Tonawanda News

January 4, 2014

TUCKER: This column writes itself

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Cleaning out a drawer stuffed with old Barbara’s Corner and Job Well Done columns, turned into a fun afternoon and evening of reading and remembering.

First the Job Well Done category:

Ingeborg Golde, truant officer for Tonawanda schools for many years, sent a handwritten thank you for the JWD column on her.

“One young woman on whose home I called frequently (chronic absentees) — she was probably the baby of the family — told me she always thought I was the school doctor until she saw in the paper that I was the truant officer!”, she wrote.

Sister Marcella Marie wrote a thank you after her JWD was published.

“The article was complete. I didn’t realize you were paying such strict attention at the interview.”

Rose Marie Sutherland wondered in her note following a JWD on her: “You have me wondering if you are Irish and kissed the Blarney Stone.”

So many women were chosen for the JWD column (only women, by the way) and so many are unforgettable: Peg Clukey, Mary Hefner, Sue Hough, Marlyne Arcara, Mary Jane Casey, Virginia Snyder, Sister Angelica and dozens more, wonderful, involved, dedicated and humble people who made a difference.

Barbara’s Corner

An early Corner article in the late 70s was full of reminiscences by a former Tonawanda resident, who on her visit after years away, wondered if Helen Meyers, Lorraine Schweitzer, Marion Joyce, Lila Wantz or Charlotte Bowden were still in town — “that old gang of mine,” she said.

A letter from Effie Hettman and Linda McGinn in the spring of 1980 concerned the condition of Roosevelt Avenue in Tonawanda. “Since Roosevelt is a main thoroughfare, we are concerned about its appearance. With the state driving tests on Roosevelt, many out of city residents, unaware of the Junior High School location, must view the mess as an unfavorable impression of our home town.”

In 1978 Loraine Jensen suggested the Urban Renewal Agency take a trip to Fairport to see what that small town put up after being without stores for years.

A humorous note from Cliff Holler, saying he was keeping a writeup in his “Try to Remember” file, brought a laugh.

A column on Lucille Main, Betty Haack, Betty Wheeler, Barbara Wein and a number of other fellow scout leaders, elicited a note from Dan Kane, managing editor, who wrote “Excellent column on scouting … lots of names. (Don’t quote me.)”

The Corner drew a lot of criticism over the years, one from the Town paramedics, another from the administration at the former Tonawanda Junior High after I wrote about the unruly conduct of students before and after school, the Tonawanda signal maintenance worker who was angry that I knocked the outrageous number of signals and stop signs in the city. (Still ranting on this today - 30 years later), the person who said I was dumber than the curb ... and many more.

On the other hand, Pat Schuster was thrilled that I was looking for darning yarn - she wrote that she was glad to hear she wasn’t the last sock-darning mom in all of America. “I still have the old wood sock darner my mom gave me when I got married.”

One of the notes to the Corner included a recipe for baking bread — long, involved and I must confess I never tried.The final line reads “Recipe from the kitchen and basement of Diane Krause.”

Robert Terry wrote a note supporting the use of sidewalk plows. (Wish they were still in operation.)

Fellow newsroom folks, Janet Bronschidle, Lynn Hemmings, Lynn Kerwin, Joyce Morris, Lew Jekovich, Lou Michel, Thom Storey and Ed Slowinski, would send ideas and suggestions for both the JWD and the Corner. I was forever grateful!

A picture of Theresa Sommers, Betty Saltarelli and Mary Cortelli and the story about their work at St. Francis of Assisi Parish and school was just one of the many stories on the terrific schools and families in the Twin Cities.

At the end of my first year of writing Barbara’s Column, I jokingly wrote that just one of the 52 columns elicited an “excellent” note from Dan Kane.

Harvey Hough, the News remarkable, lovable and brilliant publisher, wrote the following note: “Really, there were many more ‘excellent’ columns than the one marked that way. If that weren’t the case, we’d have revoked you license long ago. We look forward to many more.”

And so do I.

Happy New Year and remember: Don’t give up. Moses was once a basket case.

Contact Community News Editor Barbara Tucker at or 693-1000 ext. 4110.