2015-04-29 / In This Place: Stories from the News Archives by Trish Adams

In This Place

Stories of Us from the Catskill Mountain News
May Days in Motion by Trish Adams

May Day — traditionally celebrated on May 1, seems to have moved around a bit in the actual coronations of May Queens and such. At women’s colleges it was a matter of great prestige to be named Queen of the May, but the ceremony was usually held later in the month. I also was surprised to find many mentions of Arbor Day celebrations in May. Although it started out in the middle of April, it was officially moved to the last Friday in April at some point, but never mind that — I found plenty of Arbor Day stories drifting into May as well — probably so moved by the impracticality of planting trees in the mountains in April!

April 15, 1910 Make Arbor Day a Practical One The Arbor Day Annual of the State Department of Education takes a new form this year. Instead of giving suggestions for programs and quotations which may be used on that day, the commissioner has authorized the publication of a list of books on nature study for schools and libraries, which has been three years in preparation by Miss Elva Bascom, who was an assistant in the State Library. In her introduction, Miss Bascom has this to say: “The chief purpose of Arbor day is, of course, to promote the planting and care of trees and shrubs and the beautifying of school grounds. It is to be hoped that the teacher will not overlook the importance of this function of the day, and that they will make sure that the celebration is practical as well as ceremonial. It is worth while to have songs and recitations and tree planting ceremonies on Arbor day, but it is of quite as much moment to make sure that the trees planted live and thrive. In a larger sense, Arbor day should awaken a genuine interest in all nature study and should arouse in teachers and pupils an intelligent observation of the close relation of all things in nature. To this end this useful list of book may well find a permanent place in both school and public libraries.”


From the May 29, 1956 edition. From the May 29, 1956 edition. July 19, 1929 May-Day Customs As far back as the Medieval period in England, Chaucer says, it was customary to go out early on the morning of the first of May, “to fetch the flowers fresh.” Hawthorne branches were carried home about sunset amid much merry-making. The name, the May, was given to the hawthorne, and the ceremony was called “the bringing home the May.” A relic of the Roman custom when on May day the goddess Flora was especially honored is seen in the selection of a beautiful village maid to be crowned as queen of the May.

May 2, 1941 May Day Is Start of Child Health Week Yesterday was May day and the school children of Shanda- ken township are trying to make their elders conscious that it was also the start of a Child Health week. With the collaboration of the stores in the various villages, the schools are arranging exhibits of essential foods containing the important vitamins necessary for the continued growth and abounding vitality that should be the birthright of every American boy and girl. Part of each exhibit will be posters made by the schools and next Wednesday, May 9, these will be taken to the regular meeting of the Shandaken health center held at the home of Mrs. William Weyman of Phoenicia, where they will be judged by a committee of three and a prize awarded. Parents and grown-ups are asked to “stop and look” at their local stores’ exhibits, not only to appreciate the time and thought teachers and children have given to the display, but also to gain some valuable pointers on the basic foods our stores have to offer, and perhaps to “thank their lucky stars and stripes that they live in the U. S. A.,” where such a diet is the rule, rather than the exception.— Big Indian Cor.

May 2, 1941 Girl Scouts Hike to Secure May Day Basket Flowers Thirteen members of the Girl Scout troop and leaders went on a hike Saturday to gather flowers for May day baskets. Everyone had a good time on the long, strenuous walk and returned home with baskets full of a variety of spring flowers.

April 27, 1956 Veterans Units Ask Flag Display May 1 Officers of Ul-Gre-Del VFW post and Middletown American Legion post have asked that the American flag be displayed in mountain villages Tuesday, May 1, in observance of Loyalty Day. Loyalty day was established several years ago by patriotic organizations as a way of seeking an effective answer to Communist Mayday demonstrations.

The perks of being the editor’s daughter includes having your image (far right) and story of your coronation as Elmira College May Queen displayed pro- minently on the front page!

May 29, 1956 The honor of presiding as May Queen at the Elmira College May Day festivities this afternoon at Watkins Glen fell to Miss Eleanor Clarke Sanford, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clarke Sanford of Margaretville, N. Y. The queen is annually elected by ballot of the Freshman Class and her identity kept a secret

until the afternoon of the fete. It is interesting to note that Miss Sanford’s mother, the former Miss Bertha Moss, was a member of the Elmira College class of 1904, the first class from which a queen was chosen. Mrs. Sanford, was present to witness the homage paid her daughter. Miss Sanford is a granddaughter of the late Roswell R. Moss, a former Elmira lawyer, and a niece of R. Llewellyn Moss of West Church Street, and of Mrs. William Harry of Detroit, Mich., the former Miss Harriet Moss, Elmira College, class of 1900. When a student at the Margaretville High School, from which she was graduated in 1934, Miss Sanford took part in several school plays. She was voted the outstanding girl of her class and won the Delaware County prize speaking contest. During her college years she has been active in dramatics and a member of the swimming team. She is majoring in speech but is particularly interested in Nursery School work in which she hopes to specialize. Miss Sanford is also an expert horsewoman. At the Cornell R. O. T. C. horse show of May 15, She rode Gypsy Girl, property of Dock E. Kline of 130 Glen Ave nue, Elmira, and won third prize. Her duties as May Queen, concluded, Miss Sanford will leave for Ithaca where she will attend the Navy Ball and Spring Day week end at Cornell. — Elmira Star- Gazette, Friday.

May 21, 1970 Statue Is Crowned In Phoenicia Rites The annual ceremonies of the crowning of the statue of the Blessed Virgin were held on Sunday afternoon at the Saint Francis de Sales church. Virginia Ann Bernstein was the May queen, and her attendants were Patricia Byer and Mau reen Shipanski. There was also a procession of young girls from the area and the crown bearers were Jimmy Hefferan and Palbo Torres. Michael Dutcher, John Staiger and Michael Quinn were the altar boys. Refreshments were served in the parish hall following the ceremonies. The outdoor part of the ceremony had to be canceled be cause of the rain, but the head table was set up in the parish hall. Rev. John Gorman, parish pastor, conducted the cere mony, and was assisted by Mrs. Eugene Burke, president of the Sodality, in the investiture. New members invested are James Lenehen and James Zimmerman of Chichester, George Unger and Robert Withers of Mount Tremper and Carmine Lucchetti of Phoenicia. Sodality medals were presented the new members.

There will be plenty of names in this event that you will no doubt recognize, including Mrs. Dora Fowler, who only recently retired from the longest continuous

run as a teacher in New York state’s history.

May 20, 1971 Roxbury Students Marked Arbor Day Roxbury central school celebrated Arbor day on May 4 with a program under the direction of Mrs. Dora Fowler, and the planting of a new tree on the lawn area near the playground. The school children walked to the area as the school band played. Edmund Millar, RCS student council president, supervised the planting of the tree, which had been dug from a hillside on the Kennedy farm by Leland Fanning, assisted by Michael Mead, William Chambers, John Bubach and David Savold. Program announcer

was Nancy Van Valkenburgh. Ellen Kelly gave a reading, “He Who Plants an Oak,” by Washington Irving. Donna DuMond gave a reading, “Arbor Day,” and Leiann Migdol and Fay Moscato a reading, “Trees.” Mrs. Ploutz’s class gave a choral reading, “What Do We Plant?” led by Dawn Dorrance. Mary-Jo Savold, representing the Roxbury Students to Outlaw Pollution, spoke on “What We Can Do About Pollution.” Mrs. Farnum’s class gave a reading, “The Willow Cats,” by Margaret Widdemer. Mrs. Lutz’s third graders gave reports on the species of trees, oak, elm, tulip tree, birch, weeping willow and sugar maple. Reporting the trees were Cindy Rivenburgh, Jerry Hynes, Anthony Carmeli, Sher-

ry Temple, Joseph Farleigh, Matthew Kohler and Kenny Cartwright. Leaf reports were given by Steve DeLuca, Judy Migdol, Timothy Yeager, Timothy German, Samuel Lutz and Matthew Kohler. Richard Pie- trantoni held a display board of tree leaves made by Bradford Buyce. A sketch, “A Visit With John Burroughs,” was given by sixth graders Patricia Savold, Claire Kelly, Kevin Yeager and John Lutz. Mrs. Fox’s class sang “The Trees in Our School Yard.” A series of original stories by fifth graders Keith Bergmann, Penny Hammong, Nora Kelly and Antoinette Slizowski concerned the destruction of the tree planted last year on Arbor day.

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