Category Archives: Laurence [Di Lorenzo]

Youth job at the Altamont Fair #AtoZChallenge

Y is for Youth job at the Altamont Fair. Twenty-fifth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

The World’s Fair was a special event in 1964, but my regular summer stop was the Altamont Fair in Albany County, N.Y. — the highlight of annual trips to visit my maternal grandparents Boom and Gramps.

When I was younger, I just had fun at the fair. But in 1964, when I was 14, Boom got me my first youth job at the Altamont Fair — in the Arts and Crafts Building where she exhibited and won ribbons for her Early American Tole Painting.

Altamont Fair in 1955. The Altamont Fair had been part of my life since childhood. In my early teens, thanks to my grandmother Liz (Stoutner) Laurence, I got my first payroll job there. Photo: Friends of Albany History

Fun at the fair in 1963

At 13, during my last hangout year at the Altamont Fair, I’d meet up with my childhood friend Kris — who lived near the fairgrounds.

Boom let us go to to the midway, where we basically lived on the Octopus ride — whirling, plunging and screaming our heads off, and buying so many tickets that the operator just left us on for multiple rides.

When we weren’t there — or watching the dare-devil car show from the grandstand — we were hanging out with Barry and Bob, two handsome brothers we met that year.

Aug. 16, 1963. Met two guys! Barry & Bob! They run a spin paints outside the Arts & Crafts building! I LOVE Barry, but I never saw him again after Tuesday! I’ll always love him a little in my heart! Barry was 16, Bob was 20…They may be at the Fair next year.

I had a crush on Barry, but I was self-conscious about smiling because I still had my braces. So of course, being guys, they kidded me about. How embarrassing!

My job at the fair in 1964

Arts and Crafts building at the Altamont Fair. At 14, I was thrilled to actually be working at the Altamont Fair — at least until it turned out I had a strict boss! Photo: AltamontFair.com

Yet as with so much during my teen years, life moved on and new experiences beckoned. So the following year, I was thrilled that I would actually be working at the Altamont Fair — at least until it turned out I had a strict boss!

July 3, 1964. I’m gonna work at the fair for $1.25 an hour. I can hardly WAIT!!

Aug. 16, 1964. Dull day. Worked like a horse at the fair!! Saw Kris for about 5 minutes! ‘Cause Mrs. T. [in charge of Arts and Crafts] kicked her out! Kris saw Barry and Bob at Rye Beach about 2 weeks ago! Hope they come to the fair!!

Altamont Fair, Gate 4 (2001). My sister Amy and I made a family history trip to Altamont and the fair in 2001. Here I am at Gate 4 where, at 13, I used to meet my teen friend Kris for fun at the fair in 1963. Photo by Amy L. Williamson

More long-distance friendships

Alas, Barry and Bob were no-shows — but there was a steady flow of other teen boys in and around the Arts and Crafts building. And after a hard days work, Boom let me go to the nightly dances in the tent across the fairgrounds.

There, I met DJs from WPTR radio, got to know even more teens and — of all things — ran into my old nemesis, the school bus bully!

Aug. 18, 1964. Met Dale “Bob” Lane (semi-pro D.J.) and Larry “Quack” Quackenbush. Dale (Bob) likes Martha (met her, too). She’s real nice. Craig, who used to pick on me on the bus in 1st grade, was at a dance. He’s a DOLL! Looks like Cliff Richards.

Altamont Fair Midway (2001). Here I am at the midway, where my friend Kris and I basically lived on the Octopus ride in the summer of 1963. Photo by Amy L. Williamson

Sadly, when the Altamont Fair ended, we teens had to go our separate ways — back to school and to our regular lives after our summer of fun, but promising to keep in touch.

Sept. 10, 1964. Guess who wrote me! Bob Lane. I kinda figured he would. He & Linda are goin’ steady and Sharon and Larry are nearly goin’ steady! I’m realll glad! He’s gonna write me again I HOPE (as soon as I get the [Dave Clark 5 Fan Club] cards to him!)

Bidding adieu at the Altamont Fair (2001). When the 1964 fair ended, we teens who’d met there went our separate ways — back to school and to our regular lives after our summer of fun, but promising to keep in touch and meet up the following year. Photo by Amy L. Williamson

And thus, through letter writing during the year, we teens kept the Altamont Fair magic alive — hoping to meet up again at the fair when the following summer rolled around.

Final post, Zip code scares and Zap: power outage! Please leave a comment, then join me for Endwell: My Early Teen Years Recap and Reflection on May 3!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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Peg: My mulitasking mom #AtoZChallenge

P is for Peg: My mulitasking mom. Sixteenth of 26 posts in the April 2021 Blogging From #AtoZChallenge. Theme: “Endwell: My Early Teen Years”— adding my story to the family history mix. Please join me on the journey.

My mom Peg was also career building during my early teens (1963-65) — but unlike Dad, she had other pulls on her time.

So Mom developed her School Music Educator career more slowly — while also meeting the demands of motherhood, an active social life and volunteer work at our church and a local hospital.

Our family circa 1964. That’s me,14, standing behind Mom,38, with the rest of our large family. Somehow my multitasking Mom managed to skillfully balance motherhood, work, fun and volunteering in a way I did not fully appreciate in my early teens. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Mother of five: from teen to toddlers

At home, Peg was a no-nonsense mother. Caught up as I was in my early teen world, I sometimes bristled under her demands to keep my grades up and to generally behave myself at school and on the block (enforced by occasional groundings).

But looking back, I am now amazed at all that she accomplished while simultaneously raising five children — who in the early 1960s ranged from a teen to toddlers, as shown above.

Back to teaching

Once my brothers and I were in school, Mom commuted to Ithaca College at night for her masters in Music Education — and also substitute taught in the Endwell public schools.

Sheet music, metronome and a flute-like recorder. There was always a metronome ticking away at our house to keep time for our music lessons. Mom coupled motherhood with building her career, getting her permanent music teacher certificate in 1964 and returning to teaching when my sisters were still little. The flute-like recorder was one of Mom’s favorite instruments, which she continued playing until well into her senior years. Photo: Pixabay

After Mom finished grad school, my sisters were born and she was back to homemaking again full-time. Nevertheless, she made sure to get her permanent music teacher license, which was awarded in 1964. And while my sisters were still little, she resumed teaching in the local parochial schools.

Life of the party

Yet it was not all work for Mom — who was then in her late 30s. At a Malverne Road reunion a couple of years ago, our across-the-street neighbor told me an entertaining story about what Mom and the other mothers got up to during their weekdays at home.

Moms cocktail hour. At a recent block reunion, a neighbor told me, “Peg called around and said she had seen a recipe for a new cocktail and wouldn’t we like to try it?” The moms had such a good time they secretly repeated their cocktail hour on occasion. And here I thought it was only the kids on our block who were sneaking around to have fun! Graphic: Pixabay

“Peg called around and said she had seen a recipe for a new cocktail and wouldn’t we like to try it?” she told me. “So after our husbands left for work and the children were in school, Peg had us all over one afternoon and we had a great time with that new cocktail!”

Such a good time, in fact, that they secretly repeated their cocktail hour on occasion. “And we made sure to clean up and get back home before our husbands and children returned,” emphasized the neighbor.

Well, well. And I always thought it was only us kids on the block sneaking around to have some fun!

Volunteer work

Peg (Laurence) Charboneau (c. 1964). School photo of Mom during her Endwell teaching years. Scan by Molly Charboneau

Yet even with teaching and raising a family, Mom also found time for volunteer work.

For years, she used her music skills to lead the choir at Endwell’s Christ the King RC Church — and thus expanded her social life.

I  still remember the friendships Mom made with couples from church who came over to play board games with her and Dad — laughing and carrying on and keeping us kids awake until all hours!

Mom also served as a Pink Lady hospital volunteer one night a week — and she had to stand up to Dad to do it, because he thought she should be getting paid.

Multitasking Mom

In short, during my early teens my mom Peg was multitasking long before the word was invented — and doing it in a balanced way. A bit of homemaking, a bit of work, a bit of fun, then giving back with some volunteering — yet all the while incrementally building the School Music Educator career she would eventually return to full time.

Up next, Q is for Questioning everything. Please leave a comment, then join me as Endwell: My Early Teen Years unfolds one letter at a time!

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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1865: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s unique arrival in the U.S.

Sepia Saturday 555. Seventh  in a series on my maternal German ancestors, the Stoutners, of Gloversville, Fulton Co., N.Y.

Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner (1844-1924). Scan by Molly Charboneau

My immigrant great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner appears to have arrived in the U.S. from Germany circa 1865 — at the end of the U.S. Civil War.

Based on her 1 Aug. 1844 birth date, she would have been 21 at the time.

Alas, I have thus far been unable to locate a ship record that would give me her exact year of immigration — so that research continues.

https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/90711902/
German emigrants for New York embarking on a Hamburg steamer (1875). My great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner was among the throngs of emigrants who left Germany for the U.S. in the mid 1800s in search of a better life. Image: Library of Congress

However, in various censuses Christina or a household member gave her immigration year as 1864 or 1865 — and her obituary supports her arrival around that time.

Discovering Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s Immigration Year – Sources: FamilySearch (censuses) and research files (obituary)
Year Source Name Details Imm. Year
1900 U.S. Census Christine Stoutner Number of Years in the U.S. – 35 1864 (penned) 1865 (estimated from years in the U.S.)
1910 U.S. Census Christina Stoutner 1865 (penned)
1920 U.S. Census Christina Stoutner Naturalized in 1866 (Penned) 1865 (penned)
1924 Obituary – Gloversville Morning Herald, 17 May 1924 Mrs. Christina Stoutner “a resident here for about sixty years” circa 1864 (estimated)

An intriguing immigration story

Yet perhaps the most intriguing information about Christina’s arrival in the U.S. comes from an oral history interview that my mom Peg (Laurence) Charboneau did with her Aunt Margaret (Stoutner) Rothbell — my maternal grandmother’s younger sister — in the mid 1990s.

Below Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s name is a notation that says “landed in the U.S. the day Lincoln was shot.”

Mom sat down with her aunt, took out a blank sheet of paper and sketched a family tree of the Stoutner line based on what Aunt Margaret told her — a hand-drawn chart I have copied, consulted and annotated over the years.

And below Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner’s name Mom made a notation that says “landed in the U.S. the day Lincoln was shot.” Well, how about that!

Remembering a landmark arrival

https://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002717084/
1865: Pres. Lincoln’s funeral in New York City – removal of the body from the City Hall to the funeral car. On 14-15 April 1865, New York City was undoubtedly preoccupied with news of the president’s assassination — as historic newspaper headlines testify. Into this whirlwind of shock and sorrow stepped my great-great grandmother Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner, fresh off the boat from Germany — at least according to my mother’s family history notes. Image: Library of Congress

U.S. President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated on the evening of 14 April 1865 and died in the early hours of 15 April — a cataclysmic event at the end of the U.S. Civil War.

New York City was undoubtedly preoccupied with news of the unfolding tragedy — as historic newspaper headlines testify. And into this whirlwind of shock and sorrow stepped my great-great grandmother Christina, fresh off the boat from Germany. At least according to my mother’s notes.

Yet because Lincoln’s assassination was so momentous, and the young immigrant Christina would likely have registered every nuance about her arrival in a new country — and because her story was passed down the generations, perhaps from her retelling of it — I find this story about her believable.

All that remains is to find the ships that came into the Port of New York on 14 -15 April 1865 — and locate a record from one of those ships that contains Christina’s name. But that is research for another day.

Up next: Christina (Albeitz) Stoutner heads for Gloversville, N.Y. Please stop back! Meanwhile, please visit the blogs of this week’s  other Sepia Saturday participants here.

© 2021 Molly Charboneau. All rights reserved.

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