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.

Marcus turns 3

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

We went to a birthday party Saturday – not just any cake and ice cream birthday party – but a full-fledged “I’m three!” birthday party for grandson Marcus. Come on, join the crowd – “Marcus is three?” Yes, it’s true – beautiful little Marcus, who joined our family two years ago, is three already.

May, 2011: “It was very quiet at Rochester Airport Saturday. Most of the people were waiting for the 1:48 flight from Washington. D.C.

“It was quiet, that is, until the Hodge-Knight-Cognetti families ascended upon the airport. That group was waiting to welcome the newest member of the family, little Marcus Hodge, who had been in America for a few hours at that time Saturday afternoon after arriving from his native Ethiopia with his parents, my youngest son, Adam, and his wife, Shelley.”

Last year, when we visited Marcus on the occasion of birthday number two he had graduated from being pushed around in a stroller to being driven around in a golf cart. This year it was another huge step forward.

His favorite birthday present was a Marcus-sized John Deere tractor, and it didn’t take long for Marcus to show off his driving skills. But it did look like he was having a little problem with the steering thing.

I don’t know what made me think that. Maybe it was when the neighbors seemed to have their heads in their hands as Marcus and his tractor headed toward their shrubs and flowers with one of the “pit crew” close behind.

I still can’t beat Marcus in a short race up the street. But I keep trying. He knows I tire quickly, so he runs off several feet ahead of me, then slows down and waits for me to catch up.  When I do he looks back, gives me a “I think it’s time for your nap” look and takes off again.

By the time we left Marcus Saturday after supper, it looked like he was learning that, when asked, he had moved from “two” to “three” but he wasn’t sure yet about holding three fingers up instead of two.

Like many three year olds, Marcus has a solid supply of toys. A good way to get an idea of what kind of toys are popular in the life of a three year old is to get invited to a birthday party.

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.

Snowfall in June

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I was talking among a group of people recently when the topic of conversation turned to the weather — not unusual, I guess.

It was a hot day and we started with stories of hot summer weather — violent thunderstorms and summers with days on end of hot, sultry temperatures and steamy, sleepless nights.

We remembered certain storms. A couple of us recalled the time when Hurricane Hazel hit the area — that was back in the early 1950s. Unfortunately, I was one of those with a good memory.

After a few minutes, the talk inevitably turned to winter and snow. After all, at least one person in that group had lived in Fulton during the winter months of past years, and most of us had some vivid memories.

We all had memories of snow — lots of snow — of shoveling for hours and then going back to the beginning and doing it all over again, of sitting in the house while the snow piled up over the windows, of enjoying playing in deep snow, of building forts and castles of snow, and on and on.

One person thought that he remembered hearing about snow in the area long after winter was supposedly over — like in June, he thought.

Sparked by that, I remembered my father telling me about a very unusual snowfall when he was young. He was sure that it may have been in June.

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

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.