LAKEWOOD, NY - My extended family bailed out of Lakewood shortly after we graduated from high school so that nary a Fitzgerald or McAvoy or Puls lives anywhere near a Jamestown zip code.
The Puls family included Gordy Puls, Jr. who taught math at SWCS. And the McAvoy's pictured here at a wedding a few weeks ago, all bailed, too, with Nancy on the left (Class of '68 or '69) leaving for Virgina, Kathleen (Class of '65), center, eventually ending up in Maine, and Robert, well, I'm not sure, except he's the youngest and the wedding of his daughter was in Michigan, so he might be roosting there. I know he was in the U.S. Army and did a lot of jumping out of airplanes.
My sister Evelyn took the photo. She lives outside of Boston.
I worked at Lakewood Beach with my cousin Kathleen for several summers right out of SWCS. She was a lifeguard but also taught swimming. Working the beach was a family tradition. Gordy Puls and his older sister Barbara both were lifeguards there years ahead of my showing up. Sue Guertin worked at the beach also, but up in the playground area keeping the kids in line.
What's striking about seeing these cousins of mine after so many years is how much they look like their parents. Nancy is the spitting image of her mother, Helen (and also my grandmother). Robert is clearly Howard McAvoy's son.
Kathleen just looks like Kathleen.
In the meantime, I'm still working on how many bricks I'm going to buy for the SWCS garden, and what to say on them.
Some of the latest ideas include:
To Mrs. King, who never let me look at the damn typewriter keys.
To Gunny Anderson, who would have killed me if I called him that in school.
To Lakewood Mayor Roland Rapp, for giving me my job back when Doss Johnson fired me from Lakewood Beach.
And that's the short list.