Embracing a New Year:Winter at the Waverly Community House

The Waverly Community House has recently received some letters from afar. One in particular is from a former Waverly resident and good friend of The Comm who exclaimed: “Some local organizations are talking about a new community house for this town of 6,600 people. They have heard all about The Waverly Community House and have been asking me about it. I am asking you to send me one copy of your new by-laws, annual budget of any recent year, and annual report for any year. We appreciate any information you can send. I am trying to impress upon the people that the building of a community house is only the beginning.” How right he is and how essential it is to that particular community house’s future success that his townsfolk realize it as well. We like to think that here in Waverly, our community is aware of the need for active participation by many in the progress of our Comm (Waverly Community House Newsletter, January 1950).  

The Waverly Community House has always approached each new year with a sense of excitement for the new opportunities that accompany January’s arrival. From fitness classes, to health and wellness sessions, to children’s programming, The Comm offers something for everyone during the long winter season. Today’s blog post will highlight what makes The Waverly Community House so special during this time of year by taking a look at one of our archival newsletters from January of 1950. Enjoy!

Dear Friend of the Waverly Community House,

We sometimes wonder if the boys and girls who are away at school and college realize how much they are missed, and how often the home folks think and speak of them. With Christmas vacation newly past, we are mindful of our younger townsfolk and we thought you might be interested in hearing about some of them who we feel have gained special distinction in college.

Clara Cooner: Clara is now a junior at Pennsylvania State College and is working for a Bachelor’s Degree in Biological Chemistry. She has been elected to Alpha Xi and Alpha Lambda Delta, the latter representing high academic standing.

Robert Dixon Jr.: Dixon was one of the 50,000 American boys to take the Navy’s ROTC competitive exams (written, oral, and physical), for a four year college course, plus required Navy subjects at the University of Miami. Of the 50,000 boys only 3,200 qualified, Dixon was one of them. After graduation, he will become Ensign in the Navy.

Lynn Healy: Lynn is currently in her freshman year of college at Colby Junior College. She is Vice-President of the Student Government Association.

James Johnson: James has played on the varsity hockey team at Harvard University for the past two years. He was also elected to the Hasty Pudding Club and to the Owls Club; he is currently taking pre-medical courses.

Barry Larowski: Barry was elected to two honorary fraternities this year at the Pennsylvania State College. Both organizations require not only high academic average, but also several extra-curricular activities. Among other activities, Harry plays on the varsity soccer team.

Harry Purcell: Harry Purcell is Waverly’s representative at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he is a second year cadet.

Karl David Rittenhouse: Karl graduated from Waverly High School in 1937, entered into the armed forces, saw active service throughout the war, and afterwards entered Lehigh University’s School of Engineering. He ranks 35th in a class of 565 students and will be graduated “with honors” this February.

Gretchen Von Storch: Von Storch is a member of the Sage Chapel Choir of Cornell University which recently presented a concert broadcast over a nationwide hook-up by CBS. This choir is preparing a festival of Bach music for the spring.

Ann Warren: Warren has been elected as Song Leader by the Vassar College Class of 1953.

We wish we could mention here all of the Waverly boys and girls who have distinguished themselves in school and college, but unfortunately space does not permit. To all of them we send special greetings and congratulations. Waverly and your Community House is proud of you kids, and looks forward to welcoming you home again. No matter where you are, don’t ever forget that this is “Your Comm.”

a25The Comm is still buzzing with activity of regularly scheduled meetings, classes,clubs and athletics. On Friday, January 27th, the second Square Dance will be held. Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Eynon will serve as co-chairmen. The first dance was such a whale of a success, we again look forward to a packed floor. This dance has had to be arranged for a Friday evening because our first-rate orchestra, caller, and teacher have a permanent engagement for Saturday nights. January 27th will be a date for young and old, whether you are square dance experts or not.

We have run into difficulty renting roller skates, and have been recently unable to offer roller skating at The Comm. However, our Trustees and Special Activities Committee, headed by Mrs. Thomas Hardy are arranging to buy skates so that all of us can skate without complications. There will be roller skating soon!

Special salute to Walter Travis and Robert Staples who are doing outstanding work with Lyle Severance and the Boy Scout Committee. With the change in age limit from 12 to 11 years, and the resulting influx of young enthusiasts, the Boy Scout Troop has had to be divided into four patrols.

Readings, arranged by Mrs. Elizabeth Zinram and her committee will start January 30th at 8:00 pm with Mrs. J. Phillips reading “Arsenic and Old Lace.” In March, Mrs. Elizabeth Conrad will read a novel and in May, Mrs. Arthur Brown will read a book of non-fiction. Get your season ticket at The Comm, or from a member of the committee for these delightful events.

If you have never seen a basketball game played by some of our Midget Teams you are missing something. These teams are composed of 5th, 6th, and 7th grade boys with explosive energies and a burning desire to play good basketball. The games are usually played before the school games. We guarantee you an evening of entertainment and amazement. Midget Teams and their members are:

Devils- R. Spencer, J. Manning, T. Eynon, W. Hardy, D. Belin

Comets- G. Null, T. Phillips, B. Barkalow, M.Peck, L. Gow

Bulldogs- R. Ferraro, W. Williams, J. Peck, J. Sullivan, R. Smith, R. Simpson

Rockets- R. Stiepock, G. Thomas, J. Mastowski, T. Mayer, O.Gordon

The Devils lead, having won five games and lost one. The Comets are in second place. Congratulations to Warren Davis and Robert Dixon who coach them.

We know that congratulations are in order to William Fields, who has been transferred to Harrisburg as General Sales Manager of Bryer’s Ice Cream Company. We are sorrowful for his leaving so we are torn between cheers and tears. Best of luck Bill. We hate to see you and your family go. Waverly will miss you and hopes you will come back someday.

web1_waverlycommIt is never too late, we think, to wish the young and older friends of The Comm a new year of happiness and achievement.

The above newsletter from January of 1950 illustrates how important The Waverly Community House was to the community during this time period. The sentiment that no matter where life brings you, The Comm will always represent “home” is weaved throughout the building’s history and remains true in 2019. Happy almost one- hundredth birthday to The Waverly Community House. We have so much in store for the upcoming year and beyond so stay tuned!!!!

Festive Fall Fun: October at the Waverly Community House

Each year, as autumn approaches the Northeastern Pennsylvania region, the Waverly Community House prepares for a very busy season full of activities to close out the remainder of the year. From costume parties, parades, children’s events, club meetings, classes, and other special programming, the building is enveloped in activity. Today’s blog post will highlight what makes the Comm so special during this time of year by taking a look at one of our archival newsletters from October of 1988. Enjoy!

Art Classes by Predrag Djordjevic: on October 10th, 1988, the Waverly Community House began a series of children’s art classes taught by artist Predrag Djordjevic. Djordjevic was born in Yugoslavia and studied at the Royal College of Art in London, England; he is a painter who has held one man shows throughout the United States and abroad. That year, Predrag taught children aged 9-12 drawing and painting in an effort to introduce them to new ways to tailor their craft. Art has always been an important part of the Comm’s mission and will continue to reflect on our mission statement through new art classes and programs currently under development for the upcoming year.

Parent Education Series: the Continuing Parent Education Series at the Waverly Community House was a sponsored program aiming to provide parents with advice, education, and guidance on a wide variety of topics. Childcare services were also provided at the Comm during the program for parents accompanied by their children. On October 5th, 1988, the series was hosted by Ruby Moye Salazar, a Ph.D. holder from Ohio State University specializing in developmental disabilities.

New York City Fall Bus Trip: On Wednesday October 26th, 1988, a bus trip, organized by the Waverly Women’s Club, departed from the Comm at 8:00 am., headed for New York City. The group then returned to the Comm at 10:30 pm. Tickets for this trip were $13.50 per person. This was one of the many opportunities for community members to engage in different types of activities with one another as organized through the Comm and it’s clubs.

Roller Skating at the Comm: In October of 1988, Roller Skating was held in the Comm’s gymnasium. The newsletter reads as follows: “Beginning on October 1st, the Comm will sponsor Roller Skating in the Gym from 10:30 am- 12 noon. So grab your skates, (or well soiled shoes as we only have clamp on skates) and come to the Comm. Our in-house DJ, Pete Sawchak will provide good music! If you have any questions please contact the Comm’s office.”

unnamedSome Ghostly Good News: The Comm held its annual Children’s Halloween Party on Monday, October 31st 1988 in the gymnasium from 3:30 pm- 5:30 pm. The party was free and refreshments were provided. This year, community members can look forward to a Harry Potter themed Halloween Party held at the Comm on Saturday, October 27th from 1 pm- 3 pm.

Some additional events from the October 1988 Newsletter…

United Methodist Church Bake Sale: October 12th, 1988 at 8:00 am.

Movie Night at the Comm: October 14th, 1988 at 7:00 pm.

Italian Hoagie Sale: October 14th, 1988 at 2:00 pm.

We would like to take this time to give a very special thank you to all of our very valued community members and followers. We love being able to share our history with you!

Decades of Success: The Waverly Community House Antiques Show and Sale

” A September afternoon, an elegant day out, an experience…an opportunity. If its treasure you’re looking for, you will find it at the Annual Antiques Show and Sale at the Waverly Community House.” (Sunday Sun, 1991)

In the early 1940’s, the Waverly Community House began holding what would later become one of its most anticipated events– the Waverly Antiques Show and Sale. This show, deeply rooted in the Comm’s history, began as a “white elephant” style exhibition which only contained approximately 11 vendors. These initial dealers mainly traveled from the Northeastern United States to showcase fine items such as: china, glassware and furniture. These early shows usually took place during weekdays; additionally, guests were invited to dinner at one of the nearby churches after spending the day antiquing. The first show was held in 1943 and steadily evolved until the final exhibition in 2012.

Ant ShowAs with most events, the Antiques Show expanded in both size and scope over nearly seven decades at the Waverly Community House. As more vendors joined the Comm’s roster, items showcased also began to become more diverse and eclectic, suited to a broad range of styles and interests. Over the years, pieces featured in the show contained: silverware, dining sets, glassware, furniture, crystal, jewelry, art, knick knacks and many more unique objects for those attending to choose from. Another remarkable aspect of the exposition was the historic loan exhibit; each year, the show would feature a display consisting of genuine past antique materials in order to create a truly memorable experience. Interesting past loan exhibitions included: “Empire Period Bedroom Furniture (1950),” “the Victorian Drawing Room (1951),” Lilliputian Furniture and Antique Dolls (1966),” “Civil War Period Boudoirs (1973),” and “Costumes of China (1982),” to name a few. These fascinating exhibits undoubtedly added to the show’s vibrancy over the years and continued to draw many visitors.

CaptureAnother interesting aspect added as the Antiques Show developed was the implementation of “Waverly Walking Tours.” In the 1980’s, guests were encouraged to participate in a historic walk around the four blocks surrounding the Waverly Community House with tour guide William P. Lewis of the Lackawanna Historical Society, and in later years, resident and architect, Ned Connell. These tours were focused on both the history surrounding Waverly, and the architecture in the local area. With the addition of the tours, along with the aforementioned loan exhibition, attendees were able to obtain a genuine glimpse of the past, which remained complementary to the theme of the overall show.

Over the years, the Waverly Community House Antiques Show evolved and developed in many ways to suit the needs of the community and its guests. What began as a small weekday show, eventually ended as a full scale weekend event with a large number of both vendors and visitors alike; the small dinners held at local churches were also replaced with gourmet lunches and preview parties as the show started its final run. In September of 2012, the Waverly Community House held its last Antiques Show with nearly 70 years of exhibitions under its belt; the Community House staff, volunteers, and Board of Trustees ensured that the final show remained memorable and served to commemorate the first show which transpired so many years ago. Nonetheless, the Antiques Show remains a crucial element in the Comm’s history and served to influence many shows and events that later followed. Currently, the Comm is working on reinstating the Historic Walking Tours with the addition of some crucial information pertaining to the Underground Railroad, which was especially significant in Waverly; stay tuned for more information regarding this upcoming project.