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Thursday, March 15, 2001
So I've Heard Column

Graphic designer Chad Pepin and Sterling Real Estate manager Carla Manzi, with adjoining offices in the realty company's 154 Thompson Road building, have developed an historical website.
OldeWebster.com is up and running, according to Ms. Manzi, editor. The plan is to ultimately develop a coffee table book for the internet, according to Mr. Pepin, art director and owner of indigrafix . OldeWebster will be a "nostalgia site," says the editor. It will include loads of old photographs, editorial data, a message board, and a chat room or something similar, inviting contributions about old-time Webster and vicinity.
I've known Carla and Chad for years because I made their acquaintance when they were kids. Ms. Manzi developed her journalism skills as a school correspondent when I edited a town weekly and Mr. Pepin was a next door neighbor, the kid who was always drawing pictures, when I lived on Webster's Negus Street.
While I contributed some historical material to the Manzi-Pepin effort, I haven't any voice or stake in the project. My involvement was simply giving a hand to a couple of good people. Besides, Chad repaired my computer in kind.
Talking about websites, Webster-Dudley-Oxford Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Robert T. Craver reports that the Chamber's new website is drawing quite a bit of interest.
Jodi Beckett, financial manager for Webster's Cranston Print Works Co., is building the website, according to Mr. Craver. An inquiry and response format is in the works.
Old milk bottles remain a collectible, according to John E. Benkowski, owner of Maxine's Antiques, 12 West Main St., Dudley.
Mr. Benkowski has a good-sized display of quart milk bottles in his store, so I inquired Saturday when we stood together in a utility bills line at the G 1 Variety Store on Main Street, Webster. "I sold a rare one recently for $220," said Mr. Benkowski. "Unfortunately, I had to pay $200 to get it."
Friend Jimmy Manzi has come up with a couple of 1920s menus for Hoan Chee Chinese Restaurant and Martin's Lunch. Both were in downtown Webster.
"Kiki (Edward S. Sr.) Kunkel bought the Chinese restaurant and opened the Forest Club there," said Manzi. "Martin's was on South Main Street, where the Citgo gasoline station is now."
Entrees at Hoan Chee were under a dollar. Chop suey was 35 cents, chicken chow main was 50 cents, and fried boneless chicken was 90 cents, with a full range of offerings at every nickel in between. Eddie Wu was the chef, according to Manzi.
Martin's was a family place, Manzi said. "You remember (Police Officer) Tommy Martin. It was his family." Sandwiches, plain or toasted, were 10 cents and 15 cents. Breakfast prices were 20 cents to 30 cents, including coffee. The lunch feature, a fried egg sandwich, a slice of pie and coffee, was 25 cents.
Prices reflect the Great Depression, when things were tough. Generation X'rs might find it difficult to comprehend, but restaurants counted profits in pennies at a time when few people could afford to eat out.
Rita Stefaniak of Tolland, Conn., was in the Chester C. Corbin Public Library reviewing 1890s street lists when I happened along on a recent afternoon.
She's the wife of Webster native Michael Stefaniak Jr. Well-known Websterite Victor Stefaniak is her husband's uncle, she said. Mrs. Stefaniak, associated with a Northeastern Connecticut geneological society, is tracing the French-Canadian migration to this region. There's no explaining her interest, said the native of West Virginia.
"It will probably take me the rest of my life," she chuckled.
Tommy Haggerty, son of Kyle and Theresa (Starosta) Haggerty of Charlton, celebrated his 10th birthday last Wednesday learning how to shop for food.
Schools were closed because of a snowstorm, so Tommy accompanied
-Courtesy Of
Telegram & Gazette

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