Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Communities

September 9, 2013

Western New York revisited

(Continued)

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Since that day, I have held a 5-year-old’s image in my mind of the garage where dad got his first Buick.

On Aug. 4, Marcia’s brother Dan Chase had driven us to Lockport to see the old locks. While we were there, visiting a small museum, I asked a local historian if he had any idea where this Buick dealer would have been located. To my surprise, he knew exactly where it was, and the building is still intact, looking much as it did in 1939.

Dad was transferred by DuPont, to Richmond, Va., in 1942, and back to the Buffalo plant in 1944, now as its assistant manager.

Flashback No. 2: In about 1947, while we still lived on Woodland Drive, this 13-year-old had two jobs. The first was delivering the morning Courier-Express along Woodland Drive, and the second was evenings and weekends, leading ponies at “The Big Ride.” The Big Ride was a pony ride in Tonawanda. It was owned and run by George Hise, who was a farmer from the Lockport area.

There were no such things as minimum wages and strict accounting in those days, so youngsters like myself happily worked for whatever was offered, just to be a part of the enterprise. On a hot day, we led the ponies around the sandy track with their small riders, while the parents waited in the shade.

This went on hour after hour, until you could hardly feel your feet from the knees down. But sometimes there was an extra perk. On weekends, if we got rained out, Mr. Hise would often take us somewhere in the back of his pick-up truck so that we could go swimming.

On the day that provoked this flashback, the rain came late enough in the day that the Hise sons had to first go back to the farm in Lockport to do their chores, but we were promised that if we rode along, they would take us swimming when they were done. So out to the farm we went, but by the time they were free to go swimming, it was nearly dark.

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