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In These Otsego Hills

August 9, 2012

Summer flies by ...

We note, although we find it hard to believe, that the next meeting of the Literary Discussion Group, sponsored by the Women’s Club of Cooperstown, will be held dangerously close to Labor Day at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 23. The meeting will be held at the home of Pat Duncan who will also lead the discussion of this month’s book, “The Silent Girl” by Tess Gerritsen. It should be noted that there is a detour on the road normally used by group members to get to Pat’s house. So, anyone attending should call us at 547-8124 or email us at to get directions for the detour.

We also note that the group’s September meeting, which will be way after Labor Day, is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, and will be held at the village of Cooperstown Library. The book for discussion at that meeting will be “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. Marie Rudloff will lead the discussion of that book. Both meeting are open to anyone interested in discussing the books.

And while we always think the summer months are a great time to catch up on one’s reading, something we have been trying most diligently to do, we also have decided that this summer was the right time to finally take on what has become a somewhat overwhelming project. During the early years, specifically from 1984 to 1999, of this column, a great deal of time was spent collecting what would undoubtedly be termed oral history of the village and its environs. Historical questions would be posed and our readers would call, write or run into us on the street with their answers. And while in most cases we would get basically the same answer to a question from everyone, there were the occasional questions over which there would be a marked difference of opinion.

And while we rather doubt any of the questions dealt with burning issues of village history, we do think it would be a shame to lose the oral history, irrelevant as it may be, which was collected. Thus, we have been going through the old columns, week by week and year by year, pulling out the history in hopes of collecting it in some sort of order in one place.

Unfortunately, the project seems to be taking much more time that we had originally anticipated, but we fully intend to keep pushing forward with it.

We have also discovered that not only is the history interesting, but so are many of our comments on the comings and goings of the village. For example, in August of 1984 we wrote:

“In closing, we have had many calls from both residents and non-residents concerning enforcement of the village laws. And hard as this is to believe, everyone has a different priority. We have heard the sandwich boards are awful. We have also heard the sandwich boards are not a problem, but bicycles are a real danger. There’s no place to park them, except, it seems, in the middle of the sidewalk on Main Street. Furthermore, most of the bicycles don’t have lights at night. Other people have problems with loud music at loud parties and we have even heard that either the town of Otsego landfill or the incinerator at the hospital spreads its distinctive aroma across the village on hot, humid nights.”

Thus we conclude that public opinion about village issues is nothing new and has, in fact, gone on for years. And while some of these pressing issues from 1984 no longer seem to be in the forefront, they have been replaced by a different set of issues. Yet, we think that we would still today be safe in saying: “And hard as this is to believe, everyone has a different priority.”

Of course, we also included, in those days, items which could best be termed as observations. For example, in 1988 we wrote: “In closing, the parents in Michigan recently sent us the hospital bill for our (the she-we’s) arrival in December of 1947. We hope they do not expect us to reimburse them, although we do think we were a real bargain. The entire bill came to $57.85. Interestingly enough at the bottom of the bill is the statement: ‘This is your bill as it now appears on our books. If there are any additional charges a bill will be sent you.’ Some things, it seems, never change.”

And then there were the occasional concerns, such as this one also from 1988.

“In closing, we (the she-we) have recently received a recipe chain letter, which, if we send it on to six others who in turn each send it on to six others, will net us 36 new recipes in a matter of weeks. Quite frankly, the thought of receiving 36 recipes scares us. We have enough trouble knowing what to do with the three we already have. But we do realize that there are others who would find being a part of this chain interesting. Therefore, we will gladly pass the letter on to anyone who would like it. We really can’t imagine that our favorite recipe — choose restaurant, call for reservation and eat out — is really what the recipe chain had in mind.”

We must admit that we are not exactly certain where the time has gone. As we re-read these columns, it seems as if we just wrote them. And yet when we think about it, we realize they were written decades ago when it was, unfortunately, much easier to claim that we are but 29. And unfortunately, as we have long been told, the older one gets, the faster the time goes. In fact, we are still trying to figure out how we managed to zip through June and July, ending up in August so quickly.

PLEASE NOTE: Comments regarding this column may be made by mail at 105 Pioneer St., Cooperstown, N.Y. 13326, by telephone at 547-8124 or by email at


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In These Otsego Hills
  • Flash back to debate over tourism Congratulations go out to Sandy and Marshall Thorne on the occasion of their 50th wedding anniversary.

    August 21, 2014

  • Reflecting on the noon whistle Over the years we have been taken to task by readers who do not agree with our thinking. And we have never thought that to be a problem. Opinions differ and it is always good to hear all points of view on an issue. However, for what we think is perhaps the first time, we have been taken to task by a complaint that while we had taken what was an obviously unpopular position on buses within the village, we had been negligent in commenting on another issue, namely the noon whistle. In the writer’s opinion, the current issue, which we now think we understand to be the elimination of heavy traffic on residential streets, is just like the issue of the noon whistle.

    August 14, 2014

  • Summer heading toward destination We were pleased to learn that general reaction to the Hall of Fame Induction Weekend was most positive. From what we read in newspaper reports as well as what we heard from people who attended various events, the crowds really enjoyed themselves. The parade on Saturday got rave reviews from everybody who talked with us about it. Plus, in spite of what we thought when the rain hit Sunday morning, the weather overall seemed to be cooperative. And we gather that the merchants were pleased with the weekend. So we have to think it is probably safe to say it was a win-win for everyone who partook of the weekend's activities.

    August 7, 2014

  • Bringing up a matter of poetic license Since we seem to spend time each week both reading and writing, we have always found the English language interesting to say the least. It seems that it always follows the rules until it doesn't follow the rules. Thus we found Jim Atwell's column "From word to phrase to sentence," which appeared in last week's paper, to be most delightful. But more importantly, it gives us something about which to write this week.

    July 31, 2014

  • Visitings with the Widge, Mare Bear This past week we found ourselves enjoying a delightful visit from the Ohio Ellsworths. And while our daughter-in-law Annie had to attend a conference at Hamilton College during part of the visit here, we greatly enjoyed our time with them. We were, of course, quite surprised to realize how much the granddaughters, The Widge and Mare Bear, had grown since we last saw them at Christmas. Obviously, their parents had not put bricks on their heads to retard their growth.

    July 24, 2014

  • Thoughts on traffic and roads We recently enjoyed a brief visit from Jon Battle, one of our late husband's college buddies, who always enjoys visiting Cooperstown and passing howdy on the front porch. And while the front porch is not as welcoming as it used to be since there are no chairs on it, we were able to pass howdy from the comfort of our family room. And during the many subjects that we covered in our conversation, the topic of potholes came up.

    July 17, 2014

  • Potholes and oversights bring bumps We have received a number of comments regarding our discussion on potholes in last week’s column. And most of them were in agreement that the potholes are indeed a problem.

    July 10, 2014

  • Potholes need place on village agenda We have long thought that the concepts of perspective and priorities have the ability to present problems for people. As we are inclined to say, getting one's ducks all in a row is often difficult. And as we have learned about issues currently under consideration by the Village of Coopertown it does make us wonder about their ducks.

    July 3, 2014

  • Summer unofficially begins with ice cream Although summer officially arrived this past weekend, we have long thought that the kick off event for the summer season in Cooperstown is the annual Ice Cream Social sponsored by the First Presbyterian Church on Pioneer Street.

    June 26, 2014

  • Splitting logs gives splitting headache We are happy to report that Woodside Hall is continuing with its presentation of programs which are open to the public. This evening at 6:30 p.m., they are hosting Glimmerglass Festival designers Troy Hourie and Erik Teague who will discuss their role in the company's summer production of Strauss' opera, "Ariadne in Naxos: Unplugged."

    June 19, 2014