Jerry’s Journal: Mt. Adnah Scavenger Hunt

By Jerry Hogan Kasparek

Fast pitch revisited. 

Let’s rewind to two columns ago and Goldberg’s fast pitch softball team of 1955.

Carm Vescio Jr. called me and said he was batboy on another locally famous softball team, Vescio’s Construction, a company owned by his father, Carmen Vescio, Sr.

Carm Jr. was just a boy in the heyday of fast pitch, but he recalls that my late husband Mike Hogan played for Vescio’s All Stars and that “they traveled all over.”

He said the last name of Smokey, the pitcher I mention in that column, was Gabrowski and that Leo Love was another good pitcher they called in from the Syracuse area. (They were paid!)

He said he’s still amazed that “Booba” Tracy, one of Fulton’s most famous athletes, played ball with no glove on either hand! He also mentioned another great fast pitch player known as “Jughead” Milesky.

Don Smith called me as well. He was a close friend of Mike’s. He never played softball with him, however, but did play with Booba and he, too, marveled that Booba never wore a glove.

Don was introduced to fast pitch softball as a young man by “Bird” Smith, one of the older guys who invited him to join his team. “When’s Practice?” Don asked Bird.  “Practice?” Bird replied, “Just show up when it’s time to play.”

Don was a good ballplayer, too. He also has been a big fan of youth sports, is a very good writer on that subject, and I hope to interview him soon for a future column.

Let’s take a stroll through Mt. Adnah

There’s a ton of history on the headstones in our local cemeteries — names of veterans, of famous people who once were our elected officials, people who our streets are named after, names of firemen and policemen who served our citizens well — and names of dearly departed who always want to be remembered by what they put on their tombstones.

 If you read my last column you know that Mark Pollock was so impressed by what he saw and found while volunteering with some teenagers to place flags on the graves of veterans that he thought it was a good idea for teachers to take their students on a visit to our local cemeteries because of all the history they could find there.

Well, it turns out some teachers do just that!

Randy Dempsey, a fifth-grade teacher at Volney Elementary School for the past 11 years, called to say that it’s been a custom at his school for maybe 20 years or more, begun by teachers Jan Weldin, Kathy D’Ascoti and Alex Carter.

‘The Annual Fifth Grade Mt. Adnah Cemetery Visit’

This is the title of an assignment sheet that is passed out and instructs the kids, as they separate into groups, to try to find symbols on headstones and read the last name and dates as they appear on the stones and put them on a chart. “Happy Hunting,” they are also instructed.

Okay, Dear Readers, just in case you might want to do a little “hunting” yourself, here’s the list of symbols and what they stand for:

Arch — symbol of victory; Angel or Cherub — host that brings souls to heaven; Circle — eternity; Column (broken) — mortality; Cross — Christian symbol; Dog — fidelity; Dove with olive branch — soul had departed in the peace of God.

Flowers — condolence; Garland — victory in death; Hand pointing to Heaven — God’s hand; Hourglass — swiftness of time; Ivy — eternal life; Key — key to heaven;  Lamb — innocence; Lily — purity; Rainbow — reconciliation; Rose — condolence and shortness of life; Scroll — the paper of scriptures; Sickle — dying harvest; Sun — resurrection; Torches (upside down) — symbol of death; Tree trunk or limb — end of life cycle; Urn — dwelling place of the soul; Weeping Willow — earthly sorrow; Wheat — divine harvest; Skull — traditional symbol of death.

The students are asked to look for “A stone with the same last name as someone in your group, a stone with the same birthdate as someone in your group, a stone of someone who would be 100 years old if they were alive today, and a veteran’s stone, firefighter’s stone and a policeman’s stone.”

‘There is only one of each located in the cemetery.’

The children are also challenged to find the following:

1. The author of the Jameson Series. His name is Jones.

2. A stone that has trees, deer and a car on it.

3. A stone that has someone water skiing on it.

4. A stone with a coat of arms on it.

5. A stone with a fisherman and trap shooter on it.

6. A stone with a covered bridge on it.

7. A stone with a WWII plane on it.

8. A Deforest stone. What is the colorful picture on the bottom of this stone?

9. A stone that has a small Nestlé’s candy bar on the bottom of it.

10. A stone with a picture of a cottage street on it with both the American and British flags.

11. A stone that has a beer bottle on it and the words, “He liked his beer”.

12. A stone that has a Bingo card on it. (There’s more than one!)

I don’t have a list for St. Mary’s Cemetery, or Fairdale or Jacksonville, Dear Readers, or any of the other cemeteries in our area, but I bet there’s plenty of history you could find in any of them. Happy hunting!

Now here’s my caveat: 

Readers beware! I write for fun. I am not a historian, nor a reporter. I write from memory and from what others share. Sometimes I look things up; sometimes I mess things up.

I hope you have fun reading my stuff. Your comments, additions and corrections are always welcome.

You may contact me at 133 Tannery Lane, Fulton, phone 592-7580 or email Please put Jerry’s Journal in the subject line. Thanks!

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