I am often asked how and where I find the material for my weekly story and I am unable to give a cut and dried answer. Sometimes I find a bit of information and search for the details and a picture to go with it. This week I am going to give credit to several Westfield women for helping me.
Some time ago I came upon a picture of a group of older people, obviously a Presbyterian group as the Rev. Paul Denise was in the gathering. Then I recognized a young lady in an old time costume. It was Ree Evans, so I asked her what she remembered about the occasion. She recalled that she and the late Mrs. Marland Franklin had entertained a group of Presbyterian “Golden Ages” by singing favorite old hymns. She couldn’t remember much about it but she thought perhaps Kay Jones would have some information.
Sure enough, Kay had a copy of the picture on which her dear little mother-in-law had recorded the names of those attending but no date.
Then Ree thought perhaps Irene Colgrove might have some information and in her scrap book she had a clipping from The Westfield Republican inviting, “All members of the Presbyterian Church who are seventy years of age or older, are cordially invited to a ‘Golden Age’ party to be held in the Church parlors at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday evening, June 18th, 1953. This is sponsored by the Deaconesses and promises a good time to all eligible.” Another little clipping, probably from the church bulletin invited “those delightful people who are over seventy and still enjoy a good time.”
When I knew the date the rest was easy. The Westfield Republican of June 24, 1953 carried a report of the party. “At the Presbyterian Social Rooms last Friday evening, 30 men and women of the church who have reached that Golden Age spent a very enjoyable evening together with the entire Board of Deaconesses being present as hostesses.”
The program arranged by Carrie Young consisted of readings by Mrs. L.W. Swain, songs by Gail Fennell, Mrs. Fred Evans, Mrs. Marland Franklin and Sam Cummings, accompanied by Catherine Reid. Old fashioned music played by Clarence Rudd, piano, and Frank Wheeler, violin, was very much enjoyed.
Refreshments and visiting followed the program. The group demonstrated their appreciation with hearty applause for the Deaconesses. Impromptu speeches were made by Mrs. Oliver Jones and Roy Blowers and the guests departed with the question, “When can we meet again?”
I found among the honored guests many of my neighbors and friends of many years ago and thought, if they were required to have been 70 years of age 31 years ago to be eligible to attend the party, each of them would have been born more than 100 years ago this present time.
Of course, the younger folks in the picture were either Deaconesses or some of the talented entertainers for the occasion.
Thanks to the people who helped me find the story to go with this interesting picture.
DIBS AND DABS: The other day as I was chatting with Ben Schwartz about his recent retirement from the Westfield Board of Public Utilities I asked him how long he had served on the Board and he admitted to 26 or 27 years. He quoted an old professor who often said, “Everything has an end except a sausage and that has two ends.” I think we owe Ben a big “Thank-you” for his many years of service to this community.
In our conversation Ben said he would like to pay tribute to a gentleman and associate who gave many years of dedicated service to this community as trustee, mayor and Utility Board member. He was referring to Westfield’s Citizen Emeritus, Ralph G. Keopka. We join Ben in saying “Thank-you” to Ralph.
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).
Photo courtesy Patterson Library
Golden Agers feted by Presbyterians 31 year ago were, seated left to right: Mrs. Clarence Rudd; Mr. Frank Foote; Emma Jones; Elizabeth Jillson; Anna Keopka; Grace Pierpont; Mr. and Mrs. Merriam; Mr. and Mrs. J.L. Carey; Mrs. John Gollnitz; Mrs. Arneman; Mrs. Ames; Mrs. Ball; Anna Flygare; Belle Cochrane; Mrs. Haskell; Sarah Wilson; Mr. Blowers. Standing left to right: Mrs. Marland Franklin; Mrs. Fred Evans; Clarence Rudd; Frank Wheeler; Sam Cummings; Mrs. Betts; Irene Colgrove; Mrs. Swain; Mrs. Bole; Mrs. Ed Raynor; Mrs. Tom Seawright; Mrs. John Leask; Jan Baker; Flora Benson; Mary Johnston; Frances Farrar; Mrs. Clarence Barber; Mrs. Floyd Riley; Mrs. Roy Bentley; Mrs. Denise; Mrs. Otto Schultz; Mrs. Herbert Wilson; Carrie Young; Nell McGarrell; Frs. Frank Lawrence; Mrs. Winnie Reynolds; Rev. Denise.