Category Archives: Endwell NY

Arriving in Endwell, my second childhood home #AtoZChallenge

A is for Arriving: First of twenty-six posts in the April 2020 Blogging From A to Z Challenge on the theme “Endwell: My Elementary Years”— where my genealogy journey germinated. Wish me luck!

The last post of my A to Z Challenge 2017 series on my early childhood had me Zooming off to Endwell with my parents and younger brothers to my second childhood home.

This series picks up my story of Arriving in Endwell, N.Y. and moving into the tiny house where I would live with my family through the end of high school.

A Baby Boom bonanza

My first childhood home Whispering Chimneys was an 1850s farmhouse near Albany, N.Y., where I lived with my parents, maternal grandparents and younger brothers until I was seven.

My second childhood home. My second childhood  home on Malverne Rd. in Endwell, N.Y., was much smaller than my first. But on the dead-end street bustling with Baby Boom children, we kids were rarely inside. Photo: Norman J. Charboneau

I had friends at school, but the nearest neighbor children were Kathy and Carol Ann — who lived across Route 20, a highway I was forbidden to cross without an adult. So I was used to a certain amount of solitude.

Our new Malverne Road neighborhood, however, was the polar opposite. It was a dead end street with no through traffic, which meant we were free to cross or even play in the road. Even more amazing, there were dozens of children — a Baby Boom bonanza that took some getting used to!

My moving day injury

I made an early trip to Endwell with my dad so he could do some indoor painting to get our new home ready. We slept on Army cots in the empty, echoey house — and I met some of my future playmates when showed up in the front yard to look me over.
Red vintage bike. I learned to ride a bike like this on the farm where I spent my early childhood. But it was a bit trickier to manoeuver on the dirt-and-tar street where our second house was located. Photo: Jill Wellington/pixabay

After that came moving day, when the whole family — my grandparents included — drove along behind our moving van on the three-hour trip to our new house.

One of the first things the movers unloaded was my vintage bicycle from the farm — and I hopped on to give it a whirl on the dirt-and-tar covered street (pavement and curbs were still in the future).

I’m not sure if it was the excitement of moving or the stickiness of the tar, but next thing I knew I was head over heels on the ground with a gash on my right forearm — made by my bike’s gripless silver handlebars. Ouch!

Luckily, the movers never missed a beat. They set down the furniture, rummaged in their huge truck, brought out a first-aid kit — and before you know it, I was all patched up and back on my bike.

I was also left with a lasting memento of that fateful day. Even today all I have to do is look down at the small, faded scar on my forearm to fondly remember Arriving in Endwell as if it was yesterday!

Up next: B is for Brothers and BoondoglePlease stop back! 

© 2020 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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A fond farewell to Miss George

Sepia Saturday 451: Tenth and last post in a series about my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George — one of those friends, acquaintances and neighbors (FANs) who can make such a difference in a person’s life.

On my way out of town after my high school reunion this fall, I paid a parting visit to Vestal Hills Memorial Park — placing flowers on the markers of my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George, her parents and her brother. Which brings me back to where I began writing about her life.

Helen Gerorge’s marker in Vestal Hills Memorial Park, Vestal, N.Y. (2018) I placed flowers as a parting gift to one of my favorite teachers — my fourth grade teacher Miss George. Photo by Molly Charboneau

Forgotten memories

When I started this series on Miss George I had no idea it would continue for ten weeks!

Miss Helen George at 22: Senior photo from the 1939 yearbook of Cortland Teachers College (now SUNY Cortland). Scan by Molly Charboneau

But the more I researched her life, the more details I found — which is not surprising considering how engaged she was in Hooper School, where she taught, and in the history of its surrounding community, Endwell, N.Y.

As I wrote, forgotten memories poured out — and I found I enjoyed having Miss George around throughout this fall semester and into the holiday season.

So I am wistful as this series on Miss George draws to a close. She was such a key figure in my fourth grade life from 1959-60 — and her positive influence has stayed with me through the years.

A serendipitous connection

Yet I am also pleased that my research unearthed an unexpected, lasting connection to her.

As discussed in previous posts, Miss George was enthusiastic about history and preservation — much like the genealogy and family history community I have become part of in my adult life.

In 1960, when I had her for fourth grade, Miss George led a discussion at the Broome County Historical Society about Washingtonian Hall — a historic home on Endwell’s River Road.
Miss George holds a seminar on Endwell , N.Y., history at the Broome County Historical Society (1960). Source:

In recent years, I have consulted the same society about my family’s history — and her history, too — even visiting their Binghamton, N.Y., repository this fall while in Endwell for my reunion.

When I discovered the Jan. 20, 1960, Endicott Daily Bulletin notice (at left) about Miss George’s seminar, I smiled at the connection.

How serendipitous that we each found our way to the Broome County Historical Society to pursue our passion! And how wonderful that I will be reminded of her whenever I research there in the future.

A fond farewell

Inspiring teachers like Miss George play such an important part in our lives — one we may not fully recognize until we are grown. Remembering and honoring them is the least we can do in appreciation of their invaluable role.

As I bid Miss George a fond farewell on Molly’s Canopy, I hope I’ve done justice to her life — and to the impact of her creativity, enthusiasm and love of history on generations of Endwell’s schoolchildren, including me.

In tribute to Miss George, here are the other posts in this series:

Up next: Molly’s Canopy is taking a brief New Year’s break for a couple of weeks. Happy New Year and please stop in mid-January 2019 when blogging resumes. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here. 

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Miss George’s later years

Sepia Saturday 450: Ninth in a series about my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George — one of those friends, acquaintances and neighbors (FANs) who can make such a difference in a person’s life.

Miss George taught fourth grade at Hooper School in Endwell, N.Y., for another fifteen years after I moved on to fifth grade. When she retired in 1975, I was 25 years old and living in New York City.

By then I was caught up in the tumultuous social upheaval of the 1960s — and Miss George’s world of running ovals, cursive handwriting, neat homework and good deportment seemed like a distant memory.

Only now, from the perspective of age, am I able to evaluate her impact on my life and consider her later years.

A Master’s degree

From her obituary, shown here, I learned that Miss George received a Maters’s degree from Albany State College.

She may have been encouraged in this by Hooper School Principal Don Pierce — at whose urging my mother also completed her Master’s in Music Education from Ithaca College.

A Pennsylvania move

Miss George left her Binghamton, N.Y., hometown after retiring at age 58 and moved south to Vandling, Penna. — near Forest City. This move is not surprising, since her parents predeceased her, and her younger brother Thomas — her only sibling — had relocated to New York City.
Delaware St., Forest City, Penna. Beautiful countryside, a rich coal-country history, proximity to her Binghamton, N.Y., hometown and a long-time friendship likely prompted my fourth grade teacher Miss Helen George to move to Vandling, Penna. — near Forest City — in retirement. Photo: Forest City Historical Society

Miss George may have chosen the Vandling-Forest City area because her longtime friend, and later caregiver, Angeline Carer lived there. Or maybe they made a plan, as friends sometimes do, to move to the same place in retirement.

Either way, who wouldn’t want to retire there? Under the slogan “Welcome to the most beautiful place in Pennsylvania,” the Forest City Historical Society quotes lumberman William Pentecost’s 1864 description of the area:

Cut in the dark woods where never a shimmer of golden sun shines through the trees and the surface was covered with vegetation in wild luxuriance. There were monster hemlock trees, some of them of beautiful symmetry lifting their magnificent proportions to an altitude of nearly one hundred feet. Others were bent toward each other having their long limbs locked across the narrow road as if embracing each other and whispering secrets.

A lasting friendship

Wondering how they became friends, I discovered that Miss George and Miss Cerar both taught at Hooper School. They seem to have been kindred spirits — each directing their pupils in performances and volunteering after hours.

According to the Endicott Daily Bulletin, in 1955 Miss Cerar directed her first grade class in an operetta titled “The Lemonade Stand.” In 1956 she was awarded tenure and a few years later joined local parents on the PTA’s hospitality committee.

Miss George and Miss Cerar attend a bridal shower (1960). Source: George F. Johnson Memorial Library/

Miss Carer was eventually promoted to teaching third grade — which likely meant meetings with my fourth-grade-teacher Miss George about students who were moving up.

By 1960 — when I had Miss George for fourth grade — she and Miss Cerar had become friends.

And a March 1960 Endicott Daily Bulletin story listed them as guests at al bridal shower for the Endwell Junior High School nurse-teacher.

A cat person

The last item of interest in Miss George’s obituary is a request for memorial donations to go to Project PAW in Binghamton, N.Y. — a volunteer-run rescue and adoption group for cats.  So it seems that Miss George was a cat person — which does not surprise me.

Many teachers in my Endwell hometown had cats as pets — and one teacher in my neighborhood even competed, showing her pedigree felines and winning awards.

Yes, I can totally see Miss George seated in a cozy chair with her cat on her lap — reading a good book or perusing the local paper to relax after a long day in the classroom.

Please stop back as this series wraps up with a fond farewell to Miss George next week. Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s other Sepia Saturday participants here

© 2018 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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