Getting the second-most attention of the four mystery photos published recently was a post World War II photo of a float or hay wagon drawn by a team of horses, possibly with employees of Planter’s — a former fruit processing plant in Westfield — on the float. The team is being driven by Gene Felton, father of Dick Felton, who, with Vinnie Calarco, originally submitted the photo in 2004. The requested caption for the mystery photo was, “Do any of the readers recognize anyone?”
First to respond was Tony Baideme, observing the photo posted on the Facebook website called “Great Things About Westfield” or GTAW — site admin by Jason Beers. Baideme writes, “The guy standing up behind the driver is my Uncle Larry Baideme (drums) (of “Larry’s Cantina” fame), I don’t know the guy with the big hat, next to him is my cousin Sam Baideme (sax and clarinet), behind him is seated my father, Tony Baideme (with the fiddle and his tilted hat), the guy standing behind Sam I don’t know. The guy on stilts with the ‘Westfield Planters’ sign would be a younger Ben Putnam, who walked more parades on his stilts than anyone I ever knew.”
Tony Baideme next comments, “This is another example of what the people of Westfield did in support of our WW-II troops, which there were many from Westfield itself, and surrounding areas.”
Later, he continues his thoughts regarding the identification of the folks on the float, which, although he doesn’t specifically say it, appears to be one of his dad Tony Baideme’s bands or orchestras.
“You know, come to think of it, after studying the picture lots more, the guy with the big hat and the guy standing behind Sam Baideme might be a couple of the Marsala boys and the service man with the horn might be one of the Palermo boys. And I may have to correct myself about Mr. Putnam. That may be Oliver instead of Ben.”
Wayne Cardy replies to this last statement, “That was the kind of thing Ollie always did too, Tony…he was a clown for a long time… (like…real clown).”
As with last week’s HB Band Mystery Photo No. 1, if any readers have confirmations, disagreements, or further identifications, please contact Marybelle Beigh, Historian. Please see contact info at end of this article and thanks for the help.
And speaking of the HB Band Mystery Photo from last week, Julie Mathews McGill, a daughter of Alva “Mattie” Mathews, has provided some documented names for some of the band members. Prior to her input, a nephew of two McAllister men who both played standup bass in bands of the era of the HB photo stated emphatically that the bass-man in the photo is neither uncle. McGill writes that she “has the same photo…on the back, in my mother’s writing it says that the standup bass is Mike VanDette and the singer is Carmen?”
In another comment, she explains that “there was the Hal Barry Trio and the Hal Barry Orchestra.” This was in response to my asking what she meant about her dad playing under the Hal Barry name.
And Phyllis Newell phoned that the drummer’s name was Cliff Corbin. Thank you.
Marybelle Beigh is the current Public Historian for the Town and Village of Westfield. Her office is located at 3 East Main Street in Westfield, N.Y, 14787 — inside Parkview Ice Cream Parlor. Her scheduled office hours are Monday through Friday 9 to 11 a.m.; other hours by appointment.
Beigh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 326-2457 (office), 326-6171 (home) or 397-9254 (cell).
A post World War II photo of a horse team-drawn hay wagon float with employees of Planter’s.