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.

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.

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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).

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SU games

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Last weekend, when the Final Four frenzy surrounded us from all sides, I had difficulty keeping my mind under control when it wanted to drift back and forth to some of my memories of SU and Syracuse Nats basketball games.

Although I was an avid Syracuse Nationals fan in the 1950s and early 60s, I also attended SU games at the War Memorial back in the days before games were played in Manley Field House.

I remember going to SU games at the War Memorial when the first Orange player that I remember by name – Dave Bing – played. I don’t remember Bing’s teammate, Jim Boeheim.

The War Memorial was occasionally included in the SU home venues, which included Archbold Gymnasium, Manley Field House and finally, the Dome.

The Syracuse Nationals (Nats) players that I remember from the early Nats games included player-coach Al Cervi; Dolph Schayes; Paul Seymour; Billy Gabor; Red Rocha  Earl Lloyd, who was the first African-American to play in the NBA; Red Kerr; Wally Osterkorn; and Larry Costello.

For a couple of years, I was a member of the Syracuse Nats’ junior fan club. We had special sweat shirts and reserved seats behind our favorite team.

If you want to think about how long ago that may have been – when I first started going to basketball games the players wore short shorts instead of the knee length baggy pants of today.

One of the last SU games that I went to was a few years ago at the Dome. A friend got some tickets but my wife’s work schedule wouldn’t let her join us.

Sue wouldn’t miss the basketball action but she loves to watch Otto the Orange, the SU mascot.   During one of his runs down courtside, Otto ran up the aisle closest to our seats and extended his arm towards me for a high-five. Forget the game; you can guess the first thing I told my wife when I got home. She was so envious – and still is.

There was an ad on TV this NCAA tournament season which stretched reality a bit by telling us that the tournament field would be expanded to include over 200 teams. We see one of the teams of basketball misfits that has received a bid.

The picture in my mind immediately switches to the gym at Roosevelt School when I was a teenager. As long as we paid the janitor, our “team” was allowed to rent the gym for a couple of hours of running around and trying to get the basketball into the basket. We had a great time and followed up with a visit to Enrico’s for pizza and Cokes.

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Fulton Patriot history

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I am enjoying the stack of 1901 Fulton Patriots that I have been looking through since Christmas time. Up to now, I had come across only one or two pages of the very old Patriots at a time – the oldest just a few years after the first issues of the paper were published in 1846. This is the first entire year of early 1900 Patriots I have looked at.

From the information box inside the front cover of each issue:

Fulton Patriot:

Wednesday, March 27, 1901

The Fulton Patriot is issued every Wednesday morning from the office of the undersigned, 117 Oneida Street, entrance through the Post Office lobby. Entered at the post office at Fulton, N.Y. as second class matter.

Subscription rates $1.25 per year; if paid in advance, $1.00.  Advertising rates on application. Notices of marriages, births and deaths published free of charge. Extended obituary mention, resolutions and cards of thanks, regular local rates.

Copy for display advertisements must reach this office no later than 6 p.m. Monday.  Telephone numbers . . . Fulton Telephone Co. – No. 35; Empire State Telephone Co. – Long Distance No. 16.

Frank M. Cornell, Editor

Listed in the Directory of Churches:

First Methodist Episcopal, corner of Oneida and Third Streets

State Street Methodist Episcopal, State Street, between Third and Fourth Streets

Free Methodist, corner of Third and State Streets

Baptist, corner of Utica and Third Streets

Presbyterian, corner of Third and Cayuga Streets

Zion Episcopal, First Street, between Rochester and Broadway

St. Mary’s Catholic, corner of Third and Rochester Streets

Church of the Restoration Universalist, corner of First and Rochester Streets

Grace Mission Chapel, North First Street

Salvation Army, 66 First Street

Seventh Day Adventist, Broadway, near Seventh

Congregational, corner of Broadway and First, Oswego Falls

(Note: This department is for the churches, and notices are inserted free if they reach this office before 6 p.m. Monday. We want all the church and auxiliary society news. If they do not appear it will be no fault of the editor of The Patriot.)

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For the love of peeps

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

When I was working, I was known as a lover of “Peeps,” or more affectionately, “the Peepster,” and often at Easter time I discovered packages of the squashy marshmallow treats in my mailbox or on my desk.

I often spent part of my day enjoying my favorite confection by popping them in my mouth and squishing them around for several minutes.

That is my favorite way to enjoy Peeps but it is also challenging to put one Peeps in each side of your mouth and squish away. Yum!  If you enjoy eating Peeps right out of the box, but are willing to try something different, try to track down the recipe for “Peepza,” a desert pizza.

People do many things with Peeps – eat them out of the box (after they are hurriedly rescued from the cellophane); some people let them get hard and slice them; they are deep-fried or roasted; some people put them in the microwave; and there are Peeps diorama contests.

Peeps are mostly an Easter time pleasure for me, but I have partaken of a couple of Halloween ghosts and trees and snowmen at Christmas time.

Peeps got their start in the early 50s when dozens of women were employed to squeeze them out of pastry bags. The process was automated in the mid 1950s.

When I was first introduced to Peeps they seemed to all be yellow chicks, and those are still my favorites. There are also many different colors of Peeps bunnies.

Just Born Inc., of Bethlehem, Pa., produces five million Peeps a day at its plant 60 miles north of Philadelphia and plans to turn out more than one billion during this year’s Easter season.

Ross Born, who has the proper last name to be the third generation operator of Just Born, Inc., recently addressed the perennial Peeps debate – fresh or stale? Do you like your Peeps fresh, frozen, or “aged to perfection?”

“There is a lot of gray area here,” Born says diplomatically.  “There are people who tell me they put a one-inch slice in the film (that seals the box), and they’ll lay it on top of their refrigerator for two days.  No more, no less. Then they are perfect to eat.

“So, it’s not necessarily stale, it’s just a little firmer. All right? It’s just like politics,” says Born. “You’ve got people way on one side, and people way on the other side, but there are a whole lot of people in the middle.”

Born says that everyone seems to have a Peeps story, and they are willing to talk about how they eat their Peeps, how they cure them, how they store them, how they decorate with them – “and these are adults.”

Just Born calls it the “Peepsonality” of “consumers who buy Peeps not only to eat, but also to play around with.”

(I feel like I grew  up knowing about Peeps, but some of this information is from an Associated Press article, “The History of Peeps,” published March 8, 2013).

*  *  *  *  *

When I heard the good news recently that one of my younger friends and his wife are expecting their first child next fall, I was flooded with memories and started looking for back issues of The Fulton Patriot when I used my newspaper column to write about adventures with my kids.

In the early years of my column, youngest son Adam, as an eight-year-old, was in the spotlight.

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Neighbors from long ago

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

I sometimes think I have a good idea for a column and start writing. Some of those times I am typing away and suddenly think, “Wait a minute, this sounds very familiar.”

The reason for that thinking, of course, is that I came up with the same idea and wrote basically the same column a few years ago.

That happened recently when I started thinking of some of the folks who lived on Wiman Ave. during the more than 50 years our family lived on the street. All of those neighbors and many others “always” lived on our street, at least as long as I can remember up to when my mother left her home in the late 90’s.

It seems like everyone knew everyone else who lived there.  My neighbors from long ago must have made an impression on me. Many decades after I lived there I can remember most of them very clearly.

This is what I wrote when I got thinking about Wiman Ave. A couple of years ago; the notes in parentheses are my recent thoughts:

There was an interesting mix of neighbors on our street. I remember a little bit about a lot of those people.

Mr. Howe had to be the oldest man. I remember him sauntering by our house with both hands clasped behind his back. My father said that Mr. Howe was a master carpenter, and I think I remember him saying that he built his house on our street. (I remember him building some very solid steps at my grandparents’ back door when he was in his 80’s.)

Mr. Lucas was in charge of the escalator, the first one in Syracuse, at the W. T. Grant’s Store in the city’s downtown.  His son, Jack, as our next door neighbor, was my nemesis. Maybe it would be clearer to say that he was five years older than I was, and picked on me constantly.

Mr. Lindsay, our next door neighbor, never tired talking about his Scotch heritage, and Mrs. Lindsay told fortunes by reading tea leaves. The Lindsay’s grandson, Tucker, who at one time lived down the street from us, and later on with his grandparents, was my best friend. (Mr. Lindsay, next door, was a mason by trade.)

We thought that Miss Wilson and Mr. Burke were the crabbiest people on our street, but maybe they had their reasons. Miss Wilson lived next door to the Fero family and Mr. Burke lived one house away from our home.  (Those were the two locations on Wiman that there was almost always something going on in the street in front of the houses).

Mr. Haynes was a captain in the Syracuse Fire Department. Mr. Jutton was also a fireman. Mr. Fero was an agent at the railroad station. Many men on our street worked at factories.

Mr. Carroll worked at the Suburban Park amusement park as a ride operator. I helped his wife, Betty, find worms to sell to fishermen for bait. I’m not sure that his wife, Betty, worked but she was always busy doing something. For a couple of years I went to bed early during fishing season and got up a couple of hours later to go out in the neighborhood’s grassy yards to “pick” earthworms which she sold to bait shops.

I can also remember making wreaths with her at Christmas time which we sold to friends and neighbors. She and I were good enough friends that she helped me learn to drive and she accompanied me on my driver’s test.

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Weekly newspaper schedule

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

Last week’s “Wash on Monday” column reminded me that the weekly newspaper business always observed its own calendar, which depended on the day the paper was published.

When I first joined the staff of The Fulton Patriot, a once-a-week newspaper, the traditional day of delivery was Thursday, just before the busy weekend shopping days.

On Monday and Tuesday, the stories were gathered and set in type. The headline type and larger type for ads was set by hand out of type cases. The smaller type was set on linotype machines. Ads were put together and went into their places in the page-size forms.

The type was arranged in columns in the forms. Most weeks, we printed two sections of six to eight pages. Pages were assembled in the forms on the main floor of the building and then carried by two employees down stairs to the big noisy printing press in the basement. The press could print an eight-page section at a time.

The first section was ready to be printed by Tuesday afternoon. On Wednesday, the second section was finished, printed, and the completed paper was put together (or collated).

Linotype machines in the newspaper’s composing room really streamlined the production process as the columns no longer had to be put together by employees assembling each piece of small type into lines, but by machines which produced lines of type (lin-o-type).

On Thursday, the papers were bundled and delivered to the paper boys ready for delivery.  Friday was clean-up day. The old pages were taken apart and the type was returned to the cases. Then we got started on the procedure of putting a weekly newspaper together all over again.

There were weeks when we printed more than two sections. We had to get an early start during those weeks and usually worked on Saturdays. During the 50-plus years that I was with The Patriot, the paper was published on different days of the week and the daily schedule was changed accordingly. The following was printed in the column of January, 2000:

“Some of our readers may have been surprised to receive their weekly Patriot on Saturday this week. Don’t be, as your hometown newspaper has become part of your weekend starting today. The new publication day is a move to recognize the changing needs of the newspaper’s readers and advertisers.

“If you remember through the years when this newspaper was published on Friday, then Thursday, then Wednesday, then Tuesday, then Monday, you are a longtime and faithful reader.”

*  *  *  *  *

What did folks in Fulton and Oswego Falls do in 1901 when they were sick? They may have visited Drs. Cusack, Bacon or Hall. All had offices on Oneida Street.

Palmo Tablets, sold at W.J. Watson Druggist, could help cure nervous debility, dyspepsia, atrophy, insomnia, failing memory, or a pain in the back.  Otto’s Cure, the German Remedy, was available to help cure coughs, colds, the grippe, whooping cough, asthma and bronchitis. It was sold by all druggists at 25 and 50 cents.

Shiloh’s Consumption Care was also sold by all druggists — along with Cascarets — to regulate the liver. Sexine Pills were said to have cured all kinds of nervous diseases and were available at Giesler Druggist.

Penny Royal Pills offered “relief for ladies.” Readers were also invited to try Dr. A.W. Chase’s Nerve Pills or Dr. Chase’s Ointments for the most violent forms of eczema. Hood’s Sarsaparilla was recommended for “perfect health,” and Scott’s Emulsion of Cod Liver Oil was also advertised.

Thinacura was available for thin people.  “They make faces plump and help round out the body.”  Celery King was advertised as “a Great Nerve Medicine.”

Do we even know what nervous debility, dyspepsia and atrophy are all about?  I understand failing memory.

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Household chores

RoyHodge_WEBby Roy Hodge

My mother used to tell me that there was a day of the week for every household chore.

I don’t remember my mother ever singing it to me, but while looking for information I found a song called “Monday’s Wash Day”:

“Today is Monday, Today is Monday,

Monday’s wash day. Everybody happy?

Well, I should say!

Today is Tuesday, Today is Tuesday.

Tuesday’s ironing day, Monday’s wash day.

Everybody happy?  Well, I should say!

That little ditty goes on to tell us that Wednesday is cleaning day, Thursday is for baking, Friday is for “fiii-sh,” on Saturday we shop, and Sunday is for church.

Everybody happy? Well, I should say!

This seems to be the original “Wash on Monday” routine:

Wash on Monday, Iron on Tuesday, Mend on Wednesday, Churn on Thursday, Clean on Friday (I don’t know what happened to the fiii-sh), Bake on Saturday, Rest on Sunday.”

From Laura Ingalls Wilder of “Little House on the Prairie,” speaking of weekly chores while she was growing up: “For Ma and other pioneer women, each day had its own proper chores.

“Washing the family’s clothes was often done on Mondays, and took an entire day. Water was heated in a metal boiler; when it came to a boil, soap shavings were added and the clothes were dumped in.

“First the whites were washed, then the colored clothes, then the heavy work clothes. After the clothes boiled for ten minutes, they were removed, rubbed with homemade soap and scrubbed on a washboard.  After all the clothes had been washed the tub was filled with fresh water and the clothes rinsed.”

I do remember my mother’s wash day and I think it could have well been on Monday. Like the wash day that Laura Ingalls Wilder remembered, I’m sure it could have taken most of the day.

Mom sorted the clothes by colors or whites and put them in the old washing machine, which was like a big tub, added water and soap and let the machine’s “agitator” swish them around for a few minutes.

Then the load of clothes was rinsed in the large cellar sink, then put through the machine’s “wringer.” Now they were ready to be lugged up the cellar stairs and hung up to dry.  We had clothes lines that stretched from one side of the backyard to the other side. The clothes were fastened to the lines with wooden clothespins and left to dry.

When the laundry was hung on the clothes lines, it tended to come a little too close to the ground. But my clever grandfather had an answer for that.

Grandpa, with a saw and me in tow, went over to a nearby wooded area and found some just the right height saplings topped by forks to keep the clothes lines from dragging on the ground.

During the winter when the clothes couldn’t be hung outside they were hung on lines in our small, unfinished basement, or on the backs of chairs in the kitchen. After it was dried, the laundry was neatly folded, ready for ironing.

Back to Laura Ingalls Wilder: On Tuesday, “Ma would iron the finer clothes. First she would starch them with starch made by boiling grated potatoes. An iron was heated over a fire or stove. The item to be ironed was spread out, sprinkled with water and then the heated iron was used to iron it.”

I think maybe my mother spread her ironing chores around a little during the week. I can remember her “sprinkling” the clothes with water from a Pepsi bottle with a sprinkler top. Then she rolled them up and wrapped them with a towel, and ironed them when someone needed something.

Just about everything but the underwear needed to be ironed eventually in those days before “wash and wear.” (I remember my mother telling me that she knew women that even ironed the underwear).

Mend on Wednesday: “Pioneer women spent evenings and free time mending clothing. Ma mended everything from Pa’s shirts to the sheets on the bed.  Ma did all her sewing by hand until Pa bought her a sewing machine.”

I can’t remember my mother doing much mending. She crocheted and em- broidered, but I think my grandmother got to repair the holes in socks and the rips and tears.

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