1949 – 66 years ago
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “How do you plan on spending your veterans’ bonus if it is approved by voters on Election Day?” Stephen Valenti of Pittston answered, “I plan on paying off the money I owe on the house I recently purchased.” Thomas Falzone of Pittston said, “I intend to buy furniture for my home, and a down payment on a good used car.” Thomas Guarnieri added, “I can’t say that I have any particular use for the money. I don’t have a special need since I’m single.” Francis Linnen stated, “The bonus idea is a good one and should prove to be handy to veterans. Every voter should vote yes for Amendment 1-A at the polls.” In 1949, Pennsylvanians were asked to vote on an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution that would provide for a “bonus” or “compensation” for veterans of World War II. The amendment was voted on in a Nov. 8, 1949 election. The amendment to article nine of the Constitution authorized compensation be paid to honorably discharged veterans and those still in service.
1959 – 56 years ago
The Combat Support Company, First Battle Group, of the local Pennsylvania National Guard unit hosted a dedication ceremony for their new armory located on Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston. Congressman Daniel J. Flood was the principal speaker at the event. The history of Pennsylvania National Guard stretches back to colonial times, when ordinary citizens banded together to form militias to protect their families and properties. In 1747, Benjamin Franklin introduced the “articles of association” to provide for a common defense of settlers. In 1879, the Guard is organized into a single division. Making Pennsylvania’s division the oldest in the U.S. Army.
“Rebel Without a Cause” starring James Dean was showing at the Comerford Drive-In, and “The FBI Story” starring Jimmy Stewart was screened at the American Theater.
Wyoming Valley Lumber Company advertised $15,000 homes for $750 down and payable over 20 years.
1969 – 46 years ago
Pfc. Fred R. Matthews of Exeter received a Bronze Star Medal with “V” Device for heroism and bravery while serving with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Division, a mechanized unit, known as the Big Red One. Matthews showed valor by capturing the enemy while under attack by a heavily armed unit 10 miles north of Lai Khe, Vietnam. Since World War I, the 1st Infantry Division has been known for it’s “Big Red One” shoulder patch that is still worn today by soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Toyland opened at the Diskay Discount Stores on North Main Street in Pittston. Mattell’s Barbie was selling for $4.97 and the Marx Big Wheel was advertised for $11.88. The first Barbie doll was introduced in both blonde and brunette in March 1959 and cost about $3. A pristine original Barbie is worth thousands today. The Big Wheel was inducted into the National Toy Hall of Fame in 2009.
Top 10 songs of 1969
1. “Suspicious Minds,” by Elvis Presley
2. “Wedding Bell Blues,” by The 5th Dimension
3. “Sugar on Sunday,” by The Clique
4. “Make Believe,” by Wind
5. “Jean,” by Oliver
6. “Come Together,” by The Beatles
7. “Hot Fun in the Summertime,” by Sly and the Family Stone
8. “Everybody’s Talkin’,” by Harry Nilsson
9. “When I Die,” by Motherlode
10. “Something,” by The Beatles
1979 – 39 years ago
The Pittston Area-Wyoming Area football game was labeled the “game of the year” and “best one ever” by the Sunday Dispatch. The match up wasn’t played on Thanksgiving Day, as was the once-popular tradition, but in front of more than 7,000 freezing fans, the Patriots beat their fiercest rivals the Warriors 20 to 15.
The City of Pittston held a Halloween window painting contest and presented grand prize winners, Susan Parrick and Kathy Kostiak each with a $50 savings bond. Bob Lizza, Ann Bellotti,and Mary Zurewski, each received a $25 bond and honorable mention was given to Dale Quick, Debbie Watson, Holly Thornton, Kris Gawelko, Eleanor Malenda and Chris Pavloski.
Some of the many women that helped prepare and serve the Christian Mothers of Sacred Heart Church, Duryea, spaghetti dinner were Mary Hadley, Anna Zongilla, Pat Ralston, Dolores Traglia, Susan Jake, Bernadine Baranowski, Lena Davis, Dorothy Karboski, Lillian Witkowski, Martha Bender, Irene Resavy, Isabella Kaminski, Anna Mae Wasta, Ann Shedler,and Helen Brecelnick.
This Day in History:
1512 – Michelangelo’s painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling is exhibited for the first time.
1968 – President Lyndon B. Johnson calls a halt to bombing in Vietnam, hoping this will lead to progress at the Paris peace talks.
1973 – Leon Jaworski appointed as new Watergate Special Prosecutor.
Reach Judy Minsavage at email@example.com or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage.