I thought it was time that I wrote another "Do you remember?" column, since people are always asking me why I don't write about this or that.
In July, I wrote about "Smitty," and several people asked why I did not mention his No. 1 hired man, Edgar "Speedy" Millis, zooming around town on his grey Ford 8N tractor. Consider him mentioned, and let me further note that when he passed away several years after Smitty, his fellow patrons of Carl's Grill took up a collection and furnished him with a handsome headstone featuring the tractor and his ever-present smoking pipe carved on it. It may be seen on his final resting place in section four of Weedsport Rural Cemetery. Who can recall as a kid standing on the sidewalk in front of O.J. Kusche's blacksmith shop and marveling at the smith at work?
We have been doing some renovation work at the Old Brutus Historical Society, and I wonder who will remember that after the Cayuga Chief newspaper left the building, it was owned by Jack Holihan as a TV repair shop (can you imagine getting one repaired today?). Mrs. Holihan, who had been the Brutus town clerk for many years and whose office was in her home on West Brutus Street, then used the office that is now the historian's as the town clerk's office. Speaking of the town's office, who remembers that where the town office building now stands was the town highway garage, which was a repurposed building, formerly the Abram Walrath Steam Bent Wood Works. It manufactured silo staves, sleigh runners, chair parts and other steam-bent wooden parts. The building featured a huge brick chimney to accommodate the large boiler needed to make steam for the process. Just beyond that building was a large house that Olive St. John purchased and converted to her first restaurant.
WEEDSPORT — There will be football this year in Weedsport, and it will look a little differe…
Much has been said about the conversion of Weedsport to eight-man football. I, for one, am glad they did this to maintain Weedsport's football identity instead of having a merged team, which does not. This is not the first time Weedsport has played eight-man football, and as a matter of fact, when I was in school we, along with the rest of the Cayuga County league, played six-man ball very successfully. Who recalls the Weedsport school band playing as a pep band during the games and performing at halftime? I fully expect to be sitting with fellow alumnus Dave Fults and long-retired faculty member Keith Davis on the top row at the 50-yard line, as we have for more years than I like to recall. Our class ran the concession stand at times at the games, and one of the things we sold was Ma's Cola. Does anyone remember drinking a Ma's Cola?
Speaking of Ma's Cola, it was also sold by O'Hara's Restaurant, which was the last place that I know of where you could got a lemon-lime phosphate. Most people who read this know that I have a 1930 Model A Ford car that still requires a "grease job," which modern cars do not. Joe Yurko complains that it takes a whole tube of grease when I bring it in for its annual service. Who recalls having to change spark plugs, ignition points and other car parts regularly to keep them running decently? Oftentimes we would grease or otherwise maintain our own vehicles with the help of Fancher Follett's open service pit at his Cities Service Station, where the Pit Stop is now. The pit was outdoors with a simple protective chain around it, and after business hours he didn't mind if we straddled the pit to wire up a muffler or some such needed repair. The school bus garage had a similar pit on a much larger scale to service the buses. Speaking of which, who remembers the Weedsport school buses being painted green and white?
Using a bit of editorial license, I'd like to thank everyone who turned out for our program last month on the opening of the Robert Scarry Jr. Erie Canal Resource Center at the museum. We particularly would like to thank the contingent who came up from the Moravia area and who had been friends, students and co-workers of Mr. Scarry. He would have been so pleased. We sincerely apologize to those who could not be seated and had to stand. Please come in during regular hours for a private showing. After some time, our website, oldbrutushistorical.org, is now correct — check that, or Facebook (facebook.com/oldbrutushistoricalsociety), to see what we are up to.