First published in The Freeman’s Journal August 2, 1978
“They tell us at the drugstore that since the aviators came here, the business done in lip rouge, ordinary rouge, and other forms of calsomine has almost doubled. And Schneider and Raubacher, who do most of the clothes cleaning say that the way the officers’ uniforms catch up talcum powder along the sleeves and shoulder is something awful.”
— The Freeman’s Journal, July 16, 1919
The year of “the flyers” in Cooperstown was 1919. (Pete Hollis sat up and looked around that year, too. Maybe that had something to do with it.) Almost 500 handsome, young aviators were housed in the village that summer, some for a few weeks, others for much longer – officers and gentlemen of the Aviation Section of the U.S. Army who had been ordered to Cooperstown for rest and relaxation before being mustered out of the service after World War I.
Dr. Balázs Seléndy, born in Budapest, Hungary, to Jenö Seléndy and Irén Kosma on September 5, 1937, passed away peacefully in his home on July 5, 2021, after an intense and devoted life of public service and study in three countries. He spent his last years in the pursuit of lifelong passions, including for reflection, writing, reading, karate, and photography, living quietly with his beloved Patricia Gambitta in Fly Creek, New York.
Balázs grew up in war-torn Hungary, spending his childhood in the midst of the deprivations of World War II. With Calvinist and Catholic parents but a Jewish paternal grandfather, his family stayed beyond reach of the Nazis due in part to his father’s military service to the Austro-Hungarian empire during WWI.
In October and November 1956, as a young medical student, Balázs fought in the spontaneous, student-led revolution against the Soviet-backed Hungarian People’s Republic. After a large Soviet force invaded Hungary and destroyed the uprising, rounding up revolutionaries, Balázs was forced to leave his family, including younger brother Szabolcs, and to emigrate with other Hungarian refugees under cover of darkness across the border to Austria. His father gave him a treasured Leica camera to pay for his crossing, but, after Balázs helped a fellow refugee escape, she paid for him, and he photographed with the Leica for decades.
Editor’s Note: Our columnist and Oneonta businessman Al Colone died April 13, without finishing a two-part series about his ancestors. As a tribute, his brother, Frank Colone, wrote this memorial about their parents.
By Frank Colone
In the aftermath of World War I and the pandemic of 1918, Ma and Pa Colone returned to Oneonta and Depew Street. Oldest son Ani and baby Adelia (Ethel), who was born in Italy, came with them. Ma and Pa were determined to provide a better life for their family, both those in Italy and those in America.
After living for a time on Depew Street and West Broadway, Pa bought a home on River Street and the family settled permanently in the Sixth Ward in Oneonta’s “lower deck.” They were proud of their home and the fact that they could call Oneonta “home.”
Pa resumed work for the D & H. He worked briefly at the roundhouse and eventually spent most of his working years in the shop.
An unfortunate accident in the shop cost him an eye, but it did not cause him to stop working. He worked in the shop until he retired.
As a young man, Pa served in the military in Italy and acquired reading and writing skills there.
After returning to America, Pa worked to learn how to read and write in English. He so valued education and he constantly preached the value of learning to his family. Pa became a naturalized American citizen in 1928, a very proud moment in his life. Like many immigrant families, Ma never learned to read and write English and, therefore, could not become a citizen.
The Old World ways and skills learned in Italy helped them survive the Great Depression. Without a lot of money, Ma and Pa worked hard and used all their resources to keep their growing family secure. Despite her lack of a formal education, Ma had the primary role in maintaining the household and in raising the family.
OPENING RECEPTION – 5 – 7 p.m. Celebrate opening of exhibits “Made In New York: The Art Of Wood” and solo show “Keeping It Real: Hand Drawn Stone Lithography in the 21st Century” by Amy Silberkleit. Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Coopersotwn. 607-547-9777 or visit www.cooperstownart.com
EXHIBIT RECEPTION – 2 – 4 p.m. Celebrate exhibit “The Oneonta ‘49ers” about Oneonta storekeeper Collis Huntington who left to open a branch store and find his fortune in California, accompanied by 5 other Oneontans. Oneonta History Center, 183 Main St., Oneonta. 607-432-0960 or visit www.oneontahistory.org/upcomingevents.htm
ART EXHIBIT – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Art By The Lake 12th annual juried art exhibit celebrating relationship between artists and landscape. Also features artist demonstrations, food by Origins Cafe, music, more. Lake front Lawn, Fenimore Art Museum, Coopersotwn. 607-547-1400 or visit www.fenimoreartmuseum.org
CIVIL WAR WEEKEND – 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Experience civil war encampment complete with soldiers in authentic uniforms drilling/performing tactical maneuvers, performing period songs. Continue Saturday, Sunday. Hyde Hall, 267 Glimmerglass State Park Rd., Cooperstown. 607-547-5098 or visit hydehall.org/events-2/
CRUISE-IN CAR SHOW – 5:30 – 7 p.m. Enjoy ice cream, music, horse powered wagon rides, as well as Kyle Busch’s M&M’s #18 NASCAR Show Car, restored vintage cards, muscle cars, street rods from car enthusiasts. Pathfinder Village, 3 Chenango Rd., Edmeston. 607-965-8377 or visit pathfindervillage.org
SUMMER CELEBRATION – 3 – 7 p.m. Celebrate summer by the waterfront with OPA. Bring a dish to share, enjoy BBQ. Come prepared for swimming, outdoor games, other park activities, relax with friends. Gilbert Lake State Park, Mount Vision. 607-386-1508 or visit www.facebook.com/otsegopride/
FAMILY SATURDAY – 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Bring kids for fun tour featuring hands-on activities for kids. Enjoy family concert by Dave Ruch featuring sing-a-longs, movement songs, more at 1. Hanford Mills Museum, 51 Co. Hwy. 12, East Meredith. 607-278-5744 or visit www.hanfordmills.org/programs/events/family-saturdays/
THEATER – 7:30 p.m. Performance “Billy Bishop Goes To War.” Set in 1914, follows journey of underachieving Billy Bishop on his journey to become a great fighter pilot. Explores complexities of heroism, cost of war, Britain’s colonial past. Free admission. Franklin Stage Company, 25 Institute St., Franklin. 607-829-3700 or visit franklinstagecompany.org/events/billy-bishop-goes-to-war/
PRESENTATION – 7 p.m. “Commemorative Controversies: British Memorials in the Aftermath of the Great War, 1918-1939” by Dr. Stephen Heathorn on controversies around British WWI memorials in context. IRC 5, SUNY Oneonta. Visit oneonta.campuslabs.com/engage/event/2842330
MUSIC FESTIVAL – 7:30 p.m. Ran Dank and Soyeon Kate Lee, Piano, present selections by Mozart, Debussy, Stravinsky, Granados, others. Includes works for solo piano, four-hand piano. Cost, $25 general admission. The Otesaga, Cooperstown. 877-666-7421 or visit www.cooperstownmusicfest.org
RENAISSANCE FAIR – 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Medieval Ren fair features crafters, vendors, games for kids & adults, auctions, performances by variety of musical groups. All welcome to come in period costume. Windfall Dutch barn, 2009 Clinton Road, Cherry Valley. 518-993-2239 or visit www.windfalldutchbarn.com/renaissance-fair.html
OPENING RECEPTION – 5-7 p.m. Exhibit “The Truth – What is Yours?” Featuring works by both guest, member artists. Displayed thru 9/2. The Smithy, 55 Pioneer St., Cooperstown. 607-547-8671 or visit www.smithyarts.org
THEATER – 6 p.m. Operatic rendition of Homer’s “Odyssey” features rollicking sailor songs, storms, siren songs, more. General admission, $20. Auditorium, Cooperstown Central School. 607-547-2255 or visit glimmerglass.org/events/odyssey/