Friday, February 23, 2007

Staying on the historical theme, here is something Mimmie wrote.

The Old Hinkley House on Whispell Road

The cottage in the vail, as Elwyn called it. When we moved in this house the window glass was all broken. Some of the window frames were missing. The cellar wall was down completely on one side. Porch on back was falling down, the flooring on porch was gone completely. Some boards was missing on front porch. The windows that where missing where covered with roofing paper. Plaster was off walls in many places upstairs and down. Wallpaper was falling off in living room and bedroom. All room where full of old newspapers and magazines and other junk. There was 2 ton of lime in the kitchen and some other farm implement which was very large. In the living room was a large broken piano and an old organ. For one whole day we burned newspapers and magazines. The first week we managed to remove the lime, old piano, organ and othe things. The door knobs where all gone and some of the doors where off. It wasn't possible to get any water from the well as the pump was off and some parts missing. No outhouse or toilet of any kind. After the first rain the roof leaked and the cellar filled with water all most to the floor. The first summer we fixed the cellar wall, porches, pump and built the outhouse. Tarred the roof and papered all the rooms downstairs. After we fixed the plaster, the walls that where on when we came all had to be washed several times as they where covered with many coats of kalsomine to which paper will not stick. In the fall we fixed one room upstairs. The following year we fixed the second room upstairs.

Buddy put on a new roof and put a new porch on front by the kitchen. Next he put the water inside. Finally we had it wired. The next thing Buddy did was put hot water in and a toilet. One of the improvements was a cellar drain which kept the water from coming up to the living room floor when it rains. The rooms have been painted and papered many times to make the place look livable. Buddy also fixed the walk to the kitchen as there was an old porch there when we came on which the flooring was so broken that it was dangerous to walk on.

The old place became very dear to us and I was very grieved to move out after Elwyn died. I moved November 28, 1977.
I decided to see what Elwyn said in his diary on some of the years, and in a strange coincidence, this was his birthday.

1926 February 23 Tuesday - Clear, cold, moderate northerly wind. Clear & crisp tonight. Run the mill sawing mostly oak logs, sawed _____. Sent 640 ft bridge plank to Cold Brook bridge by Ed. Hudlers team. This is my 36th birthday. Aunt Cornelia made my usual soft chocolate birthday cake.

1932 February 23 Tuesday - Blustery, squally, pretty raw day. fair, glorious clear moonlight and cold. Thermometer 7 above late evng. My 42nd birthday and Aunt Cornelia made my usual soft chocolate cake. Started cutting ice at Hesley’s. The thickness runs from 7 to 8 inches. Lauren Hesley has rigged up a power ice saw on a frame with a Chevrolet engine on one end and a saw mandrel with circle rip saw on the cutting end. It sawed but was hard to steer straight. Due to its cutting so deep, a cake of ice broke loose and I got a wetting in the pond PM.

1933 February 23, Thursday — MY 43rd BIRTHDAY. Light rain early this AM – but broke away. Strong westerly wind, inclined to be a bit rain squally. Mild and clear tonight. Got the sawing outfit set up and sawed Aunt Cornelia’s wood, Pa & I, Charley Hesley, Boney VanDemark and Harold Constable. Mrs. Moore and Genevieve spent the evening with us also Aunt Cornelia for a little birthday celebration. Aunt Cornelia made me my annual soft chocolate birthday cake. Funeral of little Jean Coffey held at Phoenicia Baptist church, burial in Binghamton.

1934 February 23 Friday — My 44th birthday. Blustery, colder, more or less snow squally. Near zero tonight. We sent a home eats box to Mariam. Busy with chores etc. At home all day. Aunt Cornelia made me my time honored plain soft chocolate covered birthday cake. Wrote up Freeman copy evng. Donald came early evening from Oneonta. Cornelia did not attend high school.

1936 February 23 Sunday - My 46th birthday. 10 above this a.m. 10 tonight. Lovely bright crispy day, northerly winds. Cornelia, Mariam & I went to Phoenicia to see noon snow train from NY arrive at ski slopes Snyder Hollow switch. With the crowd that came with the Friday night snow train Phoenicia was swamped - 1000 cars were counted this p.m. We called on Mr.and Mrs. West and her sisters. Ralph Longyear and George Kessler came fro our turkey birthday supper & spent the evng. Mother made my customary soft chocolate birthday cake as was dear Aunt Cornelia's custom sure I was a boy.

1937 February 23 Tuesday. My 47th birthday. Mild and sunny AM became cloudy and raw PM - snowing this evng. 1 inch. The Benders did not come yet today. C.C. Dunham delivered me 1000 ft of 8" spruce novelty siding AM @ $50 per M - less 5%. Mr.and Mrs. Henry Winchell had planned to have birthday dinner with us - but she was ill & unable to come. Daisy made a freezer of my favorite chocolate ice cream & mother my time honored plain soft chocolate cake. Did chores & split wood altho feeling pretty grippy.

1946 February 23 Saturday 20/7am, 14/11pm
Bright sunny cloudless day & evng. Winds northerly. Cleaned out granary this am - spread load manure on meadow behind barn, as road was slippery. During pm drawed out with dray firewood oak top logs at Ollie's. Today is my 56th birthday & mother made my annual time honored favorite plain soft chocolate cake. Had lovely chicken pie supper & mashed potatoes. Too tired to go to lodge tonite. Rec'd box cookies from Kay also greeting cards. Ruth Pleasants & Clifford S. Inghram married in United Congregational Church Bridgport, Conn.

1953 February 23, Monday — 20 degrees at 7 AM, 23 at 11 PM. Partly cloudy, crispy, light raw northerly wind. Cleared beautifully evng, brilliant moon, freezing quite sharp. This is my 63rd birthday — Turn backward, I pray thee oh time in thy flight. Mother made me my time honored plain soft chocolate cake. This AM I cut a dray load of yellow birch pole wood over in woods behind barn & neighbor Will Davis (up for the holidays helped saw it up) I took him 4 PM to the Boiceville bus.

1975 February 23, Sunday — 39 at 8:30 AM - 47 at 8:00PM. Light rain in night this AM damp and foggy, murky, sun came out briefly at 2:30. Cloudy dismal evening. Daughter Cornelia called up from Florida. Wishing me a happy 85th birthday. (Its foal time again as Dear Grammy called it. Only birthday callers was winsome friend Mrs. Charles (Carol) Davis, she gave me a fancy small corner festooned pillow, had a few ½ glasses of tawny port. My days libation 2 snorts of 4 roses & soda. Only exercise ½ hour late PM house walk. Ollie rested considerable on her couch. We had delicious supper boiled taters & cooked kraut & Mrs, Beatrice Ducs fancy birthday cake, green lettered Happy Birthday Elwyn.
We got a little more snow last night. I wonder if the wooly bear was accurate in predicting this winter? I can't remember.

The appraiser came on Wednesday. This is estimated to be a $1,300 repair:

Monday, February 19, 2007

The mourning doves weathering the height of last week's storm.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

After a (mostly) snowless winter, yesterday we started to wonder when it would stop. I don't know how much is out there, but it is a lot. Maybe two feet? Classes were suspended on Wednesday, and resumed today at 11:45. Since Winter Break is next week, and Thursday is the new Friday, my classes would have been half empty anyway, so I had no idea how many students would show up today. Ten were missing from my afternoon class. Wonder what will happen in the evening class? The parking lots are still a nightmare, but at least they have plowed one small path between most buildings.

At 7:30 pm last night, some guy from the firehouse (where he was probably enjoying 10 cent beer night) went out of control in front of our house and smashed into our car! Bob was out there shoveling, and it was a good thing he wasn't standing right there when it happened. The damage isn't extreme (broken right tail light, bent bumper, scratches and small dent over the rear wheel) but still, we are sick over it. That car was mint. I'm hoping the guy's insurance company doesn't give us a hard time since the car is old. We don't want a car payment on a new Prius! The guy's truck is probably totaled, very badly damaged, he could barely drive it away. The Lincoln is like a tank. It is probably fortunate it was in the way, because otherwise he may have hit the house, or gone through the flower bed and fence, over the retaining wall, and down the hill!

I think the pop quiz thing is working! Discussion is going well.

Friday, February 09, 2007

The #1 excuse in recent semesters for why students miss class: having to go to court for speeding violations. Reported in a matter of fact way, as if it is a totally legitimate, justifiable, sympathetic reason. If only they had a clue how little respect I have for people who drive too fast!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My classes, especially the evening sections, are very quiet so far this semester. Maybe the cold weather of the Spring semester has an impact? Not sure. Last night, I gave my first ever multiple choice quiz. I decided to add pop quizzes into the class after a handful of excellent students over the past several semesters have suggested that I should do something to "encourage" more students to come to class prepared for the discussions - prepared meaning that they have done the reading. I am not really a fan of this type of assessment, and I don't know how it will work, it is too soon to tell.

I finished Team of Rivals (I was sad to have it done, it was so good), and have started Margaret Atwood's Lady Oracle. So far, Lady Oracle is shaping up to be as good as her other books. On the entertainment agenda, we saw Children of Men over the weekend. It was a good movie, although maybe not as good as the review I'd read suggested. We also got tickets to see Ordeal by Innocence at the NYS Theatre Institute, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Proctor's. The Proctor's show is an Oneonta alumni event, with a mixer before the performance at the Parker Inn. An alumnus is in the cast. During Spring break, we are going to NYC to see Les Mis.

Since it was spared in the Diocese reorganization, the congregation has been inspired to do things to fix it up, and I've been doing some research on the history of the church I go to when I am in Samsonville. It is the one I attended when I was growing up in West Shokan. We lived next door, and now my nephew lives in that house. The original church structure was lost when the Reservoir was built, and there was no Mass in West Shokan for more than 40 years. Once it was re-established, Mass was held over a general store, and then, after a major fundraising effort, a new church was built. Here's what I came up with so far, it is a PDF document with some photos and maps.

Friday, February 02, 2007

For Better or For Worse is my favorite comic strip, so this pending change is making me sad. I liked how the story line followed real time, even though Farley's death really upset me. But I certainly can understand being burnt out. I guess I'll just have to see how it works out in September.