In This Place: May 28, 2014

Decoration Days of Yore
To start research on this week’s column on Memorial Day celebrations before the end of WWII, I first had to remember that our grandparents called it “Decora­tion Day,” and that its primary focus — whatever the pomp, parades and festivities — was a solemn cemetery visit to decorate the graves of veterans.Bill McGarvey plays echo taps from atop the Margaretville cemetery on May 30, 1950.Bill McGarvey plays echo taps from atop the Margaretville cemetery on May 30, 1950. The history of Decoration Day began shortly after the Civil War to honor the dead of that bloody conflict, whose graves were liberally scattered throughout every community in America. However, certain Southern states resisted the holiday until sometime around WWI, when the holiday’s portent was shifted to honor the fallen veterans of any war. It is interesting to note that here, even before WWI had begun, Catskills denizens used Decoration Day to honor veterans of all previous conflicts. Decoration Day back then was solemn and ceremonial; it all crescendoed at the graveyard, with “Taps,” and a sermon or benediction of some sort by the clergy.

In This Place: May 21, 2014

Just a Memory

I wanted my Memorial Day column to revisit the Vietnam conflict in our villages; a war that still stirs feelings and the one whose vets always seem to get short shrift on “Decoration Day.” My plans were waylaid by the absence of 1968 in the archives — a year in which our villages lost men to that conflict — I’ll have to pursue another strategy to retrieve them.

In This Place: May 7, 2014

Here’s to the Ladies that went out with a blaze — or a blast
by Trish Adams

In This Place: May 14, 2014

Here’s to Our Man on the Street: Clarke A. Sanford
by Trish Adams

There is no way to measure what our communities owe Clarke Sanford. A progressive, brave, brilliant young man who bought the News in 1904 on a note with $1,400, he was in front of every trend for six dec­ades: motion pictures, automobiles and, always, getting the news. His grandson Dick will tell you the News was something of a hobby until after the wars, before then he was too busy building our hospital, a theatre, car dealerships and goin' fishing.

In This Place: April 30, 2014

In honor of Arbor Day, I’m providing some snapshots of life in Margaretville’s CCC camp of the 1930s. One of FDR’s most popular “New Deal” programs, the Civilian Conservation Corps put young men to work around the country, planting trees, build­ing roads and trails during the Great Depression and affording these young men a chance to earn a buck, grow up and even get some education on the side.