Category Archives: Hodgepodge

Roy Hodge, Columnist - Roy began his career at The Fulton Patriot in February of 1959 as a linotype operator.  During his long career, he performed every newspaper job — from paper delivery to editor and publisher. He has entertained readers with tales of his family’s antics and many interesting Fulton residents in his long-running “Hodgepodge” column. Roy retired from The Fulton Patriot in June of 2010.


RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Last Thursday morning I discovered that life must go on as usual, despite a torrential rain storm. Life as usual in my neighborhood on Thursday mornings means the weekly supply of trash is left at the side of the road to be picked up by the city’s DPW workers.

It was raining hard — I mean really hard — as I said, it was torrential. I realized quickly that things had to move on, it had to be business as usual, the business of picking up the week’s leftovers had to stay on schedule

As I watched from inside my dry house — the windows were covered with huge drops of rain — the two DPW guys along — side the truck moved along quickly, emptying the full bins of curbside recyclables into the truck.

As they threw our bin to the ground and headed for the next block, one worker got in the cab with the driver, the other one jumped up on the back of the truck, opened up a big umbrella, and they were on their way.

Now that’s what I call “being prepared.”

*  *  *  *  *

Once I got started last week looking through a list of columns I had written about food (and the art of eating it), I couldn’t stop.

On October 9, 1979, I had written about one of my Patriot building neighbors, Al Scheuerman, and his recipe for making sauerkraut.  Yes, sauerkraut.

“I hesitate to call it a conspiracy, but through the combined efforts of my good wife and Al Scheuerman I found myself bent over Al’s antique ‘kraut cutter’ last Saturday painstakingly mangling eight heads of cabbage.

“It all started last summer when innocently enough I learned of Al’s expertise for many years as a ‘kraut maker.’ Knowing that the cabbage harvest was still months away, I vaguely remember saying that I’d like to give it a try sometime. In a moment of mental fatigue I must have passed all this on to my wife, which brings us up to the Farmer’s Market last Saturday morning.

“It was there that a chance meeting between Al and my wife resulted in twenty pounds of cabbage on our kitchen table and a quick course in sauerkraut making for me in Al’s kitchen, the only caution being to watch my fingers if I enjoyed a meatless variety of sauerkraut.

“The next thing I knew I was alone with the cabbage and Al’s guillotine with Joel Mareinnis play-by-playing Syracuse’s football game in the background.  My cabbage cutting routine kept up with Joel’s commentary and I recalled Al’s advice just in time as Joel screeched out the first S.U. touchdown.

“I ran out of cabbage and Joel ran out of plays simultaneously, and none too soon. His voice and my right arm were both wavering.  But it all worked out well.

“Some unknowing farmer got rid of all of his cabbage; Al’s kraut maker got a workout; Syracuse and Joel won their football game; and there’s twenty pounds of sauerkraut and a funny smell in my basement. I wonder if Joel Mareinnis likes sauerkraut.”

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page. 


RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

When I was looking through the list of columns that I have written since 1979, I discovered that a lot of them were about (guess what?) — food. Is it surprising that I have often written about food and eating?

I have written columns about Crackerjacks, sauerkraut making, soft drinks, and Toll House cookies:

“I have been thinking a lot about the famous Toll House Cookie this week. It all started Saturday when I found a little recipe booklet in an antique shop. The booklet, ‘Delicious Recipes Including Toll House Cookies,’ said the cookies were made with Nestle’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate, and features a photo of the yellow-wrapped bar with Peter Cailler Kohler Swiss Chocolate Co., Inc., Fulton, N.Y. clearly printed on the wrapper.”

I have also written about potato chips, Grandma Brown’s beans, ice cream, Girl Scout cookies, and several times about Peeps. There have been articles about French onion soup, breakfast cereals, Mrs. Pringle’s Christmas Cookies, and, of course, pizza:

“Can you believe that when I was a young child pizza wasn’t a staple in the average home. I can’t believe it either, but it’s true. It must have been the late forties or early fifties when pizza showed up in my life. It was sometime around then that my father discovered “Frank’s Pizza Shop” and pizza became a once a week menu item at our house.

“I don’t know why, but pizza was the only food that my father would even think about eating if it came smeared with an abundance of tomato sauce. And, he really seemed to like pizza.”

There have been columns about my mother’s and grandmother’s cooking, about fruitcakes, the New Orleans Cooking School, chili contests, and about my favorite neighborhood restaurant Enrico’s:

“I have probably had over 300 meals at Enrico’s Restaurant over the years. Enrico’s is located in the neighborhood where I grew up in Syracuse. When I went to grade school at McKinley, I passed Enrico’s four times every day.

“When I was fifteen I went to Enrico’s with my friends; my wife and I dated there; we celebrated birthdays and anniversaries there; we took our kids and friends there through the years.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

When I was a kid

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I found myself in a somewhat familiar situation this week. When lacking a column topic I began to do some reminiscing.

When I was a kid:

The next door neighbor kid used to entertain himself by dropping bricks or heavy rocks on the tops of my favorite metal trucks on the other side of the fence between our properties.

I lost many of my “treasures” by dropping them down the space (a few inches) between the stairs to our attic and the wall. I bet they are still there.

I often kept grasshoppers in a mayonnaise jar with grass in the bottom and holes punched in the top.

We spent most of our weekly allowance of 35 cents on popsicles at Steve’s corner grocery store.

My brother, sister and I rushed down the stairs on winter mornings to be able to sit over the warm air register in the living room floor.

We used to wait by the front of our driveway when it was time for our father to come home from work so we could ride to the other end on the running boards on the family’s 1936 Chevrolet.

When we got our first television set I thought it was very entertaining to see Uncle Miltie dress as a woman.

I also liked Howdy Doody, Buffalo Bob and Clarabelle the Clown, as well as Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

I don’t know if I would have eaten as many Cheerios as I did if I hadn’t needed the box tops to send for neat Lone Ranger stuff.

My brother and I spent the trips home from our aunt and uncle’s home in Oneida by making a makeshift tent in the car’s back seat. We did that by attaching one end of a blanket to the rope hangers on the back of the front seats, and tucking the other end into the back of the back seat.

Then, in our improvised, and more than slightly uncomfortable tent, we jockeyed for space, jabbed, poked, and finally settled down for the long ride home, when our father carried us into the house and our beds.

Mr. Birnbaum was my favorite teacher when I was in high school. One of the reasons for that was that he saved me and my friends from many hours of detention by picking us up on the way to school and getting us there on time.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Young pals

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Catching up with the little guys:

Marcus, my youngest grandson, lives in Rochester. He is going to be three next month. He keeps his Mommy and Daddy — who also happen to be my daughter-in-law, Shelley, and my son, Adam — very busy.

Marcus goes to “school” every week day (we call it day care) and has a good time. I met Marcus when he was one, after he had been in America only a few days after the trip from his native Ethiopia.

Marcus has fun with his doggie friends Dunkin’ and Sophie and enjoys going camping with his Mommy and Daddy. The latest video we have seen of Marcus show him having a great time on a twisty-turny slide at a playground.

My little great-grandson, Colton Manning, will be two in July. He has been living in Centreville, Virginia, near Washington, D. C.  He will be moving on Memorial Day weekend with his parents, Courtney, my granddaughter, and Chris Manning, to Wake Forest, N.C.

Colton recently sang, loud and clear, “Happy Birthday” to his Mommy. A few days later, on Mother’s Day, he was decked out in his Santa Claus pajamas wishing Mommy a “Happy Momma’s Day.”

My two neighborhood buds have also been keeping busy this spring. Andrew is going to be five later this month and will go to kindergarten in September.

When he told me that he was going to be five, I asked two-year-old Nathan how old he was.  “Sixteen,” he answered.

“Wow, you’re sixteen?” I said.

“He’s counting up to twenty now,” his father said.

Sixteen is apparently one of his favorite numbers. Okay, sixteen it is.

Nathan is following a familiar path around our back yard very close to the one Andrew trod a couple of years ago. He follows the brick paths through the garden, pats Joe the Gnome (Andrew named him), checks out everything in the garden and the old fireplace which is part of the garden, and completes the tour with a rinsing of hands and face and a hearty splashing in the garden’s bird baths.

It should be an interesting summer.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Fulton 112 years ago

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

It seemed like it was going to be a normal day for me on Monday.

I had my cereal dish and my juice glass out of the cupboard.  Then I proceeded to pour my Cheerios into my juice glass. I was ready to cover them with milk when I realized something wasn’t right.

I went back to bed.

*  *  *  *  *

Fulton was a bustling place with several busy retail businesses in 1901.

Take a look:

Ladies’ suits, silk coats and a lot of handsome new wallpaper (yes, wallpaper) at McNamara Bros., 17 W. First Street, Fulton.

“Gentleman’s Spring Bonnets” at Harry A. Allen, “The Model Clothier.”

Household furniture was available at F.E. Bache, 38 First Street.

Spring overcoats, neckwear and novelties were among the items being sold at Rosenbloom’s.

It was “The Very Spirit of Goodness” at A. Z. Wolever Groceries.

“Insurance in All Its Branches” was claimed by the Streeter and Platt Agency.

F. W. Lasher was the store for books, stationery, wallpaper (more wallpaper), pictures, frames, cameras and photo supplies.

W. J. Sharpe advertised that he was selling “Spring Brook Ice from Spafford’s Pond.”

Miller and Bogardus was the “Reliable Family Grocer.”

George Johnston was selling his “large stock of hardware.”

There was a large selection of shoes for ladies, children and infants at J. C. O’Brien, corner of First and Oneida Streets.

Carpets, oil cloths, and linoleums (no wallpaper?), black dress goods, muslin underwear, hosiery, mackintoshes, corsets and “Much More” at M. Katz and Co., Lewis House Block.

If it was a good stove that you needed you could go to A. J. Snow’s Hardware Store.

Shoppers could find meats, groceries, vegetables, and teas and coffees at the Columbia Market, 208 Oneida St.

“All Kinds of Insurance, Except Life,” was sold by W. J. Lovejoy in the Fulton Savings Bank Building.

“The Best Cigars in Fulton” could be purchased at W. J. Watson’s New Modern Drug Store.

M. F. Crahan offered paper hanging (he could help you with all that wallpapering), plumbing and painting.

The formal opening of “The Toggery,” stocked with the finest in gents, youth and boys’ furnishings, was announced by B. J. O’Grady, Elaborateur* and Outfitters, at 15 South Second Street. (*It seems that Mr. O’Grady may have fancied up his title of “Elaborator” a bit to “Elaborateur”, which seems to be a self-styled version of the word.  What he was apparently trying to tell us is that he had worked very hard and with great care to present everything in his store the best possible way he could.

Moving from elaborate to simply delicious and mouthwatering: “Fresh strawberries will soon be on hand,” was the message from R. B. Carhart, Grocer, First Street.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Dress code

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

My mother always enforced a fairly strict dress code. Some of the other boys in my elementary school classes wore jeans – I knew them as dungarees – to school.

My mother insisted on something “more dressy” for school, such as corduroy pants. I had “school” pants, “church” pants, and “play” pants and shirts.

T-shirts were popular – we called them polo shirts – long or short sleeves and bright stripes. We wore the nicer ones to school and played in the other ones. I don’t think we had shirts with messages on them like the ones that are popular now.

Our mother always made sure that we didn’t stay out to play after school wearing our school clothes. In a picture I have of my third or fourth grade class at McKinley School all the boys were wearing long pants and several boys were wearing polo shirts.

I was in the front row of that picture and I was wearing the kind of shirt that my cowboy movie heroes wore for dress-up occasions – button-down front, plain middle and a different color collar with the same color in a v-shaped area at the neck and shoulders.

I think my belt may have displayed ruby and diamond “gems” on the buckle. One thing my mother didn’t seem to be able to control was the “high water” length of my trousers.

I was no doubt placed in that first row because I was among the shortest of the class members. In the first row with me were two other boys and five girls.

We were all about the same height. Three of those girls, and at least two from the other rows, I considered as girlfriends during my early school years.

It must have been cooler weather – some of the boys wore flannel shirts, sweaters or long-sleeve polos. The girls all wore dresses. Short pants were popular for younger boys in warmer weather.

And that’s what they were – short pants – not short-shorts or Bermudas. It was war time and little boys wore sailor suits and other military inspired clothing.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

Days after a tragic event

by Roy Hodge

During all that has been going on since the chaos of the Marathon bombing in Boston, I have been thinking about another tragic event that played out over several days during the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963.

President Kennedy was fatally shot by Lee Harvey Oswald in Dallas, Texas while in a motorcade with his wife, Jacqueline, and Texas Governor John Connally and his wife.

As well as the assassination itself, other prime stories developed, and like the assassination, some of them were shown live on television. We were glued to our television sets from Friday afternoon until after JFK’s state funeral on Monday and beyond.

Dallas Police Department Officer J. D. Tippit, according to the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, was shot and killed by Oswald less than an hour after the assassination of President Kennedy.

On Sunday, two days after assassinating President Kennedy and Officer Tippit, Oswald was being led through the basement of Dallas Police Headquarters while being transferred to the county jail when local nightclub operator Jack Ruby stepped from the crowd and shot Oswald.

Ruby was convicted of Oswald’s murder, appealed his conviction and death sentence and was granted a new trial. As the date for his new trial was being set he became ill and died of lung cancer.

*  *  *  *  *

“Sweet Caroline” is a soft rock song which was written and performed by Neil Diamond and officially released on June 28, 1969. In a 2007 interview, Diamond revealed that the inspiration for “Sweet Caroline” was President John F. Kennedy’s daughter, Caroline Kennedy, who was eleven years old at the time.

Diamond sang the song to her at her 50th birthday celebration in 2007.

“Sweet Caroline” has been played at Boston’s Fenway Park since at least 1997, and has been played in the middle of the eighth inning since 2002.

April 16, 2013, the day after the Boston Marathon bombing, the New York Yankees, longtime Red Sox rivals, announced that they would play the song during their home game, preceded by a moment of silence.

Major League ball parks around the U.S. paid tribute to those affected by the Marathon bombings by playing “Sweet Caroline” over the loud speakers at their ball parks.

To read the rest of the article, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.

TV Westerns

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Maybe you were watching television in the late 1950s and early 1960s, or perhaps you have been told by someone who was, how much “Western” viewing was available on TV back then.

It was a peak year for Westerns on television in 1959 with 26 different programs airing in one week. During one week in March, 1959, eight of the top ten shows were Westerns.

The “Hopalong Cassidy Show” was the first television Western.  The show was compiled for television from the 66 films made by William Boyd.

“The Lone Ranger,” played by actor Clayton Moore, with his horse, “Silver,” and Jay Silverheels as Tonto followed closely.

The 1959 Western program lineup included “Gunsmoke,” “The Rifleman,” “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “Laramie,” “Have Gun, Will Travel,” “Bonanza,” “The Virginian,” “Wagon Train,” “The Big Valley,” “Maverick,” and others.

“Gunsmoke,” with James Arness as Marshal Matt Dillon and a stellar cast including Dennis Weaver as Chester, Milburn Stone as “Doc” Adams, and Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty, posted 20 years on Saturday nights as TV’s longest running Western.

Another deputy/sidekick to Marshal Dillon was Festus, portrayed by Ken Curtis. Burt Reynolds was added to the cast in 1962 for a stint as a blacksmith. A radio version of “Gunsmoke” aired from April 1952 to June 1961. It starred William Conrad as Marshal Dillon.

“Bonanza,” which ran for 14 seasons, starred Lorne Greene as Ben Cartwright, the patriarch of the Cartwright family, who was widowed by three wives, each of which mothered a son. The oldest son, Adam, was portrayed by Pernell Roberts; Dan Blocker was “Hoss” and “Little Joe,” the youngest son, was played by Michael Landon. The Cartwright family lived at the Ponderosa Ranch.

(In case you’re interested, and you might not have known if I hadn’t run across this fact while I was seeking information on the stars of “Bonanza” – Blocker, Roberts and Greene all wore hairpieces throughout the series).

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News. You can subscribe by calling 598-6397 or click on the link on our home page.