PEEKING INTO THE PAST: Union men went door to door to help widows


Peeking into the Past - By Judy Minsavage



In this 1948 photo Dupont residents pay tribute to a returning soldier who died in World War II. It is the funeral cortege of Private Frank Ledgezdh Jr., who died in the Battle of the Bulge. The entire student bodies of Wilson and Lincoln schools were dismissed from classes to line the path of the cortege on Curtain Street and gave silent tribute to the passing hero. Dupont merchants closed their stores for an hour while the funeral passed. American flags were displayed throughout the town. Dupont was listed as one of the most patriotic towns in Pennsylvania during World War II because of so many of its boys were serving in the armed forces.


Sunday Dispatch file photo

In 1976, the Wyoming Area Girls Softball team won the District 2 Title in the state tournament at Shippensburg State College. From left, first row, Debbie Gross, Karen Kitchelenski, Becky Edmunds. Second row, Denise Marianacci, Rosemary Bone, Gina Granteed, Karen Rome, Lisa Donlavage, Nancy McGowan. Third row, Tammy Ide, Nadine Greco, Sandy Selenski, Susan Newman, Annie Galli, Cathy Pope.


Sunday Dispatch file photo


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    Question:

    In a 1947 letter signed by C.K. to the editor of the Sunday Dispatch, a Pittston resident blamed Pittston housewives for “killing the goose that laid the golden egg.” Of what offense were the housewives accused?

    1947 – 70 YEARS AGO

    The Avoca Airport was to officially open, marking the end of a three-year construction project. Some interesting facts about the airport published in the Sunday Dispatch at the time were:

    • The airport covers 700 acres and the cost to date more than five million dollars.
    • It is 150 acres larger than LaGuardia Field, and is 940 feet above sea level.
    • It has three runways, each 150 feet wide, and in length, 5,200, 4,500 and 3,700 feet.
    • The largest available transports will be able to use the field.
    • The runways are equipped with sunken lights for night landings.
    • A complete government weather station is in full operation.
    • Official approval of the airport was given by the War Department on December 24, 1941 and work began in July 1945.
    • Originally the plan was to build the airport under the WPA program, but the program went out of existence.
    • The daily capacity of the airport is 300 landings and takeoffs.
    • American Airlines planned to inaugurate six daily flights, three east bound and three west bound.
    • Christening of an American Airlines DC-3 flagship was featured in a two-day program marking the opening of the airport. The flagship would be christened by female twins, who were to be chosen in a contest to determine the most representative twins from the two counties.

    Charles Mecadon, president, and Bob Lynott, secretary of the Ewen Colliery Local 8005 of the United Mine Workers of America, were commended for their efforts to speed up grants of $1,000 each to surviving dependents of Exeter mine disaster victims. The men went door to door to make sure the proper paperwork was filled out in order that “sorely tried wives” would not be taken away from their children. The funds were distributed to the widows by United Mine Workers Association Health and Welfare Fund. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics inflation calculator, $1,000 is the same as $11,373 today.

    Charles A. “Cugsy” Adonizio succeeded the late Emmet H. Carroll as a member of the Pittston City School Board. Adonizio graduated from Pittston High School Class of 1933 and from Wyoming Seminary in 1934. He enlisted in the Navy in 1941 and served for 27 months in the Pacific Theater in the amphibious warfare branch. He participated in the invasions of Marshal Islands, Saipan, Tinian and Peleliu. He served aboard LST 278 as executive officer and was commanding officer of the USS Seward for a time.

    1948 – 69 YEARS AGO

    Pittston Township High School announced its graduating class numbered 32 for the 11th annual commencement exercises. Honor students from the class were Louise Ann Musto, Elizabeth Ann Cosgrove, Carmella Varra, Katherine Murphy, Betty DeGraba and Mary Golden.

    With the announcement that Pittston was designated an airport office for the Railway Express Agency, direct air express service between Pittston and 1,000 airport cities in the United States and Canada was established. The service via American Airlines, Colonial and T.W.A. created 16 flights daily. Express shipments were handled by passenger and well as cargo planes. In 1947, Express handled three million shipments with a total weight of more than 55 million pounds. Railway Express boomed during the post World War II era after adding refrigerator service. But in the early 60s, the business saw a decline. By the late 60s, then named REA Express, filed for bankruptcy.

    1950 – 67 YEARS AGO

    The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “If you had the chance to talk with President Truman for five minutes, what would you say to him?” Al Roat, of Pittston, answered, “After I got my wits, I’d probably tell him that he better do something for the unemployed people of the country. That’s an important matter.” Dolores Riccetti, of Pittston Twp., added, “I would ask him if he thought there would ever be peace in the world.” Mrs. Lee Stanton, of Pittston, stated, “I might ask him if ever there will be a permanent place in the service for women. Having served in the WAVES during World War II, I am interested in the woman’s position in the armed forces.” Edgar N. Stark, of West Pittston, said, “I’d tell him that I thought the best way to preserve the peace would be to prepare for war. Keep the nation strong by strengthening the armed forces.”

    Names in the news:

    Betty Jean Dale and LaVerne Sledgeski were featured soloists at the second annual concert of the Pittston Lions Club Choral Society.

    Florence Ripple was crowned May Queen at the coronation service at St. Anthony’s Church in Exeter.

    Charles Malinowski, Michael Hudock, Joseph Justick and Andrew Gemski of Dupont joined an estimated 40,000 boys from all over the country at a Boy Scout Jamboree held in Valley Forge. The boys set up tents on the grounds where George Washington and his army camped in the bitter winter of 1777 during the American Revolution.

    “Through the generosity of members of the Kehoe family of Pittston,” Kehoe Hall was being constructed at the Manlius Military Academy in Manilus New York, the Alma mater of John C. Kehoe Jr., president and general manager of the Kehoe-Berge Coal Co. The hall was named in memory of Sarah M. Kehoe, mother of four Manlius cadets.

    1976 – 41 YEARS GO

    The Spirit of ‘76 Parade in West Pittston was described as the “Largest Parade in Recent Years.” Lasting two hours, the parade was held in conjunction with the nation’s bicentennial celebration and attracted hundreds of spectators from Greater Pittston and beyond. One of the highlights of the day included the dedication of the Greater Pittston Ambulance Association Building. Judges for the many awards given were Edward Venzel, Frank Edwards and James Bone.

    Answer:

    In 1947, C. K., of Pittston, in a letter to the Sunday Dispatch, voiced anger over the influx of oil burners being used over anthracite for fuel and blamed housewives in their demand for modern appliances such as oil, gas and electric ranges decreased the need for anthracite, stating they should return to using coal ranges and save their husbands’ jobs. The writer also detailed how women in bygone years would carry yokes with buckets hanging on either end to fill at a well in West Pittston and return home, repeating the effort several times a day but that the present trend was to spend money on “rouge and decorating fingers.” In fairness, the writer went on to state, “We would not like our women to go back to the drudgery their mothers went through, but think that if they were more frugal, they would have better bank accounts, be happier, more contented and divorces would be few and far between.”

    This date in history:

    1863 – Union General Ulysses Grant continues his push towards Vicksburg at the Battle of the Big Black River Bridge.

    1875 – The first Kentucky Derby is run in Louisville.

    1940 – Germany occupies Brussels, Belgium and begins the invasion of France.

    1954 – The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rules for school integration in Brown v. Board of Education.

    1973 – The Senate Watergate Committee begins its hearings.

    1987 – In the Persian Gulf, the American guided missile frigate USS Stark is struck by two Exocet missiles fired by an Iraqi aircraft; only one detonates, but 37 sailors are killed and 21 are wounded. Whether the launch was deliberate or a mistake is still debated.

    “There is nothing new in the world except the history you do not know.” – Harry S. Truman

    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_thumb1_Miss-Judy-toned-2.jpg

    In this 1948 photo Dupont residents pay tribute to a returning soldier who died in World War II. It is the funeral cortege of Private Frank Ledgezdh Jr., who died in the Battle of the Bulge. The entire student bodies of Wilson and Lincoln schools were dismissed from classes to line the path of the cortege on Curtain Street and gave silent tribute to the passing hero. Dupont merchants closed their stores for an hour while the funeral passed. American flags were displayed throughout the town. Dupont was listed as one of the most patriotic towns in Pennsylvania during World War II because of so many of its boys were serving in the armed forces.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_1948-DUPONT-HONORS-RETURNING-FALLEN-SOLDIER-TONED.jpgIn this 1948 photo Dupont residents pay tribute to a returning soldier who died in World War II. It is the funeral cortege of Private Frank Ledgezdh Jr., who died in the Battle of the Bulge. The entire student bodies of Wilson and Lincoln schools were dismissed from classes to line the path of the cortege on Curtain Street and gave silent tribute to the passing hero. Dupont merchants closed their stores for an hour while the funeral passed. American flags were displayed throughout the town. Dupont was listed as one of the most patriotic towns in Pennsylvania during World War II because of so many of its boys were serving in the armed forces. Sunday Dispatch file photo

    In 1976, the Wyoming Area Girls Softball team won the District 2 Title in the state tournament at Shippensburg State College. From left, first row, Debbie Gross, Karen Kitchelenski, Becky Edmunds. Second row, Denise Marianacci, Rosemary Bone, Gina Granteed, Karen Rome, Lisa Donlavage, Nancy McGowan. Third row, Tammy Ide, Nadine Greco, Sandy Selenski, Susan Newman, Annie Galli, Cathy Pope.
    http://psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/web1_WA-DIST-2-TITLE-1976-toned.jpgIn 1976, the Wyoming Area Girls Softball team won the District 2 Title in the state tournament at Shippensburg State College. From left, first row, Debbie Gross, Karen Kitchelenski, Becky Edmunds. Second row, Denise Marianacci, Rosemary Bone, Gina Granteed, Karen Rome, Lisa Donlavage, Nancy McGowan. Third row, Tammy Ide, Nadine Greco, Sandy Selenski, Susan Newman, Annie Galli, Cathy Pope. Sunday Dispatch file photo

    Peeking into the Past

    By Judy Minsavage

    Reach Judy Minsavage on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

    Reach Judy Minsavage on Twitter @JudithMinsavage

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