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Neighbors: Montague woman celebrates 100th birthday

Hello neighbor.

One of our neighbors in Montague celebrated a huge milestone this past weekend. Stachia Plaza turned 100 on Saturday.

From what I hear, her family threw her quite the birthday bash at St. Kaz’s in Turners Falls with more than 100 people attending.

Stachia was born in Turners Falls in 1913, and when she was 6 months old, her mother moved back to Poland with her. They returned to Gill a decade later.

She went to school in Montague, but left after eighth grade, because she had to help support her family through The Depression. She worked in a cotton mill in Turners Falls.

Stachia got married in 1933 and was married for 59 years, until her husband died in 1992. She had five children — her youngest son was killed in Vietnam in 1966 and her oldest son died last year — 11 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. Her three other children range in age from 65 to 77.

Her daughter, Maria Bonsavage, said Stachia didn’t get her driver’s license until she was 65, and she drove until two years ago.

Maria said her mom still likes to cook — evidently, she used to make “the best homemade breads,” as well as pierogis and golumpkis. She also did a lot of knitting until a year or two ago.

“She’s always been the peacemaker of the family,” said Maria, who said she has to take the shovel or rake out of her mother’s hand, because she still insists on doing her own chores.

Stachia still “putters” in her small garden, said Maria.

“When spring comes, she’s in her glory,” she said.

Maria said her mom is extremely determined, so she and her brothers never doubted that Stachia would make it to 100 and beyond.

It’s amazing to me when I think about living to the ripe old age of 100. Imagine the knowledge and experience you would accumulate and what you would get to see over the years.

Just to put this in perspective, in 1913, Woodrow Wilson was president, Henry Ford installed the first moving assembly line, Charlie Chaplin began his film career, American Civil War veterans attended their “Great Reunion,” the first person parachuted from an aircraft, the first crossword puzzle was printed in NY World, the first prize appeared in Cracker Jack boxes, and post offices began parcel post deliveries.

Living 100 years also means experiencing loss and sorrow. For instance, everyone I’ve ever spoken with has said they wouldn’t want to outlive their children.

But I’m sure, after talking with Maria, Stachia has seen a lot more joy than sorrow in her lifetime.

Stachia, you are an inspiration to all of us!

I GOT A CALL from our neighbor Christine Dwight, who is running the Shelburne Falls Farmers Market and has decided to hold a logo-designing contest this year.

Christine said she would like people to send her their ideas (drawings) for a logo, which will be displayed on T-shirts and bags and sold at the farmers market this year.

The contest runs until April 30. To enter, send your design to Christine: Shelburne Falls Farmers Market, care of: Christine Dwight, 266 Old Greenfield Road, Shelburne, MA 01370.

For more information about the contest, call Christine at 413-773-5666.

The farmers market is held Fridays from 2 to 6 p.m. on the corner of Main and Water streets in Shelburne Falls beginning the last Friday in May and ending the last Friday in September.


Formerly known at the Franklin County Home Show and Green Fair, the Little e will be held on Saturday and Sunday at the Franklin County fairgrounds in Greenfield from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Shifts are in three-hour blocks, but there is room to be flexible, organizers tell me.

To volunteer or to get more information about what that means, contact Amy Donovan at 413-772-2438 or

THE 20TH ANNUAL CLASSIC POSTCARD AND EPHEMERA SHOW will be held Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at First Congregational Church at 43 Silver St. in Greenfield.

The show is open to the public. There is a $3 admission. All proceeds will benefit the Greenfield Historical Society.

GREENFIELD COMMUNITY COLLEGE is hosting “College Visit Day” on April 25 from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on its main campus at One College Drive.

Prospective students and their families are invited to learn about the admission process and transfer opportunities, and to explore the variety of degree and certificate programs the school has to offer.

It’s a great school. It’s where I got my start.

For more information, call 413-775-1801 or visit:

I’VE BEEN TOLD THAT the owners of West End Pub in Shelburne Falls have a soft spot for the Arms Library, and their proving it at the end of the month.

To help Arms raise money for a new roof, the restaurateurs have decided to donate 10 percent of the proceeds from their dinner menu on April 30.

The West End Pub, 16 State St., overlooks the Bridge of Flowers on the Buckland side of the Deerfield River.

The pub will be open that day from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Just tell them, “Arms sent me!”

To make a reservation, call 413-625-6219.

Owners are telling me it’s OK, at least for that one day, to bring a book along to read.

A PROGRESSIVE DINNER to benefit Buckland Public Library will be held in Historic Upper Buckland on April 27 from 5 to 9 p.m.

I learned that a progressive dinner is one that is prepared and eaten by different hosts — diners move from place to place throughout the evening.

There will be three stops that night: the Maj. Joseph Griswold House (hosted by Hank and Sue Samoriski), Temple Cottage (hosted by Martha Thurber and Dena Willmore), and the Ansel Taylor House (hosted by Polly Anderson and Mike McCusker).

Tickets are $35 per person. For more information, including the menu, call 413-625-9455.

BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF FRANKLIN COUNTY will hold its “Bowl for Kids’ Sake” annual fundraiser on April 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at French King Entertainment Center on Route 2 in Erving.

The theme for Bowl for Kids’ Sake 2013 is Bowl Your Hats Off. Organizers are challenging bowlers to wear hats, wigs or other creative head coverings.

Prizes will be awarded to teams and individuals.

To join, call 413-772-0915 or visit:

You can also contact Executive Director Danielle Letourneau-Therrien at:

COMMUNITY INVOLVED IN SUSTAINING AGRICULTURE (CISA) recently honored four local cooperatives at its annual meeting.

They are: Green Fields Market, Old Cremery Cooperative, River Valley Market, and North Quabbin Community Cooperative.

Congratulations to all!

TO THE PERSON WHO CALLED ME ABOUT USED BRIDAL GOWNS: I have found someone who would be willing to take them. The nonprofit Jessica’s Closet lends gowns to young women who are attending proms or other formal events or are going on cruises.

Please call me at 413-772-0261, ext. 280 and I will give you contact information.

JUST A REMINDER: Jenny and David Valdez are still waiting to fly their sick little girl Jasmine to be with them.

If you can help at all, send a check to Greenfield Cooperative Bank, Attn: The Jasmine Valdez Fund, 63 Federal St., Greenfield, MA 01301

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280 or call her cell at 413-388-6950. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: up to noon on the day before you want it to run.

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