Category Archives: Jerry’s Journal

Geraldine Hogan Kasperek, Columnist – Jerry writes “Jerry’s Journal,” a bi-monthly column featuring stories about local people and tales of the “good old days” in Fulton. She attended SUNY Oswego in the Writing Arts Program. She has written and edited newsletters for several different organizations and has had many articles published in various newspapers on community and environmental issues.

Tales of West Broadway, Part IV

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Tales of West Broadway, Part IV: One fine Sunday morning just recently, Sue Brown very nicely inquired, “Have you thought of using an old city directory? We have some at the Pratt House.”

An old city directory? I pondered….A good idea. I’ll have to get one.

Then came the dawn! Duh! What about the 1948-49 City Directory I have sitting right on my own bookshelf! History at my fingertips! West Broadway addresses of our past all listed in numerical order just for the looking up!

If that wasn’t enough to get excited about, another good friend, Virginia Carr Arnold, called a day or so later and said she has a 1953 city directory she’d be glad to share. Wow! Not one but two old city directories to help refresh our collective memories!

But before I delve into those old directories, I’d like to tell you Nelson Richard’s story. When he was a kid he lived up over the Market Basket at 125 West Broadway, the last building on the block. He said they used an outside stairway attached to the back of their building, around on the Second Street side. There was no parking lot back then.

“I spent four years on that corner,” he said, “1946 to 1950 and remember walking to Oak Street School and going past the Woolen Mill’s dye shop on West Second”.

He said there was a hut-size taxicab stand next to the Market Basket and wedged in between the curb and sidewalk and in the space that would someday become a parking lot, there was a small luncheonette, a little ice cream stand, and two houses. An ice house stood off the street, too, and Mike Reynolds owned a two-story barn behind his hotel on West Broadway.

The ice cream stand was first owned by John Hartnett, who sold it to Buddy Allen. They sold Eskimo pies and other ice cream treats and you could buy hot peanuts for a penny. The luncheonette, owned by a Mr. Potter, burned down from a grease fire May 5, 1950, Nelson said. He remembers it well. And when it was torn down, the other building went too and the parking lot took their place.

He said Bill’s Restaurant on West Broadway was usually crowded and he compared it to Mimi’s today. He said the Victory Restaurant used to be where the Foursome Diner is on the corner of West First Street, but it also burned down, sometime in the 1940s.

Matty’s Grill was on West First. “The greatest steak sandwich around for 50 cents and draft beer for a dime,” he recalled.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Tales of West Broadway

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Part III, Tales of West Broadway: Recollections do abound! Thanks for all the letters, phone calls and e-mails.

One thing for sure, no two memories of the same thing are exactly alike. I smile at Anne Grassi and Kay Younis’ letter as they put it this way: “My sister and I had some additions (or figments of our imagination) to add to your last column.”

No, it’s not a figment of your imagination, at least to my way of thinking. It’s just how we, as separate individuals, see things through our own eyes and perspectives.

So, let’s set the scene with Ann and Kay’s letter as we walk together, Dear Readers, up and down the West Broadway of our past.

Going east from the Brick Hotel Gerry Hubbel lived next door. She was the drum major at Good Old Fulton High School. Next was a gas station run by former Postmaster Munger, then Ward and Winchell’s. Anne thinks Dick Wray’s soda fountain was next, while Kay believes Chet Dluglozima was also in that spot.

They recall that Brewer and Campbell had a gas station on South First Street about were the First Trust Parking lot is currently located.

There were a couple of nice houses before Brewer and Campbell set up their garage on West Broadway, they said, and Miss Edmonds lived in the corner house. She was the girl’s gym teacher and coach at G.O.F.H.S.

From West Second to West First Street, there was JR Sullivan’s. Chet Dluglozima might have had a business in that store as well, they said. Across the street, where the diner currently sits, was a bakery.

I quote from their letter as follows: “We think next was a driveway to the back of the building, then the 5/10 cent store (run by Mr. Wilshire who lived upstairs with his family), next was the pool hall, next Hargrave’s, (these two may be in the wrong order), next Reynold’s liquor store (did that become Don Cealie’s bar?), next Myer’s restaurant, next the Market Basket/Marine Midland Bank.”

Heading west: there was Johnson’s grocery, next was a small building that housed Vic Arcadi’s jewelry store and the first location of Kay’s Tot shop (both were small stores).

Next was Broadway Joe’s building. He was in there for years, before Jerry’s Barbershop; Joe used was in both store fronts.”  (Broadway Joe was Joe Galleta who owned the old hardware store.)

I thank Anne and Kay for their input. Rest assured ladies, you are not alone in trying to remember what, where, when and who was in the shops, stores and buildings along that busy part of town, as merchants have come and gone and come and gone! You did good!

Okay, Dear Readers, I realize that some of their letter is a repeat of my last two columns. But I think it’s a good refresher and starting place for continuing this journey, and let’s begin with Barbara Sheeley Wilson.

Barbara grew up on West Forth Street around the corner from West Broadway. She said she used to sit with Gerry Hubble on her porch and watch the boys go by — and twins Robert and Ronald Snow were cute.

She also reminded me that Dr. Harold McGovern lived in a beautiful home on West Broadway and West Fourth across from the Brick Hotel.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Old shops

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Where to begin? The feedback on my article on West Broadway has been fun. And plentiful! I just hope I can do justice to what was shared with me, which I now put to print.

“You forgot Arcadi’s Jewelers!” I heard more than once. “It was Vick Arcadi’s store!” and so it went through phone call after phone call, which continue even as I write this new one.

Barbara Carrol was the first to accept my invitation to contact me to share memories and the first to remind me about Arcadi’s. She’s a lifelong resident of Phoenix who attended the old St. Mary’s School on Buffalo Street here in Fulton back in the late 1950s.

“It was delightful,” she said about the school. She also reminisced about our downtown and eating a Black and White sundae at Fosters and recalled the McDonald’s women’s shop where as a child she bought her aunt a gift of fine nylon stockings that came wrapped in tissue paper in a little thin box.

Alan Deline called to say that radio station WOSC made its first home upstairs over Putnam’s drugstore downtown on Oneida Street. It was back in the 1940s. his uncle, Jim Deline, was a popular radio announcer, and it was when Alan was a kid trying to overcome stuttering that he entered a contest to host a teen show at WOSC and won. He and his co-host Mary Lou Wasiko took phone calls and played records from 4:30 to 5 p.m. five days a week.

Alan’s parents ran the Red and White grocery store on Voorhees Street and back in the 1930s, his grandfather’s store, Wilcox and Deline Grocery, was located on West Broadway in end store, next to the driveway. There’s a little gift shop there now

Dave Munger has some great memories as well. His dad, the late Dominick “Moose” Munger, ran the Broadway Tire Shop, which was next to Ward and Winchell in the block between West Third and West Fourth.

The gas pumps were right to the curb – “Can you believe it!” – You didn’t even have to pull off the street to get gas, you just drove up to the curb.

Dave said he spent a lot of time there “helping his dad” and he learned how to pump gas and take in the money when he was just a little kid. Although he was only six or seven, his father would send him a couple doors up to bring back coffee from the Rainbow Restaurant. And, he’d stop at Ward and Winchell’s window to watch a new novelty just on the market, a color TV.

He said the Brick Hotel, or the Salem House, or what other name we’ve known it by, on the corner of West Fourth, was once Carmella’s Restaurant. She was a Vescio or a Vasho, Dave thought, variations of the same name, it would seem.

There was a fire in the upstairs back then, he said, but they repaired it and it still stand today, known by yet another name, but still a popular bar/hangout by any name.

Dave’s Dad went on to be appointed postmaster of our local Post Office in the 1960s. There was no background check, no FBI coming to call, or any other such thing at all. It was a political appointment and just how it was done back then.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Hargrave’s Pharmacy

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

Hargrave’s Pharmacy on West Broadway has been there forever – at least it seems that way – doling out good medicine and expert advice as long as I can remember. Its proprietor and chief pharmacist, Sal Lanzafame, has been there a long time, too.

“I came here in 1955, July 5,” he said when I called him up for an interview. “I was 21 and came back to Fulton after college and got a job with Steward Woods and went to work at Putnam’s. Do you remember Putnam’s?”

I do remember Putnam’s I told him. It was a small drugstore in downtown Fulton on Oneida Street, in the middle of the block between Perkins’ Corner on South Second Street (now 481) and Roy’s Furniture Store on the corner of Oneida and South First. (I also recall their special treat: a scoop of vanilla ice cream on a round, brownie-like cake and covered with chocolate syrup, and how gooey and good it was!)

Well, anyway, Mr. Woods’ owned both Putnam’s and Hargrave’s and his daughter, a young married woman who also was a pharmacist, was going to have a baby and that left Mr. Wood short a druggist.

So he sent Sal to manage Hargrave’s, where he was welcomed by Harry Montgomery, an older gentleman who helped him learn the ropes of running a business. “How would you like to own this place?” he asked Sal. “I should be that lucky,” was the reply.

It was just three short years later in 1958 and, according to Sal, “with the help of Harlow Stratton of Marine Midland Bank,” his dream cane true and he’s been there ever since!

Young Mr. Salvatore Lanzafame, now a married man with a growing family, had become the owner of the three-story brick building where the pharmacy made its home and from which it gets its name.

“It was built in 1862,” he said and asked if I knew there’s a ballroom upstairs – on the third floor – where dances and weddings and receptions and plays and all kinds of parties and even church service were once held.

Yes, I do remember “Hargrave’s Hall,” I said, because my high school sorority once had a party there. But I don’t recall what the occasion was (1948 was a long time ago!). In any case, Sal’s building is one of the oldest in town and a nice reminder of the other old brick buildings of similar construction that used to line our Dizzy Block before urban renewal came to call.

Sal and I reminisced a little about the other merchants that have come and gone — or might even still be there — during our lifetime along that stretch of West Broadway. Here’s what we came up with:

In the block between West First and West Second streets, where Hargrave’s is located, there was Kay’s Tot Shop; Harold Reynolds’s Liquor Store; a pool hall; The Cottage Bakery; Dempsey’s Sport Shop; a branch of Marine Midland Bank on the corner and the Community Development Agency that took its place before it also moved out.

In the block between West Second and West Third, there was Johnson’s Meat Market, that later became Mirabito’s supermarket); Eugene’s Shoe Repair; West Side Hardware. And Jerry’s Barber Shop which is still there on the corner of West Third.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Column writing

column writingby Jerry Kasperek

My column comes out and the comments follow suit, so I share with you a couple of fact-checks from my last article about the old First Methodist Church: It was located on the corner of Oneida and North ThirdsStreets and not North Fourth as I had written, and the auditorium at the back of the church was called “The Century house.”

The Century House…Oh, yes…I remember it now. “Thanks!,” I said when a friend reminded me and I really meant it. It’s funny what we remember when our memory gets tweaked. That’s what makes writing this column so interesting – the feedback I get.

“I always read your column,” I was told just recently.. “My husband does too.He says you really can write.”

“Oh, thanks,” I said, “I’ve been at it for a long time.”

When I was about nine years old and after reading “The Adventures of the Bobbsy Twins” a hundred times over and about to do the same to “Little Women,” I decided I would someday write a book about Judy and me.

She was my favorite childhood playmate on West First Street.  The sad, sad ending (at least to Judy and me) came when I was nine and a half and I moved to the east side and met new friends and had new interests. Thus, my book writing plans got stuck in the shifting sand of time, circumstance and growing up.

My childhood dream never really died though. But as the years flew by and reality set in and lighted on what it actually takes to write an entire book — let alone to get it published — I knew it wasn’t going to happen. Thus, I shall be content to be a “creative writer” and author a column every other week and love doing so. My readers say they love reading it so I guess that makes us even!

My step-son Eddie has given me yet another artifact to add to our collection of old stuff we wish to preserve for posterity. It’s a small booklet that was published by the State of New York Department of Farms and Markets entitled: “Recipes for Good Things Our Grandmothers Used to Make.” It has no date on it but you can tell it’s old because the pages are crisp and yellowed and if my hunch is correct it goes back nearly a hundred years ago to the late 1920s.

In any case, “The Meat, Fish and Vegetable” chapter includes a recipe for Game Pie, for which you need six birds. A recipe for succotash requires a dozen ears of corn and something called “Crazy Jiggers” is made of flour, eggs, and milk and is fried and eaten with maple syrup.

In the Desserts category, a recipe for Indian pudding uses corn meal and molasses. The one for “Marlborough Pie” uses tart apples, butter, lemon juice and sugar and baked with one crust, while the ingredients for “Fruit Flummery” include more sugar than fruit. My favorite recipe, however, is for “Calf’s Foot Jelly.”

To read the rest of the story, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

First Methodist Church

First Methodist Churchby Jerry Hogan Kasperek

Who remembers the First Methodist Church that once stood on the corner of North Fourth and Oneida streets? It’s where OCO, in its handsome new building, has been doing business for the past several years.

The First Methodist Church was a strong, beautiful and artful structure, dating back into the early 1900s or maybe even before that.

In its day, it was an architectural dream of what a church should look like. With its red bricks, shingled roof, tall towers and stained glass windows, it was a familiar sight and similar to many of our other old churches still with us today.

Think of the churches lined up on South Third Street. Start from Oneida Street and head south and the first one on your left is the old Presbyterian Church that is now known as the First United Church. Next, and on your right, is the no-longer-in-use Baptist Church, which merged with the Presbyterians some time ago.

Continuing onward a block or two, you will find the venerable old Immaculate Conception Church, now combined with the other two, closed-up Catholic churches in Fulton and renamed “Holy Trinity” — the one and only remaining Catholic Church in our fair city.

Another church worthy of taking a good look at is the State Street Methodist Church still in use on South Fourth Street. And don’t forget the Congregational Church, with its big, circular window, a hometown landmark, that used to be on the corner of West First and Broadway. It was a sad day when it was taken down with the wrecking ball not too many years ago.

Now, if your memory stretches back to 1961, you will recall that awful fire that reduced the First Methodist Church to ashes that summer. This information I gathered from Gail and Vern Drohan because I knew they were members there a long time ago, when Reverend Stewart was their minister.

The church could accommodate a very large congregation and many prominent community members belonged. The Sealright Company was well represented. There was the Frank Ash family, the Harry Gray’s, the Walter Mitchell’s, and the Clark’s.

From the business and medical communities came the Sherm Drohan’s and Dr. Eugene Anthony and family. (Just about every body in town went to Dr. Anthony’s, God rest his soul, at some time or other to get their eyes examined to see if they needed glasses! I got my first prescription for bifocals there.)

Remember, if you will, it was the heyday of local doctors, dentists and lawyers, and of business and industry, when mangers, directors, CEOs, owners and operators lived among us in Little Old Fulton and took part in church, social, political and community events.

To read the rest of the column, pick up a copy of The Valley News or subscribe today by calling 598-6397

Forgetfulness

JerryHoganKasperek_Wby Jerry Kasperek

We used to laugh at my Grandmother and think she was “cute” because she wore hats and gloves and did silly things and was so darn forgetful. Why can’t she get my name right? I’d wonder after she’d gone through the entire list of family names before she’d get to mine.

“All she does is talk about her aches and pains,” I’d say to my mother who’d shake her head in agreement. It was so like Gramma to walk through our door and start in about her high blood pressure and arthritis and carry on so that you’d wonder if she’d live through the day!

Bless her heart. What did I know when I was so young? Oh, how I’d love to be able to spend time with her now. Especially now that I’ve pretty much turned into a replica of her — white hair, forgetfulness, aches and pains and all!

When I wake up in the morning I wonder what’s going to hurt today. Lately it’s been my right hip. Am I due for another hip replacement? I contemplate.

My right thumb throbs a lot too – some days it’s as sore as “a sore thumb!” (I don’t think they can replace a thumb, can they?)

I guess it’s too much of throwing a 16-pound bowling ball down the lanes in a couple of bowling leagues a couple of nights a week way back when, and maybe to too much computer time and cross stitching down through the years.

If a person lives long enough, I’m slowing finding out, all the hurts they endure will eventually come back to haunt them. I’m also hearing that many of my older friends are in the same boat! (Okay, admit it, it’s nice to have someone who understands to commiserate with.)

And that’s how it goes. Speaking of “goes,” the memory, hearing and eyesight is under siege as well. My eyesight isn’t the best. But my eye-doctor said maybe someday they’d have genetic engineering to fix it. That’s something to look forward to, I contemplate again.

I am thankful for my hearing aids; however, it sure beats saying “Huh?” or “What?” every other minute. Even so, Ed, my ever patient husband, and I shout back and forth from one room to the other and still don’t always know what the other one is saying. He has hearing aids, too!

He and I also seem to spend a lot of time searching our house for lost items. Where in the blankety-blank blank did I put my car keys! Where did I leave my glasses? Where’s my cell phone? Did you see what I did with my billfold? Have you seen my pocketbook?

You know how it is. You open the refrigerator door and can’t remember what the heck you’re looking for. Or, you’re out and about and see somebody you’ve known for ages and recognize the familiar face. But for the life of you, you cannot come up with a name!

So you stand there, smile and nod your head, while searching your mind, in vain, because no matter how much you try you draw a blank. You feel embarrassed and mad at yourself for not remembering who it is, but carry on as best you can and hope and pray your old friend doesn’t guess you don’t have a clue. Later that day, or maybe in the middle of the night, voila, their name pops up as clear as a bell!

To read the rest of the story, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397
JerryHoganKasperek_W

Clothes line

Clothes lineby Jerry Kasperek

I’m doing laundry today. Our laundry room, complete with automatic washer and dryer, is just a few steps away from my computer desk. And lucky me, I can do both – wash clothes and write a column, both at the same time.

Having said that, I confess that in this busy time of year, I decided to search my computer’s files to find something quick and easy to write about and found the following piece about doing laundry back in “The Good Old Days.”

For all of us who are a bit older, this will bring back the memories and I think you’ll get a kick out of it.

The clothes line…a dead give away. Do kids today even know what a clothes line is?

The basic rules

1. You had to wash the clothes line before hanging any clothes. Walk the length of each line with a damp cloth around the line.

2. You had to hang the clothes in a certain order and always hang whites with whites and hang them first.

3. You never hung a shirt by the shoulders, always by the tail. What would the neighbors think?

4. Wash day on a Monday…never hang clothes on the weekend or Sunday for heaven’s sake!

5. Hang the sheets and towels on the outside lines so you could hide your ‘unmentionables’ in the middle.

6. It didn’t matter if it was sub zero weather…clothes would “freeze dry.”

7.  Always gather the clothes pins when taking down dry clothes. Pins left on the line was ‘tacky’.

8. If you were efficient, you would line the clothes up so that each item did not need two clothes pins, but shared one of the clothes pins with the next washed item.

9. Clothes off of the line before dinner time, neatly folded in the clothes basket and ready to be ironed.

10. Ironed? Well, that’s a whole other subject!!

A poem

A clothes line was a news forecast, To neighbors passing by.

There were no secrets you could keep, When clothes were hung to dry.

It also was a friendly link, For neighbors always knew

If company had stopped on by, To spend a night or two.

For then you’d see the ‘fancy sheets’, And towels upon the line;

You’d see the ‘company table cloths’, With intricate design.

The line announced a baby’s birth, To folks who lived inside

As brand new infant clothes were hung, So carefully with pride.

The ages of the children could, So readily be known

By watching how the sizes changed, You’d know how much they’d grown.

It also told when illness struck, As extra sheets were hung;

Then  nightclothes, and a bathrobe, too, Haphazardly were strung.

It said, ‘Gone on vacation now’, When lines hung limp and bare.

It told, ‘We’re back!’ when full lines sagged, With not an inch to spare.

New folks in town were scorned upon. If wash was dingy gray,

As neighbors carefully raised their brows, And looked the other way..

But clotheslines now are of the past, For dryers make work less.

Now what goes on inside a home, Is anybody’s guess.

*  *  *  *  *

I really miss that way of life, It was a friendly sign

When neighbors knew each other best — by what hung on the line!

Okay, I know there are people who still prefer a clothesline. And who could blame them? They like the smell of fresh air on their clothes and some items just don’t belong in a dryer because they shrink.

To read the rest of the column, pick up the latest copy of The Valley News. You may also subscribe to the paper by calling 598-6397