Tag Archives: Jerry Kasperek

100 Block of East Broadway

by Jerry Kasperek

Let me recap my last couple of columns. The 100 block of East Broadway was once home to Finocchario’s Barber Shop, Murphy’s Gift Shop, Scanlon’s Liquor Store, Frawley’s Restaurant, the Percival house, the Broadway Restaurant, Gayer’s Drugstore, the Acme Market, and Jonientz Texaco Station.

The Broadway Restaurant was known as Stubby Quade’s. Joe Frawley’s Restaurant became Kanaley’s when I was a teenager, and the drugstore building/apartment house was renovated into the Sealright Recreation Club-bowling alley. And, the Commodore Restaurant was located in the downstairs of the drugstore building before it became a bowling alley.

Such is change, which pretty much brings me up to today and an e-mail from Rene Hewitt as follows: “I just read yesterday’s journal and Gage’s Drugstore was mentioned. I immediately recalled Mr. Gayer and wanted him to be identified correctly. He was such a nice man. My cousin Arnold ‘Deke’ Dievendorf assisted him for several years and many Fultonians would remember him too.”

From me to Rene: “Was Gage’s (as it was called it my last column) really Gayer’s? I seem to remember it being Gere’s. It’s funny how our memories work.”

From Rene back to me: “Yes, Jerry, his name was Wade Gayer and my cousin worked for him before he went in the service and again when he was discharged. He and his wife Ruth lived in the apartment upstairs. I stayed with them occasionally and remember all of this so vividly.”

Rene asked me if my grandmother’s name was Florence MacDoughall. “I remember hearing she lived up there at one time,” she said. “So many memories and I’m trying to put them all together…This is great exercise for my brain!

“I was also thinking of the time you left your purse in the rest room on one of the bus trips, and so thankful when you went back it was still there,” she wrote. “Thanks for the memories.”

Rene does indeed have a good mind and I was surprised that she knew my grandmother’s name. As far as the lost pocketbook, here’s the story.

We were in St. Louis, Mo. at the Archway’s conference center-museum when I left my purse in the movies while watching a presentation on how the Arch, this modern miracle of architecture, was constructed. When I got back to the bus, I discovered no purse!

Luckily, with the offer of help from Jimmy Smith, who could run like the wind, we dashed back to the conference center — about a block away — where I retrieved my purse in the Lost and Found department, much to the relief of yours truly and to the amusement of my fellow senior citizen bus companions!

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


Jerry’s Journal: September 29, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remember these guys? Their football lineup appeared in “The Fultonian” — Good Old Fulton High School’s yearbook — the 1950 edition. Wow, that was 62 years ago!

Actually, it was 1947 when I was a freshman that I went to my first football game and I went all by myself. I’m not sure why; I guess I was just curious to see how the game was played. I loved basketball so I though football might be fun to watch, too.

Our footfall field at Recreation Park was about where the Pop Warner kids plays these days. Who remembers those old wooden bleachers there; “the grandstand” as they were called which, for many years stood tall and was a visible landmark from West Broadway.

I thought I might sit in the stands that day. But when I got there, a lot of my fellow students were lined up by a fence. So I stood, too, and depended on the “experts” around me to tell me how the game was going – because, except for touchdowns, I didn’t know a darn thing about football and didn’t want anyone to think I was “dumb.”

So I listened and learned and clapped and yelled when my friends did and cheered with the cheerleaders and booed with the crowd and got disgusted like they did when a flag was thrown and a bad call was made.

How ignorant was I of such things? Well, when someone said our team made “first down,” I thought they meant a touchdown. But when I heard something about a “second down,” I realized there was more to a touchdown than meets the eye.

I soon got the hang of it, though, at least the bare-bones of it. I found out that a team has to go ten yards to get a first down, that there were 11 players on the field for each team, that the guy handling the ball is the quarterback, and that there were four quarters and two halves in a game and at halftime the opposing bands took to the field and marched. (The following year I played clarinet in the high school band and was myself on the field at halftime!)

You can see that my football education came long before TVs Friday Night Lights were on the eleven o’clock news and I have among my possessions yearbooks from 1946 to 1951.

So, let’s go back to the 1947 and see what that Fultonian has to say about that football season: “The crowd is tense! Line up! Signal! Shift! Hike! The ball was snapped back to the carrier and the football season was underway.”

It goes on to say that “Later in the season Fulton High’s eleven romped over Oswego in the big game. The grandstand went wild.”  (After reading it, I decided the long ago author really didn’t know much more about football than I did!)

The 1946 yearbook also reported our football team soundly trounced Oswego. “The Red and Green banners were waving high and triumphantly after the final whistle was blown…The team played one of its best games of the season to defeat Oswego, 18-6.

 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

Jerry’s Journal: Sept. 15, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Mom stood up for me when I married Ed eleven years ago. As always, she was beautiful that day. She wore white slacks and her favorite red blazer. It suited her perfectly; she was a “red” kind of lady – feisty and colorful.

My mother’s name was Helen VanDeWater. She passed away Aug. 25 at the age of 94. She was sixteen when I was born. That means I had a mother for seventy-eight years. It was a privilege not many other people are blessed with. Oh, sure, we had a stormy mother-daughter relationship at times, but never did we not respect and love one another.

Now the memories set in. I remember her as a young woman in a Sealright blue cotton uniform, her picture in the newspaper with the company’s big shots selling war bonds during World War II, her going out the door on Saturday night all dressed up with a fancy hat on to party with my Dad who was as full of life as she was.

As a very pregnant mother waiting for the birth of my three siblings, Paul, Denis and David, spread over 22 years from the first to the last! Though apart by age and generation, we became one big happy family. Of course it wasn’t rosy all the time. Tell me any family story that’s not a bit rocky and I’d say it’s a lie.

In any case, my Mother was the glue that held us together through thick and thin. I must say, however, that in retrospect, and as brother Paul has pointed out, we in turn became the catalyst that kept her together through the pain and despair of losing loved ones and as she suffered major illnesses and surgeries, and into the aging process. That leaves us with no regrets.

Now she is gone. As her obituary said, she was witty, generous and beautiful. She was beautiful right up until the day she died. She also was quick-witted, you could never get ahead of her. She always had a comeback, sometimes with a sharp tongue, like it or not, because her mind went a mile a minute!

But she was fun as well. She had a twinkle in her bright blue eyes and an endearing smile. Though her antics were at times outlandish and her choice of stories and words were often on the naughty side, she made you laugh.

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


Jerry’s Journal: August 18, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

In my last column I wondered which Mangeot sister taught school and where.

The answer came from Class of ’51 Lunch Bunch member Millie (Davis) Swick who said Miss Helen Mangeot was her second grade teacher at Erie Street School and “was a very nice lady.”

In my July 21 column,  I wondered who the kids were in the picture that accompanied it. The answer came from Mike Riley who said the photo was taken at Fulton’s West Side Municipal Pool 45 to 48 years ago.

“I was the little kid in the front row flexing my muscles!” he said. “My brother Doug who was about five years old was behind me.”

A high diving board can be seen in the background of the picture. “My brother Rick got hurt on it,” Mike said. “And they took it down.”

He comes from a large family of six siblings: Sandy, Sally, John, Mike, Doug and Rick. “We had season passes and we lived at the pool,” he said.

He identified some of the other young people in the photo. Mike Merritt was the boy standing directly in front while the two tall kids in the back were Billy Kystiniak and Butch Southard. The group also included Johnny Sugar, Billy Witsik and Carrie Zarichny. “There was a huge amount of kids that used to hang out there,” Mike said.

The photo was made into a picture postcard, he recalled. The old Wayne’s Drug Store that used to be in downtown Fulton had a bunch of postcards of local interest like that and most likely when Wayne’s closed for good a lot of them got thrown out.

Mike is recently retired, is the father of three grown children, son Christopher and daughters Stephanie and Katy, and is grandpa to a little six-year old granddaughter who he “likes to take to the pool.” (Not our West Side municipal pool, of course, it no longer exists.)

Incidentally, Mike’s parents are John and Elaine Riley. Elaine worked at Montgomery Ward when I did in the 1970s and I sometimes gave her a ride to work. Small world; it was here in our hometown, when, in the Good Old Days, everybody seemed to know everybody else!

Who remembers Sharp’s Pond? I do! It was where I got my best sunburns! My Mom would say, “Jerry, it’s too hot out today. Don’t you go swimming. You’ll get sunburned.” Then off she’d go to work at Sealright and off I’d go the “The Pond.”

My mode of transportation to get there was walking the railroad tracks. The Pond was way out Emery Street and I lived on Porter Street way out on North Sixth Street, so it was not too close, but not too far away, either.

Sometimes I’d  go with friends but often alone. I’d walk over to North Seventh Street, also known as the Whitaker Road, and climb the incline to the railroad trestle and follow the tracks to the Oneida Street trestle (the one as you go up Crosby Hill), cross over it, keep going for a few hundred feet more, and there down below the tracks was Sharp’s Pond in all its glory!

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397


Jerry’s Journal: August 4, 201

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remembers drinking Switchel? Dick Cronk does. It’s a homemade, hot weather thirst-quencher he drank as a teenager when he worked at the Mangeot farm off Hannibal Street.

Dick is a classmate of mine from Good Old Fulton High’s Class of 1951. He had read my last column about local dairies and called me up to fill me in a little about the Mangeots.

There was Joe Mangeot, the farmer, and his maiden sisters Helen and Katherine (or Kathryn or Catherine? I don’t know the correct spelling), one of whom was a teacher at either Erie or Oak Street Schools. (If you know please let me know.) In any case, Dick said it was Helen who made the drink.

Chuck VanBuren worked there as well. He was only 13 or 14, Dick said. They’d bale hay and put it on a wagon with two teams of horses and a man by the name of Amos drove the teams. They’d take the bales to the barn, which was “way out back,” and put it on the conveyer to the hayloft. “The hayloft was hotter than hell!” Dick said. That’s when Switchel tasted so good.

He asked me if I remember “raw” milk which he also liked to drink, cold and by the glassful, and I said yes.

Dick cleaned the cow barn at Mangeots. He said Joe brought the milk to Triangle Dairy (the Stowell family farm) out in Granby to have it processed. That farm was in the triangle where Route 176 and the Gifford Road meet. That’s how it got its name.

Saturday mornings were fun, he said. Joe took him on their milk route and stopped at the South Fifth Street grocery store and bought a box of sugar cookies to eat with their cold milk. Some of the houses they delivered to they’d walk right in and put the bottles of milk in the refrigerator. Today, he remarked, “You can’t even find an unlocked door.”

Dick’s companion Marlene supplied us with the recipe for Switchel as follows: 2 quarts of water; 3/4 cup of sugar; 4 tablespoons vinegar; 1 teaspoon ginger. Mix, stir, and drink.

“It aint’t the best tasting stuff,” Dick said, “Not bad, though: Better than ice water.”

Gerry Garbus called out of the blue a few weeks ago just to say hi. I hadn’t talked to her in ages. She and I go back to our North Sixth Street days when we were young mothers.

My grandparents, Ralph and Edna McKinney, lived on the corner of North Sixth and Seward streets and her grandfather Rex Carvey lived kitty-corner. Gerry and her husband, Fred, rented an apartment there and I’d walk by pushing a baby carriage and we’d sit and chat.

Gerry has three sons, is a great-grandmother, and still lives “out in the sticks, halfway between” Fulton and Hannibal,” she said.

Her husband Fred has been deceased for 15 years. I first knew her as one of the Carvey girls with sisters Joyce, Judy and Joan.

Gerry (or Jerry spelled with a J — she answers to either) is a tad bit older than me, while Joyce (wife of the late Floyd Boynton) was in my high school class.

Next came Judy, who passed away a few years ago. Then Joan, the youngest and the newest to become a widow, was married to Bill Frawley. (Sorry Joan, he was a nice guy. Life is a bummer sometimes.) Anyway, Gerry sounded just as perky and interesting as always

Out of the blue, they come, those phone calls I get from hither and yond and a couple of months ago I received a call from a nice lady by the name of Jean Beals, someone I had heard about but really wasn’t acquainted with.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397


Jerry’s Journal: July 21, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Additions and corrections to my last column about dairies that no longer exist:

First, I need to correct the name of Leland Rogers who I mistakenly called Larry (and I knew better). I also found out through one of my informants (namely Bud Dyer) that in addition to Leland, Lorrie (Lorry?) and Natalie, there were three other siblings, Jaleen, Margaret and Jane of the Rogers Dairy family.

Also, upon attending our monthly meeting with the Class of 1951 Lunch Bunch, I was reminded there were at least three or four other dairies in our city that once delivered milk right to the door.

My sources of information (namely Mary O’Brien, Marlene McNamara, Mary West, Ellie Pryor, and others whose names I can’t come up with at the moment) said there was Mangeot’s Dairy, Sheldon’s Dairy, Ingamells’ Dairy and possibly a Miller’s Dairy.

I have no recall of Miller’s at all, but yes, I said, now that I think about it I do remember Mangeot’s.

They had a large spread of land off of Hannibal Street, actually right around the corner and across the street from where we turn into Tannery Lane where Ed and I live.

As for Sheldon’s Dairy, I am told it was out in Granby on the Lakeshore Road and that Brian Guyer worked there as a kid and that their cows were Guernseys so their milk was super creamy.

Ingamells’ dairy I faintly remember but had no particulars. Thus, per a suggestion from one of my “sources,” I called a fine gentleman by the name of Jim Ingamells to see what I could find out.

Yes, indeed, he said, there was an Ingamells’ Dairy and his father, Clyde, was the owner.

But, he didn’t have a farm or cows, Jim said. He bought the milk from a farmer and processed it for home delivery. That’s how a lot of the dairies did business, Jim said. They were processors and not farmers.

He also surprised me by saying that at one time there were 14 dairies delivering milk right here in town. A good many of them were milk processors like his dad had been. I thank Jim for the info.

Who remembers dinners and parties at the Knights of Columbus? That stately old building was on South First Street, where now resides a parking lot.

It was in the block between the old Quirk building, now Towpath Towers, and where city hall is today. You couldn’t miss it; it was adorned with a fancy wrought iron fence.

If you remember the dinners, then you probably also remember my brother-in-law, Bill Baldwin. He was the chef at the K of C for years. And as many of you know, Bill passed away a couple weeks ago.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397

Jerry’s Journal: July 7, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Who remembers getting their milk delivered right to the door? Who remembers the little milk box in the kitchen wall?

It had two doors; one opened into the kitchen, the other one opened to outside.

It was a neat concept: You put your empties on the shelf in between the doors and the milkman collected them when he put new bottles of milk on the handy shelf.

Then, and all you had to do was open the milk box door in the house to retrieve your fresh supply! (If you didn’t have a milk box in the house you probably had a free-standing one on the porch or stoop.)

Who remembers how the cream in the bottle of milk rose to the top? It could be mixed right in, or poured off and used for coffee or cooking, or drunk straight out of the glass bottle.

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Jerry’s Journal: June 23, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

Sorrow came in bunches and spread across our community the last couple of weeks with the passing of Ioan (pronounced Yo-an) “Jonesy” Jones, Harvey “Jay” Seymour Jr., Loretta “Laurie” Munger, John “Jack” Walsh and Maureen “Mo” Caprin.

I knew Maureen Caprin because of her long-time friendship with my sister, Denise Roth. Even in later years, the two of them together were like delightful children, texting one another any time of the day or night just to produce a laugh.

Heartbreakingly, it was only 18 months ago that Denise wrote a eulogy for Maureen’s mother and now she has the same sad task for her dearest friend.

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