Lillian Schoonmaker by Jenny Wonderling
The first thing that would strike anyone about Lillian Schoonmaker is her hearty, contagious laughter. She has an amazing sense of humor about life, which, perhaps, has been her secret ingredient in becoming not merely ninety-four years old, but a ninety-four-year-old who still mows her own lawn, cleans her own house and blows her own snow: Lillian Schoonmaker simply defies time. » Read More
Burnice Aumick by Patty Parmalee
Throughout southern Ulster County, there are streets named after her relatives - and now she lives on Aumick Road, named after her husband's family. Of course, when she married him in 1940 and moved to Gardiner, it was just called Number One Road. In fact, as Burnice recalls, "No one ever used the name 'Gardiner.' The place didn't really have a name. It wasn't Gardiner, it was just the farm at the foot of the mountain, out in the country, near Tillson Lake." » Read More
Vivian Beatty by Ken Greene
She moved to Gardiner with her husband, Joe, in 1951. They had already been married seven years; Vivian was 27 and Joe was 29. They were poor, wanted land, and knew they could be self-sufficient. "We were born farmer’s children," she says, "and we both loved the land." As she speaks, Vivian’s voice crackles with an energy that contrasts with the matter of fact tone of many of her statements. » Read More
Bill Conner by Ray Smith
And so, the Conner family arrived in mid-winter 1939, driving out in an uncle’s 1938 Buick. They got stuck in the snow a half-mile from their destination, the Schoonmakers’ camp, which was really a boarding house where tunnel workers without local residences stayed. The Conner family, parents and four children, of whom Bill was next to the oldest, stayed at the camp for just a few days until they found a home in one of the two small houses which still stand today on the northwest corner of Benton Corners. » Read More
Dot Decker by Ray Smith
When asked what her parents were like, Dot responds with a single word, "lovable," and says she wishes she had them back. Her father died at sixty-nine while her mother lived to be seventy-nine, and thought she would make it to eighty. "She thought it would be on the tombstone," Dot says, "eighty - and she thought she was the oldest in the family." Dot looks off and smiles, "She didn't know how old I could get. I can't believe it either." » Read More
Joan Decker by Carleton Mabee
Joan Wells Decker grew up with her parents, she recalls, in Gardiner’s Ireland Corners neighborhood. The Wells home was a little house located on the west side of Route 208, four houses south of the long-established Ireland Corners Hotel. Like much of Gardiner at that time, their home was surrounded by extensive open land, which is very different from the area’s wooded character now. » Read More
Gladys DuBois by Peter Beuf
Gladys DuBois looks much younger than her age would suggest: she is imperially slim and moves gracefully. When we met, she was dressed in a natty dark sweater and pressed slacks, with jewelry both elegant and understated. Her taste was reflected in the décor of her house, a country colonial furnished with comfortable antiques meant to be used. Paintings and pictures decorated the walls and a grandfather clock kept time with a comforting rhythm. » Read More
Joseph Katz by Jenny Wonderling
People would ask, If you have all those chickens how come no eggs which gave me a great idea. There used to be an egg auction in Poughkeepsie. I had a Model-A Ford truck and I would drive over every Wednesday. I'd fill the truck with tiny pullet eggs, no more than a couple of inches long. These are the first eggs a chicken lays. I bought cartons at GLF, where Kiss My Face is now in Gardiner, and I individually made them into dozen packs. Then I made a new sign for the road: Eggs - Three Dozen for a Dollar. » Read More
Betty Moran by Wendy Rudder
The farm life also provided occasions for some fun and whimsy now and then, such as a clothing fad that swept the area when she was a teenager. The Gardiner Feed Mill, (which stood next to the railroad, just north of the Main St, in the center of the hamlet) provided a continuous supply of discarded muslin feed sacks, which were put to great use by many of the local girls. » Read More
Annie O'Neill by Lew Eisenberg
Starting when they were four and five, Annie and her sister Nina, who is 14 months younger, were sent to camps during the summer months. One of these was a favorite with their Upper West Side after schoolgroup: Camp Viller Vallen in Gardiner. It was at the top of Shaft Road in the 50's, at the intersection of North Mountain Road, Annie said. It was a dirt road at the time. One of my big thrills was when I drove down Mountain Road on my father's lap. » Read More