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Issue Home February 24, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago

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

Slices of Life

It’s Not Haute Cuisine

Do you remember the television commercial, "I can’t believe I ate the whole thing?" Well, that could be my mantra today.

First I made the mistake of whipping up instant chocolate pudding. Then there was that container of lite Cool Whip in the refrigerator. When I got around to making the chocolate bundt cake for company that’s coming tomorrow, I remembered why I had bought the package of instant chocolate pudding. It was part of the cake recipe. So, I made my cake into a loaf instead of a bundt. I thought as long as I didn’t frost it right away, I would be safe. Wrong! I’ve just been out in the kitchen slivering off pieces of non-iced chocolate cake. Delicious!

I bought a pint of ice cream to accompany the cake tomorrow. The binge I’ve been on today, I really should padlock the freezer. And you notice I said, "pint". I paid more for that pint of Ben and Jerry’s than I would have paid for a half-gallon of another brand. But a half-gallon of ice cream in my house is an invitation to disaster. Even lactose intolerance doesn’t slow me down.

I’ve never figured out why food, especially sweet food, is such a temptation to me. I’m told that as a child I was such a poor eater that I was a real concern to my parents. "Skinny" was my nickname, so that says something about my eating habits in those days. And I shudder when I remember the tonic I was forced to swallow that was supposed to make me hungry. But somewhere along the way I discovered culinary delights and the addiction has never left me.

It may have been in my waitress days that I learned to love food. Surrounded by all kinds of taste-tempting treats, I was free to choose what I wanted to eat. Oh, there were some establishments where we had to pay for pie, but mostly we were free to indulge. My tastebuds got more sophisticated, but even then they ran to sweet tastes. I remember one nice restaurant in my teenage years that always featured ham and sweet potatoes on the Sunday dinner menu. When the rush was done, we were free to sit down and have our dinner, and the baked sweet potatoes always won. The other delicacy I recall from that restaurant was the warm raisin pie a la mode.

A later city diner was famous for it’s huge grilled sweet buns. That became a morning ritual. And through all those years, I was slim and trim. The non-stop pace of waitressing kept the calories used up.

Writing does not lend itself to calorie burning. Mrs. Morris doesn’t mess up the house like a family once did, so there’s less cleaning to do; less laundry and more time to read. That all means fewer calories burned which should translate to fewer calories consumed. But that’s not necessarily so.

There’s consolation in the fact that I’m not alone in my struggle with food, or why would there be hundreds of diet books out there? A walk through Barnes and Nobles diet and cookbook section recently boggled my mind. And after perusing those detailed books, what did I make? Oven-baked chicken, instant pudding and a chocolate cake mix. Now you can’t get much less gourmet than that. Let’s just say I love food, but not necessarily haute cuisine.

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100 Years Ago

SUSQUEHANNA: March 1st, Editor-Manager H. T. Birchard will assume the proprietorship of the Transcript/Ledger. AND: It is said that James Paye recently received an order for 500 horses for the Japanese cavalry. Now if the Japanese really want 500 horses and have got the price, Mr. Paye is just the boy who can furnish them quick.

NEW MILFORD: The Lackawanna bridge gang, who are engaged in erecting the new iron bridge between this place and Summersville, will place the structure in position on Sunday next. AND: W.A. Kenyon, who recently bought a traction engine of the Huber Mfg. Co., has taken an agency in the company for Susquehanna county.

VESTAL CENTRE: Will Rounds, wife and son, are sick with scarlet fever; they contracted the disease by attending the funeral of Mr. R.'s sister's child, who died of it at Franklin Forks. AND: Regardless of the weather Aunt Eleanor Platte is seen daily on our streets; she celebrated her 88th birthday Feb'y 10th, and thus expressed herself on that day – when calling on her friends, "I never felt better than I do to-day." Her form is erect, and intellect and memory such as to make it a pleasure to converse with her. In her early days she graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music and with her husband toured the states giving concerts. She is perfectly at home at piano or organ at this age. The summer she spends at her antique home "Solitude"– but spends the winter with friends; her maiden name is Lathrop, and she is a cousin of D.D. Lathrop, Montrose.

SOUTH AUBURN: It is reported that the Rural Delivery No. 2, passing through here from Meshoppen, will begin April 1. The post office here will be discontinued.

BRANDT: Monday evening the A.A. club held a progressive flinch party at the home of H. E. Morgan and wife.

GREAT BEND: William J. Day, while putting a bridle on his horse Thursday afternoon of last week, had his nose almost bitten off by the animal, it simply hanging by a shred of skin. It was sewed on, twelve stitches being taken, and he is now considered past any dangerous effects which might have resulted. Animals of all kinds are more irritable during periods of extreme cold weather as in very warm seasons of the year. Dozens of instances in this section of the state where dogs have gone mad this winter might be cited to support this view.

LENOX: A little hamlet in Lenox township, Susquehanna county, is called "Hell's Half Acre." It got its name many years ago in the following manner, according to a writer in the Nicholson Examiner: "The place is situated on the Montrose and Carbondale turnpike and in 1844 was the principal stopping place for stage coaches and teamsters. The postoffice was kept at the hotel and the Grow Brothers – of which ex Congressman G.A. Grow was a partner – were doing a flourishing business in the community. The changing of the turnpike to run through Glenwood, a few years later, left the little place off the main artery of travel, and business so decreased that the hotel proprietor finally sold out to a man who came in merely to sell what grog he could. The temperance people became so indignant at the way he ran the place that they determined to drive him out. Somebody wrote a song about him and his business, the first line of which was "Hell's Half Acre can't be beat." They sang this so lustily and incessantly that the maddened landlord had one of his tormentors arrested and brought into court at Montrose, where he obtained $1,500 damages. But the name Hell's Half Acre still sticks to that locality.

LANESBORO: An interesting truth in the life of William [Wilhelm] Schmidt, of Lanesboro, was developed yesterday in United States court, when he applied to Judge R. W. Archbald for naturalization papers. Schmidt came to this country from Germany when 16 years of age and has lived here 43 years, four of which were spent in the army during the Civil War, and the remaining time at Lanesboro, first as a farm hand, and now as a prosperous merchant. Until yesterday, on the eve of his first return to Germany, he had never thought of becoming a citizen. The explanation given by Schmidt himself, is that the step was taken at this late day to ward off a feeling, when he got across the water that the boast he might make of "our country" would not be an honest one if not a real citizen. The fact that Schmidt was not a full-fledged citizen was not generally known, his loyalty to the cause and public-spiritedness in affairs at Lanesboro tending to dispute it. A retiring nature was the excuse made by friends when he declined office, when really it was for the above reason. Mr. Schmidt said the reason he had not had his papers before was because he wanted to convince himself that he would be a good citizen if once he did, and it took him a long while to find out, he said, laughingly. [Mr. Schmidt ran a home bakery in Lanesboro].

OAKLEY, Harford Twp.: The gray mare familiarly known as Old Nellie, owned by W. M. Wilmarth, was killed last week, she having outlived her usefulness, being 28 years old; she had been a faithful servant on the farm where she died, for over 20 years.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Election results: Assessor, G. R. Graves; Justice of the Peace, A. Graves; Commissioner, E. B. Beardslee; Auditor, P. Foster and S. A. Pitcher, each received 19 votes; School Director, A. G. Darling and J. M. Russell; Judge of Election, Joseph DeKay; Inspector, Lindley Williams; High Constable, A. C. Darling; Town Council, I. R. Beardslee.

HOPBOTTOM: The 60th wedding anniversary of Mr. and Mrs. [William P.] Crandall was celebrated on Feb.1st on the place where they commenced housekeeping. He is 81 and she is 80.

LINDAVILLE, Brooklyn Twp.: H. W. Roper, who conveys the children to and from the Brooklyn High School, had the misfortune to tip over [his kid wagon], Monday morning; fortunately no one was injured.

CLIFFORD: Jason Brownell met with an accident that nearly cost him his life. While feeding his cows that were in stanchials [stanchions], he stooped down to pull some hay off that had lodged on one cow's horn, just at that moment the cow next to that one turned her head and hooked at her, one of her horns struck Jason in the neck, passing through the skin; with her horn in his neck she raised her head up until Jason's head hit the top of the stanchial then her horn tore out leaving a large hole and a bad wound within an inch of the jugular vein. Dr. Edwards dressed it and although very sore, it is doing well.

MONTROSE: A new feature of the season is the rain-proofing of the overcoatings sold at the Warner Store – without additional cost. NORTH BRIDGEWATER: Feb. 12 being the 81st anniversary of the birth of C. S. Bush, about 50 relatives and friends gathered at his home and gave him a pleasant surprise.

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Straight From Starrucca

Several items in the Transcript last week are the basis for my report this week. Under the "100 Years Ago" it was reported that "The Crossley Bros. have recently added to their plant near Gibson machinery for the cutting from large maple timber roller blocks used in calico printing. They also have a plant in Starrucca, Wayne Co. The output is exported to Scotland and Germany. These two mills are about the only ones of the kind in the United States."

The Crossley brothers, Alonzo and Bert, moved here from Sherman, PA and lived in the house by the post office where the Gulley’s now live, and later moved to New Milford. Their factory was located somewhere on the flats by the creek, opposite the Catholic Church and Glovers. Alonzo was once the postmaster here. He is buried in the Starrucca Cemetery; the first monument one sees as they come up the hill is of A.J. Crossley, just before one goes around the bend to the cemetery proper. Bill Young has given me this information and he also says, "Crossley Lumber has been in business over a hundred years."

Another item was about U. G. Baker, onetime owner of the Transcript. I remember when I first came here to teach school. Everyone was excited that he was going to be here to dedicate Starrucca’s first honor board, which was across from Erk’s store, now the building in which Mr. and Mrs. Don Haynes now live. I remember that he was a big man and everyone seemed to respect him very much.

One more item: the paper mentioned that Kristen Potter was appointed to teach in the county prison. Kristen is also from Starrucca, and is a substitute teacher at both Montrose and Blue Ridge schools. She is married to Donald Potter and they have one child.

Scott and Tracey Fisher are the new renters of the Baptist parsonage and will be in by the end of February.

Alice and Leann Rhone on February 6 motored to Madison Square Garden to the Millrose Games in which professional and amateur athletes competed in track events. Their friend, Theresa Covert competed in the 68-meter hurdle and came in fifth. Tim Rhone, who lives in New York City also accompanied them to the event.


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Along the Way...With P. Jay

All right! So you’re a county commissioner! Now what?

For openers, don’t look for a book of do’s and don’ts, because there isn’t one. And don’t bother searching the courthouse for a job description. You won’t find one of those either. And for heaven’s sake quit trying to find a bellhop. You’re in the Susquehanna County Courthouse, not the Waldorf Astoria.

What’s that? You say you haven’t done any of the above. Perhaps not. They are just reminders that you are on your own and your position doesn’t come with a book of instructions on how to be a commissioner.

But here is some food for thought:

Return the Salute! When you are parading through the halls of the historic courthouse, walk with pride but don’t be a prune. Be courteous and polite. Respect your employees and they will respect you.

Think before you talk! Too often in your haste to be responsive to your constituents, you might say something off the wall, like Roberta Kelly’s classic comment, "Our ability is to come in here and make changes." We all know she has a better command of the English language than that but the words were out there and could not be taken back.

Don’t be a politician, but be politically astute! The era of kissing babies and buttering up to voters is behind us. The old timers may still fall for it, but most of today’s voters are too sophisticated for that routine and can spot a phony approach a mile away.

Tell it like it is, not like it should be! If you believe the way to reach your constituents is by telling them what they want to hear rather than what they should hear, you are going to be a one-term wonder. You may not see them at public meetings but today’s voters know the lineup, the score, and the game’s heroes.

You might think you have it but be careful how you flaunt it! So you won a countywide election and suddenly you are a self-proclaimed candidate for Who’s Who In American Politics. Don’t kid yourself. There’s not a John F. Kennedy or a Hillary Rodham Clinton among you.

Feed the kitty! As a county commissioner, you will be invited to many functions. Many of these invites include a free dinner. It would be nice if you sent a contribution to the sponsors, inasmuch as they are probably contributing tax dollars toward your salary.

You are one-third of the Board! Sure the majority commissioners can do whatever they please but, individually, each commissioner should realize that he/she is only one-third of the Board of County Commissioners. To make commitments because there is another member of your political party on the board is far from kosher. The voters in our county elected three commissioners not just the two majority commissioners.

Watch that expense account! A few years ago, I did some research on expense accounts of the county commissioners and the figures were staggering. As a county commissioner you are being paid over $40,000 a year, so don’t bite the hand that is feeding you by racking up some outrageous expense accounts.

Get to know the municipalities you serve! There is more to county government than the inside of a county courthouse. For instance, wouldn’t it be great if you would attend a regular monthly meeting of the governing bodies in the 40 municipalities in the county? And wouldn’t it be fantastic if you actually offered to help find solutions to their problems?

Set regular office hours! As commissioners you boast of working full-time and you do put in plenty of hours. But there are times when not one of you is available in the courthouse. Why couldn’t you post a schedule that would have one of you available at the courthouse during the hours it is open for business? Sort of an Ombudsman who would listen to whatever John Q. Public has to offer.

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"POETESS" Dorothy Holmes Passes Away – Mrs. Dorothy Holmes, one of Susquehanna’s most outstanding citizens, has composed her last poem as she died on February 10, 2004 after prolonged illness. Dorothy, noted for her love of people – and poetry – was one of my most dependable "news sources" when I was the owner of the Transcript. During my editorship, Dorothy and her husband, Reid, kept me supplied, not only with news but with some outstanding poems by Dorothy. Reid, a master with the "paint brush" supplied me with art work of the community. Comments on the artwork and poetry by the Holmes’ were received every time one or the other appeared in the paper. I recall, among several poems by Dorothy, the one she composed concerning the Salvator Mauro owned cow. It was a beauty. She put into words just what Mr. Mauro and his Palomell (cow) did, from the pasture to his home, while sometimes parading the cow.

Reid drew quite a bit of attention with his drawing of a crowded street, from Main Street to the corner of Washington Street. Cars – and pedestrians – sometimes had to wait to get by. Langford’s garage, on one side of the road was always busy, while on the other side were parked cars and patrons going in and out of a tavern.

Dorothy, evidently kept a record of the Transcripts. Several times when I was in doubt of an incident, I would call Dorothy and in no time at all she would have an answer for me. Just a few months ago, I needed to know something in a hurry. Not only did Dorothy know the answer, but she presented me with the Transcript containing the article.

Can you imagine, Dorothy and Reid getting together, exposing their knowledge of artwork and poems for the Almighty! We didn’t want to see her go, but right now she’s in a lot better place and, no doubt, her first chore was to write a poem "on Heaven."

My heartfelt sympathy goes out to her family and friends. May she rest in peace.

(NOTE: The following poem by Dorothy is a family favorite.)

"The Light Within"

I have an inner light inside me

It makes my heart aglow.

My feelings are so warm, sincere,

Let it shine, let it shine.

From the earliest beginnings,

‘Till the end of time,

There is this light within you,

If you only let it shine.

So put a smile upon your face,

And be a friend to all you know,

The world would be a better place

If you only let it show.

– Dorothy A. Holmes

IRAQ WAR "Was A Must" – So says our President, George Bush. Why was it a must, or a "necessity" as George puts it. It was necessary, George said, because, although no weapons of mass destruction were found, George said that Saddam had the capability to build WMD, so we had to "get him" before he could put together mass weapons and attack nearby countries. Now he is sending "a committee" to Iraq to find out why the information received on Iraq "was not as accurate as he wanted it." So, the longer it took to find WMD, George was getting nervous, and couldn’t wait any longer to send our men and women to combat, with many killed during the war and just as many are getting killed now by terrorists. Now that we have Saddam, we have to get that other guy, what’s his name? Bin Laden! So George can have two big feathers in his cap and make it his crowning achievement during his presidential campaign (that he has been on ever since the war started). Since the war, we have been going down and down. Prices of all sorts are getting sky high, unemployment is at a record high, and what is George and his staff doing about it? I guess, absolutely nothing! I wonder if George (really) knows what a family goes through when they are notified one of their kin was killed. The killing will continue, and continue, until we put Iraq back together over the next few years.

A SOLDIER’S PRAYER – I saw a soldier kneeling down, for this was the first quiet place he had found. He had traveled through jungles, rivers and mud. His hands were scared and toil-worn. He had fought for days from night ‘til morn. He folded his hands and looked to the sky. I saw his tears, as they welled in his eyes. He spoke to God and this is what he said:

"God bless my men, who now lie dead, I know not what You have in mind, but when You judge, please be kind... when they come before You, they will be poorly dressed but will walk proudly, for they have done their best. Their boots will be muddy and their clothes all torn... but these clothes they have so proudly worn. Their hearts will be still and cold inside, for they have fought their best and did so with pride. So please take care of them as they pass Your way... for the price of freedom they’ve already paid."

VETS CAN REGISTER With Phone Call – World War II veterans who want to add their names to the more than 1.3 million now on the rolls at the National World War II Memorial may do so with a telephone call, according to George Bonifanti.

Mr. Bonifanti, of Scranton, a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, has been advising and assisting vets who want their names connected with the historic memorial.

There is no charge to register, said Mr. Bonifanti. Individuals can enroll by calling the memorial’s toll-free number at 1–800–639–4992. Or, those with computers may register through the link and clicking on the WWII Registry.

IN THE MAIL – I have received a request to name an "All Italian" team of local baseball players during my time. That’s quite a request. Anyway, here goes: pitchers, Al (Lefty) Mauro, Billy Mauro; catchers, Lou Parrillo, John Yannone, Danny Parrillo; first base, Al Mauro; second base, Larry DeLarco; shortstop, Billy and Armond Mauro; third base, Dom (Spin) Battisti; outfielders, Pat Parrillo, John Yannone, John Battisti, John Parrillo.

I NEED HELP – Looking in my scrapbooks, I come across the list of boys who played American Legion baseball (while I was the manager). They are: Sandy Battisti, Jerry Williams, Dave Kane, Frank Spoonhower, Bill Morris, Jimmy Lowery, Byron Keenan, Walt Haley, Phil Kane, Dick Lehner and Sinon Kelly. They played an exhibition game against Windsor, beating them 12 to 1. Morris pitched for Susquehanna, Frankie Spoonhower was the catcher. Umpires were Eddie Westbrook and Ken Keifer. (Does anyone remember the year, I know the month was July.)

"WEIRDEST" Half-time Show Ever – did you see the half-time show during the super bowl football game? If not, you were lucky. It was the worst scenario ever produced. Where CBS found the bunch of rag-muffins is a joke. Not one part of the show was interesting. One of the performers wore an American flag with a hole in it. Why? But the clincher of the disaster show was the dance scene between Janet Jackson (Michael’s sister) and Justin Timberlake. During the dance, Justin reached over and ripped off (no doubt planned) a covering on Jackson’s right breast that revealed her bare breast, with a jewel attached to it. If that wasn’t planned, neither was the football game. Can we get this kind of crap off TV? It’s not easy. The TV companies keep vying for "top attention" and will go to any length to get you – and me – to watch it.

A GUY DECIDED to take his girlfriend to her first football game. They had great seats right behind the bench. After the game, he asked her how she liked the experience.

"Oh, I really liked it," she said, "especially the tight pants and all the big muscles. But I just can’t understand why they were fighting over 25 cents."

Dumbfounded, her boyfriend asked, "What do you mean?"

"Well," she replied, "I saw them flip a coin and one team got it. For the rest of the game, all they kept screaming was, ‘Get the quarter back! Get the quarter back!’"

A FIRST-GRADER couldn’t stop talking about the recent fire at his school. "I knew it was going to happen," he said. "We’ve been practicing for it all year."

WITH HIS PLATOON at attention, the drill instructor yelled, "All right! All you dummies fall out." As the rest of the recruits walked away, one man remained at attention. The drill instructor walked over until he was eye to eye with the man, raising just a single eyebrow. The recruit smiled and said, "Sure was a lot of ‘em, huh, sir?"

THREE BUDDIES die in a car crash, and they find themselves at an orientation in heaven. Each man is asked, "When you’re lying in your casket and friends and family are mourning, what would you most like to hear them say about you?"

The first man says, "I’d like to hear them say that I was a great doctor and a family man."

The second man says, "I’d like to hear that I was a wonderful husband and schoolteacher who made a huge difference in children’s lives."

The third man says, "I’d like to hear them say, ‘Look! He’s moving!’"

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