Friday, March 13, 2009


It's 18 degrees with patchy clouds.

It's also Friday the 13th!

Paraskavedekatriaphobia, anyone?

While some of us are driving especially carefully, watching out for black cats and avoiding all ladders, it's a great day for anyone connected to Colgate University, because in 1817, 13 men - six clergy and seven laymen - met in the frontier settlement of Hamilton with "13 dollars, 13 prayers, and 13 articles." "Triskaidekafanatics unite — every Friday the 13th is Colgate Day!"

This morning's forecast from WKTV: "Temperatures this morning are starting out in the teens across the region. Expect partly sunny skies today, with high temperatures in the mid 30s. Less wind and more sunshine will make it feel better than yesterday. An area of high pressure will slowly build into the region over the weekend; that high will bring a very very nice stretch of weather. Overnight tonight though, temperatures will get chilly once again, with lows in the mid to upper teens.

A dry, cool, sunny start to the St. Patrick's Day parade, with temperatures in the 30s by 10am. It will still be chilly in the morning, but by afternoon, high temperatures are expected to reach the mid 40s. On Sunday, staying dry, mostly sunny, with high temperatures approaching 50! Warm, dry weather will continue on Monday and Tuesday, with highs in the 50s before our next storm system cools us off a bit and gives us the chance for rain showers on Wednesday. "


That's pretty good news:

here's something even better!

The rumors began several weeks ago: "Something's going on down in Sangerfield at Dave Wicks' antique place!" "I heard tell that Mike Latreille's moving there!" And loads of lumber were being delivered and workmen's trucks were always parked outside and I went to see Mike (the owner of "Michael's Fine Food & Spirits" on Main Street in the village.) He said that yes: he was working in that direction - of relocating "Michael's" - but that he didn't want to make a formal announcement until he had the key in his hand.

Well - he has it now!

Here are his plans:

Although a large FOR SALE sign has gone up on the outside of the Main Street building that houses the current restaurant, "Michael's" will stay open - just the way it is! - until June 1. That's when the new "Michael's" will open. But Mike was quick to explain that although the location will change, the menu* and ambiance and even some of the colors will be the same as they are now.

* I was introduced, yesterday, to Michael's "Chocolate Porch Pie." (Oh ... my ..... goodness!)

The building is one of the oldest in Sangerfield:

Excerpted from "The Recollections of Abner Livermore - 1851. "Major Jotham Tower had the year before I came here [1799] built the same tavern house, in the same style of architecture that remains to the present day, for Ebenezer Hale, and an elegant two-story frame house across the road for 'Squire Oliver Norton. Jotham was young, industrious and an ambitious masterbuilder.

Yes: the brick oven will stay - but not put to any practical use!

The entire building was beautifully restored by Dave Wicks, five or six years ago, and I took these photographs of some of the woodwork, original "strap" hinges and a "dance hall"panel with familiar names written in pencil - including that of Royal Plante, Doug's grandfather, at that time!

The only antiquities that are being replaced are some of the wide, old floor boards - for safety's sake - but they will be recycled into a new "bar" in the original tavern area.

It seems that the building has nearly always been called "The Sangerfield Exchange" - at least it was in 1855 when someone (according to The Waterville Times) tried to start a rumor that the owner had small pox! (A fact which he denied!)

Another "rumor" - something that the late Hilda Barton told me about but which I can't substantiate at all - is that there was once a gunfight in the tavern and a "Mr. Locke" left a considerable bloodstain on the barroom floor. (I'm hoping that someone like Jack Youngs will have heard the story and be able to tell us more!)

There will be more pictures as refurbishments proceed!



In yesterday's mail:

(Thanks, Becky!)


A few days ago I published a picture of what looked like intravenous tubing on one of Jody Hildreth's Osborn Avenue maple trees. Well - here's the result - so far!

Jody wrote: "We have bottled about 1.25 gallons so far and have another gallon of sap boiling now. This is just from the two trees in the front. I should get about 3 -4 gallons of
finished sap by the end of the season."

"This is the electric Turkey Fryer that I bought just for making syrup. It works very well and I boil the syrup outdoors. When it's close to done, we finish it inside."

Thanks, Jody!


Also in yesterday's mail, this letter (and pictures) from "Jr." Bartlett:

"I just got back from Daytona for Bike Week and did that sun feel good. Got my picture with the Geico Lizard - photo enclosed. Picked up a bunch of magazines and then found I was in the Laconia Ralley magazine New Hampshire run I went to on my chopper last year. Never been in a magazine before that was kinda neat. Enclosing the front cover and inside picture for some of my biker friends in the Waterville area.

I sure miss waterville and all my friends that are still there and will be back especially for the class of 54's reunion.

(Click to enlarge.)


I had a faily early appointment with my "eye doctor," yesterday morning and spent the next several hours with really "big eyes" and less-than-clear vision. However, I always slow down to see how many alpaca are out at Rancho Cerritos and yesterday there were about two-dozen browsing in the sunshine, ambling around in what appeared to be fuzzy "pajamas." Have you ever stopped to look in the little store? You can shop online, too!



Because I really couldn't see whether or not the pictures that I was taking were at all clear, I quit after taking these few of Mike, the alpaca and newly-lowered gas price. Nothing's fuzzy this morning - I'll collect more views for Monday!

Have a Great Weekend, Everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

for friday

Major Jotham Tower had the year before I came here [1799] built the same tavern house, in the same style of architecture that remains to the present day, for Ebenezer Hale, and an elegant two-story frame house across the road for 'Squire Oliver Norton. Jotham was young, industrious and an ambitious masterbuilder.

Somewhat of a jealousy and strife existed for some years between the Center and the Huddle. The large schoolhouse with a swing partition where they had school meetings and town meetings was burned. The Baptists generously offered them the use of their house for a part of the time, as they did not have steady preaching. But the Center came to the Huddle very little. They met in Deacon Oliver Norton's house and sometimes in E. Hale's chambers. Some weak sisters and brothers, too, could not bear that very well as that room had sometimes been used for dancing.


It's Garbage Day!

21 degrees and

"there's Good News and there's Bad News."

Let's do the good news first:

Yesterday was fantastic!
The DPW was out early, putting "temporary fillings" in some potholes and scraping up some of the worst sand/dirt along curbings.

More and more Canada Geese were resting on ponds next to Sally Road ......

....... and Madison Street.

Afternoon sun shone on the little "Winter Aconite" in front of the Fehlner-Peach residence in "Dicksville."

After school, bikes and scooters came out ..........

........... and jackets came off!

On Madison Street, Mrs. Manion and her neighbor, Mrs. Lloyd, have hung Spring wreaths on their front doors .......

..... and, in Stockwell, Tom and Sharon Stiles' maple trees are hung with sap buckets!


It's time to make nominations for the Utica Observer-Dispatch TEEN ALLSTARS. Click HERE for details and the nomination form!

There's a note in my morning E-mail that says: " Congratulations to Micaela LoConte and Katie Brown, two Waterville ninth graders who got picked out of the sixth through ninth graders to participate in the All-County Concert on Saturday.

The concert in on Saturday at 4:00 at Westmoreland High School and it includes the best from Oneida County. If you want to hear some phenomenal music you should attend this concert. The kids all practice together on Friday night and most of the day on Saturday and then produce some phenomenal music for only 1 ½ days practice."



TOMORROW NIGHT at the Waterville Public Library

at 6:30

The Johnston School of Irish Dance
(which includes some local dancers)

followed by

Irish Folk Singer Vince Colgan

at 7:30





Not on Tuesday!



Tickets are available for $6 each from Mrs. Hughes in the District Office, 841-3900, or at the door.


Now for the Bad News:

It's white!

(but it's only a little, and it won't last long!)

From WKTV: " Sun and clouds will share the sky for Thursday with still a few lingering flurries and a high in the lower 30's. Chilly weather is in the forecast for Thursday Night. Temperatures will likely fall back into the single digits. Sunshine will return for Friday and the weekend with moderating temperatures. Highs will be in the mid 30's on Friday and readings will climb back into the 40's for both weekend days."


7 days 'til Spring,

19 days 'til Trout Season opens

and MLB gets under way, soon,
with the Redsox home opener on the 6th,
the Mets on the 13th
and the Yankees on the 16th!!!

Have a Great Day, Everyone!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


It's Recyclables Day!

37 degrees and breezy.

WKTV's Forecast: "A storm system will pass to our north and west today, bringing more morning rain, a quick afternoon warmup, followed by colder weather for tomorrow. Rain showers will continue this morning, with the steadiest and heaviest rain north of the Thruway. Up to another quarter of an inch of rain will fall today. Rain is expected to end before noon. A cold front will move through between noon and 2pm, and will be accompanied by quite a bit of wind. Winds are expected to gust up to 35mph. Some breaks of afternoon sunshine are expected, with high temperatures near 50 degrees.

Colder air will build in by the evening, with temperatures rapidly falling into the 30s this evening, and eventually 20s and upper 10s tonight. Some lake effect flurries are possible late tonight, but accumulations are expected to be very light."


Tom Morgan is ready!
There are plenty of rakes in his sidewalk showroom so that YOU will be ready, too!

Alcott's is ready, too, and seed packet racks are full along with shelves filled with other "green thumb" helpers!

Out in the greenhouse, it was warm and Spring-smelling and, well - everything was green!

Some plants even had blossoms on them!

But those "hooks" on all the hanging planters? They don't grow themselves!

Villagers are wondering when the Memorial Bandstand will start "growing," again, and Village Clerk Lorena Lenard has already received phone calls from parties asking to reserve the structure for weddings!

The unofficial answer: construction probably won't start for several weeks and although the building itself may be completed by mid-to-late July, there will still be landscaping to do.


More and more pretty doorway decorations appear - this is on Madison Street -
but reflections in the storm doors make them difficult to photograph.


In my morning mail I found a note from Doug Cornelius along with this photograph.

"My wife Sue and I walked (in last Saturday's Heart Run & Walk) with Team Mohawk Valley Heart Institute. There were about 370 runners and walkers - obviously not all were in the attached picture. It was a great day for a walk. Come on Spring!" (Thanks, Doug!)


Also in the mail, Shirley Bynum Smith sent me this photograph of some of the members of the WCS Class of '56 & Friends, taken at Michael's last week, saying,

"This is the third such gathering in less than a year, and we hope to keep on keepin' on with this new tradition."

From left: Anna Hayes Halkowich, Esther Eisenhut Swarthout, Donna Ingersoll Morelle, Ann Fleischman Ingersoll, Shirley Eisenhut Smith.


It's "Women's History Month" and Waterville had it's share of women who, although they did it quietly, accomplished a great deal in the world and whose stories make me wish that I had known them! Here's one:


1833 - 1924

Born in Waterville, New York, to a family that ran a tannery and shoe factory. She married early and moved to the frontier town of Iowa City, Iowa where she became a pioneer housewife. However, her life became complicated because her husband died several years after their marriage, and she became deaf, something she jokingly said later was an advantage because she couldn't hear the scathing remarks of critics.

She returned to Waterville and determined that in spite of her trouble, she was not going to be idle. At age forty, she committed herself to a career in art.

Her first teacher was James Brevoort, a landscape painter of New York City, and she continued for another ten years abroad, first in Paris where she exhibited at the Paris Salon and studied with Harry Thompson and Emile Vernier, and then spent six years in Holland. She became a prominent late 19th, early 20th-century landscape artist known for her tonalist paintings, especially with misty blue coloration. A studio fire destroyed the output of these years. In France, she was greatly influenced by the Barbizon painters and their attention to contrasting light and atmosphere and the working in a broad-sweeping manner without attention to detail. In the early 1880s, she returned permanently to New York where she had already been exhibiting at the National Academy. In 1876, her painting "A French Village," had earned her much praise at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition, and critics compared her work to Corot. However, she turned away from European subjects and devoted herself to the American landscape, using the tonalist approach and suggesting spirituality with misty effects achieved with dominance of subdued blues and greens. Frequently her vantage point was looking down into a valley from a high point, a panoramic view on a small to medium size canvas. With her paintings she strove to achieve a sense of quiet, something that many of her artist peers, including George Inness and Alexander Wyant, were doing to counter the crass materialism of the Gilded Age of industrialism. She received much positive attention including election in 1910 as an Associate to the National Academy of Design, but well-aware of discrimination against women artists by male jurors, she always signed her work C.B. Coman. She continued painting almost to her death at age 89. Her reputation lapsed into obscurity until the mid 1970s when a renewed interest in feminine artists brought new appreciation to her work. Credit: Charlotte Rubinstein, "American Women Artists"

I remember seeing several of her paintings - including one of a double hop house built of cobblestones from which two Stafford Avenue residences were later constructed - but the owner left Waterville several years ago .......................

Perhaps someone from the family will read this and get in touch with me? It would be awfully nice to acquire one for local history's sake!


I'm running late!


Have a Great Day, Everyone!