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August 9, 2012

Summer flies by ...

DAVID KENT
IN THESE OTSEGO HILLS

— 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 cellsworth1@stny.rr.com 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 cellsworth1@stny.rr.com.