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April 1, 2013

Future city historian kept family busy for Easter and April 1958

Easter weekend was finally sunny and pleasant after a late wintry weather stretch. “Satchmo” Armstrong came to play at Hartwick College. Local traffic issues were debated and a fourth-grade teacher of 46 years reflected on her career in Oneonta. These were just some of the local happenings in our area during April 1958.

“Old Sol beamed yesterday. So did Easter shoppers and the merchants,” reported The Oneonta Star of Saturday, April 5. “Everyone was radiant. It was not only Good Friday, it was a wonderful day.

“The warmth and brightness of yesterday, Thursday and preceding days made up for a lot of snowed-in drabness.”

Weatherwise, Saturday was pretty nice, too. The second annual WDOS Easter Egg Hunt was held that morning at the Sixth Ward Booster Club Playground. I’m sure my older brother Bob, then 5, wanted to go, and Dad might’ve taken him. Mom was probably sleeping in the maternity ward at A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital, after I was ushered into the “real world” during the pre-dawn hours. Husbands generally weren’t “birthing coaches” in those days, so Dad and my grandparents likely kept my antsy brother busy.

Satchmo plays Hartwick College

Dad loved Big Band music, and something tells me he would’ve probably enjoyed going to see Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong when he appeared at Hartwick College on Thursday, April 17. Between work and probably less-than-full-night sleeps at the Simonson household, courtesy of you know who, Dad couldn’t.

Armstrong played at what was then the Hartwick Fieldhouse, a wooden structure built after World War II. There was a dinner before the concert, and Armstrong was given a citation for his good-will work, or what was called “patriotic service in intercultural education toward a better understanding of the American way of life.”

The trumpet-blowing ambassador said he’d like to go to Russia to play.

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