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Issue Home February 3, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

Finding Comfort In The Cold

I am freezing! The cold weather that hangs on tenaciously has got me layered like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. As the day wears on I add another shirt and then another.

Cold-blooded has always been my lot. I’m the first one to put on a winter jacket, and am conspicuously set apart by my red earmuffs from October to April. Even children passing by mention the earmuffs, much to their mothers’ discomfort and my amusement. I wear my socks to bed, being that Mrs. Morris does not necessarily want to warm my feet, but would rather curl behind my bent knees where there is more heat.

So, as we prepared for yet another storm this afternoon, I went from thermostat to thermostat adjusting the temperature, added an old flannel shirt to my turtleneck and sweatshirt, and stood by the heater for awhile.

I remembered my mother’s remedy for warming the house and decided to bake something. In Mom’s kitchen, where the content of the next meal must have hung heavy over her head, there was still time for baking. And many times it was not only for our pleasure but to warm up the kitchen. So baking was a natural for me on this cold, shivery day.

Part of the pleasure of baking is deciding what to bake. Out came the Betty Crocker Cookie Book. There are many favorites in there, including the butterscotch drop cookies. The best thing about them is the variations to which they lend themselves. You can add nuts, coconut, butterscotch chips – whatever you have in the house. And they are so easy. That recipe gets four stars.

Then I found the special brownies. They also get four stars. This cookbook is also the home of the frosted maple cookies that I first received as a gift several years ago. Fantastic!

Not having made up my mind yet, I pulled my chair near the kitchen heater and went through several other cookbooks. There were too many choices. I just couldn’t make up my mind. I also knew how fast they would disappear once baked. So I gave the warm kitchen versus temptation more thought.

And then I had a different vision. Not three dozen cookies. No – nine biscuits! Hot, fresh biscuits are the ultimate in comfort food and even more heat because the oven goes up to 450 degrees to bake them. So that was the choice, and it warmed, not only the kitchen, but also my soul. Out of the freezer came the wild strawberries for shortcake.

From the cellar came elderberry jelly, and I was warm and happy back in my mother’s kitchen again, eating hot biscuits and jelly around the table with my brothers and sisters on a day when frigid weather had closed the schools. This weather may be hard to take, but it does have some benefits.

Besides, now that the world has been introduced to "starch away," I won’t even have to worry about the calories.

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100 Years Ago

HOP BOTTOM: Mr. William Crandall and wife celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, Feb. 1st, at the home of William Wright, on the same farm where they commenced housekeeping in a log house 60 years ago. He is 81 and she is 80. Mr. Henry Coleman and wife celebrated their 50th anniversary, Jan 30th, at the home of their daughter, Mrs. VanAlstyne.

GLENWOOD: Mrs. Goss, who is blind, was left for a short time by her daughter, her dress coming in contact with the stove at once took fire. Smelling smoke she found that she was on fire, she then took the dinner horn, which she keeps near her and finding her way to the door gave the alarm. The neighbors rushed to her, finding her in flames, the fire was soon smothered and all damage passed, one dress and two cushions was the extent of the damage.

JACKSON: The North Jackson long distance telephone wire, was last week strung to the borough limits of Susquehanna. AND: W. W. Pope and P. K. Benson are building a large number of Pope extension ladders.

EAST DIMOCK: Mrs. Henry Perry is now making butter and her patrons will be glad to hear of it, by the way it is fine. AND: In Dimock L. F. Thornton will buy all pole cats alive, brought to him.

DUNDAFF: The mail carrier from Dundaff to Elkdale has to wear snow shoes on account of the deep snow.

BIRCHARDVILLE: There is quite a strife with us about our schools; some want one school and some two, but those that have the most to say are those who have no children to send. AND: Jas. Hallinan's barn blowed down the 21st. It was known as the Thacher barn.

SOUTH AUBURN: The Grangers and their families, of this place, and a few invited guests were given a feast at the home of the retiring Master D. L. Carter. 108 were present and a very enjoyable time was spent.

CLIFFORD: Perry and Willie Yarns are building an electric light plant or machine to light their house and mill [and] if they succeed in producing the light it will be a wonderful thing. It is now being completed and will be watched by many to see whether it will be a success. At any rate, there is some very difficult work about the machine.

WELSH HILL: The friends in this place of Walter Horn were pained to hear of his tragic death, being killed by [railroad] cars, at Carbondale, Sunday morning. Mr. Horn was married about three months ago to Miss Etta Wells, of Elkdale, who is well known here having been a frequent visitor at the home of her cousin, Mrs. D. J. Morgan.

RUSHVILLE: C. E. Hoag has purchased the stage line from Rushville to Montrose. He wishes to announce that the stage will leave Rushville at 6 o'clock a.m. and leave Rush at 7:45 a.m.

MONTROSE: The National Stock Co., at Village Hall, this week, gave three good plays that were witnessed by large and appreciative audiences. A very striking feature was Miss Frankie Partridge, assisted by F. C. Turner, in her illustrated songs. Frank Evans in his buck dancing, whirling the baton and his clever handling of the tambourine, made a great hit. The company as a whole is seldom surpassed.

GREAT BEND: Probably one of the most interesting antiquities in the county is now at Reckhow's store in this place. It is an old style chair and was given by Martha Washington to Rachel Hasbrook, when the Washington's were leaving the army headquarters at Newburg at the close of the Revolutionary war. From Rachel Hasbrook the chair descended to her grand-daughter, Elizabeth Eager, who now leaves it together with other antiquities to her daughter. [Elizabeth Eager, of East Great Bend, died May 13, 1903, death resulting from a fall.]

OAKLEY, Harford Twp.: Letter to the Montrose Democrat: "I wish to report that I am wintering 160 hens. I use Cypher's poultry foods and methods, and think it pays. In the month of December they laid 1516 eggs, which sold for $45.48. In January they layed 2156 eggs, which sold for $50.56, besides keeping out 50 doz. to fill incubator. Respectfully, W. M. Wilmarth."

FOREST LAKE: Elder Tilden buried poor old Jack, his horse he had driven for 25 years.

SUSQUEHANNA: Borough politics are warming up. The sewerage question is to the front. AND: Miss Bridget Millane, an aged resident of Hallstead, died on Friday morning at the home of her brother, Michael Millane, in this place. While walking along Main Street a few weeks since, she was pushed over by some young people who were scuffling and sustained a fractured hip.

ARARAT: The report is current that a large summer hotel will be erected at Fiddle Lake the coming summer.

NEW MILFORD: Richard Moss, a native of New Milford, son of F. F. Moss, for many years a resident of New Milford, has been promoted to the responsible position of master mechanic of the Jersey City, Hoboken and Paterson Street Railway company shops. Mr. Moss learned his trade in the Susquehanna machine shops.

FOREST CITY: Thrilling escapes made in night attire by several persons, damages to the amount of nearly $30,000, narrow escapes of firemen and spectators from the falling walls, were the main happenings of a destructive fire which raged for several hours on the east side of Main street in the business section. The fire was discovered by Dr. Knapp, on a 2 a.m. call, who first noticed smoke issuing from a single dwelling. Fanned by a strong wind the flames made great headway in home of H. W. Brown, and used as his harness shop, in which was also Hennan & Mahoney's cigar factory and the tailoring shop of Benjamin Gilgenast. The blaze jumped to the adjoining double building, which was occupied by E. E. Deming's feed store on the first floor and by Mr. Heller's and Brown's families on the second floor. In this building was also the residence of Tailor Gilgenast, and his escape was one of the most thrilling of the fire. Being a sound sleeper he had been awakened only after much shouting. It was so hot in the room that the tailor was compelled to go out on the porch to dress and left his jewelry behind. After dressing in part on the porch, Mr. Gilgenast had no way to escape, all routes being cut off, and he prepared to jump from the porch. While the crowd fell back, the tailor coolly walked to a point above the ground where a large drift of snow had rested and then made the jump, landing without any injuries. In other homes there were several narrow escapes and it was more to good fortune than anything else that fatalities are not recorded.

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Straight From Starrucca

At Christmas time, the ladies of Starrucca sent 27 boxes in cooperation with "Operation Christmas Child Shoe Box Ministry." And we have wondered where they went and whether they went and whether they went to deserving children all over the world, USA, too.

I correspond with a couple from Trumansburg, NY who belong to the Fellowship of Christian Farmers, Int.; they are part-time missionaries to Albania. Let me tell you abut their experiences with Christmas boxes. To quote, "This year we were given 1,200 shoe boxes to hand out in 15 rural villages and schools. Many happy children opened boxes to find them full of God’s love. This year, boxes came from the Southern US area."

Someone had told me about Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, who were collecting seeds to take to Albania, so I collected a few and sent them. That’s how the correspondence started again. What they had to say, "Over 3,037 seed packets were assembled in Albania, going to 33 villages. They were given to school children for their families’ use. Each packed eight vegetable and one flower seed packet, plus Christian literature. A growing, harvesting, and cooking chart was available to those who needed them."

Mr. and Mrs. Holmes also hand-carried to Albania over 250 pairs of reading glasses. "One old man, George, visited and said he couldn’t afford glasses and gave them back. When he found out they were free, he finally accepted them with tears in his eyes. No way on a meager pension, could he afford them. Now older people can read a Bible or the Christian newspaper, ‘Si Yeni’ and ladies can thread a needle and sew again. When the right glasses are given, a smile of joy on their face is worth millions."

In another letter, Mr. and Mrs. Holmes tell of the things they don’t want – radishes, sweet corn, collard greens, mustard greens and herbs, money to buy seeds. They are in need of Christian tee-shirts, soccer balls, new reading glasses, Christian CD’s and cassettes, quart-size zip and 2 X 3 plastic zip bags, needles and embroidery floss.

To contact Mr. and Mrs. Holmes, 3220 Jacksonville Road, Trumansburg, NY 14886. E-mail address is or phone (607) 387–6538.

This is in lieu of no news from Starrucca. Everyone is "froze up" and staying home. Nice to have a personal acquaintance with missionaries and know that we choose to share our abundance with those less endowed, and that they are grateful.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

More on FC School Board

By a unanimous vote in December, the Forest City Regional Board of Education agreed not to renew the contract of School Superintendent Bernice Lukus. By another unanimous vote in January, the board agreed to pay the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) $6,700 to assist the board with its search for a replacement for Mrs. Lukus.

There is a hidden message sandwiched between these two sentences and it translates into a smelly hodgepodge with all the makings of a political conspiracy.

Board President Tom Baileys said the subject of whether or not to retain Mrs. Lukus was discussed at length in executive session and he saw no reason to discuss it any further at a public meeting. Other board members sat quietly like puppets waiting for someone to tug on their strings so they could talk and move. No one did and they all remained silent.

The refusal of school directors to reveal why they voted against renewing Mrs. Lukus’s contract smacks of personal prejudice. This is especially true of the four new board members who were on the board one month, hardly enough time to evaluate her performance, and yet they voted against her.

And then, after they vote to get rid of Mrs. Lukus, they vote to shell out $6,700 for outside help in hiring a new superintendent. This tells me that either these board members are not familiar with the duties of a school superintendent or they do not have enough confidence in their own ability to hire a school superintendent. Either way, it feeds the belief that this entire scenario is nothing but smoke and mirrors and it was the board’s intention to get rid of Mrs. Lukus no matter how efficient and effective she is.

Sheriff’s "Law Suits"

If you were one of the callers who left an inquiry on my answering machine recently concerning the "new" uniforms for the sheriff and his deputies, let me put your mind at ease. Yes, they are "new" uniforms and no, they did not cost the county one red cent.

I talked with Sheriff Lance Benedict about the uniforms – which, incidentally, the sheriff and his deputies have had since last Fall – and here’s the story. It seems the Lackawanna County Sheriff’s Department was getting new uniforms that were a different color than the two-tone brown outfits they were wearing. So they contacted Sheriff Benedict and asked him if he would be able to use the brown uniforms. Benedict said yes, and the uniforms, some new and some used, were given to the Susquehanna County Sheriff’s Department by the Lackawanna County Sheriff.

Sheriff Benedict said his department would have had to pay a few thousand dollars for the clothing they received from Lackawanna County. They got shirts, pants, jackets and hats.

See! And you thought Philadelphia was the only City of Brotherly Love.

More Sewer Liens

Not long ago we ran a list of Forest City property owners who had not paid their sewer bills and had municipal/claim liens filed against them by the Lackawanna River Basin Sewer Authority. At that time we said we would continue publishing the names of those against whom the sewer authority obtained liens.

Last week, papers filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Susquehanna County indicate that municipal/claim liens were filed against the following: Michelle L. Davis, 513 Hudson St., Forest City, $417.60; Robert L. Fitzsimmons, 730 Main St., Forest City, $1,157.40; Frances M. Gerchman, 733 Susquehanna St., Forest City, $464.60; Michael T. and Josephine Goskowski, property on Main Street, Forest City, $538.20; and, Scott A. Stoll, 501 Maple St., $489.

County May Tighten Security

The Susquehanna County Commissioners may tighten security at the courthouse and the county office building on Public Avenue in Montrose. In conjunction with the idea, the commissioners are scanning state and federal programs to see if grant money is available for such a project.

A few weeks ago, someone entered the courthouse after hours and took some small appliances from one office and an unknown amount of money from another office.

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HERE WE GO AGAIN! – The gas dealers and the gas stations are at it again. Where did you or I read that oil was scarce? Must be the colder the weather, the more the gougers want. Strange isn’t it? The stations all raise their prices – almost at the same time. Could we call that a collusion? All of a sudden, gas at (around) $1.55 jumps to $1.59, then another 4 cent jump to $1.63. Where are all of our politicians that were going to "put a stop to the gouging?" No doubt they received their bonuses for the year, so now they can sit back and listen to us (taxpayers) cry and cry and cry. Do they care? No way! The say, write to your representatives. Why? Sometimes they get "the ball rolling to get the prices at a normal rate," then they forget us. We need our representatives to "stay with it." Not to forget all about it when the prices come down two big cents. We need gas to get to work, etc. The gougers know that and as soon as the cold weather hits, up, up, up go the prices. What makes my blood boil, is that prices go up for no reason. Just a couple of weeks ago, I read where "there is no oil shortage." Then, bang! Up go the gas prices. Another strange, but not a funny fact, is that prices go up – all over – about the same time. Would that be collusion? A few months ago a couple of "big time" politicians went on record opposing the gas hikes. Then, they made a disappearing act. They had their say. Did they follow through. No way! (PS: Read a few days ago that gas will go up again, close to $2.00.)

I STILL CAN’T Understand Why – Maybe I don’t want to – that is the amount of money that is being spent to put Iraq back on the map, when it seems most of the Iraq people don’t seem to care. I believe we are spending over a million dollars a day to war in Iraq. How much money has it cost us to send two "robots" to Mars? What are we looking for? If there is life on Mars, leave ‘em alone. We are trying to control the world. It is costing us the lives of many people. No, I haven’t forgot about sending humans to Mars. Isn’t it bad enough we are losing lives all over the world, now we want to send our men and women to Mars. What for? Does a certain president, want to outdo President John Kennedy? No way will he ever have the foresight of Pres. John. Just think what all that money, that is being used for purposes other than helping the destitute, the poor, the homeless, the aged, etc., could do, or the older Americans, or anyone that needed – or needs help.

This may be wishful thinking, but something must be done, to help our people live a normal life, and not have to depend on "handouts" from the government. Unemployment is at a high rate – prices keep going up, plus taxes of "all kinds." (Its’ a shame, the money that the United States is spending – and giving – to foreign countries.)

TESTA KIN Headed For Notre Dame – Union-Endicott High School (Endicott, NY) senior, Derek Testa was recently accepted to the University of Notre Dame under an early action plan. Although it left the 18-year old free to explore other schools, he didn’t want to. Testa, whose father is a lifelong Notre Dame fan, gave him the middle name Rockne. He said he knew he wanted to join is older sister in Indiana early on.

"It was really the only school I wanted to go to," Testa said. "I didn’t have a backup school."

While the relief of having his next four years in order might encourage some slacking off, Testa, 18, said he has plenty to keep him busy. He said he hopes to test well in his five AP classes and possibly get placed out of some freshman classes at Notre Dame.

(NOTE: Derek is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Richard (Dick) Testa of Endicott. Dick is the son of Susquehanna former residents, the late Hugo and Mary (Paluzzi) Testa. Dick is also a well-known sports promoter and writes for several organs in the Triple Cities. Young Derek is the kin of Gino and MaryAnn Testa, of Broad Avenue, Mr. (Dick) Testa being their nephew.)

GEORGE S. "Loosens Up" – Outside of the playoffs and the World Series last year, Alfonso Soriano was one of the Yankees’ best players – and George was only paying him $800,000, with no bonus. But he has to pay him this year, with a $5.4 million contract. Imagine, over a $4 million raise. That must pain George, something terrible.

ANSWER To Question – The Hall of Fame game in Cooperstown this year will be on June 14, Flag Day. The Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins will be the teams. Game time, 2 p.m. You can call 1-888-425-5633.

A GREAT CARTOON – In a city paper. One person is complaining about the high gas prices and can’t understand why. The other person is an oil industry man who says "We gouge you because we can." (Truer words were never spoken.)

SCRANTON Commissioners "Under Fire" – Robert Cordaro and A. Munchak, (Republicans) recently fired four holdovers (all Democrats). The commissioners said they are cutting to save money. But a Scranton newspaper said they "already" hired four to take their place. (Who loses, who wins?)

"COCAINE" Father Gets 12 Years – In Philadelphia several days ago, an 11-year old boy walked into a police station and said his father was forcing him to sell cocaine. At a hearing, the father was jailed for up to 25 years.

SHIITE’S want Sadaam Executed – Shiite Muslims recently marched through Bagdad, for a second day, demanding that Sadaam Hussein be executed. Over 5,000 people joined the march. Calling Sadaam a butcher, the Shiite’s say he is not a POW, he murdered hundreds of our people and he must die.

MORE MONEY FOR Pennsylvania – Effective August 1, the Turnpike Commission voted to raise the tolls on the State Turnpike by 42 percent. The money – about $1.1. billion will be used to build and repair bridges and other highway sections.

SALVATION ARMY "Hits the Jackpot" – The Salvation Army is receiving an estimated $1.5 billion donation from the estate of heiress Joan Kroc. It is the largest donation ever given a charitable organization. The money will go toward developing community centers across the country. Mrs. Kroc’s husband, deceased, was the founder of McDonald’s.

TOO MANY BONUSES – The state Department of Transportation spent almost $700,000 on employee recognition, says Auditor General Robert Casey, Jr. Under Gov. Ridge, $637,000 of public money was given to 249 employees. Casey wants Gov. Rendell to eliminate the bonuses; the savings could fill hundreds of potholes, Casey said.


A TELEPHONE CALL – Operator, how much does it cost to call long distance? That depends on where you are calling. I’m calling my uncle Ralph. Well where does your uncle live? About a half mile from my house. Sir, if you are calling only a half mile from your house, that’s not a long distance call. That’s good news. In that case, I’ll call my cousin, too. Where is your cousin? He’s living in my house. At your house? Yeah, he’s taking care of things while I’m here in Europe.

DON’T GO THERE – Jim’s uncle told him not to go to a strip show because he might see something he shouldn’t, but he went anyway. And did he see something he shouldn’t? Yep. He saw his uncle there.

WIFE TO HUSBAND – You’re lucky to have a wife like me. What makes you say that? When you lost all your money in that car wash business, I stuck by you. You lost everything in a pyramid scheme, I was right there beside you. All that should tell you something! It sure does, said the husband, it tells me you are a big jinx.

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An Inside Look

With the school softball season closing in, I can feel the energy coming from my teammates and me. This is the time of the year we live for. Even though it’s still technically about a month away, it’s never too soon to get ready.

Anybody who has played a sport in either school, college, or on their free time understands the love for the game. It’s amazing how, in my case, softball can just clear my mind and make everything seem ten times better. Any athlete understands; it’s more than a game.

I know that, personally, I’m dedicated to the sport. If possible I’d play all year round, but thanks to our lovely snowy winters, our field choices are limited. No matter what, though, it’s always on my mind. Always.

One thing that I know has been bothering me, as well as other teammates, is that it seems a lot of people don’t have faith in us this year. After being district champs last year and going to states, I have to admit the hopes were high for us. But after losing three of our starting seniors, and then on top of that our starting shortstop due to injury, it seems that already fans are blowing this year off.

If anything, we’re out to prove something this year. Anybody can be a starter. It takes commitment, dedication, and a lot of practice. And with the right amount of teamwork, we can be as strong a team as ever. Sure, it may be harder, and there will definitely be some large obstacles to overcome, but with enough work, anything is possible.

This season can’t start soon enough. Even though I’m on a traveling team all year round, nothing could ever compare to varsity school ball. And, like I said, no matter what people think, we’re going places this year. We’re ready for it. Because, if you have the love for the game, nothing is impossible.

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