Thursday, July 2, 2015

Golden Jubilee: Brothers of the Brush, Sisters of the Swish

Brothers of the Brush pin
Ambridge Golden Jubilee
courtesy of Bob Mikush

All men who lived or worked in Ambridge were required to become "Brothers of the Brush" and grow beards for the Golden Jubilee celebration, June 26 through July 4, 1955. "Shaving permits" were available to men who wouldn't, or couldn't, grow a beard. I didn't find (yet) a mention of how much those permits cost. Woe to the men who were caught without a beard or shaving permit. The scofflaws faced an assortment of penalties, including arrest by the Keystone Kops and trial in Kangaroo Kourt. Punishment was usually swift and silly.

Shaving permit pin
Ambridge Golden Jubilee
courtesy of Ron Strauss

Some of the Brothers of the Brush chapters included: Pastafazola, UWA Pyrohy's, and the Knight of the Hot Salami. The Brother with the longest beard won a silver loving cup at the American Slovak Association Picnic at Firemen's Park on June 26, one of the Golden Jubilee's first scheduled events. A beard judging contest also was held during the Jubilee celebration.

Women had their own Jubilee group and became "Sisters of the Swish" by wearing old-fashioned dresses. I don't know if women had anything similar to the men's "shaving permit." The women's costumes also were judged during the celebration.

Hijinks ensued even before the Jubilee celebration officially began on June 26.

Pirate Coach John Fitzpatrick was made an honorary member of the Patafazola Chapter at a Pirate's game.

Pastafazola Chapter with Pirate Coach John Fitzpatrick
Daily Citizen
June 14, 1955

Original text:
HONORARY MEMBER -- Pirate Coach John Fitzpatrick, center, was made honorary member of the Pastafazola Chapter of the Brothers of the Brush in between the Bucs-Braves doubleheader at Forbes Field Sunday afternoon. The other players in the photo are Dick Groat and George Freeze while the Keystone Kops in the front row are: Steve Powell and Al Russo.

Looks like the Kops made a raid at Wyckoff Steel and Kourt was held.

Painted worker at Wyckoff
Daily Citizen
June 22, 1955

Original text:
KANGAROO KOURT was held by the Woolly Whoopers of Wyckoff Chapter late yesterday afternoon following the day shift. Regis Roll, left, was made honorary member after being painted by the president of the chapter.

Man in a barrel
Daily Citizen
June 22, 1955

Original text:
SEVERE PUNISHMENT--Another Wyckoff employe gets his punishment following a Kangaroo Kourt late Tuesday afternoon. 

John J. Kotarski in dress and bonnet
Daily Citizen
June 22, 1955

Original text:
ANOTHER FORM OF PUNISHMENT was meted a worker at Wyckoff Steel plant late Tuesday afternoon. The unidentified worker is being held by two Kops as sentence is pronounced.

There was the cooking of the "Human Pirohy."

Cooking of the human pirohy,
Daily Citizen,
June 24, 1955

Original text:
COOK HUMAN PIROHY--A "human pirohy" was "cooked" last evening at the Ukrainian Workingmen's Association Branch 5 lodge, Melrose Ave., following sentencing at Kangaroo Kourt by the Brothers of the Brush. Held inside a six foot replica of a rolling pin, and a four by six flour sack was used in making the human pirohy. The victim is pictured in the center, shortly before the "cooking" job.

Being a news photographer has its dangers.

Daily Citizen Photographer in stocks
Daily Citizen
June 27?, 1955

Original text:
PHOTOGRAPHER PUNISHED -- Norm Hanevich, a Daily Citizen Photographer, failed to have a "Brother of the Brush" pin Friday evening when he was given an assignment to cover the Kangaroo Kourt at Eighth St. Cafe. As a result, his punishment was a "paint" job.

According to the June 24 Daily Citizen, the Sisters of the Swish Pirohettes and Piroghy Brothers of the Brush made a woman who wasn't wearing a costume wash down a parking meter. The Sisters supervised the job by holding a rolling pin over the offender's head.

And on June 27, the Daily Citizen reported that an unlucky visitor from Ohio ended up with a pie in his face. So apparently, even men who didn't live or work in Ambridge might be penalized for being beardless in Ambridge.

Joseph Bartolo, who was six at the time of the Jubilee, remembers beardless men being thrown in clawfooted bathtubs full of water which had been placed around town.

I love seeing and reading about our parents, grandparents, and other Ambridge adults acting so silly and having such a good time. And being good sports.

More blog posts on the Golden Jubilee celebration coming soon.

5 comments:

  1. John F. KotarskiJuly 2, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    The man in the dress and bonnet with the two keystone cops, is my dad John J.Kotarski, he was caught clean shaven leaving work at Wyckoff Steel.

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    1. Thanks, that's good to know. I'll add his name to the caption when I get a chance.

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  2. jd aka john domansky

    al russo aka albert russo, good buddy will look in AHS yearbook for more info on him, my age or a little younger, a lot of russos around ambridge too, several families. pete played football & saw him break his leg at south side of AHS on the low metal railing on playground area, bone sticking out of skin, that was scary. running for a football pass.
    2 great blogs nancy

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    Replies
    1. jd aka john domansky

      just a little add on to the above russo comments, albert was a shorter chubby guy, pete was taller football player, may have been cousins, late 40s i saw pete & a roddy jones guy get into a fight on 8th & merchant st, did not last too long, roddy must have had boxing lessons, & he was smaller too.

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    2. jd aka john domansky

      the human pirohy pic, the man & lady on far left side, man in hat & woman looking at camera, look like my sister frances & hubby bill shelsky, if niece judy sees this, she can + ID them.

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