Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Introduction... (it's OK if you don't like it...)

It all started in a little town in upstate New York called Mooers. Actually it started more recently than that, with my brother Jack’s mailing of an account he wrote about his early life there. I know, the idea is not a new one, writing about your life experience and all of the things you want to share with the world at large. We have both thrown the concept around a few times, but he beat me to it. And I have many examples to follow, also: I just enjoyed reading The Lobster Chronicles, by Linda Greenlaw, for example, and thought “why don’t I ....”

Now I’m sitting at a keyboard, trying to articulate all that might be interesting about Clayton, New York, where I grew up, and where I first became aware of the world around me. I didn’t do that in Mooers, because I was only 2 when our family left, but you may find a few references to Mooers in this book, because that’s where it all started...

I hope to give the reader a feeling for “the North Country” as I experienced it, and many readers will find that it is not the same North Country, nor the same St. Lawrence River, nor the same Clayton that they experienced. You can visit the area as a tourist, you can live there a few years, but unless you have been there a while, or grew up there, you can never know it in the same way. Even if you grew up there between 1944 and 1960, you still can't know it the same way, anymore than I can know the way you experienced it.

Names have been changed, not to protect anyone living or dead from what I might say, but to protect them from unwanted and unwonted inquiry about things read in this book. As stated, the experiences are my experiences, and seen from my point of view. That point of view may often have been clouded by my own upbringing, ignorance of actual events, or a human failure to understand what was motivating the people and events I interacted with. Our memories are flawed, and my “hard drive” has crashed a few times since my childhood. Please keep in mind that I love the St. Lawrence, and that my wife, Carol and I have decided to return there nearly every year for many years. We now have a summer home there.

I should mention my wife Carol’s influence on this book. I recently retired, and have been moping about ways of keeping busy and supplementing my income. She said something like “why don’t you write that book you’re always talking about?” Well, how can I argue with logic like that? Maybe, with her help, and the love and assistance of family, I have created something that you’d like to read. I hope that you enjoy it.


1 comment:

Bill said...

Joel, as a former Upstate NY boy myself, I'll be looking back to see how your story unfolds...

My wife and I (she's a southern girl) make an annual trip as well, to see my family, and spend some time in the North country... it's a wonderful place, in the summer :)