We’ve turned the Thanksgiving corner and now it’s full steam ahead for St. Nick’s arrival.
Tradition in Greater Pittston is something many uphold no matter where life takes them. It’s important to maintain traditions from one generation to the next.
Former Wyoming Area gridiron standout attorney Bill Anzalone, along with the folks at UNICO, keep alive the tradition of the UNICO All-Star Classic football game held Saturday at Wyoming Area’s football stadium. It’s a way to showcase local high school football talent and, for many local players, could be the last time they suit up in a uniform.
When Bill played ball, the all-star game was the City vs. County Dream Game at Scranton Memorial Stadium. That game continues today and is played in the summer after high school graduations.
UNICO used to follow the same format but, a few years ago, Anzalone and crew came up with the idea of holding the game during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
For the first several years after the Wyoming Area and Pittston Area jointures in 1966, the rivalry game was held Thanksgiving morning.
Another tradition that started a number of years ago is the Turkey Bowl, a friendly game between Pittston Area and Wyoming Area graduates. It’s a great day of bonding and a chance for graduates to relive the good old days. This year’s game was held at Wyoming Area’s Anthony “Jake” Sobeski field on a brisk Thanksgiving morning.
One tradition that made a comeback in my family is having ravioli as the entrée course before the turkey on Thanksgiving. My children pulled out my mom’s recipes to give it a try. Mom would be proud.
Dancing with Aunt Helen
Recently, “Dancing with the Stars” crowned a new champion in an emotional television event. Bindi Iwrin, daughter of the late Steve Irwin, and her partner Derek Hough took home the mirror ball trophy.
Many remember Bindi’s father, Steve, as “The Crocodile Hunter” from Australia. Steve was beloved by many, and his death was a shock worldwide. Bindi was alongside her father for all of his expeditions and his image was very much a part of this season’s storyline.
“Dancing with the Stars” is something my great-aunt Helen would have loved to watch. After all, she and her husband Nino were ballroom champions back in the 1940s.
Each year for decades, the Harvest Moon Ball dance competition was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City and was considered the largest dance competition in the United States where thousands of couples gathered.
In 1945, there were five divisions: the Foxtrot, Jitterbug, Rumba, Tango and Viennese Waltz. Helen Buckshin and her then partner, later husband, Nino Settinieri, won the Waltz division and never returned to their former jobs.
That year, Marie Mirti and Anthony Macaluso were declared overall champions of the Harvest Moon Ball. I don’t know whatever happened to them, but Helen and Nino became professional dancers. They taught lessons, participated in dance shows and were affiliated with the world famous Pinehurst Country Club, noted for many years as the capital of golf in America.
At Pinehurst, Helen and Nino did everything from holding dance classes to hosting elite social events to doing concierge work. The couple met and became friends with many from all over the country, including pro-golf great, Chi Chi Rodriquez.
Dancing back in the 1940s was not as athletic as it is on “Dancing with the Stars.” It was much slower and more elegant then. Helen made all of her costumes, which she kept until her death.
The world has a new Queen of Dance in Bindi Irwin. For me, though, Aunt Helen will always be my champion.
Quote of the week
“In solitude, the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself.” – Laurence Sterne, Irish writer.
Thought of the week
“The more things change, the more they remain the same.” – Alponse Karr, French author.
“It is not wise to be wiser than is necessary,” – Phillippe Quinault, French dramatist.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected]