Wednesday, February 17, 2010
A Year Away from Westvale
In August of 1924, my Great Aunt Marion traveled by train and the Great Lakes Transit to a small frontier town on the Canadian border in northern Washington state.
I'm lucky to have the diary she kept of her year-long journey from Syracuse, across the northern Great Lakes; then a car tour through Yellowstone Park, to Omak, Washington, where she lived with a family and taught school until June of 1925. From there, she continued on her journey, visiting Seattle, then on to San Francisco, then to Los Angeles, where she rode the glass bottom boat to Catalina Island. The diary is filled with visits with Parsons cousins, luncheons held in her honor, and her perceptions of the countryside, the places, and the people.
She returned to Syracuse and in 1926 opened the doors for the first year of classes at Cherry Road School. That first year children attended school in a refurbished chicken coop at the edge of her father's cherry orchard while the school we know today as Cherry Road School was being built.
As part of the book, now in progress, I'll share excerpts of Miss Parsons journey away from and back home, in her own words.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Miss Parsons' Molasses Cookies
Those of you who follow this blog, and thank you if you do, might remember last week my cousin Barbara and I put out a call for a recipe for our Aunt Marion's molasses cookies. We both have fond memories of standing on the step stool in Marion's kitchen, helping her stir the batter, flattening out each cookie with the end of a tumbler dipped in butter and sugar. Thanks to Barb, her husband, Bob, and her mom, Aunt Wilma, we now have the recipe:
1 cup sugar
1 cup shortening*
1/2 cup coffee or buttermilk
1/2 cup molasses
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp nutmeg (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
3.5-4 cups flour
Roll into balls and then flatten cookies with bottom of buttered glass dipped in sugar.
Bake 8-10 minutes, 325 F.
*For calorie conscious readers, and who is not, I learned on Rachel Ray the other day that if you substitute canned pumpkin for part of the shortening (or butter) in your recipes, you can save a lot of calories and you still get the moisture.
Wednesday, February 3, 2010
Thanks to the Cherry Road School Alumni, 1947-1950!
Without this dedicated group, the story of Cherry Road School would be flat and limited to my own memories and those I've been able to eek from my dad and my uncle. My last two visits to New York have been highlighted with a luncheon hosted by this group of CRS Alum. Most of them have not only graduated from Cherry Road School, they have now retired from their careers, many as educators, or are close to retirement. But nevertheless, though the chasm of time takes them further and further from the little brick school on Cherry Road, they have kept room in their lives to get together and remember their days at CRS. They have been gracious and kind to share those memories with me.
These pictures are of our last gathering at a golf course out by the apple orchards on Route 20. Pictured in the photo on the top are: Martha and Dick Lacy. Martha has spent hours and hours and years and years collecting information, documents, and memories of Cherry Road School and has created a professional quality scrapbook. She also organizes the group and has been supportive of this project.
Middle Picture, from left to right:Nancy Sherman March, Joan Guth Close, Jim McLennen, Robin Lutzy McLennen, and Doris Jean Taylor.
Pictured in the bottom photo: Dick Lacy, Joan Donnelly Marcoccia, Marilyn Lewis Marcy, and Doris Jean Taylor.
Though I've only met these fine people two times, some only once, somehow they feel like family. They have shared their report cards from grade school, vivid memories of walks home from school in the snow, and a legacy that only a sort of family might be able to sustain over time. They, and the hundreds like them, are part of the reason I dedicate myself to the history project and to the book