Peeking into the Past: Stanley Sosnowski sums up the Christmas wish of all Americans in 1979


Peeking into the Past - Judy Minsavage



The Altar and Rosary Society of St. Mary’s Church, Avoca held its annual Christmas party in 1979. Members were from left first row are Rev. Thomas Carlin, pastor; Catherine Walsh, president; Mary Margaret Regan, toastmaster; Rev. Edward Gerrity, guest. Second row, Robert McMullen, soloist; Catherine McMullen, vice president; Grace Boone, activity chairman; Ruth Van Luvender, membership chairman; Mary Jennings, secretary; Jean Reedy, accompanist. Absent from the photo Father Phillip Sladicka, featured speaker.



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    1959 – 56 years ago

    In 1959, young boys were lining up to join the Junior Guard Troop formed in the same year by Sergeant Ed Bilder. Dressed in sport coats and standing at attention, the guard group aged 6 to 12 trained in military drills, first aid, citizenship and other related subjects. The need for uniforms brought about Operation Santa Clause, a fundraiser that would garner the funds needed for the boys to have custom uniforms made. Bilder, assisted by Sergeant Louis Roberts of the National Guard, headed a class of 50 young men.

    The Pittston High School Carolers were scheduled to sing at several holiday programs. Members of the choir were Theresa Pennachioli, Mary Anna Pavlico, Theresa Giambra, Santina Argento, Jean Ann Whyte, Mary Holleran, Charles Scarantino, Alan Parks, Joseph Pavlico, Louis Scarantino and Jerry Cawley. Helen Oliver was the director of the popular group.

    James Melberger, president of the West Pittston Little League, hoped to raise $40,000 to make the dream of the West Pittston swimming pool a reality. Donations were made by the Pittston Junior Chamber of Commerce and the Goodwill Hose Company. Construction of the pool was planned for the Garden Village.

    Women’s lace-edged and embroidered cotton handkerchiefs were on sale at Kresge’s on North Main Street, Pittston. Freed’s advertised an RCA Victor transistor radio for $44.95. Jacob Kurlancheek’s in Duryea offered its customers a Speed Queen wringer washer for $99. The “all new” Magnus organ was demonstrated at Radio City on Broad Street in Pittston.

    1969 – 46 years ago

    Girls basketball was a new sport at Wyoming Area High School in 1969. Members of the team were Mary Claire Bulger, Margie Zekoski, Kathy Delaney, Celeste Kelly, Nancy McDermott, Carmella Mauriello, Patti Fueher, Dorothy Killiri, Cathy Charney, Ann Gildea, Maureen Kelly, Linda Turoni, Gloria Vullo, Janet Mercincavage, Liz Parulis, Mary Hensely and Darlene Chaump.

    Rosemary Chromey was selected Duryea’s outstanding teenager. Mayor John B. Salek presented his third and final trophy to Chromey for her positive representation of her hometown. The award was created by Salek to encourage teenagers to take an active part in their community. In 1967, the first winner was Richard Murman, who served as a United States Marine in Vietnam. The 1968 trophy winner was Gail Wywiorski, who was in training to be a nurse.

    The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer stopped at Kresge’s Department Store and asked youngsters what they wanted Santa to bring them on Christmas morning. Tommy Craig, of Avoca, wished for a Tonka truck and football. Ricky, Tommy’s brother, asked for a tractor and a dump truck. Tracy Vasil, of Pittston, asked for an Easy-Bake Oven and Louise Reddington, of Pittston, wished for a doll house.

    The Greater Pittston Business and Professional Women’s Club held a Christmas party at Fox Hill Country Club. Some of the many members attending were Edythe Walsh, Marie Mack, Rose Bianco, Catherine Kirshon, Evelyn Davies, Bertine Dobbie. Stella Flynn, Mary Collins, Grace Daniels, Neval Uhlitz and Carolyn Clark.

    Over 200 employees and friends of Lee Manufacturing and Main Dress of Duryea attended a Christmas party at the Gramercy Restaurant. The company had been in operation since 1935.

    1979 – 36 years ago

    The Wyoming Historical and Geological Society hosted a Christmas Candlelight Tour of the Swetland Homestead. Committee members were Mrs. Jay Niskey, Donna Morgan, Mrs. Charles Tamblyn, Mrs. John Darling and Mrs. Neil Kocher.

    Christmas wish lists for Pittston residents covered a wide range. Al Forlenza and Chester Sobuta, of Hughestown, wished for a plow for their grass cutter, Rosemary Zurla, R.N. wanted recognition for her nurses as the best in the state, Joe Oprendick wished for a return to the pizza business, Bart Brick wanted a chain of stores along the eastern seaboard, and Dick Foglia hoped for a leading role on Broadway. Wyoming and West Wyoming residents hoped their holiday wishes would be granted as well. Joe Perlock hoped for health and prosperity, Jacky Kropp wished for his dog, Tates, to return home. Bernie Charney wanted free disco lessons but Stanley Sosnowski, of Pittston, summed up the Christmas wish of all Americans in 1979 — a safe return of 60 American hostages taken when a group of Iranian students stormed the U.S. Embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979. In the weeks leading up to Christmas in 1979, high school students created Christmas cards that were delivered to the hostages in Iran. Community groups throughout the country joined the effort. The hope for the hostages return would not be realized until Jan. 20, 1981.

    1989 – 26 years ago

    West Pittston residents could buy a piece of their past by purchasing a $5 brick taken from the partially-demolished West Pittston High School. The building was being renovated to house the new Montgomery Avenue School.

    It was a decisive victory as Wyoming Area High School students Kim Bellas, Laura Dennis and Clancy Cash were triple winners in the 121-50 victory over Pittston Area in the Wyoming Valley Conference swim meet. Bellas scored 208.8 in diving and Dennis and Cash, along with Nikki Parulis and Nikki Podwika, took the 200 medley relay with a time of 2:08.18. Dennis won the 50 freestyle and the 100 backstroke and Cash took first place in the 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke.

    This date in history:

    1924 – Adolf Hitler is released from prison after serving less than one year of a five-year sentence for treason.

    1933 – The German government announces 400,000 citizens would be sterilized because of hereditary defects.

    1938 – The first electronic television system is patented.

    The Altar and Rosary Society of St. Mary’s Church, Avoca held its annual Christmas party in 1979. Members were from left first row are Rev. Thomas Carlin, pastor; Catherine Walsh, president; Mary Margaret Regan, toastmaster; Rev. Edward Gerrity, guest. Second row, Robert McMullen, soloist; Catherine McMullen, vice president; Grace Boone, activity chairman; Ruth Van Luvender, membership chairman; Mary Jennings, secretary; Jean Reedy, accompanist. Absent from the photo Father Phillip Sladicka, featured speaker.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_Miss-Judy-23.jpgThe Altar and Rosary Society of St. Mary’s Church, Avoca held its annual Christmas party in 1979. Members were from left first row are Rev. Thomas Carlin, pastor; Catherine Walsh, president; Mary Margaret Regan, toastmaster; Rev. Edward Gerrity, guest. Second row, Robert McMullen, soloist; Catherine McMullen, vice president; Grace Boone, activity chairman; Ruth Van Luvender, membership chairman; Mary Jennings, secretary; Jean Reedy, accompanist. Absent from the photo Father Phillip Sladicka, featured speaker.

    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/web1_ST-MARY-AVOCA-XMAS-1979.jpgSunday Dispatch file photo

    Peeking into the Past

    Judy Minsavage

    Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

    Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

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