Zooming off to Endwell – #atozchallenge

Z is for Zooming off to Endwell. Last of twenty-six posts in the April 2017 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood” — where my genealogy journey began. With this post I’m also zooming across the finish line! Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Zooming traffic on Route 20 was the soundtrack of my early years at Whispering Chimneys,  my family’s Altamont, N.Y., farm.

Sure, there were quiet times on the cross-country interstate. Most nights there were long, silent intervals between the muffled whoosh of lone vehicles passing by.

But the rest of the time there was the steady roar of trucks, cars and farm equipment — and the amber cones of their night-time headlights — as they  rushed east and west to their destinations.

Route 20 in New York State (2011). A quiet time on the busy cross-country highway, which was the most tangible border between my childhood life on our family’s farm and the outside world. Photo: Doug Kerr /Flickr

In my early years, Route 20 was the most tangible border between my life on the farm and the outside world.

I could not cross or travel along the interstate without an adult as a passport.

I could wait next to the road for the school bus; yell across the highway to my friend Kathy, who lived on the other side; and even retrieve the mail, which brought me dangerously close to the zooming traffic. But to venture any further, I needed a grownup.

Into the zooming traffic

Fortunately, my parents and grandparents loved being part of the zooming traffic. So I rode in their cars to dance class, to church, to visit relatives, to go shopping — and even once to Boston on vacation.

Best of all were the trips to special local events — the circus, museums, parades and such. They were always a great adventure!

My second childhood home in Endwell, Broome County, N.Y. (circa 1957). Our maroon Dodge is parked in the driveway. That’s my open bedroom window on the second floor. Out back, the Susquehanna River replaced Route 20 as my new natural boundary. Photo: Norman J. Charboneau

Finally, the year I turned seven, we entered the zooming traffic and embarked on the greatest adventure yet.

We were zooming off to Endwell — to our new house along the Susquehanna River west of  Binghamton, New York.

And just like that I was transformed from a youngster in a household of mostly adults to the oldest child in a growing family — which now included two younger brothers!

A river replaces the roadway

Our Endwell house was smaller than Whispering Chimneys — a compact little Cape Cod with its attic turned into bedrooms. But its small size was more than made up for by a neighborhood bursting with children — 52 on our block alone at the peak of the Baby Boom!

No more yelling across the highway to my lone rural neighbor! From now on my home life would be punctuated by the raucous pandemonium of scores of children at play.

The roaring traffic on Route 20 was replaced by the ebbs and flood tides of the Susquehanna River — the new natural boundary near my second childhood home, where I lived until I left for college .

Whispering Chimneys: The long goodbye

And Whispering Chimneys? My maternal grandparents continued to live there for another fourteen years — and I’m glad they did.

Because the farm became our family’s destination for long weekends, holidays and summer vacations — a steady reminder of the pleasurable years I spent there as a young child.

Congratulations to my fellow A to Z bloggers, and thanks for joining me on this year’s journey! Watch for a Reflections post on May 8.

And please stop back on May 5 for a one-stop summary of this year’s #AtoZChallenge posts about “Whispering Chimneys: My Altamont childhood.”

© 2017 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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28 thoughts on “Zooming off to Endwell – #atozchallenge”

  1. I had read some of your blogs but just caught up on the rest. I could visualise Whispering Chimneys (what a lovely name) as we visited the Adirondacks last year.

    I grew up on a farm of sorts and wrote about it in the 2016 A to Z. It was very different to yours but there were also similarities.

    Cheers from Australia

    1. Cheers to you, too, Linda. I think your blog was one of those that inspired my theme. Appreciate your visit and comment. Hope to catch up with you during the year.

  2. 52 kids in one block! That must have been quite a change from the farm, but a good change it sounds like. Glad your grandparents stayed at the farm and you got to regularly visit. Thanks for sharing your memories, I greatly enjoyed reading about them. And congrats on finishing the challenge!

    1. Yes, it was a bit of an adjustment at first…but fun once I got used to it, and some of us from the block still connect on Facebook 🙂 Congrats to you as well and thanks for your visits and comments. See you on May 8: Reflections Day!

  3. Your post leaves me waiting for the next chapter in the story. Z seems to close one nicely and set the readers up for the next. I am marking your reflection day on the calendar. Hopefully I don’t forget to stop back.

    1. Thanks, Lori, and good to hear. I’m considering doing a sequal for next year’s A to Z 🙂 Hope you are also doing a Reflections post for May 8, too!

    1. Thanks, Emily. Enjoyed your visits and comments. Turns out there were a few of us in the A to Z Challenge who spent at least part of our lives on farms. See you for the Reflections post!

  4. A good ending for your A-Z challenge. I’ve ridden across 20, from Buffalo through the Finger Lakes several times–a lovely ride.

    1. Thanks, Sage. East of the Finger Lakes is beautiful, too — some many panoramic hills and valleys. Gorgeous in the fall!

  5. How fun to follow you on your journey. Such rich memories! See you for your reflections post – and in the meantime, congratulations on finishing the challenge.

  6. I enjoyed following your early childhood in the country. It must have been such a change to move to the suburbs. Congrats on finishing and I will be back for your reflections.

    Finding Eliza

    1. Thanks, Kristin. I found your Thomas Allen posts fascinating, and was impressed by the detail you achieved during daily A to Z posting! Look forward to your Reflections post.

  7. I have so much enjoyed reading your A-Z Challene posts, Molly. There is a charm in the way you describe growing up, at Whispering Chimneys, that I wish I could be there . I admire too the way you dealt with the notoriously tricky letters! Love the name Whistelberries too.

    1. Thanks so much! Your encouraging words at the beginning kept me going when I felt like throwing in the towel — but it was fun reminiscing about Whispering Chimneys and that nickname that reminds me of my childhood 🙂

    1. Thanks for your comments, Shirley. Congrats on completing A to Z and for your visits/comments during the challenge. Glad to hear you are coming out with an eBook! I kept thinking “I should take notes” every time I visited your blog; now I won’t have to, I can read the book 🙂 Be sure to get in touch when it comes out. Bye for now!

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