First Posted: 3/11/2013
In 1947, how was it possible that a man claimed he left his Dupont home at 8 a.m. one fall morning and arrived in a nearby city a half hour before he left his home?
1948 – 65 years ago
In an article entitled Residents of Pittston Consume 255,175 Bottles of Liquor in 12 Months, the Sunday Dispatch reported the State Liquor Control Board’s estimated cost of alcohol consumed locally in 1947 as over $1 million. The board offered one “consolation” that state liquor stores sold 39,000 bottles less in 1947 than in 1946.
The American Legion Band, under the direction of Dr. R.M. Bierly, held a concert at the West Pittston High School auditorium. Along with benefiting the Vocational Guidance Conference, the band, which formed in 1928, was celebrating its 20th anniversary while Sidney Martin was commander. According to the Salvation Army website, Army-trained musicians have become extremely accomplished and include such famous American composers as William Himes, James Curnow and Stephen Bulla. Bulla is currently serving as the principle arranger for the “President’s Own” United States Marine Corps Band in Washington, D.C.
Over 900 children attended the Greater Pittston Junior Chamber of Commerce first Easter Egg Hunt event in 1947. Hoping to attract even more children in 1948, Jaycee members Philip Medico, Thomas Jones, John Corcoran, Frank Lawler, James Mangione, william Bellus, Joseph Schiffman, William Norris, Steryl Searfoss, Sandy Pennica,, Bernard O’Brien, Peter Lello, Charles Insalaco, John Wills, Peter Tabone, Sam Zanta and Erminio Cefalo were planning to offer more prizes and fun for children of all ages.
1958 – 55 years ago
Mrs. Mabel Mitchell was serving her first term as Director of Accounts and Finance on Pittston City Council. Not only was she the first woman to serve in that capacity, she was the first woman to take over for Mayor Patrick O’Brien who had been injured and unable to preside at a scheduled meeting. Under the law, Mrs. Mitchell was first in line to serve as acting mayor.
Carlton Stauffer, “representing” Roy Staufffer Inc., presented a new Chevrolet to Gail Young, supervising principal, to be used in the Wyoming School High School’s newly-introduced driving safety course. The “dual-controlled” 1958 Bel Air was supplied in cooperation with the Behind the Wheel Training program of the Wyoming Valley Motor Club. Driving instructors Eugene Allegrucci and John Zwirek were also present. Once part of most high school’s curriculum, driver’s education was dropped by many schools across the country in favor of third-party instructors. However, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles website, “through the Department of Education, Pennsylvania still offers a comprehensive driver education program that is taught in high schools and colleges throughout the commonwealth.” The unique program teaches standard driving skills and the importance of maintaining constant visual and mental focus, decision-making and the effects of alcohol.
Members of the Duryea Council of Republican Women, Mary Rincavage, Lucille Logue, Bertha Swenton, Jean Wywiorski, Marge Gryczko, Betty Howell, Stella Piorkowski, Jean Lambert, Sylvia Williams and Edith Evans prepared to model the most fashionable styles of the year at the council’s Easter Hat Fashion Show. According to the website www.dgreetings.com, the history of donning a new chapeau at Easter began with the New York Easter parade in 1870 at which the social elite would attend services and parade down the street to give onlookers a peek at their Easter finery. After the Civil War, mothers and daughters who had donned the dark colors of mourning began wearing colorful flowered hats and elaborate corsages as part of the Easter celebration.
It had been a particularly hard winter and members of the Sunnyfield Rod and Gun Club had heard of the plight of starving “game” due to the heavy snow accumulations in the area. Sportsmen Alfred “Peck” Pesotine, John Grala, John Vanko, John Gutkowski, Paul Gerega, George Vanko, Charles Masulis, Charles Grubleski, Earl Ratchford, John Cather, Earl Thompson, Art Pesotine, Dick Pesotine and Butch Pesotine traveled to remote areas with supplies of corn and alfalfa to feed the starving animals.
1968 – 45 years ago
Mike Martin, of Duryea, was the third Pittston Area Patriot to have the chance to sign a football scholarship contract with a major university, joining the ranks of Charlie Turco and Sal Licata who signed with the University of North Carolina and Temple, respectively. Martin impressed Iowa State University scouts with his pass reception ability demonstrated in the Patriots’ 1967 season.
Carolyn Clark, president of the Women’s Business and Professional Association, announced the organization’s 21st anniversary. The club was credited with underwriting the cost of sending four area children to the YMCA day camp each year, providing a scholarship to a worthy high school student and honoring outstanding seniors in each local high school.
Spring was in the air and baseball was on the minds of Avoca sports fans. The question being asked by residents, “Was the borough going to have a Sunday sandlot baseball team?” The question also brought up a name associated with the sport Anthony “Daddy” Gilrain. Gilrain was known as Mr. Baseball and for many years kept the Sunday baseball games alive in Avoca. In 1967, Gilrain retired and those who knew him speculated that, after 40 years of being associated with baseball, he would come out of retirement to handle the organization and the sandlot teams. Did Gilrain come out of retirement and did Avoca have a 1968 sandlot team? Call me at 602-0168 and let me know.
1978 – 35 years ago
Msgr. Giovanni Cheli, permanent observer of the Pope to the United Nations, visited the area to attend the centennial observance of the Oblates of St. Joseph Seminary. Fifty diocesan priests joined in the festivities. Bishop Cheli served as Nunciatures of Guatemala and Spain and was later named council to the Catholic Church for public relations in Rome prior to assuming the UN position in 1973. After turning 80, Cardinal Cheli was known to be a critic of over-age cardinals entering the conclave, stating “It is a great deprivation for cardinals. Perhaps different limits can be used in future. Perhaps those whose minds have gone should not vote. We all know who they are. And some of them are in their 70s.” Cardinal Cheli died on Feb. 8 of natural causes at the age of 94.
Brennan Regan American Legion Post 585 Duryea, presented trophies to anglers who pulled in the best specimen in each category during their 1977 fishing tournament . Taking the honors were Robert Starzec, trout; Allan Starzec, rock bass; Walter Nestorick, annual award for worst fisherman; Conald Randazza, Commander’s trophy; John Harmanos, large mouth bass; Bernie Vilchok, walleye pike; and John Waschek, perch.
In 1978, Mayor Robert A. Loftus proclaimed the third weekend in March to be celebrated in honor of what local sports figure?
1988 – 25 years ago
Dubbed one of the finest program in years by Pennsylvania Gov. Robert Casey, the Greater Pittston Friendly Sons of St. Patrick dinner was held at the Mayfair Supper Club in Yatesville. Named Man of the Year by the Sons, Attorney Joseph Quinn said in his address to the over 400 in attendance, “Growing up in Greater Pittston, you couldn’t ask for more than that. The people are friendly and have values, that’s what it means to be raised here. You gave me encouragement when it was needed; you gave me praise when it wasn’t deserved; and you remained silent when that was the kindest thing to do.”
A person could arrive in a neighboring town a half-hour before they left their home in 1947 because some boroughs did not observe Daylight Savings Time. Tremendous confusion entailed as various communities voted individually to opt in or out of the time change. Miners and merchants were fighting to stay on Standard Time, but transportation companies hoped to have council accept what was dictated by Wilkes-Barre, Pittston and Scranton in their acceptance of Daylight Savings. The question before Dupont Council in the spring of 1948 was whether or not to adopt the change.
In 1978, Pittston City Mayor Robert A. Loftus proclaimed the third weekend in March as Jimmy Cefalo Weekend. The proclamation read in part: “Whereas: Jimmy Cefalo is a native son of the City of Pittston, and was educated in the public schools of Pittston, excelled in all scholastic events particularly performing superbly on the gridiron; Whereas: he distinguished himself through public service and Whereas: because of his talent and performance recognized nationwide, Jimmy Cefalo brought fame and prestige not only to himself but on his family, schools and Greater Pittston. Now, Therefore, I, Robert A. Loftus, proclaim the 19 of March 1978 as Jimmy Cefalo Day.” To find out what Cefalo is doing athe present time, log on to www.jimmycefalo.com.
“Oh, my friend, it’s not what they take away from you that counts. It’s what you do with what you have left.” – Hubert Humphrey