My father loved to putter around. That’s what a lot of dads did in the ’50s. Not all dads. Those a bit more affluent than mine played golf in their free time, but that wasn’t a pastime most working class men of that era could afford. My dad was definitely a working class guy, a step up from the childhood he spent in poverty. He was tall and lanky with jet black hair and steel blue Irish eyes. His large, strong hands were rough and saw many a fight in his youth, but marriage and fatherhood domesticated him. Except for an occasional beer at Jake’s, he gave up carousing and spent his time puttering around the house.
He puttered in the cellar, developing photographs in a darkroom he built for himself. I have albums filled with photos of family and friends, and of me going from cute kid through those awkward teen years. He puttered in the garage, where he had a table saw and tools for woodworking. My cousin Bob still has the rocking horse my dad made. I have a little stool in the shape of a worm. He puttered in our kitchen and living rooms, carving animals from Ivory soap bars, or hammering pictures into thin sheets of copper using a nail set. He crocheted afghans, and purses from hemp twine for all of my friends.
Many people have canes he carved from tree branches and decorated with all sorts of designs, like rope or snake skin. Ancient Celtic faces adorn a collection of them I keep in an umbrella stand near my desk, watching over me as I write. A Phillies player and a Civil War soldier keep them company. My favorite cane bears the names of all the battles he was part of in the Pacific.
For a while, he made dollhouse furniture and miniature paintings. He painted large canvasses, too. It wasn’t unusual to find the two of us working at easels in our kitchen after dinner. If he wasn’t working on one of his projects, we were playing chess or poker. Sometimes craps.
They say that girls eventually turn into their mothers, and I often hear my mother’s words come out of my mouth, but I think I’m more like my dad. How could I not be? He was fun. He was creative and curious and never bored. If you visit my house today, you will likely find multiple projects underway. I putter in the kitchen, in the basement, and on the deck. With the kids gone, I can putter in three empty rooms upstairs. I even putter at my husband’s shop, where I use his computers to scan my father’s films and photos. I love looking at the images of so many people I’ve loved, captured long ago, organized lovingly by my mother in a wooden album he made, the black paper crumbling in my hands.
My children putter now, too, using the tools he left behind. Flat pencils, the smell of sawdust and turpentine, and the high pitched buzz of a table saw remind me of him. He’s still with me in so many ways. Thanks Dad, for letting me hang around as you puttered the hours away. I haven’t been bored a day in my life.
This is the weekend to celebrate dads. Cook his favorite meal, buy him a mug or a video game, and don’t miss the opportunity to tell him what a great guy he is and all the things you love about him. Happy Father’s Day.
Summer fun donations
The Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club, along with the Pittston Kiwanis and the Pittston Rotary, are teaming up with the Greater Pittston YMCA to bring extra summer fun to children unable to participate in traditional summer programming, sports and recreational activities. They are asking for new or gently used sporting and recreational supplies to be donated for re-disbursement into the community. The goal is to provide families with supplies for their children to participate in at-home games and activities since many are unable to partake in neighborhood play dates, in team sports or even camps this summer.
A survey for families is available to indicate the ages and interests that their children have for different supplies and can be found on the Facebook event page titled Summer of Play. The groups and the Greater Pittston YMCA will match families up with the supplies donated.
Think of it as a play on toy drives during the Christmas holidays. They are looking for used equipment in good condition, or residents can make a donation of new supplies. The group is planning for a drive through drop-off at the YMCA at the Cron Street entrance from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 20, and Sunday, June 21. Anyone unable to make this time can reach out to any of the groups to set a drop-off time or, if needed, a volunteer will collect items.
Monetary donation also can be made via the Wyoming Area Kiwanis Paypal page with a note “Summer Play” to firstname.lastname@example.org and those donations will be used to buy equipment and supplies.
“We are grateful for this exciting collaboration. Our goal is providing 100 pieces of equipment, games and sporting supplies out to our kids. They deserve to have a playful experience at home and understand during this time, not all families are able to go out and purchase some of these supplies,” said Janelle Drach, executive director of the Greater Pittston YMCA.
A sample of items needed includes jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, any type of sports ball, lawn games, water hose games, kid pools, bikes, helmets, kickballs, trikes, gardening supplies and water balloons. Supplies will be sent out or picked up by families prior the weekend of June 26.
“Kiwanis International’s mission statement is about children and how to create projects that can benefit them,” said Kiwanian Tiffany Callaio. “Wyoming Area and Pittston Area Kiwanis clubs’ partnership with the YMCA and Pittston Rotary of helping children venture outdoors and have fun during the pandemic crisis is a great example of the essences of Kiwanis — working together and creating great projects.”
Kiwanis is still seeking new members. Kiwanis is dedicated to helping children and communities. New member fees waved until Sept. 30.
Wyoming, West Wyoming, and Exeter residents are eligible for free food from the Al Beech Food Pantry from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays at Church of Christ Uniting, 786 W. Market St., Kingston. Proof of income is not required, but proof of residence is. This is drive through only. Remain in your car and food will be placed in your trunk. Everyone is welcome.
During the yellow phase of reopening, the Wyoming Free Library will remain closed to the public. However, the library is providing curbside pickup. During the closure, patrons can call to see if the library has a particular item. The item will be checked out to the patron if they have a valid Luzerne County Library System Card, and the library materials can be picked up at a designated time at a designated area outside the library. The library encourages that the patron wear a mask to pick up an item and wait in their car if someone else is at the curbside table. To obtain a library card, visit osterhout.info/using-the-library/library-card-application/. Staff will be available from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday to answer questions by telephone only or to schedule a curbside pickup. The library is not accepting book donations at this time. For information, visit www.wyomingfreelibrary.com or the library’s Facebook page.
Wyoming Monument’s July 4 celebration cancelled
The Wyoming Commemorative Association announced the cancellation of the July 4 observance at the Wyoming Monument due to COVID-19. The only other time the celebration was canceled in 142 years was after the Agnes Flood of 1972.
n Wyoming Borough reminds residents no political signs or advertisements may be posted on tree lawns. They may be placed in your yard.
n Yard waste will be picked up the first and third Saturday through November. The following are considered yard waste: grass clippings, branches, leaves and weeds. Dirt is not yard waste. Waste must be placed in reusable containers or 30-gallon biodegradable paper bags. Branches must be tied in 4-foot lengths. If not properly bagged or tied, it may be left. If trash, recycling or yard waste is not picked up on the scheduled day, report it immediately to J.P. Mascaro at 1-800-243-7575 so they can dispatch workers to your residence. Also inform the borough so it can be reported to the Mascaro site manager.
n Residents can pay bills to the borough with credit cards online at wyomingpa.org. Sanitation fee of $250 is extended until July 15. After that, late fee is $300. Senior discount is $240. Vacant properties are not exempt from fees. Rental property owners are responsible, not the tenant. No cash will be accepted. Check or money order to Wyoming Borough Sanitation must be mailed or placed in the secure box outside the entrance of the building.
n Face period for property taxes is extended to Aug. 18.
WA kindergarten registration
Janet Serino, Wyoming Area School District superintendent, announced registration of students who will be attending kindergarten in the 2020-21 school year will be conducted online.
Parents can go to the Wyoming Area web page, www.wyomingarea.org, and follow the links for registration.
Parents should take note of these important facts: Children must be 5 by Aug. 31, 2020 to enter kindergarten, inclusive and without exception. A birth certificate as evidence of age must be provided upon registration. Proof of residence also must be presented. These include deed, signed lease agreement or property tax bill, plus a current utility bill for the residence, check stub for wages, public assistance, or Social Security.
State law requires children attempting to enroll must have proper immunization. Therefore, immunization records must be presented.
Children entering kindergarten must have the following vaccines: Four doses of tetanus, with one dose on or after the fourth birthday, and four doses of diphtheria with one dose on or after the fourth birthday (usually combined and given as DPT, DT, or Td); Three doses of polio; Two doses of measles, two doses of mumps and one dose of rubella (usually as MMR); Three doses of hepatitis B; Two doses of varicella (chickenpox) or evidence of immunity.
Children entering kindergarten at this time will receive required screenings.
For information, contact the Department of Student Registration at the Wyoming Area High School at 570-655-2836, ext. 2334.
First United Presbyterian Church news
First United Presbyterian Church is not conducting public services but services are being broadcast live on Facebook at 11 a.m. Sundays.
Also, Zoom Bible study and prayer time are held Wednesdays. Call 570-609-5410 for details or go to presbywp.org.
Greater Pittston Regional Ambulance has mailed membership packets to West Wyoming residents. For information, please contact the ambulance at 570-654-1202.
West Wyoming trash bills
West Wyoming sanitation bills are due. All residents must pay this bill. The cost is $300. You can pay by credit card at www.westwyoming.org. Mastercard and Discover will be accepted.
n Waste Management will resume a limited bulk pickup of one item per week per household. Bulk stickers are $35 for each item. To purchase a sticker, call 570-654-3001, ext. 2. Bulk items include small furniture, carpet, mattress or appliance.
n Council has extended the due date for the second quarter borough sewer payments to June 30.
n Refuse stickers are available at $130 for seniors and $180 for all other residents until June 30. Penalty phase begins July 1, with all delinquent accounts paying $250. Since the borough building is closed, send a check or money order payable to Exeter Borough to Exeter Borough Refuse, 1101 Wyoming Ave., Exeter, PA 18643, or drop off payment in the payment box next to the borough building and a refuse sticker will be mailed to you.