This past weekend I had an opportunity to attend a conference on Lake George located on the eastern border of New York state north of Albany.
It was like going home as I had taught about 45 minutes north of there in Ticonderoga and gone to college in Plattsburgh.
Time didn’t permit me to go to ole P’burgh, but I did take that ride down memory lane in Ti!
We sure do live in a beautiful state.
I drove up Mt. Defiance — you can drive almost to the top and the walk to the top is doable, but it is steep. My college roommate used to staff the toll booth and gift shop at the top – the gift shop is gone now to be replaced by a picnic pavilion.
The toll booth is gone too – you purchase your ticket at the Fort now on the honor system. The trip to the top of this 835-foot-high mountain – out west they’d call it a hill — is well worth it, as the view is spectacular.
You can see up and down the Champlain basin, and get an aerial view of Fort Ticonderoga and Mount Independence. It is a grand location for appreciating the great water highway which stretches from Montréal to New York City.
During the French & Indian War, the French (who called it “Rattlesnake Mountain”) decided not to fortify the position because it seemed too steep as to be inaccessible.
In the same war, the English used the mountain to scout out French activity below. A generation later, at the outset of the Revolution, the Americans also neglected to fortify the position. But in 1777, British Gen. John Burgoyne had the position scouted anew.
His artillery and engineering officers determined cannon could be positioned there, given 24 hours and a force of 400 men to cut a road.
Regarding the effort, Gen. William Phillips of the British Royal Artillery is quoted as saying “Where a goat can go, a man can go, and where a man can go he can pull a gun up after him.”
As a result, the Americans awoke on July 5, 1777, to find the first two guns staring down at them. They evacuated Fort Ticonderoga and its companion post, Mount Independence, and began a retreat that continued for four months and as far south as Saratoga (Stillwater) – where Burgoyne was finally defeated.
Fort Ticonderoga was characterized then as “the key to the continent.” Mount Defiance was the key to Fort Ticonderoga!’
The main street in downtown Ti is rather dismal, like many small towns, with bigger business moving to the outskirts and leaving the former business section to fend for itself.
I remember when it was a hustling and bustling place.
But there are signs of revival. The home where I used to have my hair done is now a beautiful florist and the front porch is a picture of serenity. I had coffee and dessert in a charming Wifi café.
And believe it or not, there is a Chinese restaurant … I could move back! The hospital has expanded too!
I drove by my roommate’s home and the house she bought when she married. Both had been built by her grandfather and great uncle who were masons and so, of course, they were built of stone in the Adirondack style.
I remember we appropriated some of the neighbors corn and roasted it on a little charcoal grill on the wide porch railing. The houses are owned by others now, but it is good to know that others are enjoying them and creating memories of their own.
I drove around for a while, realizing that I had my ‘routes’ but missed much of what was there 40 years ago. Sometimes we need to look beyond what we always do!
Well I continued home taking the back roads – over the mountain – passing many small lakes filled with boats and surrounded by summer homes. Stopped at a few antique and used stuff stores.
Picked up a few books on Adirondack characters – tour guides, trappers, hunters, loggers, river rats and hermits. My friend found three handkerchiefs with beautiful tatting and embroidery and cutwork – in retirement we collect small things!
Once again, I discover the time away from home doesn’t have to be long to give you a new lease on life. A change of scenery will do, and Lord knows, New York state has just about any kind of scenery a person could want…from the mountains, to the oceans white with foam!
Summer is half over – can you believe it?
The summer rec program will end on Aug. 15, but there is still time to get in on the fun. Lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and then the Rec program begins and runs until 2:30.
AmeriCorps volunteers Kayleigh Troia and Amanda Sprague are staffing the program. Call 289-5120 or 447-3712 for more information or to order lunch for the next day.
Hannibal Senior Citizens will meet at noon for dinner. This week’s menu features:
Monday, July 28 — Barbecued chicken breast, roasted potatoes, vegetable blend, pudding
Wednesday — Swedish meatballs over egg noodles, peas and carrots, orange juice, cookie
Friday — Hamburger on bun, garlic red potatoes, vegetables, juice, ice cream
Activities — good company, table games, bingo on Wednesday
Give Rosemary a call and make your reservation at 564-5471.
Please join the Summer Reading Program at the Hannibal Free Library. The program, Fizz Boom Read, will continue through Aug. 12.
This program encourages children ages 3-18 to read. It meets from 10 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. On Tuesdays there will be a tennis instructor and four different times members of the Cooperative Extension will be doing science experiments with the children.
At the end of the summer there will be a parade. Children can join at any time during the program.
College Assistance Plus will be presenting a free College Workshop at the Hannibal Library at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 29. Might be a good idea to check it out if you or your student are thinking about college. Information is always a good thing!
The Hannibal United Methodist Church annual turkey barbecue is from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 3 at the church at the corner of West and Church Street (State Route 3.)
On Aug. 5, the Friends and the Elderberries will present a Concert on the Lawn from 6 to 8 p.m. with Jeff Sawyer and Rick Bush. Food and drinks will be available. Bring a chair or blanket.
The Hannibal Center/South Hannibal United Methodist Church is having a Rummage and Bake Sale at 9 a.m. Aug. 7, 8 and 9.
Lots of good stuff. The church is located at the corner of County Route 21 and 36.
Connie Adsitt was the winner of the Hannibal Duck Derby last week.
Rita Hooper 706-3564
When I attended friend Tucker’s birthday party, just as I had predicted in the letter that I presented him with at his party and reprinted here last week, there were many other stories being told, and a lot of “Do you remember the time. . . .?” queries being exchanged.
Some of us remembered parts of certain happenings, someone else mentioned something else. We were a little shaky on some of the names, but together, and given a little time, we were able to come up with most of them.
Now, a week later, I am still searching for names to go with a couple of the faces. We all remembered most of what I mentioned in my letter to Tuck as well as several other occasions.
We all remembered the time that in an organized line we ran across the steps to the Kimmeys house, stomping all the way. We all recalled that one of us broke through the steps, becoming temporarily stuck.
But from that point we remembered differently.
I always thought that it was John Fero who went through the step. John says that it was Tucker, and Tucker remembered that it was David Sincebaugh, who lived next door to the Feros.
However, John and Tucker agreed that it was Tuck who was chased with a broom by the Kimmeys “Aunt Bert.”
Did they ever buy the girdle?
Then there is the famous downtown bus trip. Several neighborhood kids got on a bus and traveled the several miles to downtown where they paraded around behind our friend and neighbor Jimmy Smith, who apparently assumed the leadership role of one of our mothers while wearing some of his mother’s clothes.
I didn’t go because I decided I should ask my mother first. That explanation always seems to get some snickers from the group when we discuss the adventure these days.
John and Tucker both remember that the object of the trip was to buy Jimmy’s mother a new girdle. Tuck said that one of the bus drivers questioned the travelers as to who they were with, but the trip went on. Don’t ask me for further details; remember, I wasn’t there.
I do know that the adventure ended abruptly when several mothers of the voyagers became angry and upset and met their children at the bus stop after I, as the only dissenter to the trip, told them where their children might be.
At one point the afternoon’s discussion focused on “the dump,” which was located between the backyards at the end of Wiman Avenue, where at one point we could walk on to the roof of an eight-foot-tall garage on one street and jump to the ground on the other.
(Could that be why a couple of us suffer from chronic backaches, we wondered).
We spent hours playing in the “dump,” digging tunnels and forts into the piles of ashes that had been piled there years ago –and getting very dusty and dirty – or, in the winter, sliding down the hill between the streets.
As we usually do when we talk about playing touch football in the street in front of our house, someone mentioned Mrs. Galanis, who always came out on her front porch and threatened to call the police when one of our errant kicks or passes hit the power lines in front of her house.
At least some of the relationships which began on Wiman Avenue have been long-lasting. Being among friends who grew up on the street attending a birthday party for one of the clan 75 years later must be testimonial to that fact.
A new little neighbor
The long wait is over for our little neighbor friends, Andrew and Nathan (and for their Mommy and Daddy).
Their little sister, Darcy Joy, was born on July 9. She weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
The boys’ father was trying to get them used to the idea of having an addition to the family. For a couple of weeks, a third seat had joined the ones in the back of the family car used by Andrew and Nathan – that would be for the baby.
While waiting for the baby’s arrival, I heard through Oma, Andrew’s grandma, that he was saying that the newcomer was going to be a brother named Sean. Nathan was expecting to play with the new baby right away.
After baby Darcy’s arrival, I asked Andrew about his new little sister and got a double “thumbs up,” so I guess everything is OK.
Valley Field Days
When I was a kid growing up, one of the highlights of summer for us kids was the Valley Field Days.
We looked forward to it as soon as summer vacation started and trekked the mile or so from our house every day to spend our allowance and savings on games, rides and food.
As I wrote in 2009, “I am sure I visited the Valley Field Days every year from when I was less than a year old and rode there in my baby buggy, until well more than 30 years later when we took our own kids there.”
The Valley Field Days was started in 1933 by the Valley Men’s Club, in the middle of the depression, to “give people something fun to do.” Thousands of special needs children are helped every year by the event.
I don’t get to the Field Days every year any more – I have less of a need to be hammered by “The Hammer,” whirled around by the “Tilt-a-Whirl;” I have no desire to bring a stuffed Teddy Bear home; or stuff a cone of “candy cotton” into my mouth.
But I do feel a special kind of nostalgia when the colorful posters advertising that annual event start appearing on telephone poles – as they did recently in the neighborhoods surrounding our home.
. . . Roy Hodge
By state Assemblyman Will Barclay
Tourism is a big industry for New York.
According to recent state statistics, the New York tourism industry generated $59.2 billion in direct spending, which produced an estimated $7.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2013. The industry is also reportedly growing.
Dear Porky & Buddy,
OK, I’ll admit it. I’m a smoker — not a lot, but maybe half a pack per day, and mostly outdoors.
My best friend has been nagging me for years and years to quit, but I just really like to smoke and I figure, it’s just affecting my health — which is good.
Homerun, 1966, by Jim Farfaglia
standing at home plate,
By state Sen. Patricia Ritchie
Whether it’s on the mighty St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Sandy Pond, or any of the other many bodies of water that dot our region, there’s not much that’s better than casting your line on a summer day.
Not only is fishing a way of life here in Central and Northern New York, it’s also a major economic driver; helping to reel in $1.8 billion annually for our state.
By Rita Hooper
The past few weeks, I have been hitting the streets in Hannibal and Fulton, carrying petitions for candidates to run for public office.
It stuns me at how little our citizenry knows about voting. I’ve had five folks in the past two days tell me they are not registered and don’t choose to be.