Peeking into the Past: Sponsorship requests of displaced persons rose after WWII

Peeking into - the Past - Judy Minsavage

1948 – 70 YEARS AGO

The body of Pvt. Joseph R. Rostock, killed in action during the 1944 battle for St. Lo in the region of Normandy in France, arrived at the D.L. & W. Railroad station in West Pittston. Also known as the Battle of the Hedgerows, the offensive was important for Allied forces to win as St. Lo served as a defensive stronghold and supply chain for the German Army. The battle, which began on July 3, ended on July 20, 1944. The victory by Allied forces led to the ultimate expulsion of the Germans from Northern France.

1949 – 69 YEARS AGO

With a $12.95 delivery charge, Levin’s Furniture advertised the Speed Queen wringer washer with a big double-wall bowl-shaped tub.

The Esquire Shop on North Main Street in Pittston offered the first “Really new suit style in years.” The four-patch pocket Modester suit had two breast pockets and two waist pockets in five “rich, solid colors.”

Mark Twain’s “A Connecticut Yankee” starring Rhonda Fleming and Bing Crosby premiered at the American Theater.

Edward Maziarz, a representative of the Pittston Area Office of the American Committee for Resettlement of Displaced Persons, reported a rise in requests regarding applications to sponsor displaced persons from European countries. Persons had, in prior years, been admitted to the U.S. by an act of Congress, and filled a normal yearly quota. During the war years, the quotas fell short. The act required those who sponsored displaced persons had to provide transportation for the person from Chicago or New York and give proof that, as sponsors, they would not allow the person to become a ward of the state.

1960 – 58 YEARS AGO

Mr. and Mrs. Art Prandy and family, of Pittston, were visiting Mrs. Prandy’s parents in Dagenham Essex, England. While there, the Prandys were witness to the royal wedding celebration of Princess Margaret and photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones. The Prandys joined the line of spectators that watched as the bride was driven by carriage to Westminster Abbey for the ceremony. The couple eventually made their way through the crowds to Buckingham Palace where thousands of onlookers got a glimpse of the royals as they made their appearance on the balcony. The royal couple separated in 1976 and divorced two years later. Princess Margaret passed away in 2002; Armstrong-Jones passed away in January 2017.

1962 – 56 YEARS AGO

Earl Bechtold, Eddie Strubeck and Sam Abate were disappointed. They had traveled to Olean, New York to see Erie Sailors pitcher Wes Mugford and outfielder Bernie Richards perform, but upon arriving at the ballpark, they read a sign posted “Rain, No Game Today.” Relief pitcher Mugford and leadoff batter Richards were local baseball stars who went on to join the Sailors in the New York- Pennsylvania League. According to the Erie Sailors website, the Sailors team affiliation in 1962 was with the Minnesota Twins. Formed in 1891, the team switched leagues many times throughout its history. Based in Erie, the Sailors left after 1993 when their ballpark, Ainsworth Field fell into disrepair. They settled in Fishkill, New York as the Hudson Valley Renegades.

1964 – 54 YEARS AGO

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked, “What do you think is the best way to pay tribute to mother on Mother’s Day?” Danny Polerecki, of Pittston, answered, “We should take her out to dinner, buy her a nice gift, but above all we should never let her forget that she is our mother.” Charles “Pop” Montione added, “One thing we should do to honor mother on Mother’s Day is to say a good prayer for her and hope that she lives to be a hundred years old.” Andrew Hydock, presser at Cyclone Cleaners in Pittston, stated, “In my case, my mother passed away, but every Mother’s Day I remember my wife and daughter. We make sure we get her mother a gift.”

Allan Dobbie, of the First National Bank of Pittston, and Vincent T. O’Hara, of the Greater Pittston Chamber of Commerce, joined a group seeking the Agricultural Retailers Association’s approval to study the feasibility of growing sugar beets on local farms. Tests hoped to prove that sugar beets could be grown in Northeastern Pennsylvania and would become a profitable item for local farmers. Cultivating sugar beets was first attempted in Pennsylvania by the “Beet Sugar Society of Philadelphia” founded in 1836. The society promoted home-produced beet sugar as an alternative to the slave-produced cane sugar, but the product had a bad taste. Currently, sugar beets are grown on more than 1 million acres in Minnesota, Michigan, North Dakota, Montana, Nebraska, Wyoming, Colorado, Idaho, Washington and California, but not in Pennsylvania.

1972 – 46 YEARS AGO

Three Pittstonians were on hand at ceremonies launching the nuclear aircraft carrier Nimitz at Newport News, Virginia. Along with Congressman Dan Flood were the Chief Clerk of the House of Representatives Defense Appropriations Committee John Garrity, of Port Griffith, his wife, the former Mary Marek, of Dupont, and Michael Clark, who was the legislative assistant to Congressman Flood. The group met with Navy Secretary John Warner and Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the atomic-powered submarine the Nautilus. According to its website, “The Nimitz measures more than 18 stories high from keel to masthead and has a total length of 1,092 feet. Carrying a full complement of 5,800 officers and crew and 85 combat aircraft, its enormous 4.5-acre flight deck serves as the launching pad for the supersonic jets of Carrier Air Wing 11.” General Chester W. Nimitz became one of the first submarine commanders; he built the submarine base at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. During the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, he assumed command of the Pacific Fleet. When it came to fighting the war, Nimitz said, “It is the function of the Navy to carry the war to the enemy so that it is not fought on U.S. soil.”

1991 – 27 YEARS AGO

The Sunday Dispatch Inquiring Photographer asked area children, “What do you like best about your mom?” Jennifer Kotnarowski, of Pittston, answered, “The nice things she teaches me.” Stephanie Wolak, of Dupont, added, “Spending time with me playing games and reading.” Eric Moran, of Pittston, stated, “My mom takes me to the park to play and is a real good cook.” John Kulick, of Hughestown, answered, “My mom laughs all the time and gives me lots of hugs.”

This day in history

1607 — English colonists land near the James River in Virginia.

1648 — Margaret Jones of Plymouth is found guilty of witchcraft and is sentenced to be hanged.

1861 — Britain declares its neutrality in the American Civil War.

1864 — The Battle of Resaca commences as Union General William T. Sherman fights towards Atlanta.

1968 — Peace talks between the United States and North Vietnam begin in Paris.

1981 — Pope John Paul II survives an assassination attempt. Battle of Resaca commences as Union General William T. Sherman fights towards Atlanta.

Born on this day

1842 — Sir Arthur Sullivan, composer, collaborator with W.S. Gilbert

1907 — Daphne du Maurier, author (“Rebecca”)

1912 — Gil Evans, jazz pianist and composer

1914 — Joe Louis, world heavyweight boxing champion from 1937 to 1949

Peeking into

the Past

Judy Minsavage

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at

Reach the Sunday Dispatch newsroom at 570-655-1418 or by email at