Peeking into the past

June 27th, 2015 1:39 am

First Posted: 9/10/2013

Jack Chodnicki of Pittston chuckled as he said, “My name isn’t “Gordon.” He called to comment on the Aug. 25 Peeking article in which he was listed as “Gordon Chodnicki,” a pitcher for the 1971 St. John Evangelist Championship baseball team. After I apologized for the error, Jack said he doesn’t see any of his former teammates, but fondly remembers playing at the old Fourth Ward Park and the Pittston Little League field. Jack also served as an outfielder for the team.


In 1968, why were a number of Pittstonians sad even though they were, in what was considered, “beautiful” surroundings?

1948 – 65 YEARS AGO

Pittston School Board ordered insurance for all 43 members of the Pittston High School grid squad. The policy covered the players for $500 of medical expenses in the event of an injury, thus making sure parents would not have to bear the brunt of such a situation. The example was taken from the Pittston Lions Club which adopted the initiative for its annual Coal Bowl Game.

Interest in local boxing was revived as four local contenders prepared for a tournament at Johnny Attardo’s training center located on the third floor of Latorre’s Recreation Center. “Pinky” Sciandra, “Kid Koochie” Marranca, “Peachy Orange” and “Bobo” DeBonno were mentored by veterans Gene Buffalo and former prominent heavyweight Frankie Cawley of Pittston. Cawley fought under the alias of Young Cawley from 1928 to 1935. He’s listed on as boxing a total of 265 rounds winning 29 bouts with 14 KOs and losing 11. Buffalo whose real name was Eugene Coker hailed from Philadelphia.

1958 – 55 YEARS AGO

Gar Wood Products in Exeter produced its 1000th truck body. Housed in a 62,000 square foot building erected by Pittston Area Industrial Development, the new firm turned out 240 truck bodies for the U.S. government and looked forward to increasing sales due to proposed highway construction. Officers of the company were Ed Fisher, president; J.W. Considine, sales manager; and Harold Hippler, plant manager. According to Lehman Brothers website, Garfield Wood made a fortune by inventing the first hydraulic hoist for dump trucks before the 1920s. He founded the Wood Hydraulic Hoist & Body Company to manufacture and distribute his invention. He then expanded the business to include truck equipment, bodies for trucks and trailers, cranes, pole derricks, road machinery, oil burners, water heaters and fender guards. In December 1933, the company name was changed to Gar Wood Industries.

Five hundred people attended the jubilee dinner celebration of the Polish Falcons Nest 128 in Duryea. The event honored 50-year members Andrew Rosiewicz, Lad Wywiorski, Stanley Kijek and Joseph Kondratowicz. Falcons District 7 president William Maziarz presented pins to each of the men.

Joe Stella the Dairy King promised not to ring the bell of his ice cream truck at night since the children were back to school. Stella, who also catered parties, advertised milk shakes for 25 cents, banana splits for 35 cents and quarts of ice cream for .25 cents.

1968 – 45 YEARS AGO

After five years of raising funds and providing support to the Greater Pittston Area High School teams, the Pittston Area Booster Club was notified that the school board would not approve the same programs carried out by the club in previous years. Booster officials said the board should take into consideration the club had raised more than $25,000 and supplied equipment by selling Patriot items, sponsoring dances and operating the concession stand. The board agreed the club could continue raising funds through the sale of membership cards.

Keystone Discount Health and Beauty Aid Center at 20 N. Main St. advertised its grand opening with specials such as Breck Shampoo for 33 cents, Jean Nate Friction Lotion for $1.33 a bottle, Summer Blonde Hair Color for $1.39 and a free 5 x 7 enlargement with every roll of black and white or Kodacolor film developed.

1978 – 35 YEARS AGO

The Avoca Softball League championship title was on the line and the Grove and Jolly Boys teams match up was expected to be a thriller to the end. In the finals, both teams won in come-from-behind efforts. The Jolly Boys however, were determined to break the five straight winning championship seasons the Grove team enjoyed. If anyone can tell me the outcome of the championship game, call me at 602-0168.


Players and over 12,000 fans were treated to the first game in Pittston Area High School’s new stadium. Fans were impressed with the comfortable surroundings and the overhead lights that dotted the parking area which some said created a “beautiful picture.” Cars were parked everywhere, some as far as a half mile away. Everyone had hoped the first game would end with a victory but, sadly, the Patriots went down to defeat, 40-0, in the Big 11 game against Blakely.

“If you want to forget all your other troubles, wear too tight shoes.”

The Houghton Line

November 1965