Wednesday, April 01, 2015
Amsterdam, NY ,

A neighborhood stroll

Saturday, September 14, 2013 - Updated: 4:09 AM


For The Recorder

SMI classes were dismissed at 3:15 p.m. each day. Jimmy Botch and I climbed a small hill to reach Forbes Street. We hung a left and headed west. We passed the convent where I think Jimmy Halvey and Theresa Hungerschafer were taking piano lessons. We usually ran into Mrs. Poulin, who had just finished cooking for the nuns.

On the left was a row of tenements, very neatly groomed. On the right was a candy store run by Bill Stevens and his wife. Later, it was run by a man named Paul Romeo. Across the street was a synagogue, built to replace one on Mohawk Place. Across from that was a well kept brick building where Bill Stevens lived. Also in that building (see if this name rings a bell): Norinne Kelly and her mother. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder ... and they were loaded with beauty).

Now, directly in front of you, would be a young couple -- Joe Riley and Mary Ann Howlan. They parted company when they reached Fownes Brothers. Joe hung a right to be united with George and Art. Mary Ann continued past the residence that housed Will and Maggie Hayes. She continued westward until she reached Church Street. There was a huge edifice called the McGibbon Apartments. The Behringer sisters, Margaret and Katherine, and their parents, lived there along with their aunt, Katherine Connors, who was a forewoman at Holzheimers and Shauls.

The manager of Holzheimers and Shauls also lived at the McGibbon Apartments. My sister Pat used to baby-sit for her children. Eventually, both my mother and my sister Pat ended up working at the store.

I used to play Monopoly with Katherine Behringer. I didn't like the game, but her mother made some beautiful peanut butter sandwiches. Her sister, Margaret, studied ballet.

Now Mary Ann has two crossings to make. The first one takes her to Dr. Tomlinson's which has a black steel picket fence. She then crosses to the library side. Half a block away, she is right in front of Hill and Markes. She walks down to Chuctanunda Street and if she looks to her right she will see a Jewish wholesale grocer named Lewis Goldmeer. At one point in time she would find a young man unloading the trucks there. His name was Issur Danielivitch. You probably know him better as Kirk Douglas.

Now she has to cross the bridge by the creek. The water flows very fast. Coming from the upper mill, loaded with chemicals, it would "gag a maggot."

Now, Mary Ann is less than 30 feet from her destination -- the office of the city treasurer, Francis Howlan. In this same complex, the NiMo building (New York Power and Light then), also housed another of the city's beautiful people, Sasen Hage, commissioner of public welfare. Upstairs were two offices housing two beautiful people, Gladys Lidhane and Winifred Rothmeyer. These three people made certain that the Sheridan family didn't suffer from malnutrition for many years after that.

Now, I take Mary Ann by the hand and escort her to Market Street. Our next trip will be from Market and Grove to Market and Main, and in this one block, you will be amazed at what transpired in such a short span of time.

I'm getting a little tired right now, so, please bear with me. Please remember I may have misplaced a few things in my musings, but I am 86 years old and close to be being a basket case -- you guys will have to cut me some slack. Isn't that what they put erasers on pencils for?

See you next Saturday.

JAMES SHERIDAN is a frequent

contributor to The Recorder.


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