In 1949, Pittston High School graduates James Dull, John Gillis, Marion Mikitish and Joseph Ardoline answered the very first question asked by the Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer: “Now that you have graduated from high school, what are your plans for the future?” Fifteen years later, in 1964, they were contacted by the Dispatch to see if they achieved their goals. Now, 67 years later, James Dull contacted us to give us an update on at least two of the graduates. Dull informed us that the late John Gillis who wanted to be a chemical engineer did end up as an executive for Exxon Corporation. He and Gillis, both of Connecticut, stayed in contact over the years. They travel back to Pittston when possible to attend reunions of the Class of ‘49. Dull, who wanted a career in radio and television, did get that experience locally with WBAX, and remembers covering the Knox Mine Disaster. As a young man, Dull covered football games for the Sunday Dispatch. Dull eventually left the airwaves and for 43 years spent his life in academia, teaching political science. Dull’s wife Marguerite (Schevetz) Dull is also formerly of Pittston.
1949 – 67 Years Ago
A group of Cork Lane boys gathered on a sandlot for a game of softball on a sunny afternoon, but the fun soon ended as Carmen Centrella smacked a home run ball that smashed through a window of Frank Pupa’s home. Some of the lads yelled, “No chips on the windows,” which meant no sharing in the cost of a broken window. Regardless, Bobby Luchetti, Billie Corridoni, Eddie Walsh, Gerard Rowan, Ralph Pisano, Guy Pisano, Ray Walsh, Joe Michelli, Jack Cosgrove and Centrella pulled what money they had in their pockets, a grand sum of $1.65, and presented it to Pupa in order to pay for the broken pane. A dollar short, Pupa added to the sum and a new pane was purchased.
Veterans were awaiting Congressional approval of a bill that would initiate a bonus to be paid to them for service to their country in World War II. Christian Addimanda, social studies teacher at Pittston Joint Vocational School, conducted a survey asking local vets what they would do with the extra money. Paying off debts topped the poll at 49 percent. Buying a home held at 25 percent and buying a car, 9 percent. One veteran planned a vacation, another a wedding. But one veteran would not decide without asking his wife.
WBAX radio brought these shows to Sunday night listeners: “Roy Rogers,” “Nick Carter,” “The Saint,” “Johnny Desmond,” “Proudly We Hail,” “Smoke Rings” and “The Count of Monte Cristo.”
1969 – 47 Years Ago
On July 21, 1969, six hours after Apollo 11 landed on the lunar surface, Joseph Ashley owner of Ashley Machine and Tool Company in West Wyoming and his employees eagerly watched as Neil Armstrong emerged from the lunar module to be the first human to step on the moon’s surface. The 33-inch square hatch which Armstrong opened on the module was manufactured at Ashley’s plant. Ashley, the only U.S. plant manufacturing hatches for the lunar mission, worked with Grumman Aircraft for two years before launch. Their hatches were used on the life-sized simulator and well as the final craft.
The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked Pittston residents, “Do you think the United States should continue to explore outer space or is the moon landing an end in itself?” Ross Regie answered, “The space program should be continued now that the moon has been reached. One or two space shots a year would suffice.” John Kundla added, “They should keep trying until they find a good place to hunt and fish. Seriously, I believe space exploration is one of the most important things we can do.” Joe Fleming stated, “I feel we should probe further. I think it’s definitely worth the cost because it keeps us the number one nation in the world.”
1979 – 37 Years Ago
John Baiera, Tony Attardo, Sam Sperrazza, Jim Lavin and Tom Shannon, members of the Flag Association of Pittston Township, dedicated a flag pole and a “Welcome to Pittston Township” sign at the corner of Oak Street and the Pittston By-Pass. The group also planned a block party for the 50 families belonging to the association.
Tony Cella, of Exeter, and golf pro at Fox Hill Country Club, was admittedly not happy with his golf game, but only because his work schedule kept him from practice. His decision to dedicate more time to the game led him to win the Fernwood Resort Golf Tournament with an eight under par 64. It also helped give the Fox Hill team members Bob Nafus, Joe Liberati and Pat Lombardo the division championship with an 11 under par 61. Cella went on to win the Walter Hagen American Cancer Society Tournament at Glen Brook Country Club in Stroudsburg.
1989 – 27 Years Ago
Upon retiring after 27 years as a football coach at Old Forge, Pittston High School and Pittston Area, Bob Barbieri warned his players, “No tributes, no testimonials, I’m not retiring, I’m just resigning. Some day I’ll be back.” However those words went unheeded as 300 of his former players gathered at Convention Hall to honor him. The widow of Barbieri’s close friend and basketball coach, the late Jack Gallagher, convinced him that the event would give his players a chance to say thank you. Barbieri planned on thanking the players instead. “These guys think they owe me something. Heck, I owe them,” Barbieri said.
This Day in History
1498 – Christopher Columbus, on his third voyage to the Western Hemisphere, arrived at the island of Trinidad.
1964 – The American space probe Ranger 7 transmitted pictures of the moon’s surface.
1971 – Men rode in a vehicle on the moon for the first time in a lunar rover vehicle (LRV).
1999 – The spacecraft Lunar Prospect crashed into the moon. It was a mission to detect frozen water on the moon’s surface. The craft had been launched on January 6, 1998.
Reach Judy Minsavage at 570-991-6403 or on Twitter @JudithMinsavage