Every six months I like to open up the email bag and share some of the many comments I receive from the readers of this column. And it has been a busy six months!
My column of Jan. 30 ("Paper Boys") brought a lot of old timers out of the woodwork remembering their own days of pounding the early-morning pavement delivering The Daily Star. One in particular I liked came from Joe3549.
"You know, Big Chuck, I am a lot older than you but I not only remember vividly my days in the 1940s delivering the paper in Oneonta's East End, but I also remember exactly how to do the "newspaper fold" you described. I guess it is just like riding a bike. You never forget how to do it!"
Jaredmacillip posted online that he "had 130 houses on his route." And Jeremy Insetta posted from North Carolina: "I remember doing my route in Oneonta with my brother. I remember the smiles from all the customers and having a wonderful time with my brother all those years ago."
I knew my Feb. 27 column ("Bresee's") would elicit a lot of memories of one of Oneonta's great, old landmarks. A favorite came online from Rachel House Westcott:
"My great-grandmother used to take me to the Health Bar after church on Sundays for a hot fudge sundae and a ride on the mechanical horse. What memories."
On March 12, I chose to honor the memory of Arlene Murphy ("National Women's Month"), a longtime presence on the Oneonta social and business scene. Many remembered her (and her shoe shop) with great fondness. At the Daily Star Online I found this warm note signed Joseph:
"This article brought tears to my eyes. Arlene Murphy taught me the value of hard work, saving your pennies and how to learn to love. She was my Grandma and my very good friend. I will miss her."
My April 23 column ("World War II Pilots Trained in Sidney") brought a lot of nice comments. Ninety-one-year-old Bob Felske, one of our area's true aviation pioneers, was the focus of the article.
Janette French wrote: "Great article! I am a member of the Civil Air Patrol in Florida and was a cadet in New York in the 1950s. Keep flying, Bob, and enjoying life."
Another email, signed simply Cub Cadet, read: "Hey, Bob. I've got a J-3 at Sidney if you want to go for a spin again!" Now, I don't know what the heck a "J-3" is, but I can bet you that Bob hurried down to the Sidney airport to see what it was for himself!
The most responses I received was from the one of May 21 ("Safety Patrol"). WRmama77 posted: "My daughter Brianna went on this trip and said it was a trip to remember!"
Karen Miner shared this note: "My granddaughter Molly went on this trip. When she got back she told Pa about how she cried at the (Vietnam) Wall. She is 11 and didn't know why she cried. I told her because it was from the stories she had heard from him (he was in Vietnam). The trip was a hit! Your article made me almost feel as if I actually was there too."
I must admit, a reader named Barbara took me to task for a phrase I used in that column. "Medal of Honor winner." Barbara correctly reminded me "that the Medal of Honor is not won, it is awarded. It is not a contest."
Of course, Barbara is right. Point well taken.
And my most recent column ("Scotland") got a lot of locals thinking about this wonderful land across the Atlantic. Marty Bacon emailed me from Chicago:
"Your column brought back a lot of memories of my honeymoon thirty years ago to Scotland with my bride Patty. Sadly, she is gone now but the memory of her and that lovely land will stay with me forever."
Gerri Rogg wrote: "Love this one, Chuck! Scotland is one of my favorite places, especially Edinburgh. Keep the stories coming." And another one, from Hayen41, asked: "Regarding Scotland, the real question is this. Is Cameron a Celtic or Ranger fan?"
Hmmmm. I don't know. I'll ask him when we meet for our monthly pub get-together next week,
So, if you see something in one of my columns that grabs your attention or pries open an old memory, please drop me an email. I'd love to hear from you.
I'll catch you in two ...
"Big Chuck" D'Imperio can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.m. on WDOS-AM 730 in Oneonta, and also on Thursday nights from 7-9 p.m. on WSRK-FM 103.9 for his "Oldies Jukebox Show." You can find "Big Chuck" on Facebook under Upstate New York Books. He invites you to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/bigchuck.