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Issue Home October 5, 2004 Site Home

Slices Of Life
100 Years Ago
Along the Way...With P. Jay

Slices of Life

The Well-Dressed Cook

As we women wear our slacks or pants nearly everywhere these days, it’s hard to remember the house dresses and aprons of the 1950’s and ‘60’s. Ruffled aprons of various cotton prints vied with stiff organdy numbers in many fanciful styles. Smocking and the embroidery pattern called hen-scratching were popular embellishments on gingham aprons. Strategically placed ric rac also lent itself to geometric patterns. I can remember a yellow and white gingham smocked half apron which I inherited from my mother-in-law, that was a favorite of mine. I wore it for many years. In the time directly preceding the early years of my marriage, I had worn the badge of a waitress; that postage stamp sized half apron of black nylon that sported one large central pocket which contained our order pad, pen and tips. There were afternoons when I left my job in Erie with that apron so heavy with coins it was dragging me down. I’d go home, take off the apron and hold it upside down over the bed just to watch the waterfall of change and bills. Then I’d start stacking quarters, dimes, even down to nickels. We almost always made more in tips than in wages. I suppose it’s still that way in the restaurant business.

In even earlier days, Mom would occasionally crochet aprons for teachers and other special people, as well as her assortment of collars for dresses, handkerchief edgings, pillow case lace, and large, intricate, heavily starched doilies.

Handkerchief aprons and delicate floral patterns were popular in the 1940’s. Bib aprons were favorites then, too. They ranged from fancy organdy numbers and those sturdier ones that sported embroidery, appliqué and lace ruffles to plain flour sack varieties.

While some aprons were very plain and shapeless, McCall’s and Simplicity sold patterns for much more decorative styles. I remember making them and I still have patterns that I drag out from time to time.

My all time favorite, though, was a pattern I bought through the Grit newspaper. It was a full apron with room for a lot of woman. This was the style I needed for Aunt Babe who was very tall and of hefty stature. The pattern had a transfer for a big embroidered rose on the front. I recall going to Binghamton (probably Sears on Court Street) and buying pink fabric to make this apron. Then I ironed on the rose pattern and embroidered it in red. Now you might question my use of colors, but it was beautiful. I’ve since made the apron in patterned material without the embroidery and that works, too. Because it’s so roomy and has such extended coverage it’s a favorite with serious cooks.

Christmas aprons have been in vogue for years. They are usually made from holiday prints, but some have Christmas scenes stitched on to plain reds and greens.

Like most fashions, aprons have changed with the years, and now we’re at an era when not many people wear them. Jeans, shorts and slacks of all kinds have come to dominate the modern woman’s wardrobe, and somehow aprons do not seem appropriate anymore. It’s really too bad, because they’ve been a fashion statement through many eras. But "what goes around comes around," and who is to say they won’t be back again?

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100 Years Ago

GLENWOOD: Shooting has already commenced and by the time squirrel season opens there will be none left for the law abiding citizens. Go slow boys and give all a chance to have a pot pie. AND: J. H. Hartley has a sick cow caused by eating too many apples. She helped herself and did not know when to quit.

HALLSTEAD: On October 3d, Mr. and Mrs. E.M. Lowe celebrated their golden wedding at which time many friends and relatives from different states, some from across the continent, gathered to make merry with them. Mr. Lowe has for many years guarded the safety of pedestrians and teams at the Church street crossing.

HARFORD: The entertainment in the church by the Scranton Oratorio, Thursday night, was grand, but not very largely attended on account of the rain. Had it been a tent show by a bum troop the crowd would have been enormous. AND: Edward E. Hawley is a former Harford boy. He was at one time a bicycle racer in New York. Later, he became a driver of automobiles in races, and is now famous in that line, taking part in the Vanderbilt cup races.

HOP BOTTOM: The Hop Bottom graded school carried off 21 premiums at the Harford fair and 11 at the Montrose Fair.

LITTLE MEADOWS: Thomas Clarey and Miss Jennie Murphy attended the fair at Binghamton. AND: Tom Hickey is doing a rushing business in the painting line.

GREAT BEND: If there is any one pleasure resort in this vicinity more appreciated than another it is the one opened up by Hon. James T. DuBois on Mt. Manotonome, better known as "The Rocks." AND: Mr. Samuel Joines, Erie station agent, was struck by an Erie train at this place, Saturday morning, shortly after 6 o'clock. He was on the track and stepped aside for a freight train when he was struck by the passenger train locomotive and hurled beneath the wheels of the freight train. He was a former resident of Susquehanna and was universally esteemed. His father and mother are residents of Oakland. He is survived by a wife and one child.

SUSQUEHANNA: Susquehanna had a slight fall of snow Monday. Now let them forever hold their peace as to Montrose being outside the "banana belt."

NEW MILFORD/GIBSON: The Crossley Bros., of Wayne county, established factories for the manufacture of the blocks of wood from which calicoes are printed. The product of their factories, one of which is at Starrucca and the other in Gibson, is shipped to Germany and Scotland, where the designs are engraved on the blocks after they have been turned into rollers. The factory at Starraucca will be removed to New Milford, where they will put in more machinery. They employ from 18 to 30 men at the Gibson mill.

THOMSON: Mrs. S. B. Whitney shipped to Scranton, twenty-two canary birds, nine singers and thirteen females. They were beauties and attracted much attention while at the depot.

BROOKLYN: About 11 o'clock last night Miss Hattie McMillan discovered a small blaze in the milk condensary here. She gave the alarm and the citizens promptly responded. A bucket brigade was organized and with the help of a small hose, heroic efforts were made to save the building, but without avail. When discovered the fire was in the east end of the tin shop, near the boilers. It spread so rapidly that it was impossible to save any of the contents of the building and it was only by the hardest kind of work that the residence of Lyman Tewksbury and the Methodist church property were saved. The church sheds were on fire but were extinguished. The loss is very heavy, the plant being complete in every department, making the cans and cases for shipping the product. Owing to some difficulty with the farmers the contract, which expired Oct. 1, had not been renewed and the force of workmen had been reduced. During the busy season about 50 hands were employed, but only 12 were working. Several thousand cases of condensed milk and all the books and accounts were lost.

MONTROSE: Death visited our quiet town on Sept. 24 and took from it one of its oldest and most substantial residents, Herman Canfield Fairchild, at the age of 84 years. He was born in Litchfield Co., Conn., in 1820 and came with his father's family to Auburn Twp. in 1834. He learned the carpenter trade of the late Wm. H. Boyd and became his master carpenter until he formed a partnership with Garner Boyd and began contracting on their own account. Their shop stood where the barn of the Montrose House stands. In 1848 he married Mary Amanda Bissell, daughter of Dr. Bissell, who had been a surgeon in the U.S. Army in the War of 1812 and was the second resident physician in the town or county. About 1856 Herman purchased the old Bissell homestead in Brooklyn where he has since resided. He invented and patented one of the first corn-planters. One of his sons, Herman LeRoy Fairchild, is Professor of Geology in the University of Rochester and another, Rev. Bert Bissell Fairchild, is living in North Bloomfield, N.Y.

SPRINGVILLE: Although the day set for the reunion of Co. C, 203d P.V. was stormy, a good company gathered at the home of W. B. Lathrop, Elk Lake, on the 14th of September. A large tent had been erected on the lawn in which dinner was served. Messrs. Fargo, Young and Kent furnished music with violins and cornet, and some songs were sung, including "Marching Through Georgia," by a comrade. C. F. Rosencrans told some of his bear stories which amused the Vets. Minutes were read and election of officers followed. About 20 comrades and their wives usually attend these gatherings. One comrade, Nathan C. Strickland, died since last meeting. It is 40 years since the comrades were discharged from the army.

MATRIMONIAL: [As there had recently been two or three marriages in Susquehanna and Wayne counties, brought about through advertising for correspondents, with matrimony as the object; and feeling that quite possibly there might be a legitimate field for correspondence of this nature, we gave notice that ads, written in good faith, would be published free in the Democrat, until further notice.] Wanted--By a middle aged lady, a husband of good character and reputation. None other need answer this adv., and for further particulars, address, B.C.W., Dimock, Susq'a, Pa. Wanted--To correspond with and make the acquaintance of a lady from 45 to 50 years old; object, matrimony. Address, "Widower," care Democrat office.

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Along the Way...With P. Jay

Baker’s Dozen

Just finished reading Fred Baker’s letter to the editor of the Transcript refuting my recent column on Commissioner Jeff Loomis’ belief that the county blew an opportunity to receive a $1 million grant from Gov. Ed Rendell’s Home Town Streets/Safe Routes to School Program. Of course we all remember Mr. Baker as one of the losing candidates in the 2003 primary elections.

My friends, under normal circumstances I do not respond to letters to the Transcript taking offense to my opinion on a given issue. Actually, the purpose of the column is twofold, (1) to be informative; and, (2) to stimulate the imagination of the reader so that he/she might address the issue at hand in an affirmative or negative manner.

However, when my integrity and credibility are challenged, I feel the need to defend what I write. This especially holds true when I offer information obtained from what is known in journalism as a "privileged source." In this instance, I interviewed Dan Accourti, PENNDOT’s manager of Gov. Ed Rendell’s Home Town Streets/Safe Routes to School Program. I don’t know of a more authentic source than the man in charge of the program.

In his letter, Mr. Baker said he did "a little investigation" and found that "the truth and facts are woefully lacking in Mr. Amadio’s well written albeit fairy tale of journalism." Mr. Baker then proceeds to outline what he learned about the grant in "just thirty minutes investigation and a few days of verification." To use his own words, Mr. Baker said the truth and facts in my column are woefully lacking, but the fact of the matter is that it is his letter that lacks a credible foundation.

The information that I wrote in the September 15 edition of the Transcript, came from Mr. Accourti. Now who is more qualified to address questions regarding the governor’s program, Fred Baker or Mr. Accourti? From here it would appear that this is a more appropriate example of a "no brainier" mentioned by Mr. Baker in his letter. According to Commissioner Loomis, the $1 million would be split three ways with $500,000 going to the county and $250,000 each for the Boroughs of Montrose and New Milford. But Mr. Accourti had reservations about the application.

"The county could not be precluded from the program," Mr. Accourti said, "but the county would have to have its own project. The county could not apply for a certain amount of money and dole it out to municipalities. It really cannot work that way.

"The municipalities should apply itself. If the county was a sponsor for all three projects, it could file an application to do that but the system is designed to accept independent applications. Each of these projects should become a project of their own with a project manager. A lump sum to one source for three projects would create administrative headaches for the program."

Mr. Accourti told me that the state received 287 applications and actually expected more than that. Mr. Baker said that only seven applications were filed and that five of the seven have been awarded $4.5 million.

Mr. Baker fails to mention any source he contacted during his 30-minute investigation. However, he expressed great faith in Commissioner Loomis so one can only assume that Mr. Loomis was the source of Mr. Baker’s information.

Oh yes, Mr. Baker did mention one additional item, my relationship with Minority Commissioner Mary Ann Warren. We are distant cousins and I am proud of her and her accomplishments. But she will not get, nor does she expect, any preferential treatment from me and I do not expect any exclusivity from her regarding county news.

The Green Party

Perhaps the most active political party in Susquehanna County at the moment is the Green Party. While it may not be large enough to compete with the Grand Old Party or even the Democrat Party, as weak as it is, Green Party voters appear to be dedicated to the party’s cause which focuses much attention on the environment and a strong democracy.

The Green Party meets regularly in the county and is supporting Jay Sweeney of Wyoming County for state representative in the 111th Legislative District. His opponent is incumbent Rep. Sandra Major who has solid support from the Republican Party. The Democrat Party would rather spend its money attending political conferences than run someone against Sandy. Mind you, Sandy is a solid favorite to win another term in the House of Representatives, but the Democrat Party should have run someone against her if for no other reason than to keep the two-party system alive in the county. Apparently the Green Party is willing to take its lickings in order to get its message delivered to county voters. And it should not surprise anyone when the day comes that a Green Party candidate will walk away with an election victory in the county. Will it be Jay Sweeney?

I have never met Jay Sweeney in person but we talked over the telephone and he is no different than any other political candidate I have talked with during five decades as a journalist and columnist. He wants what he believes to be the best for the 111th district just as Sandy Major has been pursuing what she perceives to be best for her legislative district. Jay does have support from ecologists and environmentalists, an indication that there are people in the area who are concerned about the future of the earth.

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Received In The Mail – I recently received a letter in the mail from a former Lanesboro resident – Sarah B. Warder of Binghamton. Being away from Susquehanna for several years, she wondered why the Kasson name was added to our Barnes Memorial Hospital. Through my good friend, Joan Hurley, I was able to get the following information:

The new Simon H. Barnes Memorial Hospital opened its doors in October, 1965.

In 1969, County Judge Donald O’Malley was in charge of the estate of a Mr. Myron Kasson.

Mr. Kasson stated, "I leave this fund to the people of Susquehanna County for their medical well-being, to an institution that will take care of people regardless of their economic status."

Judge O’Malley contacted the Barnes Hospital Administration and Board of Trustees about the requirements set forth in the estate. They were three: 1. The institution must be nonprofit; 2. To serve people who lived within the borders of Susquehanna County; 3. His name and county to be included in the name of the institution.

Thus the name became "Barnes-Kasson County Hospital."

The estate fund was used to upgrade the operation room.

A plaque on the wall near the operating room doors reads: "In grateful appreciation from the area this surgical suite is dedicated to the memory of Myron H. Kasson of Montrose, Pennsylvania."

VFW Auxiliary Announces VOD Dates – Elizabeth Elbrecht, Youth Activity chairman of the VFW Post 6223 Auxiliary, and Voice of Democracy announced that the opening of its 2003-2004 essay contest the Patriot’s Pen, a 300-400 word essay, will soon be open to all sixth, seventh and eighth grade students.

"The official starting date is October 1 and the essays must be turned into your local VFW post by November 1. We have all of the information out to the schools so teachers can get the students prepared. It is also good to know that the Patriots Pen as well as the Voice of Democracy, the contest for the 9-12 graders, can be done by children who are home-schooled, as well as handicapped. This is a National Essay contest designed to give students the opportunity to voice their opinion on this year’s theme "What Service to Our Country Means to Me" and to improve their writing skills. The students have the opportunity to win awards at the local level and at the state level. The winner from the state level advances to the National level where they can receive a $15,000 scholarship award.

For more information on how to get involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars Patriots Pen and Voice of Democracy contest, contact Elizabeth Elbrecht at (570) 756–2564.

Students Being Ripped Off – College students are finding that not only the tuition is higher, but also the text books. Some books can cost over $100.00. Students – and parents – are finding that more costs keep coming, even after a student is on campus. Some college and public interest groups charge that the publishing industry is forcing textbook prices higher by introducing unnecessary new editions and packaging books with expensive study materials that all students do not want or need. A spokesperson for a school said, "We know some kids are not buying the books, and that defeats the whole purpose of a college education."

Little League Baseball News – (Washington) The House has rejected, on a 217-176 vote a bill that would protect Little League Baseball groups and other nonprofit organizations from civil lawsuits.

More Money For Congressmen – The House voted, 235 to 170 to endorse a congressional pay raise of 2.5 percent, or about $4,000 for fiscal 2005. Seems odd (and to me very funny) that Congress can find money to give themselves a raise, but when it comes to giving us a little more Social Security they have one hell of a time "finding" the money. And, when they do give us a few more bucks, they up our Medicare premiums and any other of our health care programs. (Next time around, I’m considering running for political office. I’d like to get in on all of their "freebies.") Oh yes, the Senators and congressmen will now get $158,000 a year. The poor president stays at $400,000. The vice president also gets a raise. (Isn’t that nice!)

Susquehanna Historical "Moves" – The Historical Society in the Shops Plaza, reluctantly has to put their memorabilia in storage. The organization has tried for weeks to rent a place locally, but it seems not too many are interested in the historical photos of many, many old timers, cars, bridges, etc. It’s a darn shame that – in the three boroughs –not a place was to be found to rent. They are in the process of storing, but hope it isn’t too long before a place can be found for the society. If anyone has a space to rent you can contact Don Day, in Hallstead at 879–4286 or Lou Parrillo at 853–3835.

Be Wary of Repair Scams – About this time each year, "repair scams" are on the rise. Many con artists are around. A safe way is not to allow "a stranger" in your home. Avoid contractors that you never heard of. Shop around for the lowest bid. Check credentials. Always receive a written contract, before the work is started. Never make full payment in advance. You can avoid home repair scams by calling local Area Agencies on Aging. The number can be found in the Blue pages of most telephone books.

Susquehanna Pumpkin Fest October 9 – A Pumpkin Fest, sponsored by the Susquehanna Community Development Association (SCDA) will take place October 9, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Many events are planned. Contests will take place. At dusk a bonfire will be in Lanesboro, with an open house in the Lanesboro Community Center. Something for all ages. For more info, call Pam at 853–4538 or Toni at 853–4715.

ARC Blood Drive – An American Red Cross drive for blood will be held at the following: October 6 – 2:30 to 6:30 at St. John’s Church, Susquehanna; November 10 – 2:30 to 6:30 at the Great Bend Veterans of Foreign Wars club. For more info call 278–1427.

A Very Expensive Breast – The Federal Communications Commission voted recently to fine each of CBS’ 20 owned television stations a total of $550,000 for Janet Jackson’s eye-catching flash dance during the last Super Bowl half-time show. Miss Jackson was at the end of a racy duet, with singer Justin Timberlake when he ripped off a piece of Miss Jackson’s black leather top, exposing her right breast. Timberlake said it was a "wardrobe malfunction." (Oh, sure it was!)

Help For Veterans By Phone – Here are a few phone numbers veterans might find helpful. Toll-free to Philadelphia 1-800-827-1000. The Philly VA is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Toll-free education details 1-888-442-4551. TDD toll-free 1-800-829-4833. Vets with a Teletype Device for the deaf can get information on benefits and programs. Open 9 to 5. If necessary, leave a message.

A Lesson – As the crowded elevator descended, Mrs. Silverman grew increasingly furious with her husband, who was delighted to be pressed against a gorgeous young blonde woman. As the elevator stopped at the main floor, the blonde suddenly whirled around, slapped Mr. Silverman and said, "That will teach you to pinch!"

Bewildered, Mr. Silverman was halfway to the parking lot with his wife when he choked, "I... I didn’t pinch that girl."

"Of course you didn’t," his wife replied, consolingly, "I did."

A Great Thermos – A new worker at a construction site sat down to eat his lunch with the rest of the crew. As an older fellow opened his Thermos to pour out coffee, the new guy asked, "What’s that?"

The older fellow said, "It’s a Thermos bottle."

"What’s it for?" the new guy asked.

"It keeps hot liquids hot and cold liquids cold," the older fellow explained.

The next day, the new guy came to work with his own Thermos.

"Well," the older fellow said. "I see you bought a Thermos. What do you have in it?"

"Two cups of hot coffee and a glass of cold ice tea."

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