This week in local history

First Posted: 1/26/2015

1963 — A poem by Marie Hendrycy, titled “Sparrows,” which was published in The Abington Journal, read:

Why deck the cardinal so gay

While dusty sparrows go in gray?

They both can sing with equal voice

Yet as to dress they have no choice.

Why give to one a lovely face

And dress her up in silken lace?

While some must like the sparrows go

Dressed in homely calico.

I wish that I could think this through

But there are countless things to do

For I am one of those who go

Habited in calico.

1969 — Clarks Summit’s first marijuana arrest was made, sparking local debate on the subject of drug usage.

The case concluded with a 16-year-old boy being placed on probation until he became 18. The youth was taken from his home in the borough by Clarks Summit and state police after they found what was described as a “small quantity” of marijuana in his bedroom.

An editorial in The Abington Journal summed up the situation, “There is something about Clarks Summit’s first marijuana arrest that perplexes the community. Actually, it isn’t the arrest that does this but the realization that the arguments and conflicting claims about drugs have been brought as close to home as it ever will come. The case itself probably follows the pattern of first narcotics arrests for any place outside a metropolitan area. The police get a tip, close in and the publicity follows. After that, there comes a community engaged in self-examination, made infinitely more difficult by the confusion and ignorance that accompanies the drug issue.”

1977 — When district schools closed due to a lack of fuel and winter weather descended on the area, Abington Heights Middle School students kept busy by constructing a snow fort near the school grounds, which was, The Abington Journal described, “good recreation area during our recent bout with the winter’s snow and cold.”

1980 — A photo showed 1974 Abington Heights High School graduate Ken Pierce, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Pierce, Clarks Green, shaking hands with President Jimmy Carter during a meeting at the White House.

Pierce, at the time, worked as a legislative assistant to Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy and lived in Washington with his wife, the former Joan Clauss, daughter of Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Clauss, of Olyphant. It was during the development of a rural administration policy for small communities that he had the opportunity to meet Carter.

1981 — Our Lady of the Snows Church in Clarks Summit celebrated the safe return of 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, one of whom was Olyphant native Michael Metrinko.

During the 14-month ordeal, the church displayed a sign which read, “Pray for the Hostages and Peace.” When the hostages were released, President Ronald Reagan declared that Thursday a “Day of Thanksgiving” and a new message was displayed in front of the church, quoting from Psalm 111 in the Bible, “I will give thanks to the Lord. He has delivered his people.”

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