Poem - "This Town That Was Our Home"
By Phyllis Drabel Abrams
This Town That Was Our Home
Growing up in the forty's and fifty's, Weedsport was our home.
Changes have taken place since then, and many effects are gone.
We were all so very busy then, in this world we called our own,
so much to do, places to go, within this quaint little town.
Downtown had many grocery stores, and the famous Five and Dime.
Coyle's Bakery, and Whitman's Hardware, with truly quite a line.
Compson's Jewelry Store, Tanner's IGA, Winton Shop and more,
helped line four streets of downtown, to go from store to store.
The Ice House for blocks of ice, to fill the old fashioned box.
Production in town, a factory, with a famous brand of clocks.
Railroad watchman stood at each crossing, holding up a stop sign.
Until replaced by an automatic arm, flashing red lights in a line.
Bowling Alley, Pool Hall, and the Theater, to mention a few.
The barber shop, and also a Dentist, that many of us knew.
And off to Ohara's after school, for cherry or chocolate cokes.
An upholsterer handy for furniture mends, for any of our folks.
From meat markets, beauty shop, to a drug store on the comer.
Stopping at the A&P, where fresh coffee, left quite an aroma.
Insurance needs, dress shop, and a diner with chili dogs so great,
and even chat, with someone you knew, there to take a break.
A liquor store, and a bar or two, were scattered to and fro.
Weedsport Hotel, stood in the midst, these places we could not go.
Whether we needed a piece of furniture, or even a garment cleaned,
Shoes repaired, or septic needs, we found it there indeed.
Three gas stations in town, with gas, less than twenty-one cents.
Carpenters, plumbers, and Barber's Welding, to fix up many dents.
The Library stood so strong in town, just full of books galore.
Plus, a choice between four churches, to worship ever more.
Colvin's Dairy on South Seneca Street, out on the edge of town,
delivered milk right to our homes, before the break of dawn.
A farmer came to West Brutus Street, and started Smitty's ranch,
participation in every parade, their horses at a prance.
Our Post Office on East Brutus Street, three cents to mail a letter.
The bank close by, and Doctor Goodwin, to make the sick feel better.
The Grange hall, for meetings, and at times, many other events.
Of course two funeral homes, for needs, that life could not prevent.
Leonardi built a Manufacturing Company, which inspired everyone.
Buying a vehicle at Eidman's, proving the best deal under the sun.
Dr. Doran, started a business, down on West Brutus Street.
Great for the animals in town, he was there for them, to treat.
The farmers gathered at Tudor and Jones, equipment for their fields
Decisions in making, the best for the crops, to form the greatest yield.
Dialing six, and three one's to reach the fire company volunteers.
Their phone would ring, the whistle blew, the town would all be in fear.
Of course, we had a police officer, to help the town, stay in line.
Mr. Stafford providing legal procedures, with many papers to sign.
Two piano teachers, giving lessons, to those who thought could play.
Saroodis Garage in the center of town, St John's, not far away.
A new high school was built, with the class of '57, first to arrive.
This was almost the end of the 50's, with new classes coming to strive.
As a child in the 40's and 50's, it was different in many ways.
What did one do for entertainment, without our technology today.
Living by the old Erie Canal, left us with memories so fond,
Digging fox holes, making trenches, playing war in the ground.
Climbing trees to the very top, coming down and feeling so proud.
Placing pennies on the railroad tracks, although this was not allowed.
We walked the old Erie canal, exploring the town dump by the bridge.
For hickory nuts, in Hamilton's woods, going through the railroad ridge.
Fishing at the Aqueduct, and then on to Ball's creek for a swim.
My brother and I hunting together, whenever he'd take me with him.
We would sit in the yard, on a warm summer night, under the starlit sky,
or in the house, in total darkness, when Blackout time came by.
Played on the rope swing, in a big old tree, out beside the drive,
in the leaves, or around the flag pole, until dizziness made us derive
My brother liked the roof of the house, climbing across the peak,
just like a monkey on all fours, not even at a sneak.
As a family, we had a few animals, from roosters, chickens and pigs.
We would dress our cat in doll clothes, even had him wearing a wig.
Burying Kool-aid deep in the ground, capped in a jar real tight,
My friend and I, kept this a secret, for many a moonlit night.
A week or two later, with cups in hand, we went to dig it up.
Clear and cold, it tasted good, despite a little dirt on the cup.
It didn't matter to any of us, that our school was so far away,
up every morning, books in hand, we walked it every day.
Across to South Seneca, then East Brutus and up to Jackson Street,
Sometimes going a different route, depending who we were to meet.
Riding bike with my sister, with the very first bike I owned,
Packed a lunch, away we went, to the river by the Oakland Road.
With troubled thoughts, not to make it, astounded when we did.
She guided me, and proved to me, I was more than a little kid.
To the weigh station with old newspapers, for what we called a wage.
The scales, somehow invariably knew, stones were between a page.
Selling currents by the quart basket, to anyone interested in buying.
Someone was usually making jelly, and we didn't have to keep trying.
Parts of that Erie Canal, turned into highway Erie Drive.
Losing our fox holes and trenches, what a trauma to survive.
As looking out upon that highway, with sad wonder, and a sigh,
We started counting all the vehicles as they began traveling by.
We'd ride our bikes all over, through Emerson, Port Byron then home,
to Sennett and Throup, and almost to Auburn, two of us alone.
All our friends in the neighborhood, came to play "hide and seek,"
or even win at "kick the can" if someone, didn't try to cheat.
Sliding down Science Hill, was always a wintertime treat,
or by the Catholic Church, down the middle of Hamilton Street.
Ice skating also a priority, we would skate until we froze our feet,
the very next day, back again, as plans were all made to meet.
Bike riding down an old dirt road, a spot where a bridge once stood.
There we saw gypsy's camping, with beads, bright colors and goods.
Watching awhile, then panic set in, we left there scared to death.
Often wondered why, we didn't go back, to see what they had left.
Whether cleaning up an old house, or a picnic on an Oakland Hill.
Or roller skating, on the sidewalks of town, slate ones the best to fulfill.
Making dolls from Hollyhocks, with lilac leaves forming a chain.
Never mentioned "boredom" to our parents, as we had too much to gain.
Active in scouts, school and church activities, no matter when or where.
Roller skating, dances, and to the games, certainly all would be there.
Choir, bowling at the Baptist church, and fellowship dinners galore.
Parties, movies, youth group, always busy finding something more.
Continually discovering things to do, imaginations showing us how.
There wasn't much we missed, however, these are memories now.
Growing up in Weedsport, in this town that was our home.
Changes there and in our lives, our memories will never be gone.
When my sister left for Chicago, it was a day for me, full of fear.
A few years later, my brother left, for his Coast Guard career.
It was after they left, I realized, how much they gave me their praise.
Then came, the end of an era for me, in the town, where I was raised.
Each and every one of us, would tell a different story,
of how this town stayed with us, and filled our hearts with glory.
So looking back upon the past, in this quaint little town, years ago,
All, these memories, and many more, are forever in my heart and soul.
By: Phyllis A. (Drabel) Abrams -- December 2000
"All Poems Begin In Delight - And End In Wisdom."
Quotation by Robert Frost
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