A few months ago my husband and I attended a benefit for a local scholarship fund. Due no doubt to my Irish luck, I was the winner of one of the door prizes. I had my choice between a bottle of rum and a local history book entitled “Ontario County Transportation”. Care to guess which I chose? And no snickering.
Naturally, a geek like me picked the book; after all I grew up in Ontario County, NY. On the drive home I began leafing through my prize and found its pages full of wonderful old photos, like one dated 1890 depicting men working in a gravel pit that once operated behind my grandmother’s house. Others were of people, many of whom I could recall meeting as a child, decades after these photos were taken and I knew them as elderly persons. Here they were, as vibrant young men and women and in several cases, children.
I reached page 66 and was stopped dead in mid page flip, there looking up at me was...my father! My teenaged father, in a photo I’d never seen before. He was leaning against his father’s ’47 Hudson in the high school parking lot with one hand on his hip, looking very 50’s era cool (the car not so much). Though he is staring straight into the camera, my father has no recollection of this photo or who may have snapped it sixty some years ago. Likely a school mate who kept it all these years until the call went out for pictures to illustrate the book.
Which brings me to my point, and I do have one. I’ve since discovered there are thousands of these books out there in a series called “Images of America”, covering locales from Oxnard to Cuyahoga Falls. Type the word “Irish” next to “Images of America” in Amazon’s search box and up pop titles like “Irish Seattle’, Irish Butte, Irish Denver, etc. etc. etc. It also works for other nationalities. Just to check, I tried German and Italian and got plenty of hits. There are some bargains to be had here too. For example, a copy of Irish Chicago lists at $19, but a used copy can be purchased on Amazon’s site for one red cent! Of course there is a shipping fee of $3.99, but it’s still a steal.
I have now purchased “Ontario County The Golden Age of Railroads and Baseball”, since a number of my ancestors right up to my father worked for the Lehigh Valley Railroad in our hometown of Manchester, NY, and one entitled “Marion” for my husband whose family lived in Marion South Carolina in the 18thand 19th centuries. I have thoroughly enjoyed these books and the nostalgic peek into my area’s past.