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.
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
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!!
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.
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!)
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!
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