I grew up in this small town nestled in the Adirondack Mountains on the beautiful Sacandaga Lake. My graduating class had about 40 kids. Our school was K-12 in one building, and one set of school busses brought us all to the same entrance every morning.
My parents were married in 1963 and bought a small camp on the water, propped up on cement blocks on a sloping lawn, for $13,000. (That came with a boat.) The had a foundation dug out behind the camp and moved the camp above the foundation (don’t ask me how). Over the years, they added on rooms, finished the attic, and built a beautiful deck overlooking the water.
Growing up, I’d look out at our stunning view and say “ho hum”. As a teenager all I could think about was getting out of that po-dunk town. Former classmates, you can relate, right?
Kim Frasier (my childhood BFF, 3 years older than I was so it was a big step up in coolness for me to be friends with her) and I did have fun “laying out”on her grandfather’s dock. We both had aluminum foil blankets with additional mirrors under our faces for “double reflection”. That is when the baby oil we applied didn’t make us slide right off those foil blankets. Ahhh, those were the days.
I also remember the time my brother invited all of his college friends up for a summer weekend. This was before cell phones and GPSs, so naturally the guys got lost. They were in like three separate cars, and each carload stopped some random person to ask for directions. As soon as they started to explain who they were, the “random person” would say “Oh you’re going to the Paulins’, right? It’s that-a-way.” It freaked those Long Islanders out.
As an adult, all I want to do is go back home. My parents passed away years ago, but they left my brother and I the house, complete with memories and the sense that they are still powerfully present in spirit.
Now, when I bring my kids (whom my parents never knew in this life) there, I feel like I can give them a glimpse into my childhood and connect with their grandparents in a profound way.
Once a Northvillian, always a Northvillian. Those of you reading this who lived there will, I am sure, agree. No matter where our lives have taken us, the bond of being from one of the greatest small towns on the planet is unbreakable.
It is a special treat for me to photograph sessions in our house, on the lawn, and on the beach and water. You can’t ask for a better spot to shoot portraits, regardless of the season. And I was not working in the photography industry when my parents died, so it’s a way for me to share my life with them, and let them know I finally figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up.