(from a series of correspondence, June and July 2014)
Dear Inez. I saw your name in the New York Times this week and was quite surprised. I grew up in Bloomville from 1940-1950 and am now retired and living in Reno, Nevada. I hope the church bells are still ringing there because I gave them to the Methodist church as a memorial for my parents. My grandparents and great-grandparents are buried in the Riverside Cemetery. Have you read ‘Watering the Elephants’? The circus used to set up right there in the middle of town, near the old railroad tracks. I vaguely remember it, as that was close to seventy years ago. My husband and I hope to visit next summer and we hope you will be there at that time. We would love to stay with you.
The economy in upstate New York has been challenging as long as I can remember. Our old farmhouse on the edge of Main Street there was dilapidated last I knew. My parents milked 48 head of cattle there back in the 1940’s. Say ‘Hi’ to the older locals for me. Good luck with your business. I truly hope you bring renewal to Bloomville. It will always be “home” to me.
I have lots of photos and will try to find some for you this weekend. My dad Bill Askew was the local milkman back in the day. He also played Santa at the firehall, across the street from you. The older people there will remember him.
I’ll write later. Busy now. I’m a marriage and family therapist here in Reno and some clients are waiting.
With care and fond memories,
JoAnn (Askew) Baird
If it’s still standing, this is the farm on the edge of town (towards Delhi). The second photo is the way the farmhouse looked back around 1920 when my great-grandparents owned it (the Jurjens family). They were Dutch immigrants. When I was a little girl I used to ride on the train by myself to visit my grandma in Oneonta. This was the same train that brought the circus to Bloomville (‘Watering the Elephants’) back in the early 1940’s. I was there. I’m not sure, but I think they set up downtown across from the fire house. There was a lot there.
Here are a few more for you. The second picture, I believe, was located across the street from where you are (I might be wrong), but that was the B & B back in the day. The third one is the barn where the historical society building is now.
I just read that you are from Holland. My family (mother’s side who owned the farm on the Delhi side of town) were from Finsterwolde, Groningen. They migrated to the US around 1910 and were farm workers in Minnesota. They bought the farm in Bloomville about 1920. They couldn’t speak or write much English, but the people there accepted and respected them wholeheartedly. There were a lot of Dutch people in Delaware county. We used to have Dutch picnics. My father’s mother was from Schagen, North Holland. I still have family in Drenthe. Emmer–Compascuum. I was there visiting them in 1997.
One more. The locals will like this one.