Remembering canned ham and cheese sandwiches

Happy belated Easter to all. I hope you all had a very Blessed Week. Our Church opened its doors for Easter Sunday Worship, and it brought the Glorious Day alive for me. There is just so much “online” services that you can do. I need the smell, feel and ambiance of the actual church to sustain me. With more and more being vaccinated, people are starting to get together again for much needed socialization.

On Saturday, I had a very lovely visit by my niece, Kathy Kiley Heissinger and husband, Tom. Lots of trying to identify people in old photos. Many stories to tell, many laughs. Happy Birthday Tom.

I had a very nice Easter Dinner with my sons and Opal. We sat down at 2 and enjoyed our ham together. Judy, Rose, Ken and Judy’s son Anthony, and wife Tricia went to Bill Mead’s house for dinner. It was good company for Bill, and a change of pace for the Hudecek-LoPresti clan.

I missed saying Happy Birthday to our good friend Ken Mabey. Heard there was a birthday party for Maxine Jaeger.

Watch your bird feeders. Bears are being sighted.

Sorry, to those who missed my column in last week’s Journal. There was only room in the paper for 2 columns and I got cut. I am only allotted 500 words, and as you all know, I can’t even say “Hello” in 500 words. I know I have a following down the mountain, but...

Get well wishes and prayers to Mary Heissenger, Gilbert Vining Norman Koehler, Deb Sherman, Nellie Langston, Thelma Nelson. Condolences go to the families and friends of Tammy (Osborn) Robinson and Debra (Rion) Sherman.


Dot G. called one evening to reminisce and it got me thinking about the family hotel, The Maples, and the many peddlers who came to sell their wares. Since I never remember going out to shop, we decided most of the food was brought in by door-to-door salesmen. Along with Nate Simon (who we previously mentioned,) there was Ken Rapplyea, the Watkins man, Ernest Merwin — who sold for the Grand Union Tea Co., the Fuller Brush man, and many more which I have been trying to remember.

Every year, I mention the Shad Bush blooming which is a reminder that the Shad Flies will be biting, and the men would go down to Catskill to catch Shad which would be starting its run up the Hudson. Roy Brainard would bring shad in an ice packed truck, door to door for those who didn’t fish.

I tried to go back in my mind to the inside of our summer kitchen which was the addition on the house, connected to the main kitchen, where food was cooked for the guests. I could see the old black cook stove and the pot of oatmeal simmering alongside the blue agate coffee pot. My memories include a canned ham. It came in a long, square, silver can. The slice of ham it produced was the size and shape of a slice of bread. The end of the can had a key taped, or glued to it, which you removed and carefully, carefully, carefully, attached to a strip of metal about an inch down the side of the can through a slot in the key. Carefully, you wound the key which would break the “perforated” thin strip of metal going around the can to open it. The movement had to be slow and sure. Not too fast, not too slow. You had to coil that metal strip precisely on top of each rotation so the strip wouldn’t break — if it broke, you had to get out the needlenosed pliers and while someone else held the can, you had try to wind the remaining strip of metal around the pliers. Once the top was off, you had to pry the ham out of the can without breaking it.

We had white cheese about the same size which we sliced and made the perfect ham and cheese sandwiches. My question was, Where did the ham and cheese come from? Nellis answered my thought. This was War time, and the ham and cheese was Government surplus food that was being given out. If you have any memories of foods from peddlers or wherever, please help me share.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1


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