Backtracking: In our times: Local winter of 1994 kept many indoors
The winter of 1994 was brutal, weatherwise. You could’ve waved a white flag of surrender, but probably no one could see it.
I was living in the Boston area at the time, and it was as bad there as it was around here. It was a good idea to be prepared for cancellations, and plan to do things in the warm indoors, when you could get out and about.
Around our area that meant taking in a basketball game, or doing some last shopping at an iconic downtown Oneonta retail store.
My job in the Bay State was as an event planner. I shared the pain of some in this area, for sure.
As The Daily Star of Jan. 20 reported, “Jerry Kilmer was proud of his color-coded calendar of sporting events.
“But what was once precise little boxes measuring each step of the Walton Central School 1993-94 winter sports season is now a chaotic mess, thanks to all the snow and sub-zero temperatures that have kept teams from traveling to games.
“Cancellations and closures prompted by the bad weather may have thrilled school children, but they put stress and strain on people responsible for making schedules.”
When there were basketball games played across the region that month, audiences got to see some memorable moments.
For example, as The Star of Jan. 31 reported, “You really didn’t want to say Nick Lambros’ 300th win at Hartwick College men’s basketball coach was typical, but it certainly reflected the scrappy personality of the 17-year Warriors mentor,” as the team was then called.
“Coming off a loss to Ithaca the night before, which dropped the Warriors behind the Bombers in the Empire Athletic Association’s standings, Hartwick pulled away from a tough Alfred squad in the second half for an 84-73 victory Saturday at Binder Gymnasium.”
In Cooperstown, high school basketball fans took in a crowded spectacle, as Star readers on Jan. 10 found out, “It didn’t matter that Adonal Foyle was playing on a gimpy ankle for the last minutes of the game. It didn’t matter that Foyle missed over half his free throws.
“When it was time to come through in crunch time, Foyle had the answers for Hamilton in its 56-55 win over Cooperstown on Saturday at a packed Red Bursey Gymnasium.
“Foyle, the 6-foot-10 phenom, dominated the final 1:14 of the contest.” Foyle had an impressive life after high school basketball. He went on to play at Colgate University, and in 1997 was a first-round, eighth-overall pick in the NBA Draft, chosen by the Golden State Warriors. He played 10 seasons with Golden State, and a few others in Orlando and Memphis.
Another way to momentarily get away from that blustery January was to do some final shopping at a downtown Oneonta store.
As The Star of Jan. 18 reported, “Fifty years ago Allie May Christiance and Maureen Greeley wandered the aisles of Woolworth’s searching for the perfect Christmas gift for their parents, and bought glass dishes for 10 cents.
“Last week, the women were searching for stocking stuffers for their grandchildren, and bought plastic storage boxes marked down almost that low.
“Monday was the last day of business at F.W. Woolworth Co. in Oneonta, one of about 1,000 stores the chain is closing after clearing the shelves with discounts up to 80 percent. It’s the kind of dying breed, old-time store some shoppers will miss.” Some may know that the first Woolworth store opened in Utica in 1879.
“Christiance and Greeley have shopped there all their lives, since it was convenient to their jobs at Key Bank, also on Main Street. Christiance also worked at the store for several weeks, filling in the year she graduated from high school in 1948.”
Woolworths had been in that 203 Main St. block for decades, sharing half of the building with a Kresge store, but took over the whole storefront in the 1950s. While Kresge’s left Oneonta, it later returned in the form of a Kmart store.
This weekend, a look at our area’s life and times in February 1939.
Oneonta City Historian Mark Simonson’s column appears twice weekly. On Saturdays, his column focuses on the area before 1950. His Wednesday columns address local history 1950 and later. If you have feedback or ideas about the column, write to him at The Daily Star, or email him at [email protected]. His website is oneontanyhistorian.com. His columns can be found at www.thedailystar.com/opinion/columns/.