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This Week in Rockland: Newspaper Excerpts: Flashback Friday: Week of July 24

Journal News - July 23-24, 1970
Journal News - July 23-24, 1970

July 23, 1870 150 YEARS AGO
Rockland County Journal

ADVICE TO YOUNG MEN
       A lady who signs herself a “Martyr to Late Hours” offers the following sensible suggestion to young men: Dear gentlemen, between the ages of eighteen and forty-five, listen to a few words of gratuitous remarks. When you make a social call of an evening, on a young lady, go away at a reasonable hour. Say you come at eight o’clock, and an hour and a half is certainly as long as the most fascinating of you in conversation can, or rather ought to use his in charms. Two hours, indeed, can be very pleasantly spent with music, chess, or other games to lend variety, but, kind sirs, by no means stay longer. Make shorter calls and come oftener. A girl that is a sensible, true-hearted girl, will enjoy it better, and really value your acquaintance more.
       Just conceive the agony of a girl who, well knowing the feelings of both father and mother upon the subject, hears the clock strike ten, and yet must sit on the edge of her chair in mortal terror lest papa should put his threat into execution—that of coming down and inviting the gentleman to breakfast. And we girls understand all by experience and know what it is to dread the prognostic of displeasure. In such cases a sigh of relief generally accompanies the closing of the door behind the gallant, and one don’t [sic] get over the feeling of the trouble till safe in the arms of Morpheus. Even then, sometimes, the dreams are troubled with some phantom of angry father and distressed (for all parties) mother; and all because a young man will make a longer call than he ought to.
       Now, young gentlemen friends, I’ll tell you what we girls will do. For an hour and a half, we will be most irresistibly charming and fascinating, and then beware; monosyllable responses will be all you need expect. And if, when the limits shall have been passed, a startling inquiry shall be heard coming downstairs:
       “Isn't it time to close up?” you must consider is it a righteous punishment, and taking your hat, meekly depart—a sadder, and it is to have hoped, a wiser man. Do not get angry, but the next time you come, keep within bounds.
       “We want to rise early these pleasant mornings and improve the ‘shining hour;’ but when forced to sit up until such unreasonable to hours at night, exhausted nature will speak, and, as a natural consequence, with the utmost speed in dressing, we can barely get down to breakfast in time to escape a reprimand from papa, who don’t [sic] believe in beaux—as though he never was young; and a mild, reproving glance from mamma, who understands a little better poor daughter’s feelings, but still must is disapprove outwardly, to keep up appearances. — And now young men, think about these things, and don’t—for pity’s sake don’t—respond with “pshaw,” but remember the safe side of ten.

July 23, 1920 100 YEARS AGO
Rockland News

NANUET WOMEN VOTERS
       Nanuet branch of League of Women Voters will hold its next meeting at schoolhouse, Nanuet on Thursday August 5. Judge Patterson will speak. A social hour and refreshments will follow. Cordial invitation to both men and women voters to attend is extended.

NEW TELEPHONE BOOK WEIGHS FIVE POUNDS
       The Summer issue of the New York City Telephone Directory now being distributed is two-and-one-half inches thick and weighs almost five pounds. The familiar hole punched through one corner, by means of which the book could be hung on a string is missing. The thickness of the volume made punching impossible.
       Changes in exchange designations that appear in this issue are: In Manhattan Greeley to Fitz Roy; in Booklyn Bedford to Lafayette and East New York to Glenmore; in Staten Island, New Dorp to Dongan Hills.

June 23-24, 1970 50 YEARS AGO
The Journal News

PEPE HITS THE BIG TIME
[Image: Pearl River Girl Scout Cadet Troop 81, who performed with Pepe the singing dog on the Johnny Carson Show.]
       Pepe, the singing dog from Pearl River, hit the big time with a nationally televised debut on the Johnny Carson show Wednesday night. Supporting singers for the canine crooner’s version of a “Snoopy and the Red Baron” tune included Marianne Veraja of 95 S. Magnolia St., whose family prizes Pepe more as a friendly pet than a celebrity, and Beth Montana. Carson congratulated members of Pearl River Girl Scout Cadet Troop 81 who performed with Pepe.

COUNTY JAIL IS HELL 3 FORMER INMATES SAY
       “Sam” spent less than a week not long ago living with more than 20 other men in the bullpen of the county jail.
       Nine of his fellows slept on wooden slabs hung from the wall; the rest, including Sam, slept, sat, and ate on the concrete floor without blankets or any facilities except one fully exposed and often overflowing toilet.
       They did not leave the small room—not intended as living quarters—once during their stay.
       They awoke to cold toast with dry peanut butter and jelly, and lukewarm coffee if they were lucky.
       Lunch might be watery soup and bread or maybe a salad and bread. Dinner could be stew with almost no meat or flavor (unless it had been over salted).
       Meals and card playing were the inmates' only diversion except for the time a drunk fell and cracked his head open because guards, Sam said, were too busy to supervise even an hour outside in the recreation area.
       The drunk had to wait several hours for medical treatment, and it took his fellow inmates, half an hour to summon a guard for help when it happened.
       Three former prisoners, two there briefly while friends raised bail and one who served a sentence, bitterly told the Journal-News last night that time spent in Rockland's aging and too-small jail is “hell.” Their statements were prompted by reports of disturbances at the jail, which have led the state Department of Correction to promise an investigation.
       Sheriff Raymond A. Lindemann has blamed troubles on the size of the jail, which is often overcrowded, and on mini-skirted girls and longhaired youths in the area of the jail who, he thinks, cause despair because they symbolize freedom.
       Sam and another man, who spoke to The Journal-News separately, complained of stench and filth from overflowing toilets, dirty blankets when they had blankets and clothing, food “fit for pigs,” lack of recreation, and a careless attitude of jailers toward their plight.
       A woman spoke of the isolation of female prisoners, who are never permitted outside or allowed to attend Sunday worship services within the jail.
       The women's section, often touted for its bright paint and bedspreads, offers a bathroom with no shades in full view of windows at the back of the courthouse, she said.
       All three discounted any reports of jailers beating prisoners. They neither saw nor heard of any incidents during their stay in the jail, although Sam said a few guards were not above taunting and swearing at inmates.
       Only one, the woman, was exposed to sexual attack from an inmate. But all had heard about incidents among both the men and the women.
       The men said “kids” are separated from older prisoners when there’s room, but they get “mixed up” when the jail gets full.
       No one patrols at night, and noise is so bad others cannot sleep, one noted.
       The man serving a sentence complained that prisoners awaiting trial are mixed in with those serving time.
       “We have to listen to sob stories, we’ve got our own troubles,” he said of new arrivals.
       Medical care was spotty, dental care almost impossible, one man charged.
       Food ranked high among their complaints. Good quality foodstuffs arrive at the jail but are poorly kept and usually poorly prepared, they agreed.
       Sam had two “decent” meals while he was there, although even they wore on the starchy side. A hefty man, Sam lost 20 pounds during his stay. He said he knew a woman who went from a size 14 to a 10 while in jail.
       The rest of the time, food was almost inedible. Eggs were cold, “like rubber.” Milk, when it was served, was almost rancid. Sam spoke of bologna “so greasy it tasted like soap.”
       “I once had soup so watery I would have preferred good fresh water,” one said.
       Hot foods cooled and cold foods warmed before they arrived at prisoners’ cells.
       “The only thing they didn’t ruin was cheese,” one commented.
       The only other available food were candy bars from the “commissary,” if an inmate had money (in the jail’s keeping) to pay for them.
       Filth ranked as high as food complaints. Inmates have one set of clothing, explained the man who served nearly a year there. On Wednesdays, their only set of underwear is washed and returned. Rips are not repaired, and inmates are allowed no more underwear even if relatives offer to supply it.
       Blankets are not washed during a prisoner’s stay. Sheets are washed once a week unless an inmate is “missed” and has to wait two weeks.
       Toilets often don’t flush; many that do flood the cell. Guards are slow to clean up, the men said. They blamed the plumbing failures on prisoner sabotage (tearing toilets out of the wall is a good way to get attention) and old fixtures that are not cleaned out often enough.
       Why do inmates never complain publicly? Letters from the jail are read by jailers and any mention of conditions is deleted. Phone calls are not allowed (although guards will contact an attorney). Conversations with visitors are conducted within earshot of guards, who, inmates fear, would retaliate if they complained.
       When they are released “we just shut it out,” one explained. “It’s too awful to think about.”
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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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