Tonawanda News

June 1, 2013

TUCKER: Bogus trip to Philippines

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Thursday was a kind of crazy day at the News, considering that someone was able to get my email addresses and sent many people a note saying that I’m on “an impromptu tour in the Philippines and misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a short term loan from you ($2,300). this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as soon as I return.”

How about that for a scam? Thanks to all who called or emailed to see if I’m still here. Anyone who knows me knows that if I carry $5 in my wallet, I consider myself rich. The bright side was that I heard from old friends, one of whom actually was going to send the money. She stopped because as a retired teacher, she noted all the gramatical mistakes and knew I hadn’t written the email.

Actually, last week I was away, but only to Baltimore for our grandson Brennan’s high school graduation which took place in the Baltimore cathedral.

The cathedral is narrow and very long and seats about 1500 people (300 of which were graduates.) My son, daughter and I sat near the back (and were fortunate to even get a seat as many stood.) The event started with a Mass and although we could see the altar, it was a great distance away. The woman sitting next to me asked if we had an iPhone. My daughter had hers and the woman suggested she go online to the school’s website and click on “graduation.” Lo and behold, the school had set up cameras near the altar and broadcast the whole ceremony. Because the acoustics were so perfect in the cathedral, we could hear everything and watch it on iPhones. My daughter texted her brothers here and they, too watched it. When Brennan received his diploma, my daughter-in-law here took a photo and then emailed it to us in the church.

How do they do that? I think I’m a century behind!


Branko Vezmar stopped by the News to reminisce about Goose Island. Born in 1921, Branko clearly recalled the “girls” at the brothels because as a youngster, he and some friends would go to the Mohican Market to shop for them.

“They’d give us a tip of a dime,” he said, “and if they didn’t, we’d take a dime from the change.”

The ladies, with names such as Tiger Lil, Indian Rose and Cockeyed Annie, had a saying: “Save a nickel, save a dime, when you have a dollar, come up and see me sometime.”

Branko told about the time the canal was filled in.

“Robert Gair factory had paper waste which Morningstar picked up and dumped in to help fill the old canal. That waste floated on the water and we’d jump on the ‘islands’ and hope no one else jumped on the same one or we’d get our feet wet,” he laughed.

Branko said he attended a national American Legion convention in New York City a number of years ago and when a group from here, wearing their Legion caps with Tonawanda on them, stopped in a bar for a drink, a person asked whether there’s still Goose Island in Tonawanda. “Had a good time there,” the man told the Legion group.


Congratulations to Rev. Charles Hobbs who just last week celebrated his 62nd  year of ordination. The celebration included ringing an old church bell and flying a flag with 13 stars.


Ken Diegleman called to give the phone number of the Vets Helping Vets organization located at 1280 Main St., Buffalo. The number is 898-0110. Thanks, Ken.


If you want to help a deserving organization that means a great deal to the Tonawandas, consider making a donation to the Historical Society of the Tonawandas, just starting its annual appeal.

The most pressing need is for storage for items housed in Central School, now sold. In addition, the museum’s electrical system and lavatory facility need upgrading.

Please consider helping out.


If you like barbershop harmony, you’ll have a great time at the Barbershop Harmony Show, “With a Little Help from My Friends” coming up June 15 at the Riviera Theatre. Sponsored by the Exchange Club of the Tonawandas, (which puts its efforts into raising money for the prevention of child abuse and other child-related activities) the show will feature three barbershop choruses, six barbershop quartets including one from Niagara Falls, Ont. and a performance at the Mighty Wurlitzer organ. All this for only $15. If you’d like to go, call John at 998-4497.

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email