By Harriet Patricia St. Denis, Cranston



The year is 2004, the month is August.  In July of this year, we had a family reunion.  My nephew Michael, Gene’s son, asked Gerry and I to write down our memories of Forestport.  All of my brothers Joe, George, Tom, Gene and Bill and sister Betty are gone now.  There are only four of us left.  Alvina, Eva, Gerry and I.  I, being the baby, do not remember an awful lot about Forestport.  A lot, of what I remember, was told to me by my Mom and Dad or siblings. But I will try.  These memories are not necessarily in chronological order, but as it hits I will write about it.  Or I will come back and insert where I think it needs to be put.

 I know and knew very little about the St. Denis side of our family.  I do know that my grandmothers’ name was Dupont.  My Grandmother died giving birth to my Dad’s sister.  The only people I knew from my Dad’s side were Uncle George and Aunt Esma and some of their children.  Uncle George was actually my Dad’s cousin.  He and Aunt Esma were VERY nice people and we visited them, on their farm, many, many times.  I loved to go there.  There were cows to milk and warm milk, to drink, FROM the cows. Actually, directly from the cows teat. Uncle George, would say open your mouth and shoot the milk right into our mouths.  It was a typical farm, and a lot of fun to visit.  We fished, rounded up the cows, watched them being milked and were fed very well.   Aunt Esma liked us to come and visit.  She had a BLUE piano.  She had painted it blue, for what reason I do not know.  But, I loved to sit on the piano stool and pretend I knew what I was doing. Uncle George, was a typical farmer.  A wonderful person, and a great man to look up to.  My Dad always looked up to Uncle George.  They were like brothers.  My Dad was brought up, by Uncle George’s mother.  She, I think did a wonderful job. My Grandfather could not stay around after my Grandmother died, so he moved and left my Dad with my Grandma’s sister.   My Dad was a caring and loving person.  He and my Mom fit well together.  Which is why, I feel we all turned out so well, at least I think we did.  We all had a good time growing up and will pass what ever we have learned on to our children and grandchildren, even our nieces and nephews if they want to stop and listen.  

The Larkin side of the family, was a lot larger.  My Gramma Larkin had been a Maack and married a man named Peter Larkin.  They had 11 children.  My mom was the only girl, with 10 brothers.  George, Ray, (Veronica) Hally, Homer,  Gene, Bill, Peter, Marx, Terry and Larry.  My gramma had one brother and my grandpa, I think, had no brothers or sisters.  They were married and lived in Davenport, Iowa until my Uncle George drowned, saving a young girl who was drowning.  They then moved to N.Y. to get Gramma away.  She was so depressed, Granpa thought it better to leave where they lived and move on to something new. 

That was where my Mom and Dad met and married.  They then had eleven children.  Joe Jr., Bertha Marie, Alvina Margaret, Homer Edward, George Albert, Eva Rae, Thomas Stanley, Eugene Frances, William Harold, Geraldine Francis and Harriet Patricia.  Joe married Gilda and had four children, Blair, Gia, Brion and Lise.  Betty married  Stanley Dunn, and had Denise, then she married Richard Visconte, and had Marc and Ricky.  Alvina married Louis Halder and had George, Gary and Judy.   George never married.  Eva never married.  Tom married Marilyn and had Cindy, Pam, Sue, Pat, and Carol.  Gene married Anita and had Renee and Michael.  Bill married Barbara and had Jennifer,  Steve and Kayle. Gerry never married and Pat married Charles Evans and had Bruce then she married Richard Cranston and had Brice.

Homer Edward, died at birth.  The rest of us lived very happy childhood lives.  I will try to tell you some of my memories. 

I was born, on the BACK street, on January 19, 1936.  I was told, that the day I was born, my brother Tom, heard me cry and tried to hurry down the stairs to see me and fell most of the way down.  Otherwise I remember nothing about that house.  When I was baptized, I had two God Mothers and one God Father.  My God Father was my uncle Pete.  Hence Patricia.  The rest is a confusing story.  Hattie Hurley was supposed to be my God Mother, (Hence the name Harriet) but she got sick so Mrs. Boyer stood up for me.  They both considered themselves as my God Mother so I got two gifts, one from each, each holiday.  I remember one gift in particular.  I used to visit Hattie a lot.  I would go to her house just to visit, I thought she was a very pretty lady and I loved being around her.  She had a doll that sat on her couch.  It, too, was very pretty and it spoke.  It said “Mama”.  I was completely fascinated by this doll and played with it constantly.  When I was about 6 years old she gave it to Santa, to give it to me at our school Christmas party.  I was  thrilled.  That was also the year Johnny Belinger and I sang a song together for a crowd of people.  I sang so loudly and was in love with Johnny.  We were supposed to hold hands and he would not so I kept grabbing his, and he kept pulling it away. The name of the song was “Candy”

My first memory is of my oldest brother, Joe.  He took me to the Black River when I was, either, two or three, maybe four.  It was winter and he wanted to go skating.  I remember him pulling me on a sled, to the river.  While everyone else skated, I sat on the sled, waiting.  I sat and sat and sat.  Finally, they decided to quit skating and I was pulled home.  Funny, I can still see them all bundled up as I shivered.  I, too, was bundled I even had a scarf around my neck.  BUT, that I think was my first illness.  I got a very bad kidney infection.  I remember, not much about being sick, I just remember getting sick. 

I do remember living On The Hill (I think it was Gramma’s old house) and my Gramma would walk up the hill to see us.  She came at about the same time every day.  Every day I would sit on the stoop, at the back door and wait for her to come.  (I adored my Gramma.)  She would always STOP, before going in to the house and we would have a conversation.  (That must have been fun for her.)

The story that Tom told about Biney, we used to call her Beany, also included me.  Tom enlisted me to get her to come down stairs, so he could scare her.  She got scared, Tom got scared and I got scared.  There was a lady, across the street who had died, and I was to scream as Viney came down the stairs, that she, the lady, (I for got her name) was in my sight, either that or I was to scream that “SKINNY HERRICK”  was coming.  SKINNY HERRICK, was a man from town who had hung himself.  What ever I did my part and then we both Tom and I got into a lot of trouble.  That was the last time I ever got involved in any thing like that again.  I said “I THINK”.  Tom also wrote about my PICKING on Gene.  That, was, just the opposite.  Gene always hit Gerry and I.  He also Hockey Checked us in the hall of the house on Mac Arthur Dr. in Rome.  Those checks really hurt, that is why I would try to let Dad or Mom know that he was picking on me.  I don’t remember how much he did to Gerry, but I do know he hit me a lot, maybe I did it to him too, but if I did it was in retribution. 

I remember MOSTLY, the house behind St. Patrick’s Church.  That was the Catholic Church in Forestport, which we attended EVERY Sunday and Holidays.  It was below Paddy Donavan and Laura Furnier and next door to the Coscoms.  I think that was the longest I lived in a house in Forestport. (We moved to Booneville, N.Y. when I was seven or eight years old.)  The family moved a lot.  I think each child was born in a different house.   We moved from Booneville to Rome, N.Y. On Flower Court.  Then we moved to Mac Arthur Drive, where Gerry and Eva still live.

The house on Flower Court was a very short stay.  I think I was 8 years old when we lived there.  My Dad’s Dad (Grandpa St. Denis) came to visit while we lived there.   I                   think that was the only time I ever saw him.  He would send a gift each Christmas, but he lived in the State of Washington.  I think it was Yakima, Wash.  I remember going to take him to Canada one time, it was a long, long ride and when we got to the border, he was told that if he crossed the border, he could not come back.  He was, at that time, not a citizen of the U.S.  He was, I think, born in Quebec and moved to the U.S. to marry Grandma.  Somewhere in his history, I think there was and Indian.  I don’t remember         who told me nor do I know that it is true.  But it seemed interesting.   So we turned around and came back to Rome.  He and I loved to play checkers, one day we sat on the couch playing checkers and Mom and Dad came home and said it was time for Grandpa to go back to Washington.  I do not remember, his leaving, I just remember that I missed him after he had gone.  He, was my protector, he did not let the boys pick on me.  He had stayed for quite awhile, and I guess it was time to return.  I am sorry I don’t remember his leaving, because I don’t know if I kissed him goodbye, and I loved him so much.  I am sure he came to my room and snuck a kiss.  At least it is nice to think that. 

  1. The house behind the church, in Forestport, was big, I remember.  The front door opened into the dining room, to the right was a very LONG kitchen.  It had two doors (one IN and one OUT).  There was also a back door, which went out back. (To the outhouse.) Both went into a very large dining room.  To the left of the dining room, was a step down, and a living room, where we used to sit, around a large radio and listen to “The Inner Sanctum” (the squeaky door) and other programs.  Fibber McGee and Molly, etc.  I especially remember the squeaky door.  I thought it was very scary and sometimes funny.  We would sit there and shiver from fright and then have to go to bed.  Off of that, to the right,was my Mom and Dad’s Room.  Off of the dining room, to the back of the room, there was a door on the left.  Open the door and two steps up, was a landing, a door and two steps down was the toilet.  I do not remember a sink, just a toilet.  There was a door in there to go into my Mom and Dad’s room.  When you opened that door, the one off the dining room, if you turned left you went up stairs.  That is where the children all slept.  I think Betty and Alvina had one room, Joe was, I think in the service when I remember.  Eva had her own room, and Gerry and I slept in one room.  Tom, Gene and Bill and I think George had a room to them selves. (If you want to call it a room to them selves.)                                                                   

(Tom, Gerry and I went back to the old house, after we had grown and had families of our own.  Just before it was to be destroyed.  We were all very surprised to find out that Eva’s Room was just a large closet.) I then went next door where the Coscom’s had lived and took the mirror that had hung in the hall.  The house had been abandoned and I was sure no one would miss it.  I remember looking in that mirror as a child and I wanted it.  I still have it.  It hangs in my living room, to remind me of where I come from. 

Tom, Gene and Bill were alter boys at St. Paul’s Church, I thought that they were saints because they were Alter Boys and could do nothing wrong.  Boy, was I wrong.  As my Dad used to say they were St.s by name but not by nature. There was one day, when Tom, Paddy Donovan, Gene, Bill, Gerry and I held hands in a line.  Tom was on the dining room table with a metal poker (fire poker).  He stuck the metal poker into the light socket and the shock went through each of us but ended up in ME, seeing as I was the last of the group.  I think I danced for a full week.  I honestly do not remember how it felt, but I just know it was not nice.

Tom spoke about the fire that we had, caused by Mom cooking breakfast and Betty getting dressed up for the firemen.  On that day we little kids were called and ran out of the house in our underwear and it was COLD.  We waited for the fire to be put out so we could go back in to get warm.  It did not take the firemen long to put it out and we just went back in the house, we had, nowhere else to go.  That was the only fire we ever had and of that we were very pleased.  It certainly was an accident, but one we never wanted to have happen again. I found out later, that, the fire was started by Betty.  She had put some water on for tea, and went back up stairs to get ready for work.  The water boiled away and the fire started.  Tom had to ride to the Fire Department to get the firemen to come up and put the fire out.  Betty, did not come out right away, as she was not done getting “pretty” and the firemen could not see her until she was “pretty”.  The rest of the family, just got cold and waited for the firemen to put the fire out.

Joe went into the service while I was still very young, so my memories of him are few and far between.  I do remember, however, when he came home on leave and we had moved from Flower Court to Mac Arthur Dr. my memory of his is when I was perhaps 10 or 11 years old.  He happened to be visiting, from THE city (N.Y.) (He went to college at Pratt’s Institute.)  I had homework to do and did not want to do it.  He took charge, and told me to sit on the basement stairs, until I decided I would do it.  I must have sat there for a couple of hours.  (I talked to our dog (Jeepers) and told him that no one loved me but him.)  Finally I decided no one felt sorry for me, so I went up and did my homework.  Joe was very gracious and gave me a big hug, when I had finished.  He also bought me my first bicycle and he helped me learn how to ride it.  I must have been 11 years old. 



 My uncles came by, often.  They lived maybe ¼ of a mile away at that time.  They used to tease us and we loved it.  They took us for rides on sleds tied to the back of cars, in the winter, plus other things, which Tom has told you.  I will elaborate later.  They were always fun.  Two or three, always were available for Christmas, if you know what I mean.  Like tying us to the ironing board and lifting us up and down until we got sick.  My uncles, Terry and Larry were the ones who did that.

Gerry and I had to go to bed early, on Christmas Eve.  We were supposed to go to sleep.  But you know how that is.  Try and try, we could not.  We even crawled out the window and sat on the roof.  After a while we would get cold and have to crawl back in.  We never did get to see Santa.  (Only at school, but that was before Christmas and did not count.)  Santa always came on Christmas Eve and after he had come Mom and Dad would call upstairs to tell us to come down as he had come.  We were always very excited.  Every once in a while, we would be surprised, we would be having dinner in, the kitchen, the dining room was only for special occasions, like Christmas, Easter, Birthdays etc.  One time Dad asked me go to the living room, to get his cigarettes. (I suppose we all had the same experience) I had to go out the OUT door, though.  (It was at the rear of the kitchen, and you could not see the living room from the back of the dining room.)  When I turned right to go down the one step, WHAT A SURPRISE…. SANTA HAD BEEN THERE.  I screamed “Santa has already come, and he left loads of presents” I came back into the kitchen yelling, and everyone left their dinner and we went into living room.  I think that was the only time we were ever allowed to leave food on our plates.  My uncles Terry and Larry and Gramma showed up very soon and they too, had gifts under the tree.  Mom and Dad did not have very much money, but we did not do without a lot of things.  I don’t know how Mom did it but there was always enough to eat (even lard sandwiches) and gifts for birthdays and Christmas and Easter.  A lot of the presents were to be shared and some were home made, but we were very happy children.    

Mom was a wonderful cook.  She fed us all on very little money.  We had some chickens, (which I found hard to eat, if I saw them being killed.)  We had, at one time, a pig hanging beside our house, between us, and the Coscoms (our neighbors).  I don’t know how Mom kept it so that it did not go bad, but I think we ate it for a long time.  We did have an icebox, but it was not very big and the pig was very big.  Perhaps she cooked it up and shared it with relatives and neighbors.  I just know it was there and I did not like it’s look.  I was scared to death.  I thought it would come awake at night and it might squeal very loudly.  IMAGINATION is a wonderful thing.  OR NOT.  The old ice box we had, was a wooden one.  It had the ice at the top and a small place for the food.  The ice would melt and some water would get on the floor, which we kids had to wipe up.  The ice man came around at least once a week to sell us ice.  We loved that, we got all the ice chips we wanted for free.  What a bargain. 

Mom made a lot of casseroles, which were very tasty and inexpensive.  She knew I did not like liver, and she would make me something else for dinner when she served it to the rest of the family.  The rest of the family said I was spoiled, that was not true, I was just lucky, Mom understood.

 I remember playing in the snow in the winter.  Gerry and I made a whole house in the     field across the street from our house and behind where the “Sister’s” lived. (The Sister’s belonged to St. Patrick’s church.) (This Is Very Funny… I was talking about this to Uncle Terry one day in the fall of 2007.  Talking about the Sister’s House on the empty lot. Which, Uncle Terry, thought was funny in itself.  He said that there was a library on the property, not a nun’s home, and if it were an empty lot, how could there be a building on it.  I said it was on a big hill.  Which, at the time looked like a little knoll, to me at the time, when I was small, it was a big hill.  I said I had seen Sisters come out of there, He said, “perhaps they were reading.” (but, again I digress) We worked for days cutting seats and tables and chairs, rooms with doorways.  We must have had four or five rooms and places for all to sit, when someone came to visit.  The snow was good building snow and the weather was conducive to building a house or snowmen or what ever we wanted.  That house lasted for a long time, perhaps a week or more.  We would also slide down Donavan’s hill on pieces of cardboard, or shovels turned around or even a sled.  We played outside from dawn to dusk, only coming in to eat or go to bed.  We went to the outhouse to do our business, most of the time, when we could not get into the lavatory.

 I remember marching up and down in front of our house, with a flag on my shoulder, crying and singing because the war (WWII) had started and my brother Joe was in the army.  And I was frightened.  My uncles, too, went or were already in the service.  My brother George joined too.   He joined the paratroopers, and we were all very proud of him.  That was a dangerous part of the service.  He told me, years later, that one of the guys in his platoon, who was very afraid to jump, asked George to change places with him.  George did and when the man jumped, his chute did not open and the man died.  That had to be a terrible thing to have happen to both George and the guy who died.  I think that it really affected George, which is one reason I think that he drank.                                                 

I would march and sing about our country and pray that they all would come home safe.  All did, except Uncle Mike.  He was killed.  He was in a tank that got blown up.  I did not know him very well, but he was my uncle and I did not want anything to happen to any of them.  The rest of my uncles came home safely.  My brother Joe, and my brother George both came home safely.  There were many men who died in that war and we felt very good that most of our friends and relatives were safe.

I remember one Easter.  I was probably 6 or 7.  We, Gerry and I had hair down our backs.  It was very long, and like long hair it got very tangled.  I remember one day, Mom was combing Gerry’s hair and she pulled her hair so hard that Gerry passed out. That was the last time we had long hair.  Mom took Gerry and I to have our hair cut in Utica.  We were very excited, we had never had our hair cut.  We were very disappointed when it as all over.  We had lost a lot of hair and it was permanented which looked terrible.  So Mom went and bought us look alike, clothes for Easter Sunday, to make us feel better.  We looked like twins with 1½ years, in age difference.  I don’t think Gerry has ever had her hair cut again, by a salon, she was very disappointed.  Even now she could sit on her hair if it were not in a braid.  She has had it cut, but only by herself or someone she really trusted.

Summer was fun too.  Swimming was done by me at the “Point” and in “Galaghers”on the Black River.  But I stretch my words a bit.  I NEVER swam.  I waded in the water.  I was always afraid of the water and was always teased because I was afraid.  But no one ever tried to teach me either.   

Galaghers was a very scary place as it was just above the DAM.  A friend of my brothers, Ham Ferjet, drowned there.  He went over the Dam, I think in a barrel.  There was a Brick wall beside the water, where we swam, and I stayed as close to the wall as I could.  The water was very cold and very deep.  I did not like going swimming there.  My sister Betty used to swim out to a large rock and sit on it.  She also used to swim at the bottom of the Dam, among the rocks.  In the middle, was a group of rocks, which made a pond.  That is where she swam.  She did not want to go alone so she had me go with her.  I hope it was not for protection, as I was just a snot nosed little kid and if she had any trouble I could not have helped her.  I think she just took me to keep her company or to make me feel good, as if she needed me.

The Point was another thing.  To get to the point we had to cross a canal.  It was VERY  cold.  My teeth chattered as we crossed.  Then we got to a small beach, where I waded and everyone else swam.  I played in the sand mostly, but I did go in the water to cool off.  There was a large barrel (put in by the boys) that they used to dive off from.  I never got to go to the barrel, it was out too far.  The point was a nicer place for, me, as I did not worry about drowning.  The water from the canal went into the water to the Dam, which, is why, I think, the water at Gallaghers was so cold.  The water at the point was very nice.  Not at all cold, usually it was nice and tepid water.
To get to either swimming holes, we had to cross two bridges.  Shaped like this, /          \ 

The width of the rise was about 1 to 1½ ft wide. (OR SMALLER.) We would walk up the front, across the top and down the end. There were small bumps (rivets) on the whole edge.  So walking up and across the top was fine (something to crawl on) but coming down, it was much harder.  We actually ran down.  All was well until one day.  Gerry decided to walk on the outside of the expanse.  There was a piece to TIN there.  It was only about 2 feet wide.  I was walking up the bridge and saw her walking on the outside, and I got very scared.  I was at the top of the bridge and I could not walk any farther.  I had to get on my hands and knees and crawl to the other side.  Then I had to go down backwards, to get down. She was O.K. and got to the end.  I also got to the end. And that WAS the end.  You have to understand, there was nothing beside that bridge but DOWN.  That was the last time I did that, I used the side of the bridge that was made to walk on from that day on.  That was the beginning of my fear of heights.

Forestport was a very small town and it was full of hills.  (It was the foot of the Adirondack Mountains, so there were many hills in town.)  I think Gramma moved as many times as the St. Denis’.  She lived in Brooklyn, N.Y. at one time, I am not sure when.  She, loved it, in Brooklyn, she lived on Flatbush Ave.  A lot of my uncles stayed in Brooklyn.  But Terry and Larry moved back to Forestport with Gramma, the others came to see her often.  By that time they had girl friends or a wife, so they were making

Their own lives and decided to stay in THE CITY.  Terry and Larry were both young and moved back with Gramma.  My uncle Homer wife Julie and Hally and wife Marvella lived in Forestport and very often lived near the St. Denis family.  Grandpa had died at a very early age I think he was in his 40’s.  I think he died of Pneumonia.  Grandma never remarried, she told me she could never love anyone like she loved “Pete”.  That was all right with us.  We loved her almost as much as she loved Grandpa. (Back to my story.) Forestport was a small town, (1 block.) (at that time) on the block were 2 bars and 1 church.  The other church was up on our hill.  There were 2 grocery stores in town.  Shanks’ and Howard James’.  Where, as Tom remembers Howard James’ I remember Shanks’ store.  I used to play with their daughter.  But I digress.  There were lots of homes in town.  Some on the same block and some across the street, around the block.  There were also some up and down the hills.  Forestport was the LARGEST Township in the state of New York.  Although, I think it had the smallest residence.  Tom tells a better story than,I but these are my rememberances.

My Gramma lived down in town as I remember.  Although at one time I remember going up on to “Dutch Hill” to see her when I was VERY young.  I had to be taken to Dutch Hill, I could not go there alone, I had to be taken there. When she moved back to the “town” I was, once again allowed to go to see her alone. As far as I am concerned she lived in “town”.  She lived across from the gas station.  Which had been some other business before it became a gas station, so Tom and I may disagree.  Walking to Grams’ was about ¼ mile, but there was not very much “traffic” in those days, so I was allowed to go by myself.  So I went there often.  If my mom was looking for me and could not find me she would come to Gram’s and there I would be.  She was a very kind and loving person, also a lovely person.  We were always welcome at Gramma’s house.  There were always cookies (graham crackers with frosting and sprinkles on them) and there were always crackers on the top of her wood burning stove. (They were always warm.)  She, too, was a good cook and she baked often.  How she did it in a wood-burning stove is something I will never understand.  She also made some “Crab Apples” that were put into bottles with some kind of liquid, for many, many days or weeks, that when you ate them, you just ate the WHOLE thing, except the stem.  They were delicious and no one knows how she did it.

I especially remember Christmas with Gramma Larkin.  She had no money to speak of, but you would never have known that.  She always made her gifts for us, as she could not afford to buy them.  She knitted and crocheted.  So every gift she gave was made with love and were very special. 

In front of Gramma’s neighbors house was a brick (stone) wall.  Gerry and I and our friends Laura and Carol Ferjet, would sit there and play “cars”.  We would sit for hours and each car that went by (there weren’t many) would become the next persons car.  We would go down the line in turn, saying MY CAR.  Some were nice and some were old and we would just laugh and laugh.  Funny how little things kept us out of trouble.  On the right of Gramma’s house was an ice cream parlor.  It had large window in the front of the store and we would stand at the corner of the window and kick our legs and move our arms and if you looked in the window, we looked like we were toothpicks with moving parts.  (We may have been simple, but we had a lot of fun and never did drugs etc.) 

That was a couple of silly things we did to stay out of trouble, but that did not mean that we did not get into trouble.  We had our fights.  Some of them pretty bad.  I scratched and Gerry squeezed me with her legs.  She was bigger and my only protection, I thought, was to scratch and pull her hair.  She put her legs around my stomach and squeezed until I screamed.  And I screamed loudly.  Then we would both get into trouble.  We get along very nicely now.  THANK HEAVEN.

We used to go past Mike Yoneke’s (a bar).  That is where we made some money.  It was fun to do.  The men would sit on the porch.  We would walk by and Mike would holler “Hey, George Wash!!!!.  We were both VERY Blonde.  He thought that was cute.  We would go up on the porch and he would laugh.  “Want to see something funny you guys”.Then he would put a dime and a nickel in his hand.  He would then ask me to pick one.  I would take the nickel and Gerry would get the dime.  They would all laugh.  Then        the next man would do the same thing.  I always took the nickel and Gerry always got the dime.  It was not that I was stupid, in fact I was quite smart.  If I had taken the dime the playtime would have been over.  As long as I took the nickel it was funny.  We did that for a very long time and we both made money.  They thought I took the nickel because it was bigger.  I was young, but I was not stupid.  I think I was very smart for 3, 4 or 5 years old and it went on for a very long time and there was always a group of men sitting on the porch, so we could make a lot of money on one pass of the bar and then do it again.  I also remember one day, when my Mom got really mad at my Dad, because he had been at the lumber camp, for a very long time and was spending too much time with his buddies.  He was at the bar and drinking with his friends, my Mom took me to the bar with her and sat beside him and every time he had a drink, she had a drink.  My Dad said after that day, that Mom could drink him under the table.  I of course just sat there and watched.  They laughed about that for a long time afterward.

We also played games like tag, Kick the Can and other running games.  One time we were playing kick the can and I was “it”.  Someone kicked the can and I ran to get it.  I had to place it back where it came from.  Everyone else ran to hide from me.  I did and they did and I spent a very long time looking for them.  I looked and looked but I could not find ANYONE.  So being the smallest of the group, I thought they were teasing me and I started to cry.   I called ALL IN FREE!!!!!  No one showed up.  I cried again.   Then I ran into the house to tell my Mom that they were teasing me, when I saw everyone was inside.  It seems that Paddy Donovan and Gerry had collided in the rear of the house.   He had run one way and Gerry the opposite way and the hit head on.  Paddy got a large egg on his for head.  But Gerry got a large cut…..right above her eye and above/beside her nose.  The Dr. had been called (some one ran and got him, we had no phone).  He came and was sewing her up when I came in crying.   Everyone else new what had happened and no one thought to come to tell me.   The Dr. finished and Mom gave us all dessert to make things better. 

When I was 5, I started Kindergarten.  Gerry was 15 months older than I so she started before me.  She went to Kindergarten for a day and I went to Kindergarten for a week.  It was not that we were so smart.  We just had older brothers who taught us some things we would have to know before we went to school.  I should not say that, Gerry was a very smart girl.  I was not.  Which was proven at a later time.  The school we went to was small.  It had K, 1st and 2nd grades in one room and 3rd and 4th in another room. Etc. So when I went to K Gerry was in the same room.  That was the end of that.  I just followed her the rest of our school life.   I would go into a classroom and be asked if I was as smart as Gerry.  Of course, I was not, but I did not know that right away.  So I would say, “sure.”  WRONG. My whole life in school went like that until we moved to Rome, N.Y.

At that time, I changed my elective and we had different teachers in High School.  It turned me off to be asked if I was a smart as she and I would not even try.  That was stupid on my part, but we live and learn.  Gerry tried very hard to do well in school.  I only wanted to have fun and did not try very hard.  She ended up being a teacher and a very good one.  I ended up being an accountant.  Which was really funny, as when I took Bookkeeping in High School, one of my report card marks was 15 and I was asked to drop the subject.  The teacher said I should find something else to do with my life.

Driving was fun in our family, my Dad was a lumberjack (I remember very little of that).  He also drove a town truck and a school bus.  Every Sunday, after church, Mom, because she was stuck in the house all week, would like to go for a ride.   Dad was not very pleased.  We the little kids HAD to go, too.  So Tom, Gene, Bill, Gerry and I would       scrunch into the back seat.   Each one poking the other, there were more hims than hers so we girls would get the worst of the poking.  It was not our favorite thing to do, but to keep Mom happy we did it.  After arguing between Mom and Dad and sniffing, crying, and laughing in the backseat we would turn around and go home.  

 Once a month, Mom and Dad would take us to a movie theater in Booneville.  We would go by two’s and three’s as we could not all go together.  There were too many.  We traveled from Forestport to Booneville and it took a long time to get there.   One time Betty, the oldest I, the youngest and Gerry went.  It was dark and rainy.  Mom and Dad were having one of their arguments. “Joe you are going to fast,” then Dad would put the brakes on and then she would say  “Joe you are going too slow.”  Then he would go much faster.  Then she would say “Joe you are going too fast” Then he would go slow again. Etc. Going for a ride was a lot of fun.  Dad, you see, was a truck and bus driver during the week and did not relish driving on his time off.  Anyway, all of a sudden there was something black and white right in front of us.  A cow had gotten out of her field.  “Bang” we hit it.  We never did get to the movie.  I don’t remember how long we sat in the road, but I do know the farmer and Dad got the car going again and we went home. 

We got a new car after that. 

Gerry and I went fishing one time, with our uncle Terry.  He took one of his girlfriends and was not really paying attention to what we were doing.  We were a short way out of the town, at some pond or another but in the vicinity of Forestport.  Gerry and I started throwing stones and limbs at a hornets nest.  WRONG. We lost.  Those hornets came by the gross out of that nest.  They chased us as we ran, all the way to town.  We had more bites on our bodies than you can imagine.  We ran to Gram’s house where our Mom was and both of them took care of us.  How they did it I have no idea.  But we got to be fine after about three weeks.  Neither of us have scars from the bites either.  Now I hate bees and wasps and hornets.  I don’t think Gerry has any hard feeling towards them as she feels it was our fault in the beginning.  She is a very forgiving person. 

Mom and Dad both got jobs away from Forestport, (it was war time) so we moved to Booneville. I think I was about 7.  We moved to a Fox Farm.  The farm was empty of foxes but full of huts, probably 1000, that had held the foxes.  The house was large and the land was massive.  There was a car in the field, I think it was the car we hit the cow with that just sat in the field.  While my Mom and Dad worked, the boys and Eva, drove the car all around the farm.  Tom, Gene and Bill drove it everyday.  Even Eva drove it, if she were home.  There were no adults around so no one new except us little kids.  We small kids, Gerry and I got to stand on the running boards and hold on for dear life, as they tried to miss the fox huts and the holes that were all over the field.  That is about all I remember about that house.  We did not live there very long, then we moved to Rome, N.Y. and that is where Alvina and Betty got married on June 30.  All I can remember about that is that they both looked BEAUTIFUL, and seemed to be very happy.

The last move we made was to Mac Arthur Drive.  Gerry and Eva still live there.  George, Tom, Gene and Bill joined the service from there and from there is where I, and they got married.   

I hope you all have enjoyed my memories.

It is now December 2007, I have tried as best I could to correct or remember as much as I can about my youth, in Forestport.  One day I will try to write about my life in Rome, N.Y.  It was not so exciting, but it has been a good life and I am proud to say a happy life.  We have just lost our sister Eva on November 25.  She was 79 years old and had been sick for about 3 years.  It started in 2004 and her sickness took her in 2007.  She was very good to all of her nieces and nephews, her Mom and Dad her sisters and brothers and her Aunts and uncles, we will miss her terribly.  She however had a good life too, I only wish she had written down her memories, so that we could read them.  I was talking to Jen and Kayle at home while they were visiting and started to tell them some of my memories.  I told them I had started to write some of them down and they seemed interested so I finished what I had started and now you will all know what I remember.  I Thank God for my blessings and wish that everyone could have as good a life as I have had.  I Thank God for my family, the complete family. Grandmother, Mom, Dad, my brothers, my sisters, my uncles, my aunts, my cousins, my nieces, my nephews, my children and their wives my grandchildren and of course my husband, I have certainly been BLESSED.