Backtracking: In Our Times: ‘Tiny’ was a local news theme during July 1985

FileTiny Tim sings a few verses of ‘Tiptoe Through The Tulips’ at the Great American Circus in Cooperstown on July 21, 1985.

Local happenings during the month of July 1985 were either “Tiny,” or anything but tiny.

NO TINY DESIGNATION

Middlefield is a small hamlet in Otsego County, but during July, news came about a nomination from a well-known national agency.

As reported in The Daily Star of July 3, “Two Middlefield sites have been nominated for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places and should be listed in the register this month.

“The two sites in Middlefield include the entire hamlet of 28 properties at the intersection of the Cooperstown Road and Long Patent Road, and a separate federal style brick house near the hamlet. Sites can be nominated as districts or single properties.”

Among the structures within the nomination were a well-preserved Greek Revival style frame store building, two Federal style residences used as taverns or inns, three Greek Revival style residences and a small Carpenter Gothic cottage.

“‘In its early days this town was a prosperous, self-contained community,’ said Rodney Johnson, owner of a home in the district. Johnson estimates that his house, known as Pinney Tavern, was built in 1795.

“‘At about the turn of the century (1900) the region was simply bypassed,’ he said. ‘Everything became frozen in time, preserved.’”

“According to Neil Larson of the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the site applications have already been reviewed by the state office and has been subjected to a final review by the federal office.”

A NOT-SO-TINY MARCH FOR THE LAURENS BAND

The mood was exciting in Laurens during July 1985. Star readers of July 25 found out, “The All-American, marching, twirling spirit of the school color guard and marching band infects this tiny community as it prepares to send 66 of its high-stepping youngsters to Canton, Ohio.”

“After months of practice and fund raising, the Laurens High School Color Guard and Marching Band leaves on Aug. 2 … for the Football Hall of Fame Parade the following day.

“The trip to Canton began as a bare bones outing that included three cost-efficient nights on Ohio gymnasium floors and a 13-hour trip on bouncy school bus seats.

“But band director Shane Winters challenged the village and surrounding communities to donate enough money for a first-class Midwestern adventure.

“More than $12,000 later, the Laurens youngsters have enough money to pay for commercial buses, three nights in the comfort of a Canton motel and good food.”

As for the practice sessions, Winters said, “‘We’re out there three nights a week. The farmers watch us go by. People complain that we don’t march down their street. This town is really popping now.’”

‘TINY TIM’ TIPTOED IN COOPERSTOWN

As reported in The Star of July 22, “In the cramped four-by-six foot living room of his trailer at the Great American Circus Sunday in Cooperstown, Tiny Tim plucked a bottle of Jeremiah Weed liqueur from among the scotch and peach brandy bottles on the fold-down table. Scattered on the floor were boxes, bags, papers, a watermelon and a bottle of pink hair dye. On the couch lay a book on traveling performers, entitled ‘Troupe.’”

This was a long way away for Tiny Tim, when from on the stage of the Tonight Show he married “Miss Vicki” in December 1969, and was on a good run at the time with the hit television comedy show, “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In.”

“He began to raise the bottle, and then decided to drink from a shot glass instead as he lamented about his first wife, Miss Vicki, who divorced him in 1977, and his latest wife, Miss Jan, who left him Saturday.”

Tiny Tim gained fame with his ukulele and trademark song, “Tiptoe Through The Tulips.”

“‘This is a great break,’ Tim said of his circus stint, which started in March. ‘Everyone says it was a come-down, but Mr. Hill (the owner of the circus) has opened up the door for big singers who need to pay off the bills or the ex-wives. This job here pays the bills, and I have got a million to pay. If I get out of this with two months rent in advance, I will be OK.’”

This weekend: As the Great Depression lingered locally in 1935, Sidney was booming.

Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area before 1950. His Tuesday columns address local history 1950 and later. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at simmark@stny.rr.com. His website is www.oneontahistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/.

Ask Mark... 

Have you ever had a question about a history-making event or a prominent person in our area and didn't know where to find the answer? Well, we've got an expert who might be able to help you. Historian Mark Simonson has spent many years chronicling major local happenings, and he's ready and willing to dive into The Daily Star archives for answers, which will appear in this newspaper and online at www.thedailystar.com.

Write to him at "Ask Mark," The Daily Star, 102 Chestnut St., Oneonta, NY 13820 or email him at simmark@stny.rr.com

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