In 1958, what “Newest Toy Sensation” could be purchased at Kresge’s on Main Street, Pittston, for just 98 cents?
Pittston’s pinball wizards
In 1954, a ban was placed on pinball machines by Pittston Police Chief Patrick O’Brien. We asked if anyone recalled playing the games and which were their favorite. We received a call from John Algar, of Pittston, who fondly remembered those days. He wanted to be sure to tell us that Honey Algar, of Avoca, and Ann Marie George loved playing pinball and were so adept on the machines some business owners running the machines didn’t appreciate their skill. However, he said Thomas Durkin was surely the area’s head pinball wizard. John Chedrick, of Pittston, also called to let us know he’s been collecting pinball machines for 50 years and has about 20 in all. When asked which one is his favorite, he said, “It’s too hard to pick; I love them all.”
1948 – 67 years ago
An investigation was called for by 37 school directors of the nine districts representing the Greater Pittston Vocational GI School board to find the location of $40,000 to $50,000 of missing equipment shipped to the school by the War Surplus Administration. The motion was made at a meeting of the directors who assembled for the first time since the school opened. Andrew Steranka, head of the school, reported the machines missing after items were not listed on an inventory. Lathes and other equipment were signed for by someone at the school, but no one knew who.
The first semi-professional football game to be played at Bone Stadium was between the Wilkes-Barre Bullets and the Yonkers Pro Giants of the New York State League. The Bullets won their season opener the week before by a score of 31-7 over the Atlantic City Reds so attendance was expected to be large. Tackle Gene Valalla, an ex-University of Scranton star, and Bob Brenner joined the team shortly before the first game.
1958 – 57 years ago
Airman first class, John Petroziello, of Pittston, serving with American troops in France was recognized for his accomplishments as a glider pilot. Petroziello became interested in gliders while in Moulins, France. A story about Petroziello was published in La Tribune, a French newspaper that headlined “For the first time in France, an American military member of the Moulins Aero-Club obtained his D certificate in glider flying.”
The Sunday Dispatch high school correspondents were named for the school year. Barbara Barnak would cover news at Dupont High School, Carol Gillow was the correspondent at Duryea High School, Nancy Lee Oliver collected stories for Pittston Township High School, Beth Pettengill was on duty at Avoca High School and Regina Mattei was the new reporter at Exeter High School.
1968 – 47 years ago
The Duryea Lumber Home Center, 408 Stephenson St., celebrated a grand opening of its newly-remodeled store. The company was started in the early 1900s by the Watkins brothers, E.V. and Will, and was known as the Taylor Duryea Lumber Company. In 1927, the brothers sold their interests to George Ries. In 1968, Ries’ son Marshall took over the operation.
1978 – 37 years ago
Patti Donovan, of Duryea, couldn’t hold all the trophies she’d won at the Luzerne County Junior Miss Pageant in Hazleton. She did not take the top award but was named first runner-up and received first-place awards in youth fitness, creative and performing arts and poise and appearance. Patti’s show-stopping dance performance, a routine performed to Bee Gee’s “You Should be Dancing,” was the hit of the competition.
The West Pittston Junior Women’s Club was celebrating its 47th year anniversary. Open to local women 18-40 years old, the club was first organized by Mrs. Edward Holmes, president of the senior women’s club, in 1931. Thirty-five women attended the first meeting and Ruth Evans was named the first president of the junior women. The Junior Women’s Club Pledge read as such, “I pledge my loyalty to the Junior Club women by doing better than ever before what work I have to do. By being prompt, honest, courteous and by living each day trying to accomplish something, not merely to exist.”
The Greater Pittston Lioness Club celebrated it second anniversary. Past District Governor Frank Meneguzzo presented commemorative plaques to Lioness recipients Annette Pavlico and Jennifer Morgan. Club members included Gail Senese, Margaret Dzanis, Doris Christy, Kathy Boney, Marie Limongelli, Annette Pavlico, Angie Burnside, Jennifer Morgan, Terri McAndrew, Elaine Marriggi, Carlotta Adonizio, Vita Cella, Barbara Tambur, Joan Adams and Margaret Zellner.
The “Newest Toy Sensation” advertised by Kresge’s on Main Street in Pittston was the Hula Hoop. The fad started in July 1958 and, within the first four months, 25 million plastic hoops were sold. Sales reached more than 100 million units in the first two years.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage