My Corner, Your Corner: Agnes, summer solstice and other anniversaries

My Corner, Your Corner - Tony Callaio | June 24th, 2016 2:40 pm

It’s a great time of year – summer is officially upon us!

The hot weather is here, the Wimbledon Championships start Monday and Fourth of July is right around the corner. Life can’t get any better.

There is one problem — the days are now getting shorter due to the summer solstice on June 20.

I think we need to move the calendar a bit and make the start of summer in July, not June. Now who do I talk to about making those changes?

I don’t like the idea knowing the first day of summer is the last day we have the most sunlight. It’s kind of not fair.

Also, I get depressed on Dec. 21, the winter solstice, knowing it’s the shortest day of the year. The only thing that breaks that depression is knowing Christmas is a few days away. I vote we make Jan. 21 the shortest day of the year. Who’s with me?

I think the chances of having the calendar altered is about the same odds I can convince our local legislators to sponsor a bill to have all manhole covers placed at the same height of road.

Don’t get me started on the manholes in these parts. With a lot of road-paving going on these days, it would be nice to see the manholes adjusted to be even with the road surface. It’s my pet peeve. The depth of some of these manholes is worse than potholes.

I digress.

Summer projects, barbecues, swimming pools and gardening are the call of the day and I, for one, am glad to see it.

Agnes anniversary

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 44th anniversary of the Agnes flood, which was June 22. It may seem so long ago, but for most of my fellow West Pittstonians, the memory was still fresh when Tropical Storm Lee hit in 2011.

Many residents live in the same houses that were ravaged in 1972 and again five years ago. So much for the theory of the 100-year flood of Agnes. We were told we’d never have another flood the magnitude of Agnes, and boy, were they wrong.

The Susquehanna River was rising at an incredible pace on June 22, 1972 and hordes of people lined up on Susquehanna Avenue to see what was happening.

I can recall people placing a stick or twig along the water’s edge to see how much the river had risen. Those markers were constantly being pushed further back with each passing hour.

There was a basketball marathon being held at then-Wyoming Area High School on Montgomery Avenue. I told my parents I was going to be there for the night so they knew where I was. I was 14 years old, but it was a different day and age then.

While at the gym, someone came in and said excitedly, “You should see the river!” Before you knew it, the gym was pretty much cleared, with the exception of the participating teams, as everyone headed to the river.

I paced up and down Susquehanna Avenue and residents there were getting worried. I walked past Frank Schevets’ house on the corner of North Street and Susquehanna Avenue. Mr. Schevets asked me if I could help him move his porch furniture into the house, and I obliged. Little did Mr. Schevets know, within 24 hours, his entire basement and first floor would be flooded.

What West Pittstonians experienced five years ago was like a repeat of 1972 – but that time it was much worse.

The borough of West Pittston still suffers today with demolished houses and lost tax revenue. It seems a bit weird to see so many homes down and, from what I understand, there are still more to come.

Where cozy homes filled with happiness once stood are now pockets of emptiness that only remind us of how nasty the Susquehanna River can be.

On a personal note

June 21 marked my parents’ anniversary. With the loss of my mom on April 2, I can’t help but think 20 years after my dad passed, they are finally celebrating their wedding day together again. Happy 64th, Mom and Dad – wherever you are.

Quote of the week

“Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won’t think you’re going gaga.” – David Ogilvy, advertising executive.

Thought of the week

“The hardest job kids face today is learning good manners without seeing any.” – Fred Astaire, American actor, dancer, musician, choreographer.

Bumper sticker

“Chance makes our parents, but choice makes our friends.” – Jacques Delille, French poet.

My Corner, Your Corner

Tony Callaio

Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at