Fran & Rudi Borden
Interviewed by Marian Knight
At the Home of Fran and Rudi Borden,
Route 6, Huletts Landing, N. Y.
August 9, 2010
Marian Knight: I’m Marian Knight and this is August 9, and we are at the home of Francis and Rudi Borden to talk with them about their life here in Hulett’s, which has been going on quite a long time.
Francis Borden: (laughs)
Marian: No. Hi there, you’re gonna sit down and be interviewed too? This is the dog here, beautiful big black lab. So I think Fran we’ll start with you and just ask you, I think I know the answer to the question, where are you from, where were you born, and so forth?
Francis: Oh I was born right here in Hulett’s Landing.
Marian: Yes. You were born right here?
Rudi Borden: The house above the golf course where he grew up.
Francis: Actually the house was right along the fourth fairway of the golf course.
Marian: And that still exists or not?
Francis: No, the house has been gone for some ten, oh fifteen years now, and there’s a modular home on the site, it used to occupy the riding stables too, cause the riding stables were right next door to the house I was born in.
Marian: Riding stables?
Francis: Oh sure.
Rudi: He used to have horses.
Francis: Well, long before I had horses, there was a man, Tim Anspa, from Troy, NY, who had seven or eight saddle horses, and I spent more time out at the barn than I did at the house (laughs).
Marian: So did you ride them?
Francis: Oh, I got to ride a lot, sure, in exchange for my taking the horses across the road to water them at the brook. That had to be done, night, morning and noontime, so, in exchange for that I got to ride the horses.
Marian: Did he use them with the tourists in the summertime?
Francis: Oh sure. They were rented out, you know, to the cottages and also the hotel guests
Marian: What happened to them in the winter? They just stayed in the stable?
Francis: They went back I guess to Troy, and they wintered in that area down there.
Marian: So you, do you like horses?
Rudi: He loved horses.
Marian: Did you too, Rudi?
Francis: My second love. (laughs)
Marian: So, I wanted to ask you about your own parents. Were they also born here in Hulett’s? Where were they from?
Francis: My mom was born right in back of Spruce Mountain, right over here, on the little hard scrabble dirt farm that my Grandfather eked out of the woods, and they had somewhere around twelve or thirteen children.
Rudi: And your grandmother was born on Bluff Head?
Francis: My grandmother was born on Taft Point.
Rudi: Taft Point, I mean.
Francis: Because my grandfather and grandmother worked for Ammariah Taft.
Rudi: And she was full-blooded Indian?
Francis: She was full-blooded Mohegan.
Rudi: And he was Swede.
Francis: And he was full-blooded Swedish. (laughs)
Marian: So this was your grandmother that was an Indian?
Marian: A Mohican, a Mohican you said?
Marian: Where had she been before? Where did her family come from?
Francis: They emigrated from Wisconsin. Came all that way.
Marian: Oh. I’ll be darned.
Francis: Which was, always a source of amazement to me, back in those days, that they would travel, but I guess it was for hunting and fishing reasons, and being able to put up preserves and things like that from the land.
Marian: They farmed? Did they have a little farm?
Francis: They did, they had a little hard scrabble dirt farm, yeah, where they had a couple of cows, and, one horse, Fannie was the horse’s name I remember. We had a picture of it that hung right over there, before the fire. They both lived into their eighties, and for not having, you know, the right kind of medicine and if you were ill, you just kept going, hope that it’ll go away, that sort of thing. They managed to survive until they were in their middle eighties.
Marian: That’s so, they were good, and where does your father’s family (come from)?
Francis: My father came from Black Brook, up near Plattsburg. He was of French-Canadian descent. He worked in the woods, pretty much all of his life until he came down here, and then he became a carpenter. He worked with his brother, Will Borden, and they put up most of the original buildings that are over at the Goldsmith property.
Rudi: Did they live where Billy Smith’s? Will, where did he live?
Francis: Will lived in the house right next door to our garage lot. He built that house that has the big star up in the gable end. Dad had come to work after he moved down here, he said he was only gonna stay here one summer, and he stayed 55. He came here in 1900, he passed away in 1955.
Marian: Oh my word. My father was born in 1900, that goes back, but he didn’t live that (long), he lived until he was 71.
Francis: Ok, well Dad was 74, so, a little bit longer, but not much.
Marian: Before I turn to you Rudi, (), what was life like for kids here, for you as a kid, and what did you do? Winter time particularly, people are kind of appalled that you had to…, it was tough.
Francis: David can attest to this fact.
Marian: That’s my husband, David.
Francis: We’d hike up the hill, you know, five days out the week, Monday through Friday, to the little school house, which was a white school house, back in those days. And then the weekends were usually taken up, first we had to do the chores, get the firewood up, make sure there was a woodpile for the coming week, and then it was maybe get out on the lake and try to catch some fish because the lake supplied us with fish, the woods supplied us with venison, and without those two staples there wouldn’t have been much on the table sometimes. So that was a necessary part of life.
Marian: Did you have anything in the way of vegetables? Or was it all fish?
Francis: We pretty much had to buy our stuff, you know, from Whitehall, it was like maybe, again you had to time your trip to Whitehall with what weather conditions were. But, ten days, two weeks, you’d make a trip to Whitehall, and buy some potatoes if you didn’t have enough potatoes in the barrel, because our house had no cellar, it just sat on stone foundation, with no basement or anything. Yeah, it was pretty much day to day kind of existence.
Marian: What did you do for fun? What, did you have a chance to play?
Francis: Well, there was ice-skating, and sledding parties.
Rudi: You went night-crawling to pay your…
Francis: What’s that?
Rudi: I said you went picking up night-crawlers to sell to buy your clothes and things for school.
Francis: Oh sure.
Marian: Oh really?
Francis: Oh yeah. And I caddied on the golf course for most of the time I was maybe nine or ten years old because I can remember the golf bag was bigger than I was and I had to put the strap in the last hole, otherwise the end of the bag would be dragging on the ground.
Rudi: We had a picture of that, we lost it in the fire.
Francis: Oh, we lost lots of pictures. Yeah, summertime was, they say summertime the living is easy and it was, compared to the winter months. It was a lot better. We didn’t have to worry so much about that wood pile, and there was more on the table to eat, because we’d have more free time to go fishing.
Rudi: Your mother did a lot of canning.
Marian: So you grew vegetables? Did you buy the vegetables, the things that she canned?
Francis: Probably had to buy most of them, we always did have a garden out back but not nearly large enough for the stuff that she put up. Because there’d be like peddlers we’d call them, Clarence Gillis being one I can recall, Edgar Bartley, who used to come in and sell stuff to the summer people, and he might have six or eight ears of corn left on his way back out, and he’d say, ‘I’ll give you these for 15 cents,’ or something like that, real bargain price. That was how the life went in the summer.
Marian: Did you have fun and games in the summer time? Swimming and boating, or whato
Francis: Swimming wasn’t too much. We’d hunt golf balls in the afternoon; it was too hot for the golfers to be on the golf course.
Marian: Did you have any friends, any other little guys your age to play with?
Francis: Yep. I remember, there were two or three youngsters, Gary Spamberg was one. He was a character. He decided that we were gonna be weightlifters, so we said, ‘What’ll I use for weight, ,cement? Cement’s heavy.’ So he hikes over to Whitehall buys a 94 pound bag of cement.
Marian: He hiked?
Francis: He hiked over. Put it on his shoulder, and started back to Hulett’s Landing with it because he was going to make a, you know, a barbell out of this 94 pound bag of cement. He got tired real soon by carrying that bag of cement, so he set it down in back of the guard rails and then he tried to get a ride like this, and then if a car stopped, he’d run, just a minute, and he’d run and get the bag of cement and put it in the trunk of the car. (laughter) So he got the bag of cement all the way from Whitehall to Hulett’s.
Marian: Oh my goodness, well, more power to him. My goodness.
Francis: So, that’s one of the reasons why Gary stands out in my mind. It’s been a long, long time but I still remember.
Marian: How old were you when you had to start contributing work and doing things for the family?
Rudi: Oh God, when he was young.
Francis: Probably eleven, twelve somewhere around there. Even younger than that when I caddied on the golf course and had a little bait operation going, night-crawlers and frogs and things like that. And what I always tried to do was get enough money together during the summer to buy my clothes for school for the winter months.
Rudi: Yeah, you were saying. Well, that was enterprising of you.
Francis: Well, yeah.
Marian: How was school? What was your experience with the school house?
Francis: Oh. I really had an enjoyable time and Mabel McGowan was our teacher. She was one of the best, she took a special interest in every kid she had up there.
Marian: David thought she was. Once again, my husband, David, went to school at the same place. He thought she was wonderful teacher.
Francis: Yeah, she went way beyond what would be expected, you know, of a teacher in a country school.
Rudi: At one time how many kids were up there counting all the Nutting family?
Francis: The Nutting family, the Burr family, when the saw mill was up here, we had as many as 17 children, that was the most we ever had in that little school.
Marian: Is that right?
Francis: It was more like a student body of six, seven, not even eight. Five, six or seven.
Marian: Dave remembers three.
Francis: Oh yeah.
Marian: I think you were one of the three.
Francis: I’m pretty sure I was.
Marian: And Ty I guess.
Marian: Oh maybe not, maybe there was a girl he talked about, oh anyway.
Francis: We hiked…
Rudi: Your sister, probably.
Francis: Molly come along later.
Rudi: You were still…
Francis: My sister, no, she was ahead of me.
Rudi: That’s right, she’s ten years older than you.
Marian: So then you went off to Whitehall High School? Right? Yes.
Francis: Yeah, in the fall of 1941.
Marian: Did you go into the service?
Francis: No, I was too young; I was only 16 on VJ day.
Rudi: You graduated from college, or high school.
Francis: And I thought you know, I wanted to go real bad, and my folks kept telling me, you’re pretty damn lucky boy you didn’t have to go. And after a while, you know, it registered. I said, ‘I think you’re right.’
Marian: My father was in the cracks there too. Too young for the First World War and too old for the second. Pretty neat. Oh well. Well Rudi, where did you come from, you were not born here.
Marian: You were in Whitehall.
Francis: She was an import.
Marian: And born in Whitehall?
Rudi: Born in Whitehall.
Marian: Where did you live and where did your family live?
Rudi: I was born on what they call High Street. When you come into Whitehall and you hit that first red light, and you made a right, and you made another right and it’s the house that set up on the hill. I don’t know if, is there a house still up there?
Francis: There is.
Rudi: You can see it as you’re driving along.
Francis: Yeah, it’s big house.
Rudi: Big house. Long. Cause it was two houses, two family houses.
Francis: Double family house.
Marian: Do you have brothers and sisters?
Rudi: I have four sisters, and my mother brought Marshall up. Her sister died when he was born and my mother brought him up as a baby. They only had eight kids in that family and half of them lived at our house. (laughter) But Marshall was the baby.
Francis: Of the Gordons because there’s still a lot of Gordons in Whitehall.
Marian: And, how did you meet Fran?
Francis: That’s a story.
Rudi: Up to Johnny’s. Well Stanley…
Francis: Even before that, at Sack’s Jewelry Store.
Rudi: Oh that’s right, that’s right. I think Frannie was in there buying an engagement ring for somebody else. (laughter)
Francis: I was gonna let you say that.
Marian: That didn’t last long.
Rudi: They had a bad storm.
Rudi: And it broke the glass in the door, I remember that.
Francis: It was probably early September.
Rudi: My God, that’s going back a long time.
Francis: That was 1948. Sure.
Marian: ’48. So then you always lived here in Hulett’s?
Rudi: We lived in Whitehall for how many years? Three?
Francis: We lived there almost two years.
Rudi: Two years.
Francis: Up over Jillson’s store in that little apartment it was not much bigger, well, it might have been the size of this area here, but not anymore’n, that.
Rudi: Not anymore’n that.
Marian: And were you working over in Whitehall?
Francis: I worked mostly in Glens Falls.
Rudi: He was hitchhiking to Glens Falls to work.
Marian: Going back and forth?
Francis: Most cases I’d be out on the road trying to catch a ride.
Rudi: Usually Edgar Sears worked the same, Edgar was a boss down there, and if he hit just right, Edgar would pick him up, but Edgar didn’t wait two minutes for anybody.
Marian: Oh that was a bit, so then you came back here?
Francis: Well, we went to Putnam because Edgar Sears, this manager that I was riding back and forth with part of the time, he and his father had an apple orchard in Putnam and I was getting a little bit tired of trying to catch a ride, standing in the rain, that sort of thing, after dark, late at night, so he said, Well, why don’t you come up and work for us?’ And I said, , Well,you know, ‘What’s the wages, what are the hours?’ so I found out it was all the hours I put in, and the wages were $50 a week.
Rudi: And a house to stay in, we nearly froze to death. We stayed in one room.
Francis: When the wind blew the linoleum floated up and down the floor. We knew it was going to be a cold winter.
Rudi: Poor Terry went to bed with a snow suit on and I told him, I said, ‘Yyou can stay here during the winter,’ I said, ‘You can stay, but I am not putting another winter in this place. I mean they didn’t appreciate, they kept saying well it’s warm, but, there they had beautiful houses. What was their name, the one who owned?
Francis: Ruth Edna.
Rudi: Ruth Edna. They had a beautiful house, you walk in that house, you could sit with your coat on, they didn’t even have the heat up on it or nothing, they were cheap and they came to.
Francis: Pretty frugal. But we had a year and a half of that just about and then I got a job offer from Ken Robbins who was the superintendent here of the Landing, to come to work, so in May of ’53 we moved to Hulett’s and we’ve been here ever since.
Rudi: And lived in a little house.
Marian: The one over on Land’s End Road?
Rudi: That’s gotta come down.
Francis: That’s almost down.
Marian: I know. That’s gotta come down. Another new one is going up and I’m going back up there.
Francis: I keep telling her though, Marian, that Land’s End Road is not like it was 25 years ago when we lived there, the traffic is worse than on the mountain. There’s cars coming and going all the while.
Rudi: Yeah, but there’s a whole acre of land there, you can build the house further back.
Francis: Well, possibly.
Rudi: I liked it because there was more. I don’t know, I think I felt more at home up there, well Neil was across the road.
Both: Neil Cooper.
Rudi: And Beulah and Dave and them, and Campbell.
Marian: They were on the corner houses right?
Rudi: Campbell and Neil and Linda
Francis: Well I’d guess you’d have to say we were family, friends because you know, we’re the families that’d known one another from way, way back, so there was a bond there. We have friends here, but, they’re summer people as we refer to them you know, and it’s just not the same
Marian: So what was Land’s End Road, it was just quiet, no traffic?
Marian: Oh, there was plenty of traffic cause there’s summer people, coming and going all the time.
Marian: But not like the traffic.
Rudi: No, not the traffic now.
Marian:The other road has a lot of cars.
Francis: Yeah, see you had like the Condits, the Starrs, the Danforths, those people and they might have one car. Now you’ve got a group of people, Marian, who’ve got four or five cars in the driveway.
Rudi: Yeah, five cars and the kids are driving. There wasn’t that many kids driving when we were (there).
Francis: So it’s a little bit different.
Marian: So, when you got to, you’ve really answered those questions, what was it like to be a young mother and a young wife here in Hulett’s and especially in the winter time?
Rudi: Well, I sewed. I made all our clothes and everything so I kept busy.
Marian: Where did you get fabric and things?
Rudi: We’d go to the store and buy it.
Marian: In Whitehall?
Rudi: No, we used, where did we use (to)? Or I sent through the catalog a lot for things, to buy material. Cause what, went to Newberry’s once in a while.
Francis: And Delphine I think was a buyer for Lord and Taylor at one time.
Marian: Yes, she was, that’s my sister-in-law.
Francis: Rudi, sewed, what was the name, what were the aprons called?
Rudi: Oh, the smock aprons, I made for Lord & Taylor’
Marian: You made things really? What were they called?
Rudi: Smock aprons. I don’t have even one in my house.
Marian: I didn’t know that. That’s very interesting
Francis: They were a good seller
Rudi: I’m trying to think, who did I give one to? A present, and that’s how it got started.
Francis: Probably someone down in the landing or local here. But I can’t help you out with who it might have been.
Marian: So that’s really interesting that you had made a product that was sold at Lord & Taylor’s
Rudi: That was through, what’s her name, Delphine.
Marian: Delphine Wagner at the time.
Rudi: She worked for Lord & Taylor. Maybe I gave them one, her mother one or something. Dottie Werner, who was a friend of Delphine’s, was into merchandising too. I think she might have been a buyer for one of the stores down there.
Marian: Well, she was, they were all friends, Dave, my husband, and, Del, were all friends.
Marian:Yeah, they were all about the same age.
Marian: And you have, I was gonna bring in your family, you have how many children?
Marian: Three. And they are?
Francis: Well, Terry, is our daughter who is the eldest, and then Fran Jr., though we’ve always called him Tub. She coined that name on him when he was just about that tall, because he was a roly-poly little guy, and then Bill of course, being the youngest.
Marian: He’s the youngest.
Rudi: He’s the youngest.
Marian: And, so is Bill the only one married?
Rudi: Tub was married, but he’s divorced and he as two girls, Kelly and Katie.
Francis: Terry is married to Tom Burke.
Marian: Terry is what?
Francis: Married to Tom Burke.
Rudi: She lives in Albany and she has no children
Marian: Does she come up at all?
Rudi: Not really.
Francis: Not that often.
Rudi: He doesn’t like it up here.
Francis: He worked for the Department of Budget and he’s a salaried employee, and he goes there Saturdays, Sundays, he might be working at 10:30, 11:00 at night.
Marian: And then there’s Mim, Bill married Mim and they have two, very successful children?
Rudi: Very successful.
Marian: And their names are?
Francis: Billie Jayne and Will.
Rudi: William Francis.
Marian: Yeah, I hear something about them, that they’re doing so well, that’s really great.
Francis: They’re industrious, I don’t know where they get it from.
Rudi: Yeah, she got her internship and that surprised us, we didn’t even know she was going into medicine when she graduated out of Middlebury, and she went, where’d she go, to go to school?
Francis: Bryn Mawr, this past year, Philadelphia. Within one day of graduating she was working at a children’s hospital. She didn’t take time to come home.
Marian: And your grandson, where did he go?
Francis: He went to Binghamton.
Marian: I’m sorry, where?
Francis: He graduated from Binghamton.
Rudi: He did his senior year aboard a ship going from Halifax down to – he did stopping at the different ports. He worked naturally, but he was also getting his education.
Francis: He’s going to St. John’s right now. He went to the Mediterranean.
Marian: That’s interesting. Is there anything about, I don’t know whether it’s a good question or not, anything to remark about in the difference between years ago and now and the tourists and how you all work together.
Rudi: I know it’s a lot more crowded. (laughter)
Francis: Well, I think we got to know people, you know, more, because they came for a lengthier stay. Now you have people because of the good modes of travel and the highways and all the rest of that, they might be here for one weekend and then next week they might be in Canada, and that didn’t use to be. It used to be that when people came here, sometimes it was for the entire summer, so I think you established a friendship and bond with those people that you don’t normally get now.
Marian: When people came to the hotel did they stay a long time, I mean several weeks, or was it shorter time?
Francis: Mostly one week stay.
Marian: Did you work for the hotel at any point, or the casino?
Francis: I started out in ’53 working, but that was mostly general maintenance.
Marian: At the hotel?
Francis: And the cottages.
Rudi: Yeah, but when you were growing up you used to drive the boat for George Howard.
Francis: Oh, that was a fun job.
Rudi: Taking people from the hotel to Lake George Village.
Francis: And Bolton Landing. That was even before I met you; that’s when I was about 16 or 17. Footloose and fancy free.
Marian: So those were little tourist trips in other words. Well, what about any stories. What memories do you have, all good, some good ones, I’m sure you have some good ones.
Francis: There’s got to be several. A lifetime of stories here. Bill and I will get to reminiscing a little bit around lunchtime or something like that if we happen to be in the woods. I’ve told him quite a few of the stories.
Rudi: I think meeting all the different people every year, I mean the same ones, but you know, when they come back with the spring, a lot of them, you know, stopped and said hello, coming or going.
Marian: Anything dramatic happen?
Francis: Of course when the casino burned that was a tragedy. That was in ’54. And that was a little bit into August, a bit more, we’re at day 9. I could be wrong on that. It might have been right around this time that the casino burned. And, of course, we were fearful that the hotel might go to, but there was no wind that morning.
Rudi: Burt Riley gave us the postcard with the casino and the hotel, that one right there.
Francis: Yeah, the saving grace.
Marian: That doesn’t exist anymore.
Rudi: Yeah, cause we lost it, all our pictures and things.
Marian: What was the year of the fire in your house?
Marian: That was really sad time I know. So, you helped, didn’t you help in taking down the hotel.
Francis: Yeah. Roy Harris worked with us. Roy came to work in ’54. ‘54? ‘54. That was the year the casino burned. Well, yeah, he did. Because I worked here ’53 without Roy, and then the work load got to be greater and the help wasn’t there, so I recruited him, that was Skinny’s father.
Marian: Who’s Skinny?
Francis: Skinny Harris.
Rudi: What was his real name?
Francis: Roy, Jr.
Rudi: I used to have to bring Billie down, every day, and you know, you’d drive in this way there’s the curb, we sat there and watched.
Francis: Up at the hotel.
Rudi: Taking the hotel down. I says, ‘Come on, Bill, I gotta go home and get dinner started, or lunch for your father.’ ‘ Oh, a little later, little later.’ Every day.
Marian: So he was interested in that?
Francis: Oh yeah.
Rudi: Every day we sat there on that wall.
Francis: Well, he got to ride the tracks-cavator which was the caterpillar tractor with a bucket on it instead of a blade.
Rudi: Tubby didn’t wanna but Billie boy he was all gung-ho for everything.
Francis: He wanted to be where the action was.
Marian: Were you at all ever part of the social [scene], the kids, the young people out here? Or were they a little older than you?
Rudi: Well who’s Spamburg or what was his name?
Francis: That was Gary. That was the guy with the bag of cement on his shoulder, but uh, not too much. There might have been a little bit of a class distinction there between the summer people.
Marian: Well yeah, I call it the town and gown.
Francis: Between the natives you know and the city people. Yeah.
Rudi: Yeah, cause Frannie used to go out and get night crawlers at night to sell to the fishermen to get money to buy clothes for school.
Francis: And my folks, I can remember, used to scrub the kitchen floor in the hotel, probably three nights a week, because that place got dirty, so I’d be down there helping them move the stuff around, move chairs and get everything set up on top of tables, that sort of thing and then you had to wear a pair of rubber boots because everything got hosed.
Rudi: You weren’t that old either.
Francis: I was probably 10 or 11. Wear a pair of rubber boots because everything got hosed down with hot water, with a hose and scrubbing powder.
Rudi: Yeah because it was all cement floor, wasn’t it?
Francis: No, only in front of the ranges was cement floor. The rest of it was wood, with holes bored in the floor, and you’d take your broom, and you’d scrub where a dirty spot was and then push all the water down that hole. And get ready for next morning’s breakfast.
Marian: Interesting. Anything else you can think of or comes to mind?
Francis: There’s probably a lot back there.
Marian: I’ll have to come back.
Francis: You can do that. Yeah, it was a good life, a hard life, but a good life.
Marian: You survived, your health is good.
Francis: Well, it made you appreciate the things you had too.
Rudi: His mother worked hard too. Cleaning cottages, lugging stuff.
Francis: Too many times today I see kids you know with a brand new bike that I don’t know, probably cost $300, $400. They jump off the thing and let it go crash, you know, on the ground. If we had a sled, once we’d outgrown the sled we were using, you gotta hand it down to somebody else who were in line for a new sled. That new sled got brought in a house every night, got wiped down. It was oiled. Because that had to last you. I can remember my folks telling me, well boy, you gotta take care of that, it’s gotta last you.
Marian: My husband tells a story of sledding down the hill from school. Were you part of that?
Francis: Oh sure. And I even recall Marco, the dog, that Tom [Ty]and Dave had had for a long, long time, cause Marco would get right in front of us and he’s running, you know, he’s going to stay in front of the sled, and the snow and the cinders and everything is flying up in your face. That was Marco.
Marian: And when you came down the hill, you slid right down, the road?
Francis: We’d usually wind up by the post office. Usually that’s where we’d run out of momentum.
Rudi: Our kids grew up sliding down the golf course, and we’d end up all the way to the post office.
Francis: We used to make, well I didn’t make, my dad made, skip jacks for us out of barrel stave, and we used to take them over where the 6th…
Rudi: You know what they are, don’t ya?
Francis: A skip jack?
Marian: Like skis?
Rudi: A ski with a seat.
Francis: A ski with a seat on top. And you grip the ski here and you held your feet up.
Marian: Wow, that’s a little skill.
Francis: If the snow or the crust you know is hard enough, you can rest your feet on the toe of the ski, but many cases it wasn’t , if you did that you’d break through, and that’s gonna hurt. So you better, you know, put the weight toward the back of the skip jack, keep the toe, usually it was barrel stave that it was made out of.
Rudi: You had one, did we lose that in the fire too?
Francis: I think so, yeah.
Rudi: Unless it’s up in the garage.
Francis: No. I think we lost it.
Marian: How about other people? People who were here when you were younger and are no longer here? Well, I mean you’ve talked about several people.
Rudi: Who was here year round? In the winter time?
Francis: Well, when I was just a little kid growing up there was the Mahoneys just as you turn to go over the bridge, and that house burned, and he sustained first, second and third degree burns in the fire and he died the next morning, but the Mahoneys were there, the Fosters, Belle and Fred. Zeke, too, he went off to the service, became a state trooper after he came back, but uh, Ed Mann who was the post master.
Rudi: He lived on the corner.
Francis: What’s that?
Rudi: I said Zeke lived on the corner where Gail Smith (lives).
Marian: Oh, he did?
Rudi: He did. Yeah.
Francis: And then there was the Coopers, there was Dave and Beulah and Kimbal and Neil, Irene Phillips, and that was it. There was nobody living beyond Irene Phillips.
Marian: Did Beulah become a teacher up at the school house?
Marian: She did, I thought I remembered that.
Rudi: She taught Terry until they consolidated.
Francis: The Jelliffes stayed here like Smith Ely Jelliffe, stayed here a few winters toward the end of his days, but before that there wasn’t anybody, I think David’s family (Proctor and Edith)were the last ones going that way.
Marian: How about Bunny Wilkening’s father? Professor Emerson?
Francis: Doctor Emerson?
Marian: Didn’t he stay?
Francis: Later, in later years of life he did, but prior to that there was nobody there at the White House.
Marian: Nobody up on Bluff Head? Harrison Bird?
Francis: There had been, but not that I can remember cause there was a caretaker out there, Jonas Hastings was his name. And they kept a couple of cows. They had a horse. Doctor Gillette. Kurt Gillette brought a horse up there to ride in the summer time, that stayed there, Jonas did chores for that too. But then he died off, and then the rest of them, like the Olneys, the Birds, the Gillettes, they didn’t stay there in the winter months. Not after old Jonas went.
Marian: This has been very interesting.
Francis: A lot of history in this little community.
Rudi: He lost, you would have enjoyed these, he lost 30 notebooks that he, he used to write in the notebook every night, like you know on a piece of paper, and think, who was on the Landing, and what happened, and the work he did. And he lost them all in the fire.
Francis: Yeah, they were upstairs in the attic. They were journals.
Marian: Oh, that’s press for the historical mill. Not very many people keep records.
Francis: No, surprisingly.
Rudi: He still writes and he wrote what work he did for the day, but then at the top he would write what the temperature was for the day, and who was here, and who wasn’t here He still does that.
Marian: That’s interesting. Did it used to be [that] winters were colder than they are now? Has it really substantially warmed up?
Marian: It has?
Francis: And snow wise, we get much more, or rather, we did get much more snow back in those days than we get now.
Rudi: Frannie used to be janitor for the school house when he was at school.
Marian: Oh, the little one? You mean your one room school house?
Francis: Yup. And that paid $50 a year and I used to have a check for $25 at Christmastime which took care of buying the Christmas presents for the family and then I’d get $25 when school was being let out end of June.
Marian: What was that job? What did that entail?
Francis: Well, I had to make sure that the water pail was filled every morning. David and I used to go down to the spring and fill that water pail, not fill it, maybe two thirds full, because you’re going to spill some getting up that steep bank anyhow. The bank is even steeper when I look at it now than I remembered it then. Sweep the floor, clean the blackboards, take care of the fire.
Marian: Did you start the fire in the morning? Was that part of the job?
Francis: We kept, up until maybe late fall, November, and then we went to coal, so we kept the fire all night long. And I can recall, and this was in early March, when it got way down below zero, we couldn’t get the, we had the fire going good, but we couldn’t get the frost of the windows, and Mabel said finally, about ten o’clock, this is enough, we’re getting out of here, so she brought us home. I’m surprised she got her car going, cause it was way below zero. David might even remember that.
Marian: Imagine canceling school.
Francis: But she said we can’t stay here and freeze to death.
Marian: Well, that was wise of her.
Rudi: I didn’t know her.
Francis: You met her once.
Rudi: I met her once?
Francis: Yup. She came out here, she moved out to (unknown), New York, where Gene, her husband came from, but they came back here to visit Ruth Gregory, her sister, one summer, and somebody up there called me up, and she was getting along in her advanced years then, she must have been late eighties, I gotta be careful talking about that now, but anyhow, somebody called up and said Mabel’s up here and she’d like to see you. So we went up and we had some pictures taken. I was standing there with my arms around her.
Marian: Oh, that’s fun. I was going to ask you about somebody, about somebody that floated past in my mind, I was going to ask you, but I can’t think who it was right now.
Francis: It was only a year or two after that that she passed away, cause she was probably 90.
Marian: Well, she was an impressive person, I mean if you speak so highly of her and my husband does too, Dave, as a teacher.
Francis: She was terrific.
Rudi: Lot of changes in the place.
Marian: Hmm? Yeah.
Francis: Changes in this place?
Rudi: In Hulett’s, I mean the whole shebang, with all the houses, I mean when I first came there wasn’t hardly any, these cottages here.
Francis: Well, there again, I think, the good road and dependable transportation that we’ve got today make a big difference because I can remember when there used to be three boats coming to this dock right out here. The night boat, they called it the night boat, was about six, six thirty, something like that, and that would go to Bolton and stay there, and then it’d come back the next morning, but the thing that really impressed me was the Horicon, which on Saturday night had a live band on it, and it had the walking beams, and it was steam, and I remember hearing the bands strike up, you know, to play the music, that’s the only time I got down here was like I’d be down on Saturday night, that was a big treat, we’d come down and watch the show boat. And then we’d hear it start, you know, gather speed or momentum and pull away from the dock and there’d be great big waves splashing right up over the dock, you better stand back, you’re gonna get wet.
Rudi: Frannie can remember when the post office was out on the dock.
Francis: Oh yeah.
Marian: Oh, really?
Rudi: Down where all the stones are.
Francis: It was on the right hand side as you’re walking out, and then there was a freight office and an express office on the left hand side, and many of the provisions that came for the people that were here all summer came in barrels and big crates and things and were offloaded onto the dock and then the horse and wagon would pick everything up the next morning, unless there was perishable stuff in there and then of course it would have to be gotten off there as soon as it was unloaded.
Marian: What were the three boats? The Horicon you mentioned, what were the others?
Francis: The Sagamore, and the old Mohican. Mohican I think got pressed into service around 1908, and you know it did because just last year they had the centennial, the boat’s 100 years old.
Marian: Oh, my goodness. It’s still around, it still exists?
Francis: Yeah, the Mohican.
Rudi: They run it once in a while.
Marian: Oh, that Mohican, the one that I still see.
Rudi: The one you see.
Marian: That old. Well, some of these interesting things are still perking here.
Rudi: Well, the big draw here too, was it the Mohican, was it on Mondays they used to take the people, no not Mondays.
Rudi: Tuesdays. The hotel guests, they would all, go on the boat for the day.
Francis: Yeah, the guests would get a box lunch those that had signed up the night before, they got a box lunch, and then they’d be down here around 9, 9 or 9:30 to get on the boat. They’d ride to Bolton, and then back, get dropped off on the way back.
Rudi: A lot of changes.
Marian: Well, it’s all very interesting. Lots of things to remember and think about. Well, this has been very interesting to me, thank you very much.
Francis: Well. thank you, but, when you start, you know things come to mind that you’ve forgotten about, but I was thinking about how much the road has changed, like from here over to Clemons. You can see where the original line went, if you’re as old as I am, you can see where the improvements were made to it; you can see where the changes were.
Marian: You remember the Knight Club I’m sure.
Francis: Oh very well.
Marian: Did you ever work there?
Francis: I worked there like, Dick Harding operated it, the last before it burned and maybe little emergency jobs like a hot water heater had blown out, the water pump wasn’t working.
Marian: Well, that was a long time ago, that was before the configuration of that road changed. It was on, I don’t know is the new part of the road now where the night club used to be? Or is it off the other way?
Francis: It’s off to the right as you’re going up. The new part of the right is off to the right a little more.
Marian: I remember when that road was repaired, fixed and changed.
Francis: I can remember right there on that sharp bend there was an ash tree, oh this big, and all the kids from Whitehall, and sometimes it’d be five or six of ‘em, would be there trying to get a ride back to Whitehall, cause they were our competition, they’d come over here and they’d caddy too and hunt for golf balls and sell those.
Rudi: And Frannie carried two caddie bags that weighed more than he did. He was little.
Marian: But strong.
Francis: Sort of.
Marian: Got strong.
Rudi: Got strong. Right.
Francis: Right. But I can remember, that there were four guys here, there was Arthur Wyatt, and his name was George, George Howard up on the corner, Frank, me and Ed O’Neil, used to go to Rutland to play golf, and they’d take us as their caddies. So, and we’d have dinner, you know, they’d play the 18 holes and then we’d have dinner, then back to Hulett’s, so, that was like Christmas.
Marian: Well, shall we turn off the recorder.
Rudi: Who was the other one who went with you?
Francis: George Howard? Mrs. Howard’s husband?
Rudi: No, who you caddied for.
Francis: Oh, Arthur Wyatt, who owned this property.
Rudi: Yeah, and who else?
Francis: Frank Meehan, Blanche’s father.
Rudi: Yeah, but you didn’t carry all the bags did you?
Francis: There was two of us, we both carried double.
Rudi: Yeah, well, that’s what I meant, who else went with you?
Francis: Well, Terry Reed sometimes. Had to be kids that liked golf. I used to play this course when, I shot 29s on this course with one club.
Rudi: It’s all he had.
Marian: That’s an accomplishment.
Francis: A two iron. I’d drive, approach and putt, cause it’s just like a chip and put course.
Rudi: Cause you were born on the golf course practically.
Francis: I knew every quarter inch of it.
Marian: Is it essentially the same as it is now?
Francis: Mm-hmm. Pretty much.
Rudi: Cause he was born in the house that used to sit up there where his mother was.
Francis: There were some more traps back in those day. They eliminated some of the traps, this is, it’s improved, the course certainly. Tees are much better.
Marian: A lot of people have a good time on it anyway.
Francis: Yeah, I’m surprised though because Bernie Derencin told Bill our son,that they’re way behind on income.
Rudi: Yeah, because they hadn’t been, I told you.
Francis: Maybe because it’s so hot or something, we just don’t have the play, people just aren’t using the course as much.
Rudi: No, I don’t know how much it is to play.
Francis: I don’t know what the greens fees are now. I’m sure it’s nominal.
Rudi: A lot of ‘em have probably cut down on their expenses to begin with.
Francis: Because the big courses get 35, $40 for 18 holes. Something escaped my mind. Bernie Derencin said that they have a contract with Gould’s landscape service in the amount of $10,000.
Marian: This one?
Francis: Yeah. They gotta pay them $10,000 no matter what and he says it doesn’t look like we’re gonna make it.
Marian: Oh dear. Who’s in charge of the course now? Who owns it?
Francis: Bob Quick I know is, it’s all volunteer, but Bob Quick, he’s part of it; Bernie Derencin.
Rudi: Bernie, and there’s another one, and I can’t think.
Francis: John Machiski works out there quite a bit.
Rudi: That’s it.
Marian: Who owns the land actually? The association or is that Kapusinski?
Francis: I think Kapusinskis own the land, and the association leases it.
Marian: Well, ok.
Francis: Very good.
Marian: And on we go.
Francis: And my puppy dog has been a very good guy.
Marian: He has.
Edited by: Arnie Galbraith and Marian Knight