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This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of April 10

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April 9, 1870 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

Written for the Journal
RAMBLES ABOUT HOME — NUMBER ONE
HOOK MOUNTAIN

       Up! up! up! This is a pull! who would have thought this miserable hill was so steep. We, who fondly deemed our wind equal to any ascent in Rockland county, actually panting; all the result of too great haste to be at the top of the ladder. Now we trust our judgment has increased in inverse ratio to our health and we will proceed more slowly.
       Up again, leaping from rock to rock, climbing up a smooth bank, assisting our steps by opportune branches that stretch out helping twigs to our grasp, until we begin to perceive light, and still more fervently to be desired level ahead.
       One more sturdy pull upward, we strike into the broad path leading to that despotic goddess of ice-men, Rockland Lake, then after a few rods turn abruptly to the right, dash up the easy slope, dive through sundry thickets and shut your eyes  that the full beauty of the scene may strike you at once step out on a narrow ledge on the south-eastern face of Hook Mountain.
       Now feast yourself on the banquet our most prodigal mother, Nature, has spread out before you, then tell us, can you wish anything finer? Have your most vivid day or night dreams pictured a most beauteous scene?  You, sir poet, grinding out your contribution for the first page of next week's JOURNAL, come up here and drink inspiration by the goblet full. This breeze will sweep all melancholy from your soul as with the besom of destruction, and bid it:

“Find some uncouth cell
Where brooding darkness spreads his jealous wings,
And the night raven sings;
Here under ebon shades and low brow’d rocks,
As ragged as thy locks
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.”

       That place is not here, for all the glories of sky and earth conspire to drown us in effulgent radiance.
       This must have been the “Happy Valley" that Johnson of old dreamed of, for surely nowhere else could he find a more fitting realization of his vision, save perhaps the trifling exception of its inhabitants.
       How the blessed oxygen in this breeze sends the blood coursing pure and fresh through our veins till every inch of us tingles with overflowing life. Oh, ye dwellers in cities! ye who shut yourselves up in brick and mortar tombs who dare not stir in the free, glorious air of Heaven without muffler on muffler, for fear of taking cold  what do ye know of the luxury of breathing ?  Come here and sit beside us; let this cool, bracing wind lift your hair, blow cobwebs out of your eyes, and for once let your lungs rejoice in their natural food, that is unless long diet on furnace air and the like has destroyed their taste and made them dyspeptic. Drink in deep draughts of health at every breath; this breeze is better than the nectar of the gods, for it will wake great your sluggish brain and not benumb it. But we came up here to see the view, so let us look abroad.
       It is a cool September afternoon. The sun is just sinking towards his evening rest, and his almost level beams glance over the hilltops and through the ravines, lighting up the scene with a golden radiance.
       The river lies glassy at our feet: hardly a ripple crosses its calm bosom and we see a new heaven and a new earth in its clear depths.— Those soft, fleecy clouds — fit chariots of angels — floating lazily above our heads, are mirrored forth with added grace of contour in the firmament beneath; while every object on the  distant shore basking in the full glory of the golden sunlight, glitters in the shimmering with waters till the splendor forces us to turn our of eyes to milder scenes.
       Half a dozen sloops and schooners are slowly moving to and fro, their broad white sails gleaming like sheets of silver as they swing from side to tide to court the coy breeze. We, high above them, feel it in its fresh vigor; for it has not yet deigned to leave the free upper realms.
       A swift steamer darts, arrow-like, down the river, bearing its throng of human freight, shooting by that laboring tug with its long train of attendant canal-boats as an antelope would pass a rhinoceros.
       The villages on the opposite bank are drawn with sharp outlines against the emerald background, while the outlying mansions that so beautify the eastern shore glimmer through the trees in peaceful quiet.
       The smoke here and there curls gracefully upward, dissolving gradually as it rises and resting in a thin wreath upon the hill tops. A long freight train thundering northward breaks in upon the stillness and we can see it winding along just above the water.
       The gentle murmur of the tiny wavelets laving the rocks far beneath our feet, rises soothingly to our ears, while we lie watching the graceful motions of a gull that glides just above the water on his strong pinions, now lazily flapping upward, then swift as light darting down on some unwary fish.
       The broad blue expanse of the Hudson stretches in an unbroken sheet southward, save where the long pier points its solitary finger to the east, and far below it the evening steamers come in sight urging their rapid course homeward.
       The shoreline from Piermont to our feet is beautiful. It winds in and out in graceful curves, as though some skillful artist had traced the line of beauty for its course. Now look down the valley from the base of the hill to the village. Can you imagine finer contrasts of color?  The declining sun throws dense masses of shade from scattered groves across the brilliant green of smooth lawns, while the tawny red of the roads winding serpentine through the whole gives a tone and richness that can hardly be surpassed. The houses embowered in foliage seem veritable “mansions of the blest,” so happy and peaceful do they look.
       Just at our feet a gay party are frolicking on a croquet ground, and their joyous laughter mellowed by the distance, floats harmoniously up to us.
       The sun sinks lower; the shadows deepen and lengthen; the breeze has sought the cool water, and the wavelets dance and sparkle brilliantly in the level sunbeams. The hills back of the village are putting on their purple evening robes, and the bell in the distant clock tower chimes the hour of six. Its melodious tones pulsate through the yielding air and vibrate musically around us. We must tear ourselves away from the beauties so grandly played before us and descend from our Parnassian height, if we would get home — alas, that we should say it — in time for supper.  —How the bonds of mortality fetter us! Must we always be reminded that we are dust! One last lingering look, we resolutely turn away and plunge down the steep path.
       Au revoir, for if another summer sees us hale and hearty, your heights shall be revisited, and we will again feast our eyes upon the beauties of our little valley. E. H. Cole

April 7, 1920 100 YEARS AGO
The Nyack Evening Journal

WANTS MARRIAGE ANNULLED; HER HUSBAND TOO FAT – Mrs. Pauling Chavias of Suffern Seeks to be Released from Matrimonial Yoke — Spouse Weighed 300 Pounds at 24 and Shows no Decrease  Judge Tompkins has under advisement the petition of Pauline Chavias, twenty-four, of Suffern, for the annulment of her marriage to Pincus Chavias, of Manhattan. They were married in 1916 and separated last November.
       The principal objection of the young wife, as brought out in the testimony, is her husband’s obesity. At twenty-four he weighed 300 pounds. There are no children.
       On the stand in Supreme Court chambers the plaintiff declared that at the time of her engagement to her husband, her father made objection believing the young man to be unhealthy.
       “Papa,” he said, at the time, according to her testimony. “I am a perfectly sound and well boy.”
       Then, said the wife, he grasped a large vase and crashed it over his head.
       “If I cannot have you,” he said, “I’ll do that,” the wife testified he remarked. She exhibited the mate to the broken vase to illustrate how Chavias had rendered it useless.

April 9, 1970 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

HOSPITALS SET FREE STREP THROAT TESTS  Tests for strep throat, free to the public on doctors' recommendations, will be made at the county's three major hospital laboratories under a health department preventive medicine program aimed against rheumatic fever.
       “The department will pick up a $3 charge per test from the hospitals,” Dr. Boris A. Vanadzin, health commissioner, explained.
       “The hospital lab culture tests will be made from swabs taken by physicians with a Culpak kit.”
       “Originally, it was planned to use a fluorescent technique in making the diagnosis at county facilities. The method is not practicable immediately, Dr. Vanadzin said, but experiments with that method will continue and the fluorescent diagnostic equipment may be installed in new facilities now under construction at the county health complex.
       “Strep throat often leads to rheumatic fever and heart damage,” Dr. Vanadzin explained.
       The program, budgeted for $19,000, is being operated in conjunction with the Rockland County Heart Association.
_____

This Week in Rockland (#FBF Flashback Friday) is prepared by Clare Sheridan on behalf of the Historical Society of Rockland County. To learn about the HSRC's mission, upcoming events or programs, visit www.RocklandHistory.org or call (845) 634-9629.


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