It’s a beautiful morning in Youngstown. It’s a great day at the Fort Niagara lighthouse.
Have a yummy day.
- Old Fort Niagara: War of 1812 Encampment (allthingsjennifer.wordpress.com)
- Living Where You’re From (judethefoodie.com)
- I’ll Level With You…I Love The Youngstown Yacht Club (judethefoodie.com)
- Area Church Helps Families In Youngstown (wytv.com)
Today I was going to write about “Social Media” so I set off to Fort Niagara to write because my street was being repaved. As I pulled into the parking lot my mind reframed from social media to social life…
So many memories here…we called it “the beach” and while I laugh at the thought, in my 8th grade world it was everything a beach should be. It had water…but in the 1970’s swimming was frowned upon. There was a little sand, ok, very little, but it had a wonderful bank of mowed grass where a towel could be thrown for suntanning. A snack shack sold all the junk food we could want and there was a great public pool where my friends with perfect eyesight could lifeguard.
My June birthday meant I often had a New York State Regents Exam (back in the day when testing well meant an actual Regents Scholarship) so my birthday was often celebrated along with the last day of school. One year, after I got contact lenses (a very big deal for me) I remember getting thrown in the lake. That was the first time I went in that water. I was programmed to think it so dangerous that I would emerge glowing in the dark from some residual chemical stuffed in there during WW2.
When I could drive I would come down here by my self and contemplate life…high school style. Does he like me? Will I make the cheer leading squad? Is AP English as hard as everyone says?
My husband and I bought our house in 1983 on a little street in the back corner of the village of Youngstown. We still live there. I know it’s corny but I love living at home. I grew up in Lewiston, still attend church there and do much of my shopping and dining there.
But Youngstown is my home. The two villages, while distinct in many ways, creat a lovely lifestyle for those of us who live “below the hill.”
Back in 1988, the morning my son died I came down here to the beach. My high school muses replaced by life altering events led me to the rock behind the Fort. This is home. We all need home.
It was Memorial Day weekend, 1988. It was only two weeks after the death of my son. In weeks that spanned less than two months my son died, my father sold his business, I became unemployed, I turned 30 and had an emergency appendectomy.
A dear friend invited my husband and me to dinner at the Youngstown Yacht Club. We ordered cocktails and sat outside by the dock sipping and chatting with their friends. I knew a few of them from my Lew-Port days and others were new to me. No one was in a hurry to dine and when we did we gained at least six more people at our original table for four.
It was all so very civilized.
What I did not know then was that it would change the course of my life for years to come. At dinner I sat next to a man named Bob Finn. He and his wife Barbara owned Yachting World, the local yachting supply store. It seemed that he needed a bookkeeper and seeing as I was dazed and unemployed it seemed a good idea to hire me to work in an industry I had absolutely no knowledge of.
I had relative anonymity only one mile from my house because most of the people who I came in contact to on a daily basis knew nothing about me. I didn’t have to wear a name tag that said “Hug me, my son is in heaven!” The people I did meet were kind and the job was relatively easy. Previously I handled a payroll of 150 and now it was only five or six. Mr. Finn was no more demanding than my father and I sincerely enjoyed learning something new.
I learned about cleats and winches, telltales and wind meters. I loved that most of the people were happy largely because they were spending their leisure time spending their leisure money. This was so unlike the car business where you could count on at least one person a day yelling at the cashier because she was personally responsible for the fact they needed a break job.
I met Granny Orr, also known as the Mouth of the River, because she did much of the PA work at the Level Regatta. “Hurry hurry hurry! This nice young man is looking for a bikini clad young lady to crew on his boat.” She was a classic. When my son Anthony was born a few years later she knit the most beautiful Christmas stocking which we still hang every year.
I wanted to have a cone and watch the sunset at the river.