Thursday, May 12, 2005

I'd heard of it . . .

. . . but I'd never seen it, until just now that is. It's funny what you discover on the Net when you're looking for something else.

I grew up in a small town on Long Island in New York. My mother and her twin sister was raised there, too.

The school they started out in and years later graduated from, was my grade school.

After Mom died and I was back home -- here in Florida -- again, a good friend of hers for most of their lives and I talked on the telephone several times. During one conversation she mentioned a photograph she'd donated that was on one of the walls in the town's public library, along with others showing images of West Babylon's history. Had I had a chance to stop by and see it.

Before she got sick, Mom had mentioned "Aunt Alice" taking her to see it. But . . .

"No, Aunt Alice. I didn't."

Mom, her twin sister Maude and Aunt Alice were all been members of the town's school band. Aunt Alice and "Maudie" both played instruments; Mom had been its drum majorette.

The West Babylon School Band on the steps of the old Main School at the southwest corner of Great East Neck Road and Muncy Avenue, in 1939.
West Babylon Public Library

Save one, I can't positively identify anyone. I know my aunt and my "aunt" are in there, somewhere, but I can't figure out who they are.

I wasn't even certain it was Mom until I happened to notice the shoes.

Saddle shoes.

And I remembered Mom slaving over mine endlessly trying to remove every scuff and mark, while she told me about her saddle shoes. The pair she had when she was young.

Nobody could afford fancy dress-up shoes like that but Mam-ah, squirreling money away, finally had enough to buy each of her twin daughters a pair.

Front row. On the left. My mother was 12.


Anonymous Joe said...

Doyle: You're a Long Island native? Cool. I was raised in Lake Ronkonkoma and my wife Kelly was born in Seaford and lived in Smithtown, where we met.
We're all too smart to stay up there...

12:14 PM  
Blogger doyle said...

Joe: You're a Long Island native?

For some reason I thought you knew that. Third generation, all in Suffolk. Anyone west of the county line was "city."

Hubby's family ('city folks') lived in Floral Park 'til they moved to Hauppauge.

Joe: ...Smithtown.

Ate many a meal at the diner on the corner of 110.

Joe: We're all too smart to stay up there.

They said we were crazy moving to Florida. Now they're all following.


6:22 PM  

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