Memoir

by surrender884

Fast foreword from yesterday’s post of childhood memories to the early nineteen sixties.

Those were the years of life in New York state and what a childhood it was. We started off in Utica. My parents purchased a house in a neighborhood situated on the slope of a hill overlooking the outskirts of Utica. Dad worked for a Utica Tools. Hand tools that is. I remember him giving as gifts at Christmas rolls of wrenches.  Back then and probably still today when a complete set of wrenches are sold they come rolled up in a pockets of a plastic material.

Some years later the folks bought a house in Clinton, New York. Clinton was considered to be a village. Small enough I suppose not to be called a town. What a beautiful village it was at that. In the center of the shopping / business district was a town square. This square was a park with a small fountain , a bandstand, tree lined. Every Christmas the whole square was decorated. We lived in a house two blocks from the village center. Our home was three stories if the rooms in the attic could be considered living space. A full basement with three rooms down there. One room years ago was used for coal storage when coal was used for heating. My brother and I bought a small crate of red worms from a magazine in an attempt to grow our own fishing worms. He and I learned the hard way that worms live on more than old newspapers and kitchen scraps.

Clinton was where my brother, sister and I learned to swim. Our swimming class was held in the mornings at the municipal pool. Summer in New York are cool in the morning, so swimming lessons could be down right chilly. So chilly that extended periods in the pool gave our lips a purple color. The village had two schools, elementary and high school. During high school football games apple cider was sold in quart and gallon jugs. This I remember clearly because the bottles were refundable at the apple cider mill adjacent to the football stadium. It seems all bottles whether soda pop, beer bottles and the apple cider jugs could be returned for cash. My brother and I had enough profit from returnables to buy candy and marbles year all long.

In my last post I mentioned that our father hadn’t spent much time with us to have a close relationship. While in New York State as a family we visited Canada and Niagara Falls,the Catskills and went to the coast of Maine once, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Still to this day any memory of being close to my father is non existent, even after all of those wonderful family vacations.

Having a brother to hangout with and do what boys do at an early age is what is memorable. Clinton, New York was a perfect place to explore back then. Fishing with my father’s fishing gear that he rarely used in the local clear running creeks was where my brother and I could be found. Sledding in the winter with other kids anywhere a hill was, provided much exercise. Raking big piles of leaves in the autumn just to jump into. What more could a child ask for?

Every Friday night we ate fish because that’s what Catholics did. Sometimes the whole family would walk to the village center and eat at a restaurant for fish dinners. Just once do I remember going with my father to the local bar where I sat with him while he had a beer. This appears to be when I came to realize that maybe my father may have become an alcoholic like his father father had.

Some time later though the exact time is unknown to me my father lost his job there at Utica Tools. Years later my mother said it was because of his drunkenness.