Pen Pals for 63 Years  
Thursday, April 24, 2003

So I've Heard Column

Barbara A. (Hucksam) Cobb of Killdeer Island, Webster, mentioned 1904 and remembered 1940, when she was in the 4th grade, tied the times together, and kept her story current when we talked last week.
Mrs. Cobb's time line shuttles from a discovery by Ruth (Anderton) Koprowski of Southbridge, who recently came across a Webster High School commencement program for 1904 and sent it to me. It had been kept by the late Harriet Elizabeth Kisro, a member of the class.
Mrs. Cobb, a retired banker, read my report and keyed to the name Marion Bernice Craig, one of the 1904 graduates. She was Barbara Hucksam's teacher in 1940 at the former School Street Elementary School, now the site of fire station number 2. The late Miss Craig lived on Elm Street, near the Henry Hucksam family.
Barbara was in the 4th grade when she made the acquaintance of Miss Craig's niece, a 5th grader named Sylvia. "Her family lived in Rhode Island at the time and she spent a school vacation here," Mrs. Cobb recalled.
Barbara and Sylvia developed a friendship and ultimately became pen pals. They've been writing to one another for what is now a remarkable 63 years. Sylvia Rensch lives St. Louis.
A couple of the elected seats on the Webster Finance Committee will be open to write-in or sticker candidates at the May 5 town election. This follows because incumbents Deborah Keefe and Diane Mandile are leaving the panel.
While a handful of write-ins might indicate interest in the office, possibly leading to an appointment, candidates will have to get a minimum of 50 votes to claim one of the offices, according to Town Clerk Regina S. Bugan. This follows because nomination papers must be endorsed by at least 50 voters to qualify for a town ballot.
Make it my opinion, but the Webster finance board is an oxymoron of sorts: Five panelists are appointed by the Board of Selectmen, five are named by the Town Moderator, and five are elected. There's a move to reduce the numbers to 3-3-3.
If Lorraine Daniels is in the kitchen and there's space on the griddle, you might get a Mickey Mouse caricature when you order pancakes in Sandi's Restaurant.
My wife got one last Saturday with ears hanging over the plate. Ms. Daniels regularly turns batter into M.M. like flat cakes. "It's all free hand," she says. Mark and Joann Fontanella run the downtown Webster eatery.
Some of the kids that grew up in Quinebaug during the 1940s are on Jimmy Hetherman's case, admits the retired Webster Parks Department director.
"That's all right, I'm full grown and can take a good natured ribbing." It seems I sliced his Quinebaug gang recollections in half last month in reporting on Mr. Hetherman's juvenile adventures.
Those mentioned--the Mangan, Carroll, Wajer, and Guerin kids--related to a particular incident, says Big Jim. "You skipped Henry 'Butchy' Zajac, John and Jim Tryba, Leo Dusseault, and Mary Carroll and Ruby Farley." This should quiet claims that Mr. Hetherman made 1940s Quinebaug smaller than it really was.
Betty Lou Yancik of Upper Perryville, Dudley, has observed a "crane like beauty" in or about the French River at different times in recent years.
Ms. Yancik says over the fence banter brought a discovery. "I'm told you wrote a newspaper article about this magnificent fowl and its mate."
I tried to locate the piece, but with decades of clips in 3-month packets, I couldn't "resurrect" the piece, as Ms. Yancik suggests. Still, I recall mention of the Perryville crane, now nicknamed "Shopoo." Its wanderings were from a marsh like area off Jezierski Road in Thompson, not far from Perryville as the crane flies, and it had been paired.
The Jezierski Road marsh had a pond like quality when I drove by Friday. Sanctuary boxes spring out of the water but I didn't spot any long legged birds.
Francis B
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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