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Wednesday, August 02, 2017

REMEMBERING THE LACE MILL

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When I was very young, between and five and ten years of age, Dad would every year in the summer load our car and take us kids out to Patchogue. This was a real treat for us city kids from Brooklyn. As we pulled away from the curb on a Sunday morning, I would look at other children in the neighborhood, and pity them, because they were stuck in the grime of Brooklyn, for the day. The closeness of the brick and wooden buildings, the advertisements along some of them and the concrete sidewalks, Jony pumps and street lamp posts, the overhead Els and the rattle of city life all rolled away as we headed toward the now Jackie Robinson Parkway. We were ‘privileged" to go to Patchogue! How could the kids we left behind, stand it, I wondered? It made me feel like somehow, we had a lot of money!

Patchogue is a village on Long Island, on the south shore. Patchogue was the home of an aunt and uncle who shared a duplex on Norton Street. My grandmother owned the house and rented it to my aunt and uncle. Patchogue was the place that was special.

After the long drive from the city to the country, are we there yet was a mantra, we started to look for landmarks that hinted we were close to our destination, and fun. One of the landmarks was the old Patchogue Lace Mill. As we motored down West Main Street, which was Montauk Highway, there it would stand, to our left. The excitement in the car would now build. Anticipation was great, as we would be seeing our cousins, and my aunt was a great cook! We knew we were close when we saw the lumber yard that stood on the corner of Grove Avenue and East Main Street, our signal to turn, the old Rollic, Inc. building greeting us as we did.

As the years rolled by, and I lived out in Holbrook raising my little family, I would on occasion drive by the Lace Mill with my two kids in the back seat, and a flood of memories would come back to me in an orderly fashion of my very trips to Patchogue. As I drove by, I would explain to my #1 Son, the history of the Lace Mill. This was a defining moment in Fatherhood! Like teaching him to bat, or throw a baseball, or to catch it, or look both ways before crossing the street, a lesson in history was important.

Because he would verbatim give me the history back, word for word, while I was speaking, I knew he heard it before.  OK, so maybe I HAD mentioned it once before.


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