The column that asks what are the chances of meeting Bridgeton restaurant icon Cosmo Terrigno in Mama Mia’s in the Salem City strip mall after a golf outing with his buddies, and he had some really nice things to say, including he’s also 75 and that he’s been extremely lucky with women, and we saId let’s round up Bay DeLussa, Jim Bertram and Sarge Nowcid and go play Nassau at Cohanzick and win every time, but we couldn’t do that because they’re all gone .. including Cohanzick.
By Jack Hummel
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We know Cosmo Terrigno because he played every year in the Evening News Golf Tournament, then when his round was over and he was refreshed in the clubhouse, somebody would yell let’s go and out the four went with their wallets in their golf bags.
Cosmo always won.
A little history
We only have microfilm.
We don’t even have the videotape we shot.
The photos are in scrapbooks.
We’re talking about the News Golf Tournament that was played at Cohanzick from 1957 until after the News was sold in 1990.
We held an annual bowling tournament, too, but that’s a story for another day.
It all came flooding back when it was announced Cohanzick golf course had been sold and will not remain a golf course.
When it was first announced, J. Alan Woodruff rushed in with stories of his father building the second nine holes on the course.
And stories of a tennis league playing there involving the best players in the county.
We got to know the golfers up close and personal.
We went to all the meetings setting up the News tournament starting in 1968.
We sat around a table in the clubhouse with people like Jere Hoffner, Leroy Knerr, Dr. Sid Goldstein, Bay DeLussa and Bill Wranich.
We thought the tourney would go on forever.
The memories have.
We rode every inch of that 5.555-yard course for like 23 years.
Some days, we walked.
When a playoff competitor’s cart broke down, DeLussa said, “Give him your cart, Hummel!’’
Three straight weekends, it went on every year.
John Schofield would show up for the banquet and tell his big brown dog story.
Early on, you could hear members splashing in the pool next to the clubhouse.
There was a bar downstairs where John Campani once bought us a drink.
The tennis stopped first.
Then the course ran into financial difficulty.
Then it was sold.
Then Holly Hills was born.
Cohanzick has been on a respirator ever since.
The News tournament went to Holly Hills where, one year, John Ewing was a sponsor and his name was never mentioned at the handing out of the trophies, even though he sat in the front row.
But it was never like the old days at Cohanzick.
Sarge Nowcid’s ew-ah bush.
Hit the ball in the bush: “Ewww!’’
It comes out the other side: “Ahhh!’’
The day a D flight handicapper was asked: “Where are the big boys?’’
Shot back Ted Uber: “Over there looking for their ball.’’
Harold Gould smoking his little cigar, throwing it down and missing a 3-foot putt after a 300-yard drive.
There was always somebody who came to play with an inflated handicap.
And if it helped them make the playoffs, they always paid a terrible price by blowing up against the better golfers.
The year before we came, Wranich won the tournament in the clubhouse because the winner had failed to put out on the 18th hole.
He called him on it at the bar.
He never came back.
But Wranich did, running the tournament for years.
The year it was videotaped, a golfer who made it to the finals was asked on camera, “How do you think you’ll do next week?’’
“I won’t be here,’’ he said. “I’m going out of state.’’
All good things come to an end.
First was the tournament.
Then the course.
It will grow wild.
It will not remember George Woodruff or Clarence McCormick, or Jack Nicklaus playing there.
It will go back to the wildlife.
“Hope you are well and I am really not mean. I don’t know you either, Ms. Gentile-Van Meter, but you’ve kinda proved the hubris comment, which isn’t really derogatory.
“You do seem to have very strong opinions that you don’t mind airing,so I’ll stand behind that observation. When someone disagrees with you, do you call them out as either mean or stupid?
“In fact,you have had said some pretty derogatory/biting things, too. You called the governor worthless and clueless. Do you consider yourself mean? Worthless is a pretty mean descriptive, IMHO.
“I do respect teachers and I don’t think I ever said I didn’t. All work is hard and challenging, and that is a good thing, IMO.
“We all put up with a lot in our chosen professions. My job is hard and I love it. Here, unlike you, I’ll say had you taken a different path in school, you could probably do it, too.
“I would never diminish your skills, intelligence or resources out of hand as you did to me. My opinion, as flawed or mean sounding to you as it may be, is that a lot of the problems stem from not having a good home environment.
“Again, do you know how to fix that? I don’t. And a lot of money has been spent to remedy this dilemma and it doesn’t seem to be helping.
“The U.S. is still behind in education — 14th among 40 countries globally, yet we are rated 5 or 6 in spending. I won’t even go into the abysmal Cumberland County stats — and just statistics, sure — but you have to measure performance somehow.
“You give grades out in your school, correct? So the money/programs that you are upset over losing isn’t/aren’t helping. But you did reference a decrease in pension, so maybe just how it affects you? Which, believe it or not, I respect and understand.
“No one likes to have their money toyed with. I’d dislike it very much. But regarding the Abbott program,as a taxpayer I hear the ‘not enough money,’ ‘need more money’ constantly.
“And you know what, there will never be enough money, never, ever, not with that attitude. Something’s gotta give. So please try to come up with an alternative to more money and put away your ‘I want a pony’ Christmas list mentality for the Abbott.
“As a taxpayer, that is how I perceive it at this juncture. But perhaps we can find some common ground to start with. Are you as heartbroken as I am about #Brangelina? Are you #TeamAnniston or #TeamJolie — I’m #TeamJolie — but I’ve gotta admit the #TeamAnniston memes are so great.
Happy Birthday! Many Happy returns!”
The Abbott money hasn’t helped.
The state has been paying 90 percent of Bridgeton education bill, and building all kinds of additions to schools.
But, then, what has anything helped lately?
Do you really think Camden is back after millions have been poured into the crime capital? Is Philadelphia in any better shape? Newark?
But what is more important than an education in a poor community? Nothing.
And now the governor believes prekindergarten is merely babysitting. That goes against everything everybody else has written. The most important years are the first four.
Bridgeton has produced doctors — Patitucci, Lorenzetti and Kolonich, to name a few, and you could go on forever.
But this is now, and we know enough people who want answers badly enough to find a solution right here, and not in Trenton. And the last thing we should be doing is fighting each other.