funeral Director.

NEW MILFORD: G. M. Carpenter has applied for a hotel license to run Jay's Hotel and William B. Phinney has applied for the Eagle Hotel.

NEWS BRIEFS: "While hanging out the clothes deadly colds are often taken," said a physician. "The change of temperature from the steamy kitchen to the freezing air outside is most dangerous. No one should hang out clothes without being especially dressed for it. Running in and out with a few pieces at a time, bare handed and bare armed, is inviting pneumonia. Get the clothes all ready sorted in the basket so that no time will be lost in handling them out of doors. Then put on warm overshoes and a thick jacket that will protect the arms, tie up the head and slip on a pair of knitted, coarse white cotton gloves that should be kept expressly for that purpose. Thus protected one suffers very little from the exposure." AND: Thomas A. Edison has invented and made a machine which is six feet long, six feet high and five feet wide, which will generate electricity sufficient to store batteries to run an automobile and light a house at an expense within reach of people of moderate means. He says the owner of one of these machines can light his home as cheaply as he can now light it with kerosene. AND: The Lestershire [Johnson City] shoe factory pays annually to its employees nearly $2,000,000. There are 2,500 hands receiving an average of $800 per year, or over $2 per day. The yearly increase of business for 1903 is over one and a quarter millions, the total yearly business being nearly $10,000,000.

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Straight From Starrucca

The time of the year when families get together and folks have open house to share the blessings of the season. Walt and Mary Rentner, Jackson, entertained Ruth and Lee Slocum, Charlie Levchak and Doris Davidson.

Chad and Shannon Crawford, Susquehanna, called on Doris Davidson recently, also Mary Pat Upright, Windsor, NY.

Alice and Kirk Rhone were busy entertaining about twenty-nine guests on Kirk’s side of the family for Christmas. On Saturday before Christmas, about forty people on the Buck side of the family enjoyed themselves at the Rhone home. New Year’s Eve they had family and friends in to greet the new year.

Joy Mead was the greeter for her family on Christmas Day.

Todd and Ralph Hadden, Pottstown, PA were holiday guests of June Downton.

Celebrating Christmas 2003, Oblates of Mary, Queen of Apostles, held friends and neighbors’ day on Monday, December twenty-ninth. Couples came all day, bringing their little ones with them. There was plenty of good food – cheeses, crackers, salad, meats, fruit, nuts, candies and beverages of interest to all ages. Weather was ideal, a bit windy, but dominated by sunshine. The Oblates are happy to be in Starrucca and are ready to share their joy. (Contributed by the Sisters.)

I stopped in late at the Oblates open house on my way home from my daughter, Nancy’s where I spent almost a week, but I was greeted royally anyway and saw the chapel with the manger scene. On Christmas Eve, one of the Sisters removes the babe from the manger and places Him in Mary’s arms. Gradually moving closer each day until January seventh, the wise men are proceeding (moved by the Sisters) to the manger scene. I also had a taste of goat cheese and decided I’d welcome that to my diet.

Charlotte and John Keyser hosted a New Year’s Eve party for about thirty people. The potluck food was delicious and everyone had a great time.

Happy New Year to all.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Doing it their way

Because of deadlines, this column is being written on January 1 but the couple of items written about here are based on facts even though the events may not officially occur until Monday, January 5.

For openers, Justin Taylor, who did more for Susquehanna County than any Republican Commissioner since the Williams\Blachek era in the early ’90s, is history. Sadly I watched him packing up his personal belongings while he was vacating his office.

We already mentioned that Liz Janoski appears to be the choice of the majority commissioners to replace Justin. But wait until you hear who is going to move into his office. More on that later.

For the sake of the county and its taxpayers, one can only hope that the new majority commissioners have a plan of some kind to continue the work that Justin Taylor started. He laid the foundation for a lot of wonderful things that should be pursued and could only culminate in great happenings for the county.

Oh, yes, before I get off the Justin Taylor bandwagon, I have a correction to make. In a recent column, I said that he was going to be married in 2004. Don’t know where I heard that one, but it just isn’t going to happen. It didn’t take long for Justin to tell me he has no marriage plans in the immediate future. Sorry about that, Justin, and I can tell you this retraction is making a few women mighty happy

Now, about Justin’s office. As Jackie Gleason would say, "A little traveling music please." (Sing it to the tune of Jingle Bells.)

Dashing through the halls,

With pencil and paper in hand;

Don’t talk trembling walls,

’Cause they are in command.

They go about the job,

With very little fuss;

Took the minority commissioner

And put her in back of the bus.

Roberta and Jeff,

Roberta and Jeff,

Doing things their way;

Oh what fun it is to be

A Republican today.

Roberta and Jeff,

Roberta and Jeff,

Doing things their way;

Oh what fun it is to be

A Republican today.

Republican majority commissioners will have their own private offices in the county courthouse while Democrat MaryAnn Warren has been relegated to Justin Taylor’s old office in the courthouse annex on Public Avenue. We all know that the majority rules and the Republican commissioners will do as they please with or without MaryAnn’s input. But to move her out of the courthouse entirely is almost sacrilegious. Shades of the antiquated Jim Crow Laws.

Roberta and Jeff,

Roberta and Jeff,

Doing things their way;

Oh what fun it is to be

A Republican today.

Now, of course, things could change. Roberta and Jeff could suddenly realize just how ridiculous they are behaving and make certain that all three commissioners are in the courthouse where they belong.

By the way, Santa did leave some belated Christmas presents for the three new commissioners:

For Roberta, a framed copy of a familiar quotation that reads, "No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main."; for Jeff, boxing gloves; and, for MaryAnn, binoculars so she can look through her office window and at least get a hint or two about what’s going on in the courthouse.

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An Inside Look

This past Christmas vacation had to have been one of longest we’ve ever had, and let me tell you, there isn’t anything wrong with that. Anymore, during school, all I find myself looking forward to is weekends and days off, and I know I’m not the only one. So this break was definitely a wish come true.

I can’t exactly say what it is about this year that is making my fellow classmates and me despise every new day because of the aspect of going to school. The work involved in our junior year is, of course, a big contributor to it. The workload, especially for those in AP, is definitely enough to keep us busy. So, most of us are under large amounts of stress just from the schoolwork. Add in a sport, or a job, and you have yourself an overwhelming shortage of time and a much larger amount of stress. Who can really blame us for anticipating weekends and breaks?

Before this nice, long break, teachers were already starting to mention midterms. Well, needless to say, that dampened our Christmas spirit a little. We just can’t escape from school anymore I guess. Remember when we were little, when teachers would not give us homework over the weekend because it was our time off? What happened to that? I can’t even begin to explain the relief that having weekends off would give.

Another thing that just blows my mind with this vacation coming to a close is how when we were little, we used to look forward to going back to school. Sometimes I really wonder if growing up is worth it if we lose even little joys like that. I know that I personally would trade a trig test for nap time any day of the week. So, what’s it all really worth?

School is essential. Yeah, we all know that. We don’t want to work at McDonald’s for the rest of our lives flipping burgers, do we? Yeah, we’ve heard that one too. But who says we have to like it? I think school life would definitely be better if we had a few more Christmas breaks throughout the year. I’m not looking forward to going back to school, but who is? And, a two-week break was definitely a vacation, even if some teachers did try to ruin it for us. Giving us homework over a break like this? Sometimes I really wonder if they’re all sane.

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