1947 – 70 YEARS AGO
In his weekly article, , John C. Kehoe, publisher of the Sunday Dispatch, remembered the days of the Matinee Dance which was held at the Keystone Hall on South Main Street in Pittston. “Many old time residents of Pittston will recall with the same fond memory as myself the happy times we had on Christmas afternoon at the matinee dance. The dance was held on Thanksgiving and New Year’s, as well as on Christmas. It would start at 2:30 in the afternoon and would be halted at supper time so we could go home for supper. Then the dance would resume in the evening, but at 11:30 it was time to go home. I recall that mothers of girls as old at 18 and 20 would come to the hall for their daughters around 10 o’clock and take the girls home as they felt that was late enough for the girls to be out. In my opinion people were better off before the present fast era of cocktail lounges and short skirts, cigarettes and late hours.”
The memory of basketball being a popular sport in Pittston was the focus of the weekly Press Box column published in the Sunday Dispatch. “The earliest recollection of basketball hereabouts was when the game was played in a roped cage at the State Armory in South Pittston every Friday night. It was really football in an enclosure. There were no outs, with the ball being tossed back in a gentlemanly manner to a teammate to put it in play. At the outset of the game, after the ten starting players had entered the cage with the poor referee, some attendant laced a rope along the fourth corner of the cage and there the players fought it out like Daniel in the Lions Den.” Basketball players were routinely referred to as cagers and the game as a cage event. The main reason for the cages was to keep fans from interfering with the play, as most events were played in small areas such as dance floors in social halls. Dr. James Naismith invented the game in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts at Springfield College.
1949 – 68 YEARS AGO
The following people were listed in the Sunday Dispatch as celebrating a birthday on Christmas Day: Judy Bonomo, Yatesville; Joseph Castellino, Exeter; Nestor Kusnierz, Dupont; Patricia Petrolonis, Pittston; Ann Marie Hoban, Dupont; Mary Noel DeGregorio, Pittston; Rita Holleran O’Brien, Pittston; Thomas Jorda, Exeter; Robert Brown, Hughestown; Dorothy Kurtinaitis, Pittston; Dorothy Roche, Pittston; Billy Golla, Dupont; Thomas Judge, Pittston and Mrs. Thomas McHale, Hughestown.
1953 – 64 YEARS AGO
The status of local servicemen was listed in the Sunday Dispatch. Pfc. Thomas R. Edwards, U.S. Army, spent a seven-day rest and recuperation leave in Kokura Japan. Carl Warnagiris, torpedo man’s mate seaman, U.S. Navy, served aboard the destroyer USS Cotton in the water off the Korean coast. Airman Second Class Michael P. Wagner was stationed at Spangdahlen Air Force Base in Germany. Martin J. Roche, a machinists mate third class U.S. Navy, was serving aboard the heavy cruiser USS Los Angeles in the Far East. Pvt. Eugene Marriggi celebrated his 21st birthday while serving in Pusan, Korea. After spending 30 months in Japan, Airman Paul G. McGarry, USAF was expected to arrive back in the United States.
1959 – 58 YEARS AGO
Members of Greater Pittston Local International Ladies Garment Workers Union packed thousands of pounds of candy at the American Theatre in Pittston. The union rented the theatre and treated hundreds of children to a show, an appearance by Santa Claus and the candy. Some of the members who assisted in the event were Helen Karpavich, Agnes Secula, Katie Tirone, Mary Consenza, Jean Martin, Mary Kosisky, Helen DePhillip, Anna Silviano, Susan Ziske, Margaret Dobish, Catherine Newhart, Ann Moscatel, Lillian Migal Eleanor Bedisky, Marie Mattey, Sarah Cassiso, Catherine Schooley, Reva Pahlers, Mary Pugh, Claire Hogarth, Rose DeRosa, Ann Grippe, Jennie Bialascz, Carmella Salatino, Millie and Ida Millazzo and ILG business agent Clem Lyons.
Ernie’s Men’s Shop advertised, “Every man can use an extra Adam Hat for $6.95 and $8.95.” Sheporaitis Bottling Company, North Main Street, Pittston offered Shep’s Sparkling Sodas in 12 delicious flavors and mixers for the holiday parties. For $1.50, Miner’s Savings Bank supplied youngsters with the “Guided Missile Bank” during the holidays.
1964 – 53 YEARS AGO
Pittston High School students collected 750 pounds of clothing from three city schools to be donated to the Save the Children Fund. Those who headed the fund drive were James A. Gilmartin, advisor to student council; Diane Tamburro, co-chairman of drive; C. William McNulty, principal; Mark Luke, drive chairman; Nello Riccetti, acting superintendent; and Donald Toole, co-chairman. In 1919, Eglantyne Jebb founded the Save the Children Fund in England to aid children in war-ravaged central Europe. In 1932, programs to provide clothing, school supplies and hot lunches to school children first began in Harlan County, Kentucky. By 1933, fund drives spread to other states such as Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina and Tennessee.
1969 – 48 YEARS AGO
A meeting between police department representatives Samuel Bussaco, Daniel LaFratte, Andrew Dructor, Fred Galasso and city officials Mayor Loftus, Anthony Ferrara, Patrick Collins and Robert Walsh produced a new salary agreement for the police. Patrolmen would get a boost in yearly salary to $6,400 in 1970 and $7,200 in 1971. Sergeants would be paid $6,500 in 1970 and $7,300 in 1971. The benefits package included vacations, sick leave, paid holidays, uniform allowance and city-paid health care. City and fire officials agreed to basically the same package but a $3,000 life insurance policy was included for the police.
1989 – 28 YEARS AGO
With the razing of the West Pittston High School underway, the Luzerne Avenue PTO hoped to raise money for a playground at the new school site by offering bricks from the old school as a memento. Each brick would have a plaque bearing the years the school was in existence.
When asked at what location he landed a 48” 29.5 pound Muskie, Ray Cichocki, of Dupont, exhibited a reluctance to disclose his favorite fishing spot but offered this hint, “All the state parks were stocked with Muskie about ten years ago.” Slightly missing the world’s record in 1989, Cichocki had previously held the record for Muskie two years prior, but lost it to a 31-pound catch. In 2009, a fisherman claimed to have caught and released a 65-pound Muskie at Gananoque, Ontario, Canada.
This day in history
1814 — A treaty of peace between the United States and Great Britain, ending the War of 1812, is signed at Ghent, Belgium. The news does not reach the United States until two weeks later (after the decisive American victory at New Orleans).
1963 — New York’s Idlewild Airport is renamed JFK Airport in honor of President Kennedy.
1964 — The U.S. headquarters in Saigon is hit by a bomb killing two officers.
1966 — A Soviet research vehicle soft lands on the moon.
1967 — The Greek Junta frees ex-Premier Papandreou.
1968 — The first pictures of an Earth-rise over the moon are seen as the crew of Apollo 8 orbits the moon.
Born on this day
1809 — Christopher Kit Carson, one of the most famous mountain men and scouts in the West.
1905 — Howard Hughes, American industrialist, aviator, film producer, and director.
1922 — Ava Gardner, film actress (“The Barefoot Contessa,” “The Sun Also Rises”).
1923 — US Army Major General George S. Patton IV, son of Gen. George Patton of World War II fame.
1929 — Mary Higgins Clark, author of suspense novels (“Where are the Children,” “Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting”).
1955 — Scott Fischer, mountain climber and guide; the first American to reach the summit of Lhotse, the world’s fourth-highest mountain.
1971 — Ricky Martin, Puerto Rican pop musician, actor, author; was a member of the boy group Menudo before launching a successful solo career (“Livin’ la Vida Loca”).
1973 — Stephanie Meyer, author best known for her young-adult, vampire romance series “Twilight.”
1974 — Ryan Seacrest, radio personality, TV host; host of “American Idol” TV talent competition.
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