Forty-five years ago this fall, I was working as an office boy for the Palladium-Times in Fulton. The papers would arrive by truck from Oswego and be dumped at the little paper office door on Cayuga Street next to Perkin’s Florist.
My big time responsibility was to count out the papers and put them into neat piles so the paper boys could run in, put them in their canvas bags, and get on their way with deliveries. I graduated from paperboy to office boy after a couple of years. It sure did beat having to go out into those “lake effect” snowstorms during the winter.
One day, Don McCann came into the office. Don was the advertising manager for the Pal-Times. His weekly visit was to talk with Carl Johnson, the Fulton manager and editor. Carl was a great guy to work for. I remember Don as this funny little guy about 5’4 with an infectious laugh. Don was always very professional, well spoken, and very good at his job.
I had attended a couple of plays presented by the Oswego Players and knew that Don was well embedded in the group’s organization. He and I would talk on occasion about the theater since I had been in a couple of plays at Fulton High School.
I remember this one afternoon when Don came in to the office and asked me, “Paul, the Players are in rehearsal for a production of the old English farce, ‘She Stoops to Conquer.’ One of the leads has had to drop out and I thought you might be interested in reading for the part.” I can remember how excited I was to be asked and said, “Yes”, immediately.
Later that night, I traveled down to the little Frances Marion Brown Theater by Fort Ontario and walked onto the stage and into the part. I think they were desperate so I got the roll on the spot. I can tell you now, that I didn’t know the difference between an old English farce and an American tragedy, or stage right and stage left. I just knew that I was in an Oswego Players production and I was thrilled and scared as hell.
Little did I know that this would be one of the best things to happen in my life. Here I am 45 years later and I still love the Oswego Players.
While, I’m not able to participate much any more, I still pay my dues (most of the time) and have wonderful memories of the productions I have been a part of over the years. When I do have the occasion to attend a meeting and sit in that warm cozy place, I feel surrounded by the many friendly “ghosts” that fill the theater.
Many of the present “crew” are new faces to me. Yet even though I do not know them well, we all share a common bond: the love of theater.
When you are a member of Players, you find yourself wearing many hats. You could be painting flats for the set, working the lights in the light bridge or standing at the door ushering folks up those two tiny steps to their seats.
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