Upstate New York was completely different from living in Spokane. We had only one relative in Spokane. In New York we had over a dozen aunts and uncles. We had cousins of all kinds everywhere. We had been out west for four years and everyone had changed a lot, especially the younger cousins. Pine trees and conifers formed the forests in Washington, while the New York forests were a mix of hard and softwood trees with some evergreens. There were few swamps in Washington, but they were very common in New York. The area we lived in was part of the St Lawrence River valley. The Adirondack Mountains were south of where we lived.
Our Grandmother on Mom’s side of the family still lived on the old farm by the river. The wooden planks still rattled on the old steel bridge when a car crossed the river. The family dairy was gone, but neighbors continued to grow hay and crops in the fields. The older kids could swim in the river unattended or grab a fish pole and wade the river while fishing. Grandma and Mom’s youngest sister Virginia lived alone on the farm. Two of Mom’s brothers remained locally while one brother and three sisters had relocated to other parts of the state. The farm was where everyone congregated when visiting up north. It was a peaceful place even with large family gatherings.
Our Grandmother and Grandfather on Dad’s side lived on the north side of the Raquette River just upstream of the dam in Raymondville. The railroad crossed the river and came within a couple hundred feet of their house before crossing the road. An old railroad station was across the road from the house. The family had purchased it when it was abandoned by the railroad. It still had the four wheel hand cart on the front dock. After passing the old station the train crossed another trestle over a deep brook.All of Dad’s six siblings lived fairly close. His brother Jim was in the process of building a house next door on the same property. Grandma’s in Raymondville was the complete opposite of going to Grandma’s on the farm. There were always lots of people, several dogs, many children, lots of laughter, good food, and plenty of booze. It was never quiet. It was a fun place for us kids because there was lots of room to run, lots of cousins to play with, and we were away from home.
Sharon and I also had paternal grandparents on our fathers side. They lived in a small home in Madrid. We would visit them for week ends or on school vacations. They were elderly and their tales of the past were fascinating to hear. They lived an honest, rural, rewarding life as did most of their children.
All Grandparents are special people………..and we’ll visit them again in individual memories of my adventures.