Valley Viewpoints

Missing Margaret

Jerry Hogan Kasperek devoted her Jan. 25 “Jerry’s Journal” column to Margaret Beckwith.

Jerry’s thoughts and memories captured what anyone who had known Margaret knew to be true. We got to know Margaret as members of the Fulton Athletic Boosters Club many years ago and were fortunate enough to develop a friendship and an association with this truly remarkable woman.

How do you describe Margaret? There aren’t enough adjectives to do her justice but here are a few: loving, caring, sensitive, emotional, detailed, consistent, dedicated, determined and strong.

Knowing Margaret, you have to begin with the love she had for her husband, sons, their wives, and especially her grandchildren. here was nothing that she wouldn’t do for them.

All of us are “suppose” to love our children and grandchildren, but in Margaret’s case, there was something extra special about their relationships.

As we learned over time, Margaret was a good athlete in her day, so it was natural that her boys and grandchildren might have some athletic ability. They were all involved in sports, which led to her being involved in the Fulton Athletic Booster Club. She could be seen at all of their events and if they weren’t playing, watching other children play or working in the concession stand.

The concession stand was her baby, making sure everything was in order and operating at its full potential. She was the last person to leave at the end of an event.

Margaret was the club’s treasurer for many years and, she was a strong advocate for recognizing athletes, coaches and fans by organizing award ceremonies. She took pride in everything she did always adding a special touch to make the event extra special.

No detail was overlooked.

This was the base that carried through to her caring for everyone she met, especially kids. Margaret genuinely cared more for others than herself.

Whenever we had health issues, Margaret was the first to call to see if we needed anything, which was followed by her visits, delicious strawberry salad and later meatballs and sauce. Soon thereafter, Margaret would come bearing gifts. We both have been the recipients of Red Raider jackets.

When Margaret became ill, we would either call or stop in to see her. Before we could ask her how she was doing, Margaret would ask us if we were okay and how our kids were doing. She always deflected anything to do with her situation by saying, “I’m okay.”

There seemed to be someone with her whenever we called or stopped by. Usually friends during the day. The last time we stopped by family members were with her.

Margaret’s condition had seriously worsened from our previous visit.

Margaret appeared to be sleeping when we got there with her favorite movie, The Student Prince, playing on the TV.

When her son Bill went up to her and said “the Westons are here,” she responded and indicated that she wanted us to come near.

Even though she was so weak, beautiful Margaret asked if we wanted some water (thinking of others again). She also let it be known that she wanted to squeeze our hand.

We kissed her forehead before we left, knowing in our hearts that would probably be the last time we could.

Needless to say, Margaret Beckwith made a tremendous impression on the both of us. We loved her dearly and deeply miss her. We are all better off having known her.

Bob & Sandy Weston

Fulton

More on Margaret

As most of you, upon hearing of Margaret Beckwith’s passing, I was stricken by a deep sense of lose.

The obituary, from The Valley News, was well written, gave brief highlights of Margaret’s life, accomplishments and loving family members.

Fortunately, on the same page Jerry’s Journal column was dedicated to memories of Margaret’s earlier life — she shared many of these memories with us written from her unique position as lifelong friend and peer to Margaret.

Somehow I feel Jerry could have expounded boundless paragraphs beyond the wonderful recollections she shared with us in her column. Hopefully in future columns she will do so.

Thank you Jerry for your touching memories of Margaret’s early years. Your memories of Margaret only further reinforce all the great aspects of Margaret’s life of which we have all come to know.

The Margaret we knew was a spark plug of vitality and positivity, ever encouraging, prodding to excellence, smiling, laughing and always lending a concerning ear to all in our close knit community.

Nothing could cheer you up more than a “Hi, how are you doing? How are the kids” and her then listening intently as you described their achievements of life’s goals during and after college. She always took a motherly pride in their achievements as if they were her own children.

Little did she know, they all were her own. She adopted them all from her very first words. The famous Margaret “Hug” cemented that relationship for the rest of their lives.

At football games, wrestling matches, volleyball, soccer, concerts, academic and athletic gatherings, all were Margaret’s purvey. Margaret was always there extending her positive influence and encouragement.

I feel it is no accident in the picture accompanying Jerry’s column showed a volleyball team in which Margaret (Smith) Beckwith is “Top Row, Center,” an early recognition of her life to follow.

That is the position she has taken with all of us who were blessed enough to know her. “Top Row, Center.”

Two and a half generations of Fultonians have been blessed by her presence in our community. To Rita and I, a friend has left us, to my children an honorary aunt has left them and to my grandchildren, a loving grandma has gone to heaven.

Our commonality is we were all lucky enough to be touched by her and at the same time to be greatly saddened by our mutual lose. We are all part of her enduring legacy. We are all the better for having known her.

To George, Christine, Bill and Sue, to Megan,Coutney, Austin Callie and Evan, thank you for sharing your beautiful mother and grandma with us all. As you grieve so do we all. To all who have been blessed by Margaret, let us do her greater honor with the lives she has touched. God Bless this tender soul.

Bogardus/Tanner Family

Fulton

 Also missing Margaret

Editor’s note: This letter was written as a thank-you to Jerry Kasparek, who wrote the column about Margaret Beckwith.

Your Friend, Margaret Beckwith, “Aunt Marg” was my Aunt.

I would like to thank you so much for the article you wrote this Saturday. You described Marg’s qualities so clearly and to the point, that I had tears welling up in my eyes.

My father Henry was born in 1917 and his father died in 1921-23 in White Plains.  Elizabeth moved to Fulton in the mid-20s (her siblings were married to  the Tetros.)

Anyway, Grandma married Mr. White, and that’s why Fred White, Joe White, Edie Fiorini and Marg’s last name were all White!.

Anyway by the time Marg was 10 or so, my Dad was 20 or 30 and working at Sealright helping the family who lived on South First. Well, knowing my father during those years, he would come home after a night out and raise hell with his mother and dance with his impressionable sister, Marg.

Thank you again for your recognition of your friend and I enjoy reading your contributions every week.

Hank Latino

Fulton

Oswego school board handles appointment, retirements, BOCES board appointee

Submitted by the Oswego school district

The Oswego school board had its regular meeting Jan. 22.

Two Oswego High School students, Emily King and Cassandra Hondro, were recognized for their selection as the two lone high school musicians in New York state to participate in the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band in San Antonio.

They thanked the board members and superintendent for their support of a strong music program. They also talked about the tremendous life experience that was provided by the selection to this elite marching band.

In regular action the board approved an amended policy that would allow a non-sitting board member to represent the Oswego City School District on the BOCES Board of Education.

Under the “Instruction” area, two field trips were approved. The Oswego girls’ lacrosse team will travel to Orlando April 10-15. The board indicated that it authorized the trip, but that transportation would be provided by the girls’ lacrosse team.

The Paradox yearbook staff was approved to attend a conference at Columbia University in New York City March 18-23.

There was some concern over the supervision of students and discussion relating to the permission form that was being used for the trip. Oswego High School Principal Brian Hartwell indicated he would conduct research and report back to the Superintendent of Schools Ben Halsey.

Under “Personnel” items, two retirements were accepted by the board as veteran elementary teacher Mary Jane Battista will retire effective on March 1 and custodian George Walpole retired Dec. 28.

A leave of absence was granted for one year to Oswego High School English teacher Isaac Kain while Amy Bonoffski was appointed as a regular substitute for the remainder of the school year at the Fitzhugh Park Elementary School.

Chelsea Jones was approved as a half-time special education teacher through June 30 while both Amanda Sprague and Elizabeth Heckert were approved as temporary school psychologist interns for the 2014-15 school year.

The support team of the Oswego High School musical was approved, as was Paula McKenney-Myers as Leighton chorus director.

Gary Caprin Jr. was approved for a leave of absence.

Probationary appointments were made for Katherine Nalle as part-time library clerk and registered professional nurse Deborah Brookes-Bauer.

Permanent appoints included Riley Elementary custodian Diane Mitchelson, Education Center senior typist Annette Geers and Transportation account clerk-typist Michele Carter.

Temporary appointments included part-time teacher aides Shannon Harter and Amanda Peterson.

Under “Finance,” transfers of funds for music equipment repairs and supplies as well as travel expenses for a district administrator and payment of the Town of Minetto sewer and water bills were OKed.

Other resolutions passed included an agreement between Tyler Technologies and the district for training on routing and planning software, acceptance of a $3,500 donation from Walmart for the holiday assistance program, a three-year contract renewal for Verizon and the payment to King and King Architects for previous work conducted in relation to The Buc School.

In his “Superintendent’s Report,” Halsey said the budget process is moving forward and talked about the state report regarding “fiscal stress” relating to the Oswego school district.

The next regular school board meeting will be after the committee meetings Wednesday, Feb. 12.

The committee meetings are open to the public. Those meetings, covering personnel, finance and instruction begin at 5 p.m. in the Oswego High School Anthony J. Murabito Media Center.

SUNY Oswego honors December grads

Several local residents completed their baccalaureate studies at SUNY Oswego in December and were recognized Dec. 14 at graduation:

Brittany M. Hilton, Cato (childhood education)

Ivan E. Castro, Central Square (psychology, cum laude)

Jane M. Deforge, Central Square (childhood education)

Britnie M. West, Constantia (teaching English to speakers of other languages)

Nicholas A. Coyne, Fulton (history)

Chelsea V. Hans, Fulton (wellness management)

Brandon Hood, Fulton (wellness management, magna cum laude)

Christina L. Liddell, Fulton (human development, magna cum laude)

Donald C. O’Brien, Fulton (philosophy-psychology)

Michael S. Prime, Fulton (psychology)

Marissa N. St. Onge, Fulton (psychology)

Daisy L. Vasquez, Fulton (global and international studies)

Erin L. Wilcox, Fulton (public justice)

Cynthia L. DeWolf, Hannibal (business administration)

Donald A. Tyson, Hastings (English)

Shelby L. Rusaw, Mexico (childhood education)

Aliza J. Smith, Mexico (history)

Dustin H. Blodgett, Orwell (wellness management)

Kyle J. Dolan, Pennellville (broadcasting, mass communication)

Zachary Pentland, Phoenix (information science)

Jessica L. Schauer, Phoenix (accounting)

Brooke A. Radley, Pulaski (psychology)

Kelly Brodeur, Richland (graphic design, cum laude)

Holly A. Greenfield, Sandy Creek (adolescence education)

Joseph J. Ostrom, Sterling (art, cum laude)

Shay N. Sheldon, West Monroe (childhood education)

Granby students learn about bucket-filling

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Students at Granby Elementary School in Fulton have made friends with a BFF — a Bucket Filling Fairy.

A BFF and a colorful cast of characters made a stop at the school last week to perform the character-building play “Have You Filled a Bucket Today.”

The play is based on Carol McCloud’s award-winning book “Have You Filled a Bucket Today,” which introduces young readers to the concepts of bucket-filling and bucket-dipping.

The play, like the book, is a modern twist to the golden rule — “Treat others the way you want to be treated” — using the idea of invisible buckets to reinforce how saying and doing nice things creates happiness and “fills” a person’s bucket.

Doing or saying hurtful things can “dip” into a person’s bucket and leave a person feeling sad.

The play’s characters acted out a variety of skits to illustrate the difference between bucket filling and bucket dipping at school, at home, in cyberspace and on the school bus.

Through humor and audience interaction with a rhyming and high-energy BFF, the students became empowered to fill buckets and pay kindness and respect forward to others.

Cold weather comes in handy for Oswego County BOCES students

Submitted by Oswego County BOCES

Oswego County BOCES Exceptional Education teacher Mary Ryan has been making the most out of the cold weather by conducting science experiments with her students.

After learning about the physical properties of water, and seeing a video on Reddit.com on how hot water freezes faster than cold water, Ryan’s class tested the theory.

When boiling water is tossed in the air, it creates a larger surface area, which then turns the water to cool droplets.

In extremely cold temperatures, these droplets freeze, and turn the boiling water into a cloud of ice crystals midair.

Sure enough, when the boiling water was tossed into the air, the water turned instantly into what looked like mist.

Students were able to see for themselves how hot water changes from a liquid to a solid as soon as it comes into contact with cold air.

Students have also been learning about air pressure, and conducted their own experiment using a Styrofoam cup.

When a Styrofoam cup is filled with water, and an index card is placed over the rim, the cup can be flipped upside down without water flowing out.

This is because the air pressure inside the cup keeps the index card in place.

Once the index card is removed, a force is felt as the air pushes the water from the cup.

Oswego hires new transportation director

A new Oswego City School District Transportation Supervisor was appointed during the special Jan. 27 meeting of the board of education.

Johnnie Pierce will commence his duties on March 3 with a salary of $74,000.

Currently he is serving as the Transportation Supervisor of the Genesee Valley Central School District and previously held transportation positions at Lyme and Morristown Central School Districts.

He also worked for Laidlaw Transportation in servicing the Indian River Central School District.

Pierce is a U.S. Army veteran who was stationed at Fort Drum where he was a heavy wheeled vehicle mechanic.

He replaced William Myer who left the position at the end of 2013.

The board also decided intramurals will return to the five elementary schools in the district as funding was approved for intramural supervisors.

The programs will consist of intramurals two days per week.

The board also appointed an audit committee for the remainder of the current school year.

The Oswego school board finance committee members, Kathleen Allen, John Dunsmoor and Samuel Tripp, will serve as the audit committee.

Also approved during the special meeting was the appointment of Dennis Pawlikowski as a modified assistant wrestling coach and the contract for an AmeriCorps member in the amount of $845 for Frederick Leighton Elementary School.

The next meeting for the board of education will be on Wednesday, Feb. 12, at 5 p.m. for the committee meetings.

This session will be conducted in the Oswego High School Anthony J. Murabito Media Center and is an opportunity for community feedback for resolutions that could be placed on the Feb. 25 regular meeting agenda.

Tickets available for St. Luke “Bundle of Bucks” raffle

Tickets for the 10th annual St. Luke “Bundle of Bucks” Charity Raffle are on sale and now is the time to buy one to be part of the upcoming “Early Bird” drawing.

Everyone who purchases a “Bundle of Bucks” charity raffle ticket before Feb. 14 is entered in the “Early Bird” drawing when five – $100 prize winners will be selected from current raffle ticket holders.

“Bundle of Bucks” Raffle cash prizes totaling $25,000 will be paid out when the 1,000 tickets are sold by the time of the drawing on May 31.

If you already have your raffle ticket applications, send them in today. Raffle ticket applications are also available by calling St. Luke Health Services at 342-3166.

Ticket applications are online and can be downloaded at stlukehs.com. Or stop in at St. Luke Health Services, St. Francis Commons and Bishop’s Commons in Oswego or Michaud Health Services in Fulton and purchase tickets directly.

The entry fee for the raffle is $50 per ticket; only 1,000 tickets will be sold. The raffle features 15 cash prizes to be awarded with a top prize of $10,000.

Every raffle ticket is eligible for all of the cash prize drawings. Tickets can be purchased individually or consider purchasing a “group ticket” with family members, co-workers or friends.

Proceeds from the “Bundle of Bucks” Raffle benefit the St. Luke–John Foster Burden Fund, which provides resources for programs to help those served by the affiliate nonprofit community-based organizations comprising The St. Luke Family of Caring (St. Luke Health Services, Bishop’s Commons Enriched Living Residence, Michaud Residential Health Services and St. Francis Commons Assisted Living Residence).

Each raffle ticket admits two adults to the “Bundle of Bucks” Raffle Drawing Party from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 31 at the Elks Lodge in Oswego. The raffle drawing event features free food, beverages, live entertainment, games and prize drawings. You must be 18 years or older to participate.

You do not have to be present at the raffle drawing to win. For more information, call 342-3166.

Hodgepodge, by Roy Hodge

John and Mary

Just in case you were wondering, John was the most popular male baby’s name 100 years ago, in 1914.

Also in the top 10 were William, James, Robert, Joseph, George, Charles, Edward, Frank and Walter.

One hundred years ago, Mary topped the list as the top female baby name followed by Helen, Dorothy, Margaret, Ruth, Anna, Mildred, Elizabeth, Frances and Marie.

As expected, that has changed a lot during the past 100 years. While most of those names are still around, only two remain among the most popular boys’ names.

The most popular names for baby boys 100 years later are Liam, Noah, Ethan, Mason, Arden, Elijah, David, Jacob, Jackson and Lucas. During the past 100 years, John has slipped from first to 39th, and William is now the 11th most popular boys’ name.

The most popular girls’ names in 2014 are Olivia, Emma, Ava, Sophia, Mae, Isabella, Amelia, Charlotte, Lily and Ella.  The only female baby name from 1914s top 10 included among the 2014 top 40 names is Anna at 36.

I was curious to see what names may have been popular when I was going to elementary school in the 40s. According to the Social Security website, the most popular boys’ names during that period were James, Robert and John – not too different from 1914 when those names were third, fourth and first.

Other familiar 40’s names were William, Richard, David, Charles, Thomas, Michael and Ronald.

Mary was still the most favored baby girls’ name during the 1940s, followed by Linda, Barbara, Patricia, Carol, Sandra, Nancy, Sharon, Judith and Susan.

Come to think of it, I did have girlfriends named Barbara and Patricia, and two of my girl cousins were Carol and Sandra.

My own name, LeRoy, was further down on the 40s list at number 89. It was spelled with a small r and most likely pronounced differently than my mother’s preference. The nickname I have always preferred, Roy, was at number 43.

As for the lowest of the low during the 40s: For the boys, Fredrick, Jonathan,  Kent, Wendell and Bennie were at the bottom – and on the girls’ side, Stella, Rosie, Patty, Veronica and Michele.

I discovered that some of my canine friends during those years had made the popular human names list – Jake, Fritz and Rudy. I haven’t found Bruno yet.

Or Is It a Sit-down?

I found this among a collection of columns I have written: Hodgepodge, March 4, 1980:

America has a hang-up . . . or is it a sit-down?

We seem to be hung up with, as the sophisticated French say – la derriere; or in crude Americanese – the fanny.

Let’s get to the bottom of this.

Television is full of rearview action.  Charlie’s Angels probably started it; Underalls commercials followed close behind, and how about those jeans with their famous back pocket?

Baby’s bottoms are not exempt with another popular commercial constantly pointing out which is the driest.

The rear-end exposure syndrome, known to those in the know as “mooning,” reared its behind close to home last fall as some Hannibal cheerleaders were caught in the act.  A similar problem with a busload of Buffalo area soccer players was reported recently.

Last week, a Moline, Ill. secretary sought posterity for her posterior as she attempted to take a photograph while sitting on her company’s new copying equipment. Appropriately enough, she was canned.

Sports figures are guilty, too. A great football or basketball play is often acknowledged by a teammate with a friendly pat – and not on the back.

It’s time for a change. We must all get behind the revolution. No more waiting for the bottom to drop out of the market; no more come from behind wins in sports, or betting your bottom dollar; no more rear admirals or rump roasts, and Fanny Farmer will just have to change her name.

That’s the bottom line.

It’s February

February, as the second month of the year, is the shortest – it has 28 days – 29 in leap year.

There are two accepted pronunciations of the month, which are considered standard and correct. February may be more often pronounced Febuary, as in January and Febuary, but the seemingly preferred pronunciation is Feb-ru-ary.

There are several important days worth observing, in some cases celebrating, in February.

Candlemas Day, on Feb. 2, is a feast day commemorating the presentation of Christ in the temple.  Feb. 2 is also observed as Groundhog Day.

The accepted belief is that if a groundhog emerges from his burrow on this day and sees his shadow, there will be six more weeks of winter.

Feb. 12 is Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, Feb. 22 is George Washington’s birthday, and Presidents Day (officially observed as Washington’s birthday, on the third Monday of the month since 1971) is popularly recognized as honoring Washington and Lincoln. The day is also sometimes observed as a celebration of the lives of all U.S. presidents.

Feb. 14 is St. Valentine’s Day – a day for the exchange of tokens of affection.

Well-known persons born in February include Lisa Marie Presley, Farrah Fawcett, Tom Smothers, Hank Aaron, Natalie Cole, Garth Brooks, Robert Griffin III, Bill Russell, Florence Henderson, Michael Jordan, Vanna White, Sidney Poitier, Charles Barkley, Steven Jobs, Elizabeth Taylor and celebrating every four years on Feb. 29 – Dinah Shore and Jimmy Dorsey.

When I was in elementary school, students thought February was a great month and that Abraham Lincoln and George Washington were our greatest presidents because we had both of their birthdays off from school during the short month of February.

Happy February.

. . . Roy Hodge

Your hometown. Your news.