Friday, June 29, 2012

Aurora, New York, by Margaret Ullrich, part 5, Transplanting

Today was a hot, sunny day, as was on June 29, 1972.

Since we're now retired, we're not tied to a 9 to 5 schedule.
During the Summer we're "early to bed and early to rise".
Yes, it's weird to go to bed when it's still bright outside.
It's also weird to have have about 8 hours of light in the winter.
The weirdness and daylight evens out.

During the summer, the best time to take a walk is early morning.
Before it gets really hot.
Yes, I know Manitoba has a dry heat.
But so has an oven.
And no one enjoys being baked.
We know better than to fight Mother Nature.


When we first moved to Tyndall Park in 1988 it was a fairly new community.
The houses were only a few years old.
The fences were upright, a major feature in an area that gets permafrost, which can wreck fencing, house foundations and improperly prepared sidewalks.
But now the area is showing its age.

Don't get me wrong.  
Our neighbors have a basic middle-class pride of ownership.
The houses are painted, the lawns are cut, there are landscaping efforts.

Two homeowners had been so proud of their Barkman fences.
"Never needs painting" was the big attraction.
Painting would've been no problem.
The fences are now at a 45ยบ angle.
The gates are a joke.

Some of the sidewalks have buckled and the streets have potholes.
The potholes have been filled with a tarry goop and some gravel.
Buckling and potholes...  
Some of the perks of living on the Canadian prairie.

After our walk we went to get groceries at our local mall.
Just another summer day in Manitoba.


Forty years ago we were back in New York, on the highway.
We were headed north, past Coxsackie, in a pleasant rural area.
I said, "Isn't it nice.  No more trucks to bother us."
Yeah.
A truck passed us on our left.
It was followed by a huge vehicle, carrying cars, which had to pass us to take an exit on our right.
Paul said, "Truck."
Really?


We had arranged with Carol and Dorothy to have a picnic lunch in New Baltimore.
We trailerites had to stick together.
As was mentioned in The Long, Long Trailer, you really get to know your neighbors when you live in a trailer.
Maybe it's more a survival instinct than just a need to be social.
The highways can be a dangerous place.
We'd learned that lesson the first day out.

After lunch we said our farewells and went our separate ways.
We passed places we'd never heard of... Canajoharie, Fort Plain.
It was still hilly, so I think they were just being honest when they named the fort.
We got gas at the Iroquois Service Station.
Wow!!  We were meeting people that folks in New York City never saw.


As we drove past Syracuse we started making plans for the evening.
Paul had made a list of where we would camp each night.

Well, man plans and God laughs.

We were now in Cayuga County.
Paul had thought that River Forest Park in the village of Weedsport would be a good place to spend the night.
According to our AAA guidebook, Weedsport got its name from Elihu and Edward Weed, merchants who helped found the village. 
It was a port on the Erie Canal and had been called "Weed's Basin" because the town had a basin (boat turnaround) used during the Erie Canal era.
We were definitely in water country.
Weedsport - "Weed's Basin" - was flooded during the summer of 1972.
River Forest Park was closed.
The "Closed" sign just skimmed the top of the water.

We were beginning to realize that things were not going to go exactly to plan.

On we drove.
It was getting late.
As co-pilot, I checked the AAA guidebook.
The next town, Aurora, had a campground.
Cunningham's.

Cunningham's must've been the inspiration for the campground in National Lampoon's Vacation.
The guy at the desk was surly, no dumping was allowed and the restrooms should have been condemned.
We huddled in our trailer and ate macaroni and cheese.
It rained all night.

As the reception on our television was awful, we read the AAA guidebook and circled alternate campgrounds along our route.

We also read about Aurora.
Located on Cayuga lake in the heart of the Fingers Lake region, Aurora had been established as a village about 1795.
Aurora was over 175 years old.
Who knew how old Cunningham's was? 
Maybe Cunningham's was once a nice trailer park.

In 1972, Cunningham's was showing its age.

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