A classmate and her husband recently celebrated one of those impressive wedding anniversaries with appropriate festivities. Of all the well-wishes and congratulations they received, I am pretty sure the one that touched them most was a tribute made by their daughter to express her and her brother’s appreciation for their parents. I have seen similar thoughts before, but I particularly liked how these were put together, to honor Jim and Joan North of Dubois:


Blessed are the parents who can hold onto their children while letting them go;


who teach that a kind act will be remembered longer than an easy word;


who really believe that prayer changes things;


whose faith in the future sweetens the present;


whose sense of humor is alive and well;


who refuse to compare their children to others;


who laugh, for it is the music of the world;


who are teachable, for understanding brings love;


Blessed are the parents who love each other,


For love is the greatest gift of all.


*     *     *


With all the talk about the fire department lately, I fell to musing about the department as it was when I was a child, and how it has changed.


Even as a Star Hose representative was speaking to borough officials about how to support fire protection, some of us could see the framed art behind the head table in the Borough Council meeting room. One of the art works depicts the former Borough Building, which also housed fire protection.


That building occupied space where we now park our cars so as to shop at the Jubilee or do some banking.


When I had a store and studio in that area, it was in a building approximately where the present post office is. Across an alley from it was the borough building. When there was a fire, the trucks charged out from the part toward me.


Obviously the social aspects of Star Hose could not be accommodated in that building. There had to be dinners, parties and dances. What kind of a volunteer fire department would not have a place for social activities and fun?


In those days dances were a common pastime. There were quite a few bands or combos in the area, so it was not difficult to arrange for live music at dances. Yes, there were some “platter parties,” particularly for teenagers, and there were juke boxes at several diners and small clubs and restaurants, but there were frequent dances at halls where there was live music.


Back then the fire department had the “firemen’s hall,” or the Star Hose Social Hall. I believe that building is the one now used for storage, next to Mick’s. Part of the time between its social hall and its storage uses, it was a Nazarene Church.


One of the nice things about that location for a firemen’s social hall, for at least part of that period, was that there was a Tastee Freeze nearby. It those days it was a conventional Tastee Freeze place. This was like having a Sugar Bowl (where the new teen center is) next to the movie theater.


In around the same time frame as the construction of the new high school, a new hire hall was built, behind Park Filling, across Maple Street from the Square. The original part had a meeting area, and that was where the borough council met, for a good many years.


There was some room for fire trucks, but as fire truck design changed and apparatus required more room, the department needed more trucks and a rescue vehicle. There was an addition to the fire hall.


And then, longer ago than I would have believed, the large addition was constructed. It was designed to be a main venue for large gatherings in the community. Big dinners and dances could be held there. It would work well for receptions, or funeral dinners, or lots of other things.


The very active auxiliary could cook and serve dinners. There was ample room for bazaars.


Back then the other possibilities were the Moose ballroom, which is quite nice (an R.V. Hall design, isn’t it?) but without the necessary capacity for the larger gatherings; and the “vets’.”


At the time of the arson fire, the Veterans Memorial Home had a modest space for dinners, assemblies and social events. The sponsoring organizations were planning to build on. The replacement structure turned out to be considerably larger, and it can accommodate large gatherings. The kitchen is splendid, and the recent dinner theater event demonstrated that the social hall is versatile, and has good lighting and acoustics.


I was surprised to hear that Star Hose is at least toying with the idea of shrinking or partially repurposing its big social hall, but the explanation makes sense.


And, as Star Hose leaders tell us, the fire department is not so much a social organization as it was in the good old days.




E-mail martini@zitomedia.net. Call 814.642.7552