Monthly Archives: August 2011

I went home again

This past month I flew from Orlando to Newark, NJ. Then I rented a Ford Focus and drove it 170 miles North to Scotia, NY to visit my Dad. I also took some time to drive around my old haunts in Tory, NY. Troy is a pretty old city that dates back to a Dutch settlement in the late 1600s, and was later incorporated as a town in 1791 and named Troy. Later it was elevated to a city in 1816. But my own family didn’t arrive here until my grandparents did in the early 20th century.

Troy is called “The Home of Uncle Sam” because the Uncle Sam character is a derivative of a local war profiteer named Sam Wilson, who sold meat to the Continental Army.

Troy has a somewhat glorious past as an industrial center. It was once known for its ironworks and shirt factories. Troy was the home of Arrow shirts for many years, as well as Troy-bilt Rototillers and other yard equipment. It also had one of the first major league baseball teams back in the 1880s, then called the Haymakers. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Russell Sage College, Hudson Valley Community College, and Emma Willard School all make their homes in Troy.

I went to Catholic Central High School and HVCC back in the 70s. I wasn’t able to find time to visit either places with more than a drive-by.

I walked downtown quite a bit for a day and went to the Troy Public Library, where I got my first library card back in the 60s. The building has no air conditioning, and it was stifling hot the day I went there. I also ate at one of Troy’s landmark fast food establishments, Famous Lunch. They serve these little hot dogs with mustard, onions and chili sauce that I make a point of having every time I go home. They were a nickel a piece when I was little; then 22 cents each when I moved away in 1978; and now they are 81 cents each!

I’ll write more about my trip later.