Peeking into the past

June 27th, 2015 1:44 am

First Posted: 8/6/2013


“It’s causing headaches that won’t be matched for another hundred years,” was a statement made in 1957 about what local event?

1957 – 56 YEARS AGO

A Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rule allowed teachers from the same school district to coach at a Catholic School, enabling Pittston High School teacher Art O’Malley to be named grid coach at St. John the Evangelist High School. O’Malley succeeded Charles Kozischek, who entered the armed forces after directing the Johnnies to the championship of the Northeastern Catholic Conference in 1956. Defending their title would lead the Johnnies to be pitted against such teams as Scranton South Catholic, West Side Catholic and St. Michael’s. By Thanksgiving Day, O’Malley would be directing his Catholic school team against a group of boys he taught daily. According to its website, “The PIAA was formed in Pittsburgh on December 29, 1913, by a group of high school principals who wanted to eliminate abuses, establish uniform rules, and place interscholastic athletics in the overall context of secondary education.” To read more about the PIAA visit their web site at

1967 – 46 YEARS AGO

Two abandoned properties at Main and Lambert Streets were called a menace by health officials. Not only were the homes infested with bees and rodents, but garbage and carcasses of dead animals were evidenced by neighbors. The city fire marshal condemned the properties a year prior but no action had been taken.

Manger John Supczenski and Assistant Manager Arthur Pocceschi were proud of their Wyoming-West Wyoming Little League All Star Team. Residents of the two communities were excited about the fact that the team would travel to Allentown to compete in the state finals. Businesses in the two boroughs planned to buy team jackets and honor the boys with a dinner. Members of the championship team were Leo Tierney, Richard Ahlin, Jay Armitage, Michael Supczenski, John Supczenski, Gary Bozinko, Mark Thomas, Andrew Hergan, Donald McDermott, Jerome Drogalis, Andrew Supey, Frank Goryl, Jack Kroski and Bruce Saunders. The Nelson Furniture Company donated a bus equipped with “lounging furniture” driven by John Hafferty for the team’s long ride to Allentown. If anyone knows the outcome of the team in the finals of 1967, call me at 602-0168.

1977 – 36 YEARS AGO

The Wyoming Free Library held its 50th anniversary celebration attended by George Metcalfe, borough mayor; Mrs. James Hearn, Mrs. William Frisbie, Mrs. Lloyd Kinsey, librarian; Coray H. Miller, Mrs. William Carey, Mrs. John Klocko, Joseph Olesky, Sarah Francis, Mrs. Theodore Keen, Dorothy Hessler, Bernard Shocklass, Peter G. Podwicka and Dennis Galli. Mrs. William R. Ridgley received special thanks for her donation of a new flag pole installed on the library grounds in memory of her husband. To see a photo of the library in 1927 log on to

1997 – 16 YEARS AGO

Ean Robinson, of Avoca, competed at the Stengele Karate Championships in Allentown. He took two second-place titles for form and fighting, a third place for weapons and fourth place for breaking. A brown belt, Ean was set to appear before a reviewing board to test for the rank of red belt.


Residents of West Pittston were preparing for the borough’s centennial celebration planned for the fall of 1957. However, controversy arose with the naming of Miss Centennial Belle. It seems the young lady chosen to hold the title for the celebration was not a resident of West Pittston, but the other six contestants were. Voting by the Belle organizers produced the winner, but some residents wanted to inspect the voting results. None were supplied. Some residents then wanted to name a Miss West Pittston resident in retaliation, but that was discouraged due to confusion it might cause. Another controversy arose when it was discovered the grand marshal of the centennial parade was from across the river in Pittston. It was written in the Sunday Dispatch, “Maybe what West Pittston’s Centennial needs is an official chairman in charge of the aspirin bottle, but it should be someone who lives in the town.”


A few weeks ago we misidentified the first Miss Greater Pittston as Anita Drexinger. It was actually RITA Drexinger. We thank her niece Marie Levandoski for setting us straight. And we apoligize to Rita. Maria says her Aunt Rita “is still a lovely lady, now in her 80s and living in Florida. She spent most of her adult life in New York city and moved to Florida to retire. She is still very beautiful, smart, kind and compassionate.”