Thursday, November 5, 2009

Memory Lane Mountainville


Yesterday I spent the day with my Dad walking down Memory Lane. For those of you who have read my post about Ketcham's Store and the cash register and spool cabinet, you will understand.

For those of you who didn't, I was born in Mountainville in New York and it's always been a very special place to me, complete with memories of Ketcham's Store. Yesterday my Dad and I wandered through Mountainville, taking pictures, telling stories and having those oh so bittersweet memories of being young and living in a beautiful place. I know that my Dad had so many more memories than I did as he is now 90 years old. He's not your typical vision of a 90 year old. He still works and drives (the senior citizen bus) and is physically and mentally as sharp as someone in their 60's or 70's. With a quick wit and a great memory he shared his story of Mountainville when I was born. .. um... complete with having a bet with the nurse about my birth that caused her to smoke a cigar... lol

I thought I would share some of those pictures with you today. ...

If you have ever gone back to your roots and where you lived after a very long time then perhaps you know how I felt. That same bridge going over Moodna Creek, the sign that said Ketcham Avenue (which is all of 100 yards long), the mountains, the valley... all of it just threw me back about 40 years. When I turned into Ketcham Ave it was with great anticipation of seeing the store once again. It's my understanding that the store closed when Mr. Ketcham died... decades ago.... and nothing was touched until recently. I am happy to say that the store still stands and I was able to get this picture:
I just stood there across from the store, letting the feelings and memories flood over me. It truly is so bittersweet remembering the squeak and slam of that old screen door... the one that is still there today.

We then rode over Taylor Road to the house where my parents played pinochle with their friends George and Grace every other Sunday. Amazing.... the same long dirt lane going back into the woods where I played... the same dammed creek where I ... well... I never did learn how to swim... but I almost drowned there and my brother found a copperhead snake one day. We sat there for some time just talking and remembering then off we went to see 'the train trestle'. It's formally known as the Moodna Viaduct but I have always known it as the Mountainville Trestle. My Uncle Bill lived in a big white farmhouse at the foot of the trestle where we could run over when the trains passed over and scare ourselves to death with the noise and the power of it all... all the creaks and groans of the structure as well. The trestle, built by the Erie Railroad, celebrates its 100th birthday this year.
This is a picture from Wikipedia so you can see the scale of it with a train crossing. The trestle spans the valley for 3,200 feet and is 193 feet high at its highest point, making it the highest and longest railroad trestle east of the Mississippi River.

I stood in the same place that I had as a child at Uncle Bill's house and took these pictures. Uncle Bill's house is gone now, as is Uncle Bill but the memory is alive and well. I must say even at my age now I'm still in awe of the immensity of this trestle. The only difference now is when I go to NYC for the day I'm riding on TOP of the trestle which is also an awesome experience. The conductor goes very slowly so as not to get the trestle rocking.

And this photo is one I took especially for you Janet...


And lastly, we drove up to Pleasant Hill Road to see if the house I was born in was still there... and it was! It's one of those old Sears Craftsman houses...built to last. I can only imagine the feelings my Dad had seeing the old house and he had some great stories about the hurricane of 1951 and cooking geese for Christmas... also my brother driving his tricycle down the front steps. My Dad was the caretaker for Camp Felicia at that time and they nearly named me Felicia (ew). There is still a lovely view from the house..

I hope you have enjoyed the trip down Memory Lane with my Dad and me. It was a very memorable and special day for us.


Best...

Canace

9 comments:

Mystikal Creations said...

What a wonderful story :)

Janet Baskerville said...

I'm so thrilled that you had this day with Papa and thanks for the "7". Ketchum's is better than I imagined - can't wait to see it in person.

ArtSnark said...

Thanks for the tour :D Wonderful memories & photos

brotha B said...

I bought a house on Pleasant Hill not far from the Taylor Road intersection about two years ago (it's an old Ketcham property). I've been wandering around looking for the history of the area, and I really appreciate this personal narrative.

arwen said...

Your pics are really awesome and bring back a lot of memories! I was born in cornwall and lived in mountainville as a kid. I moved to louisiana when I was 13 but mountainville has always been a special place for me and I really want to move back someday. I have been trying to learn more about the history of the area, thanks :)

Canace said...

arwen...

I'm so very happy that my post about Mountainville brought back some good memories for you. It's a magical place for me as it still seems so unchanged... the beauty and tranquility are the same.. no developments, no McMansions.. just good old Mountainville. I hope you can make your dream of moving back happen. :o)

arwen said...

Yeah, that's what I love about it, it's so beautiful there and it has not changed much. It seems like everywhere else they just keep building more and more boring stupid stuff like houses that all look the same. New Orleans is okay but I think mountainville is the best, prettiest most awesome town ever :) Plus it gets way too hot here lol

Canace said...

Arwen.. I think you're just going to have to make it happen... go back to Mountainville where your heart is.

I agree.. it's far too hot down South!

Carolee Murphy said...

My friend Nora Culbert Bock lived in Mountainville NY. She told many stories of Ketchum,s store. She was born in 1912 and moved to Mountainville around the age of seven with her family.She spoke of getting rides to school in Mrs. Ketchum's new car where she spilled ink on the seat.She also told a story of the KKK burning a cross in their front yard as they were catholic. Her stories of Mountainville were so vivid I felt I lived them right along with her. It must have been a wonderful place to grow up.