Peeking Into the Past

June 27th, 2015 1:47 am

First Posted: 4/15/2013


What did Wyoming lads Thomas Nagle, Harry Sickler, Paul Argenio, Gar Smiles, Arthur Adrian Jr., Joseph Nobile, Donald Kennedy, George Weaver, Pat Malarkey, Victor Pachione, Joseph Furner and Sam DeLarte have in common in April 1953?

1953 - 60 Years Ago

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “Would you say that today’s housewives are spoiled by the modern appliances and conveniences now in use such as automatic washing machines, stoves, irons, dishwashers, etc?” Most of the men played it safe on this one, John Zurek, of Dupont, answered, “They’re not spoiled, it makes their work easier.” Alfred Gubitose, of Pittston, stated, “No, because the women of today are not used to working as hard as women of yesteryear. Because of these machines, they can be free to do other housework.” Ralph DelMonte, of Pittston, added, “It doesn’t have anything to do with spoiling, I think it helps them keep up with modern living.” Charles Raymond, of Pittston, answered, “Yes they’re spoiled, Things are so easy they don’t have to keep their minds on things when they’re doing a job. They don’t know what it is to do hard work today.”

Celebrating its second anniversary, the Pittston Chapter of Women of Moose was one of the most active clubs in the area, sponsoring scholarships to needy students and holding charity events. Founded by Edith Keim, of West Pittston, along with Ida Fetch, Sophie Forlenza, Leona Miller and Mary Bender, the club was a staunch supporter of the Moose Heart home where “fatherless children and their mothers could stay and Moose Haven a home for the aged.”

1963 - 50 Years Ago

Rev. Herbert Smart, minister of the Water Street Baptist Church in Pittston, announced that church members had an important decision to make. Members were instructed that a vote would be taken as to whether the church should relinquish the building and land on Water Street to the Pittston Urban Redevelopment Authority to enable the expansion of its program. Although located in the heart of the planned project, the church was not included in the city’s original redevelopment plans. Officials concluded the program could be carried out without the property. Obviously, the decision was to keep the church, as the First Baptist Church on Water Street remains today. To read the history of this Pittston landmark, log onto

Plans for a June dedication ceremony for the new St. Anthony’s Church in Exeter were announced. The original church, built in 1922, was scheduled to be used for recreation, organizational and youth programs. After placing the names of donors for the new altar in a special box, Rev. Lawrence Pio, D.D., Litt. D., pastor, assisted by the Very Rev. Andrew Porro, Provincial of the Oblates of St. Joseph, held a deposition ceremony and set the box containing the names into the main altar.

Pittston City Police Chief Joseph Delaney recognized the modus operandi when investigating a robbery of the offertory box at St. John the Evangelist Church. Delaney noticed a discarded candle stand positioned much in the same way as in a robbery that took place at St. Rocco’s Church two years earlier. Upon viewing the scene, Delaney told investigating officer Merle Finan, “I know who did it.” The suspect in question confessed to the burglary after a brief interview, stating he had lost money playing pinball machines. The thief was committed to prison without bail.

1973 - 40 Years Ago

The Wilson School on Cork Lane, which for years housed Pittston Township High School and prior to that an elementary school, was scheduled to be razed. Supervisors Walter Shandra, Jack Reardon and Sam Iorfida planned to build a new municipal building, the first in the history of the township, on the large corner lot. The school closed in June 1972.

Brothers Stephen and Bill Lukasik, of Dupont, operated a photographic studio for many years. Both men covered all types of local events which documented the rich history of Greater Pittston. Some photographs were published by the Associated Press and United Press Wire Service, appearing in newspapers throughout the United States. In 1973, Stephen was the recipient of two Professional Photographer’s Society ribbon awards for a wedding photo of Mrs. James Blandina, the former Gloria Adonizio, of Wyoming, and of his niece, Debra Ann Lukasik, of Dupont. In previous years, Lukasic won awards for his portraiture, photographic oil coloring and natural color correction .


Paul Argenio of Wyoming, in an April 1953 article for the Sunday Dispatch, documented the day that he and nine other young men left the Wyoming Valley on a day in 1943 and traveled by rail to New Cumberland for basic training. “Most of the group was sent to Miami Beach as they had been involuntarily made ‘Air Force men,’ boys of the wild blue yonder.” Argenio related stories about Pat Malarkey being best dressed on the beach, Gar Smiles loved to eat oranges, Joe Nobile missed home and Sam DeLarte lost 40 pounds. “Most of our experiences were not fun, all returned except Arty Adrian, “one of the most likable of the group,” who lost his life in the Pacific on a B-25 mission.

“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.” - Muhammad Ali