A Clue….

It is nearly 10:30 and we still have a ways to go before we reach home for the night.  And the worst part is I took my contacts out and forgot to bring a pair of glasses. So, if this is full of errors, don’t blame me!

Here is a clue as to where our day’s wanderings took us…

Grumble….Complain!

Mark and the kids made their way to Canandaigua this afternoon; the kids had plans to meet friends to take in a movie.  I had planned to go, but after dressing and going outside,  my body told me it might not be such a good idea!  My head was aching and my nose was beginning to get a bit stuffy.  Mark advised me it shouldn’t be too bad, as he suffered the same symptoms earlier this week. 

I called my mom later and we chatted for a long time! (sorry, Mom….we just don’t talk and laugh like we used to!!)  One of the things I had wanted to ask her about came to mind and she told me an interesting fact!  Mom’s maternal grandfather’s name was Charles Cunningham.  Mom wasn’t certain what nationality he was, but in looking online, I see the name is Scottish!  She did tell me some relatives visited from Scotland once when she was young and she couldn’t understand them!  This was a surprise to me, as I knew my paternal great-grandmother was Irish.  No wonder I feel such ties to the British Isles!

Well, I shan’t bore you with my whining. Instead, I shall show you photos I took as I drove to Kim’s house the other day!

I wish I would have gotten a better photo of the license plate on this truck.  From information I found online, this plate was probably issued between 1974 and 1984.  I would say this truck is in pretty good shape if it has been sitting for 25  years or so!

Life Amongst the Wilds

Late this evening, I began to feel as though I might be coming down with a cold.  Drat!  I have walked amongst the aflicted so long without catching anything,  I was sure I was superimmune!  Yeah, sure…Used to be if anyone coughed or sneezed in a room, within minutes,  I caught a cold!  Perhaps that is an exaggeration….perhaps not!

I will never forget when I was working at JoAnn’s Fabrics.  I was waiting on a customer when she let loose with a sneeze.  Disgusting as that was,  it seemed she made no attempt to cover her facial orifices and I wound up with a shower of germ-carrying moisture all over myself.  Gross.  And yes, within days,  I was suffering a bear of a cold.

But, alas, I digress!

The symptoms were what caused me to recline on the bed to relax,  browsing the web and just enjoying doing nothing in particular.  Suddenly,  I heard the most ridiculous scream.  At first,  I thought perhaps I was hearing things, but as I listened,  I was sure I heard noises outside my window.

I got up and opened the window.  Bone-chilling screams could be heard not too far from our house.  I listened and it sounded like a scream.  I looked out the window and listened…..it sounded as though it had crossed the road and was now coming from a greater distance.  As I listened,  the shrieking screams diminished somewhat and changed to what sounded like a cat crying loudly.  I did see the neighbors’ outdoor lights come on, so whatever it was, it must have ca used disturbance there as well…

I have been awakened many times in the middle of the night by noises.  I realize that owls are out hunting at that time, as well as foxes and other nocturnal critters.  It sure makes it interesting for the humans nearby!

And speaking of nocturnal!  Take a gander at what the deer did in our side yard last night as we slept!

The area looks small in the photo, but it really covers a good size piece of the yard!  The deer paw at the earth, looking for goodies to eat.   This is the side of the house where the birdfeeder is located, so perhaps they were digging for sunflower seeds.

I was looking thorugh the photos I took at the park the other day and came across this one that I really like of s Nuthatch sitting on Kim’s hand.

And one more…..

The little Black-Capped Chickadee was opening wide to grab a seed!

I shall go back to my reclined resting mode once again.   I would rather think about dear little birdies nearly weightlessly lighting upon my hand than nasty raptors swooping down to make a meal on some poor unsuspecting animal who just happens to seem like a suitable meal! Argh!

Oh, and I hope the Scottie boys emptied their “tanks” well when they were out earlier…..I am in no hurry to go outside into the night tonight!

As Close to Paradise….

as I can imagine, here on this corruptable planet!

My friend, Kim, called a couple of days ago, wanting to know if we could get together to “shoot”. (Photos, that is! We are both shutterbugs!)  I was so thrilled, I jumped at the chance.  And, it happened that Carly told me about a public park  a day or two before.  The park is located not far from the city of Rochester, New York,  and it has trails where one can feed the birds and they will actually land on your hands.  I don’t know about you, but I find that remarkable!

The weather could not have cooperated more wonderfully, with the temperature rising up above freezing.  Thankfully, Kim knew the way to the park and we hopped out of her car.  The next question was Where do we go from here?  There happened to be some women going into a nearby building, so I asked.  Follow the path in front of you!

And so we did.

We wandered along a wide snow-covered path and it wasn’t long until a tiny Chickadee landed in a tree branch above our heads and called out Chick-a-dee-dee-dee!  We figured that translated to something like Feed me!  Kim and I both had brought along some seeds, so we placed them in our hands and waited.  Within seconds,  the birds came.

Feather along the path….

Bird taking flight from Michelle’s hand…..

Nuthatch feeding from Michelle’s hand…..

Timothy Titmouse posing (quite nicely, I must say!)….

Chickadee resting on Michelle’s glove before grabbing a seed….

We found that as the birds excitedly announced our arrival,  some other critters became very interested as well.

After that little squirrel nearly climbed into my ziplock bag of seeds, Kim generously left him his own little offering before we moved on!

We chatted with a very nice couple along the path and shared bird stories.  And, Michelle just kept loving the fact that the birds came so freely and willingly to rest upon her hand for some more seeds!

We passed several more people who were also quite taken by the birds.

Then we began working our way along the path towards Kim’s car. As we moved along, we suddenly came upon a lively flock of bright red birds! 

Yes, there were Cardinals! They didn’t come to our hands, but they were certainly much tamer than the Cardinals found in the Bristolwood!  They actually sat still enough for long enough so I could get some fairly nice photos of them!  I was over the moon!

I didn’t take the 200mm lens with me. I should have because I could have done much better.

In the meantime, am I happy with the photos I got?  Yes, yes, YES! 

Paradise, I tell ya.  Okay, so not everyone dreams of a snowy Paradise, but in my mind…..P-E-R-F-E-C-T!

Abandoned?

Since my last few entries have required so much “talk”, I am going to be more *quiet* now!

Mark and I drove to Geneva on Monday and as we sat in the parking lot at BJ’s Wholesale Club, I saw such a cool photo op!  I have no idea what the “contraption” is, other than, well, a contraption!  It looks like someone used parts from an old car and tractor to make this! 

Lucky me….the sun was hidden behind a veil of clouds, but did hazily shine through, giving the contraption a look from the past….so, I converted the photo to sepia!

A Final Walkabout

 When I went downtown Jamestown to have a look at the city “proper”, Michelle rode along with me.  We had brought the Scotties along with us and they stayed in the truck while we visited.  Michelle thought she would ride in the back seat with the “boys” so they could have a little company!  They are such good travelers!

I decided to take Michelle on a little tour of my world from when I was a child.  We drove down Spring Sreet, which is where my parents moved when I was only three months old. 

We lived at the bottom of this hill, on the next block.  As I drove down the street,  I looked and looked…a bit puzzled. 807 Spring Street seems to have disappeared!  Yes, our apartment was no longer there, but had turned into a parking lot for S.G. Love School, across the street!  The big green house on the corner next to ours was also taken.  I remember the names of the people who lived there….Mabel and Earnest S.  Mr. S. was a grouch, extraordinaire, and Mrs. S. insisted upon calling me “Katherine”.  My parents and family all called me “Katie”.

When we lived on Spring Street, we were within walking distance of downtown.  We walked a great deal and I remember loving it so much!  As we walked up the hill, I remember “the house on the corner”; the corner of Spring and Fifth Streets, to be exact.  I thought it was the most beautiful house I had ever seen and aspired to buy it someday when “I was rich”!

We circled back around and I parked the truck right in the center of town.  Michelle and the boys waited patiently as I walked the streets of the city.  Even though Jamestown is considered a city, it is fairly compact.  I love all the hills though!

I walked up to Fourth Street and took photos of some of the buildings  I remembered from the past. When we lived on Spring Street,  Nicky and Albert Erickson lived in the apartment upstairs.  Albert was a lineman for the Jamestown Telephone Corporation.  This is one building that never changed much, although it now sports the name Windstream.

I spent many happy hours at the YMCA, learning (or not) how to swim!

To the west of the “Y” is St. Luke’s Episcopalian Church.  This church looks the same as always! The church has a set of Westminster chimes that play every quarter hour, then strike the time on the hour.  I have wondered about the true color of the church….many years ago, the Jamestown Public Library had a similar appearance to this church.  After a sandblasting, it “suddenly” turned gray with a pinkish color trim! Who knows?  Perhaps the church really is this color!

On the next corner to the west of the church is the YWCA, where I took sewing classes and learned the fine art of sewing! This building looks the same as always!

Across the street from the church, there is a row of beautiful Victorian houses that look the same as always.  I think they are actually offices with apartments upstairs, perhaps.

I walked south down Main Street and was surprised to see Benson’s Ladies Apparel. That store has been around for ages and ages.

As has Lander’s Men’s Store, also on Main Street.

I stopped near the corner of Main and Second Streets and took a picture looking down towards Brooklyn Square.  I am not even sure if the area is called that anymore.  There used to be a large green area at the bottom of the hill where a huge Christmas tree was lit every year.  That custom has long since been aborted!

One of my fond memories of Brooklyn Square was of the store, Noah’s Ark.  I am not even certain what was sold there, as my attention was on the Chadakoin River which literally ran under the store!  Noah’s Ark and probably all of the stores that were in that area are now long gone!

I was surprised to see that Lisciandro’s Restaurant still remains!  Many kids used to stop by there on their way home from high school.

On the southeastern corner of Main and Second Streets is a huge office building.  This building looks the same as I remember, but I noticed Chautauqua Music Store is no longer located there. Upon searching Google, I found they moved from that location, but are still in business.  This was a huge music store, located right at the main entrance.

Looking eastward down Second Street, the light colored building at the end is Jamestown High School, where I attended grades 10-12. 

Turning 180 degrees for an about-face,  the large light colored building is the home of The Post Journal, Jamestown’s daily newspaper.  This location was a Sears Roebuck Store when I was a little girl!  I remember shopping there with my parents.

In the foreground of the next photo, The Post Journal,  with the huge Jamestown Furniture Exposition Building a short distance away.  Jamestown was a premiere furniture manufacturing center in the early 1900’s.  Many companies remained through the years, but slowly died out.  Every year, city furniture manufacturers displayed their goods at the exposition where buyers from all over would choose what to carry in their lines.

I headed back north toward Third Street.  I smiled as I saw this sign in the window…..

Jamestown is known for a large Swedish population.  Growing up, I was always surround by Carlsons, Andersons, Swansons and Johnsons!  In school, the Lucia Queen celebration was explained year after year. Jamestown even has a Swedish sister city, although the name evades me.

If Jamestown’s Main Street didn’t run north and south,  I think busy Third Street would be named Main Street!  This is Third Street, looking west.

And east…..

I walked around Third Street just a bit. The big building below was a Lerner’s Store (clothing) years ago.  It then became a downtown mall, and is now called Willow Bay Commerce Center.  In looking online, I was impressed at the current offering. There is a banquet hall for weddings and receptions and such, as well as office spaces available for really incredible prices!

The next block to the west is where the Lucy Museum and gift shop are located. (shown in the previous post) I remember seeing Jamestown looking like a ghost town, but was happy to see that most of the buildings have businesses now. 

The next photo is the Hotel Jamestown.   I believe it is now senior housing,  but am not sure.  It really is a very beautiful building.

Right next to the Hotel Jamestown, westward, is the building shown previously that was Bigelow’s Department Store.  Around the corner, to the north, on Washington Street is further evidence of Jamestown’s Swedish population, in the form of The Vikings Lodge.  Nicky and Albert took me there as a child several times.

I will never forget the corner of Washington and Fourth Streets, where my life was nearly taken at a very young age.  Carly and I were walking across the street, chatting away. She was a youngster of about five or six and I was looking down at her as we talked.  Suddenly, she forcibly jerked her hand from mine and ran back to the curb.  This happened so quickly, I turned to look back….only to look up and see a pickup truck stopped within an arm’s length of me!  A foolish man apparently was daydreaming as he motored along, passing right through the red light.  Instead of stopping to make sure everything was okay, he took off, leaving me feeling quite weakened and frightened!

Across the street from the Bigelow’s building is this building, which was the former Woolworth’s Store when I was growing up.

The daylight was drawing to a close, and I needed to hustle back to my parents’ home.  I drove down Third Street, making just a few short stops.  Perhaps one of Jamestown’s big businesses that has breathed life back into the downtown area is the Jamestown Savings Bank Ice Arena.  Boy, when I was a kid, my parents drove way across town to take me skating outdoors at Allen Park!  Of course, with many years having wimpy winters,  I guess outdoor rinks have some problems keeping operations going!

As we drove further west,  I stopped to snap a photo of  Jamestown’s electric plant.  The plant is located on the Chadakoin River, and was coal operated.  I haven’t looked recently, but believe it still is run on coal.  Jamestown residents were fortunate for many years, paying a fraction of what other statewide consumers paid for electricity. Only in recent years have rates gone up to more competitive amounts.

And just before the Third Street Bridge,  I was totally shocked to see that Pace’s Pizzeria was still in business. This was a little shop we frequented many, many years ago while attending Lincoln Junior High School.

 The school is located across the bridge not too far away.  I didn’t photograph the school, which is now an elementary school.  An interesting thing happened at this school while I was in attendance.

 I belonged to the band, playing clarinet.  One evening, we were to have a concert.  After school that day, and before the program was to begin,  the ceiling of the auditorium where we were to perform let loose and fell to the floor.  Talk about Divine Intervention…

By the time we were ready to leave for home, it was dark outside and my parents lit their beautiful outdoor lights.  Everything was so beautiful with the heaping  sparkling mantle of snow!

My family has traditionally taken down Christmas decorations around New Year’s and this year, they left everything up so we could see and enjoy them.  Thanks so much, Mom and Dad!  And thank you for the wonderful day!

I realize that reconnecting with my past isn’t necessarily what I want to do, but seeing the town firsthand was a fascinating experience for me.  Even though so much has changed with the times, so much has remained the same!

Celebrating and Lucy’s Presence…

We arrived at the home of my parents before noon on Sunday. 

Mark and the kids wanted to take a quick trip to Sam’s Club, so my brother Randy went along too, and I visited with my parents. Oh, and little Fritzie!   Fritz was as congenial as a little Dachshund can be, washing my face and just anxious to show me all around the house!

This is my parents’ yard out back. As you can see, there is a lot of snow!

Visiting my parents’ home at Christmas is so much fun, as there are Christmas decorations everywhere! I feel like a Grinch because I spend so little time decorating,  but growing up, my parents always decorated elaborately!  And, many of the ornaments and decorations have been around almost as long as I have!

While a big tree was set up in the living room,  there was also a small tree located in the sunroom. It was so pretty!

My brother, Randy, makes a spectacular miniature Christmas village every year.  He adds to it as he finds miniature components that would fit in…..

The tiny little houses are lit by fibre optic lights.

This is Fritzie’s toybox.

My parents tell me that Fritz actually roots through the box from time to time, looking for a specific toy. They said it is so funny to watch him as he digs through the box until he locates just the right toy!

When Mark, the kids, and Randy returned, we sat down to a meal fit for a king.  I couldn’t believe all the offerings Mom had on the spread!  There was beef rib roast, mashed potatoes, gravy,  green bean casserole, a fantastic cranberry jello mold, cheeses, olives, salad, jello, and more!  I ate just a small portion of many things and left the table before anyone else as I thought I was going to explode!  There were desserts….pumpkin pie, lemon bars and cheesecake!  I did have some dessert later!  

As everyone was digesting their meal, I went out in the kitchen and began washing the dishes.  My mom balked, but I needed to keep moving!  She and my father both came out and helped me and when I finished,  I decided to take a little walk downtown.  Since we usually do “whirlwind” visits,  I wanted to be able to park the truck and walk around the streets a little.  Whenever we have gone through the city,  I was always amazed that little looked as it did when I lived there.  Now, I could get a better look on foot!

Lucy’s presence is everywhere downtown!  I love the random artwork on the side of a building…..

and I totally missed this piece as I did my walkabout.  Michelle took this photo from the truck as I drove down the street……

That artwork was on the side of a parking ramp.  I read somewhere that there are two (?) Lucy festivals in Jamestown each year.  I need to look the information up, as it would be fun to attend one.  By the way, do you remember the episode with Lucy selling Vitameatavegamin?  It was hysterical…so typical of her slapstick humor!

There is a Lucy museum and gift shop located downtown.

The gift shop has a large sign warning that no photography nor video equipment may be used inside the store.  Well, I was on the outside looking in!

I was trying to think what store formerly occupied this corner and I do think it was a Murphy’s 5 and 10.  Wow, I remember years ago when I was attending high school, I would sometimes go with friends into the store and order up a coke and fries after school at their soda fountain.  Even as a little girl, I remember walking up and down the aisles of that store…it is long gone now.

For those who ever watched I  Love Lucy, you might just remember her saying that she shopped at Bigelow’s when she was in Jamestown.  Well, anyone who lived in Jamestown must have shopped at Bigelow’s at one point or another! It was a huge department store that sold very nice clothing, furrniture, and anything you might need for house and home!

Bigelow’s is long gone. But this is the building where it was located….

I see it is now named “The Chadakoin Center”. I have no idea what this is, but I do know it must be named after the Chadakoin River, which runs through Jamestown.  I see that the facade of the building has been redone and when I walked along the side of the building,  I counted the floors….yup….six stories tall.  I bought so many things at Bigelow’s and the memories of many of those things flooded my mind!

Since this little tour has taken a while to write up,  I will add yet one more walking tour of Jamestown in another entry.  I left Jamestown and the area in 1984 and so much has  changed. So very much.  It is interesting just how much you miss something only after it has changed!  Ah well, that is progress, as they say!

A Visit to my Hometown

Uh oh! I took so many photos going to my hometown of Jamestown, New York, that I decided to break this up into two separate blog entries!

We had planned to visit my parents and brother, Randy, the day after Christmas to celebrate.  It was not to be, though, as my mother caught a terrible cold that really hit hard!  I spoke to her every few days and she would tell me about the severe cough that seemed to linger, making life miserable and very tiring.  Thankfully, she began feeling much better the end of last week and the coughing was diminishing! (and becoming less “deep”)

We planned  our trip for yesterday and we couldn’t have asked for a better travel day!  It was a cold start…0 degrees. (F) As the day progressed, the temperature did warm up, but it was interesting watching the frost on the trees thicken as we headed into the higher elevations, then disappearing in the valleys!

I took a few photos as we got closer and closer to our destination. These are the places that I frequented in earlier days and I love.  This feels most like “home” to me….

Now,for a disturbing sign…..the first time I saw this billboard, I truly thought I dreamed it up!  I mean, it is soooooo graphic!  If I were a smoker and ever needed a good reason to quit, I think this sign might just be the ticket.  Every time I see it anymore, my eyes ache!

And from the strikingly graphic sign to one of the most picturesque farms I have ever seen…..

You must forgive the fact that all these photos were taken out the truck windows as there are signs all along the highway warning of “no stopping except for emergencies”.  I have taken so many photos of those barns out the windows with no success, but yesterday’s brilliant sky was the perfect backdrop and somehow, the photo wasn’t too bad!  Perhaps one of the reasons I am so attracted to this farm is the lovely yellow color, which is certainly a diversion from the typical “barn red”!

As we drove closer to Jamestown,  we could see a little change in the scenery…all of the pine trees looked like they belonged in a scene with a life-size Gingerbread House! They certainly had the “frosting”,  after all!

You can also see that the snow is definitely increasing in volume on the ground!  We finally reached our exit off the highway and I was so happy to be getting closer!  There was, however, one little side trip we had planned….

Now, if you have read here for any amount of time, you will realize that I find cemeteries not to be dreadful, scary places, but rather, some very attractive and beautifully peaceful spots to find remarkable photo ops!  I had seen some photos posted by a friend on Facebook that showed Lucille Ball’s grave marker.  I had wanted to visit there last fall, but we  never found the time.  I am so glad we didn’t, as the Lakeview Cemetery was amazing dressed in its snowy shroud!  I could have wandered about here for hours, but we needed to hurry a bit, as we were on our way to visit! So, for anyone who has laughed themself silly watching the I Love Lucy Show, the small town of Jamestown is very proud to hail as Lucy’s hometown!

The roads in the cemetery were plowed very narrowly and  don’t think I would have wanted to enter without four wheel drive! I had my little netbook propped in front of me with some very vague hints on how to find Lucille’s grave.  We drove right past it the first pass, but Mark said we should try once again.  Since the roads were so narrow, Mark needed to complete going around a loop because there was no turnaround and the snow was probably at least two feet deep! Oh, and by the way, this is a huge cemetery!

The above marker belongs to James Prendergast. He wa the founder of the city, thus the name, “Jamestown”!  I wish I would have photographed the writing on the front, as I cannot read it!

We also passed some other beautiful markers…..The Lady in Glass is a most awesome tribute!  There have been so many stories about this particular grave, but the bottom line is that the young lady’s father basically had the beautiful sculpture made to honor his daughter….

The grave is also beautifully landscaped with shrubbery around it, but the bushes were literally buried!

We made our way back up to the entrance and turned around, reentering the cemetery and Mark drove very slowly as I read the intstructions again.  We found the “Highland Section” and I got out of the truck and began looking….I was wearing a pair of very short boots and the snow came up above  my knees!  I counted the markers to the right, hoping I was aiming the right way.  When I saw this,  I knew I had found it!

This is a family plot,  listing Lucy’s father (Henry, of Scottish descent),  mother,  (Desiree),  Lucy, and her brother, Fred.

Under Lucy’s name is the  inscription, You’ve Come Home.

It was only after I had found the marker that I discovered a worn little path where others had visited Lucy’s grave!

Lucy was born in Jamestown but left as a tiny little girl. I read on the internet that she wanted to be buried in California, and was when she passed away.  In 2002, however, her children had her reinterred in the Lakeview Cemetery in Jamestown.  I was surprised that the grave marker wasn’t more elaborate, but it is much “fancier” than most modern markers.  The plot is located in an old section of the cemetery.

We made our way back out and were on our way to visit my family. 

We turned and headed south down Main Street….

Along the way, we passed S.G. Love Elementery School.  This is where I attended from Kindergarten through second grade….

We arrived and had a wonderful visit!  There is nothing as satisfying as visiting family and my mother fixed the most delicious meal!  We all ate until we thought we would burst!  

I will continue with my hometown visit in my next entry!