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January 21, 2013

Local greetings and farewells took place in January 1978

The Daily Star

---- — That early 1970s song by Melanie, “I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates (Brand New Key),” might have been played at a Sidney wedding. There was a change in local state Supreme Court justices. The world said goodbye to a Beetle while Delaware County said hello to an ex-Beatle. The local history book closed for a landmark downtown Oneonta business, itself a former bookstore. These were just a few of the events going on in our region in January 1978.

Romance on the ice

About 100 patrons who were filling the rink at the Hillcrest Roller Rink in Sidney on New Year’s Eve were in for a surprise. A Walton couple, Dick Currey and Phyllis Sines, were married on roller skates, it was reported Thursday, Jan. 5.

Currey said the place for this was perfect, as he met Sines here four years ago.

“We decided to do it here because it’s something we both like to do,” he said.

Rink floor manager Francis Hawver said it was the first wedding in the rink’s half-century history. Walton Justice Lawrence Armstrong performed the brief ceremony.

RIP, Judge Terry

Some sad news came from Walton, with the passing of state Supreme Court Justice Walter L. Terry III on Saturday, Jan. 14.

In 1951, Terry was named Delaware County judge and became a state Supreme Court justice in 1972.

Surrogate Court Judge Robert A. Harlem announced his intention to seek the nomination for Supreme Court justice  Thursday, Jan. 26.

Harlem, then a resident of Goodyear Lake, was elected that November to a 14-year term, covering a 10-county area comprising the Sixth Judicial District.

Goodbye Beetle, hello Beatle

On Friday, Jan. 20, it was reported that the last Volkswagen Beetle sedan rolled off the assembly line in West Germany. It marked the end of building 19.2 million Beetle sedans since the late 1940s, known as the “People’s Car.”

From Delhi on that same day, it was reported that ex-Beatle John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono, were becoming Delaware County dairy farmers. They bought 1,400 to 1,500 acres in four parcels in the towns of Delhi, Franklin and Stamford. One site was to serve as a vacation home while the rest was for long-term investments.

George B. Morgan of Walton, an agricultural investment specialist, arranged the sales. He described the Lennons as “nice people,” not fond of fanfare, but “very sharp businesspeople.”

Closing the page on a local bookstore

Brackett’s, a landmark downtown Oneonta store, was set to close soon, it was announced Thursday, Jan. 26. This ended a 45-year stretch, concluding at 142 Main St.

In 1933, Caleb Brackett purchased the Corner Book Store, which was then found at the eastern corner of Main and Broad streets, eventually demolished in Oneonta’s urban renewal endeavors of the 1970s. The location is now part of the Kim K. Muller Plaza. Mr. Brackett renamed the store Brackett’s Book Store. It had been previously operated by Edwin R. Moore. Even earlier, it was known as Saunders’ Corner Book Store.

Brackett moved the business from that corner after several years a bit further west to 190 Main St. for a short time, and then in 1964 moved again to what is today’s 142 Main St. That storefront had been previously occupied by offices of New York State Electric & Gas, as they had recently moved to their present Country Club Road location.

In 1973, Brackett sold the business to Peter and John David Van Woert. It continued to do business under the same name until 1977, when the Van Woerts changed it to Brackett’s Office Supply.

Brackett’s was set to close by the end of March 1978.

This weekend: We’ll meet Oneonta’s Arabian Knights of the 1930s.

City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area during the Depression and before. His Monday columns address local history after the Depression. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at His website is His columns can be found at