Jerry’s Journal: August 18, 2012

by Jerry Kasperek

In my last column I wondered which Mangeot sister taught school and where.

The answer came from Class of ’51 Lunch Bunch member Millie (Davis) Swick who said Miss Helen Mangeot was her second grade teacher at Erie Street School and “was a very nice lady.”

In my July 21 column,  I wondered who the kids were in the picture that accompanied it. The answer came from Mike Riley who said the photo was taken at Fulton’s West Side Municipal Pool 45 to 48 years ago.

“I was the little kid in the front row flexing my muscles!” he said. “My brother Doug who was about five years old was behind me.”

A high diving board can be seen in the background of the picture. “My brother Rick got hurt on it,” Mike said. “And they took it down.”

He comes from a large family of six siblings: Sandy, Sally, John, Mike, Doug and Rick. “We had season passes and we lived at the pool,” he said.

He identified some of the other young people in the photo. Mike Merritt was the boy standing directly in front while the two tall kids in the back were Billy Kystiniak and Butch Southard. The group also included Johnny Sugar, Billy Witsik and Carrie Zarichny. “There was a huge amount of kids that used to hang out there,” Mike said.

The photo was made into a picture postcard, he recalled. The old Wayne’s Drug Store that used to be in downtown Fulton had a bunch of postcards of local interest like that and most likely when Wayne’s closed for good a lot of them got thrown out.

Mike is recently retired, is the father of three grown children, son Christopher and daughters Stephanie and Katy, and is grandpa to a little six-year old granddaughter who he “likes to take to the pool.” (Not our West Side municipal pool, of course, it no longer exists.)

Incidentally, Mike’s parents are John and Elaine Riley. Elaine worked at Montgomery Ward when I did in the 1970s and I sometimes gave her a ride to work. Small world; it was here in our hometown, when, in the Good Old Days, everybody seemed to know everybody else!

Who remembers Sharp’s Pond? I do! It was where I got my best sunburns! My Mom would say, “Jerry, it’s too hot out today. Don’t you go swimming. You’ll get sunburned.” Then off she’d go to work at Sealright and off I’d go the “The Pond.”

My mode of transportation to get there was walking the railroad tracks. The Pond was way out Emery Street and I lived on Porter Street way out on North Sixth Street, so it was not too close, but not too far away, either.

Sometimes I’d  go with friends but often alone. I’d walk over to North Seventh Street, also known as the Whitaker Road, and climb the incline to the railroad trestle and follow the tracks to the Oneida Street trestle (the one as you go up Crosby Hill), cross over it, keep going for a few hundred feet more, and there down below the tracks was Sharp’s Pond in all its glory!

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One thought on “Jerry’s Journal: August 18, 2012”

  1. I moved to Florida in June of 1985. I like to read The Valley News on line for “old times sake”, especially Jerry’s Journal. Her column brings back so many memories.

    Donna Dlugozima

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