In the old neighborhood -- 07/24/07

A few more words -- and pictures -- from this past weekend...

Sunday morning I went to church with Charlie and Donna... Charlie was filling in as the minister. This is the church we attended when we were kids -- The Ponckhockie Congregational Church. (I really should write an entry some day about the history of that church -- known as the oldest reinforced poured concrete building in New York State and quite possibly the first such structure anywhere -- but not today.) Membership has declined over the years and can no longer support a full time minister. When their part-time pastor is out-of-town, church members, such as my brother, have to fill in. (By the way, he did a very good job.)
That's the house Charlie and I grew up in... It doesn't look quite right because the color has been changed, all of the wooden shutters have been removed, the deck of the lower level porch has been removed, the trees and flowers and such that had been in front of the porch have been replaced with grass, and some kind of wooden spite fence has been installed between this house and the property on the right.

That bay window on the left side of the house was one of my favorite spots to read when I was a kid. There was a comfortable chair there, lots of light through the windows, and a radiator for cozy warmth in the winter. I used to scrunch way down in the chair and put my feet on the window sill (despite repeated warnings not to do that) until one day my foot slipped and I accidentally kicked the glass out of the window. (Yeah, after than I kept my feet down.)

Speaking of dumb things kids do... When I was young I had the bedroom above that bay window (which was at the end of the dining room). One night when I was probably about four or five I got this stupid idea that I could make my parents think it was raining. They were in the living room (the front room) listening to the radio (back in those pre-television days) and so I kept quietly going into the bathroom, filling a glass with water, tip-toeing back into my bedroom, climbing out onto the roof of the bay window area (which had a very steep slope, you could not pay me to go out onto that root today), and attempting to fling the water out far enough that it would fall past the living room's side window. Much to my disappointment, my parents did not leap to their feet and cry out "It's raining! We should close the windows." Fortunately for me, they did not notice anything and they did not hear me going back and forth with glasses of water, and eventually I gave up and went to bed. (Yes, also fortunately I did not slip and fall from the roof and break any bones. In fact, I somehow survived childhood with all of my bones intact.)

A view of the Hudson River from Hasbrouck Park.

This is in the upper portion of the park, where there was (and still is) a large picnic pavilion and a grassy field suitable for softball (or soccer -- once, when I was a kid, a British naval ship visited Kingston and we watched some of the crew members playing this very strange game where they kicked a round ball back and forth -- it didn't make much sense to us -- and I don't think I saw another soccer game until I had graduated from high school).

I am standing on a small hill that has me perhaps twenty or thirty feet higher than that guy in the white shirt who is sitting by a chain-link fence (that sort of shinny line going across just above his head), the trees that frame the view on left and right are just this side of a very steep drop off (the fence is a safety precaution) and the trees in the middle are actually the tops of trees far below... as this area in the park is more than two hundred feet higher than the river. The light green you see at the edge of the blue of the river is actually also part of the river -- that is a tidal flats area and is underwater at high tide. (Yes, although this is ninety miles from the ocean, the Hudson River is a tidal river here.)

This is a picture of the Rondout Lighthouse. The Rondout Creek (which is a navigable waterway and once was an important regional industrial transport route although these days it is mostly used by pleasure boats) flows into the Hudson at Kingston. I took this picture from Hasbrouck Park using the telephoto zoom feature on my camera. I was amazed at the picture because the lighthouse is almost a mile and a quarter away.

Oh, by the way, "Ponckhockie" is the name of my old neighborhood. When I was a kid I swear I remember being told it was derived from a Dutch word for point or hook (because of the way the land juts out into the Hudson, forming the area called Kingston Point) but the Internet says it is from a Lenape word (the locals prior to the European invasion, the Lenni-Lenape tribe, an Algonquin group that lived from New Jersey up through the mid-Hudson Valley) meaning place of annoying insects (or place of dust or ashes, according to another expert who says the guy who translated it as place of annoying insects is a moron).

Well, at least "Kingston" was easy to spell. We felt sorry for the kids who lived in the City of Poughkeepsie.

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