by Janis E. Reynolds
The Village of Andes, in the 1930’s, was a very lively and delightful place to live. There were four general stores, Hilton Memorial School, two creameries, a hotel, two barber shops, two gas stations, a post office, a drug store, two restaurants, an ice cream parlor, a billiard room, a doctor, a lawyer, eight farms, a bank and two hardware stores as well as the old town hall and a fire department.
Everyday, from my house on the hill, I look down on the flat just as it was years ago, a beautiful blanket of green. Only then it was a baseball diamond. It was also used in other capacities which I remember so well.
In the 1930’s, baseball was “the sport” in Andes. The school did not have room for a field, and so “Ad Liddle’s flat became the center of many events.
When there was a baseball game, all the farmers would stop their work, eat dinner, change their clothes and come to the game. The whole town would appear. Baseball was taken very seriously in Andes. Even my uncle Jack Wight, way up in Oneonta, would try to make the games. Of course, yours truly and all my cousins loved that because in the middle of the game, he took the whole gang up to the ice cream parlor for a treat. I always got the double orange Popsicle, because it lasted so long. Someone who will remain nameless had to get a dish of vanilla ice cream. We crowded around her and watched her eat it so she would hurry. The ice cream parlor was right around Brooke’s Variety Store. I remember, as a child, that Andes always had a great baseball team. I have a picture hanging in my house of the team of 1936-37 (I think), and it says “Champions of Delaware County, Won 14 Lost 0.” It was taken on the flat with Malcom Maxim as coach.
The flat was also used as the last place to go for the Halloween Parade. The parade formed at Gladstone Brothers Store, (Hunting Tavern), where we were given noise makers and lined up for the parade. We marched down the road and into the driveway to the flat. People stood along the streets cheering us on. When we reached the flat, the men in Andes had a great big bonfire and a temporary stand with cider and donuts for the whole town. Prizes were awarded and games were played. In the 1930’s, there were often adults who joined the parade when it traveled down the road. However, many never unmasked and slipped away into the crowd. I know now that my mother and Dorothy Davis were among the anonymous! When I think back, I smile and salute the men of Andes for setting up the festivities year after year for the children.
Finally, Andes always held a “Field Day” in the summer. For the children, it was so exciting because it started the night before when a group of men went down to the Roney Farm to get the big tent and set it up for the big day. This tent was used all day for refreshments. I remember hot dogs, hamburgers, cake, soda pop, coffee and candy bars! The soda was kept in a big tub filled with ice. It was five cents per bottle, and you got a straw with it!.(Orange, cherry, cream soda, lemon-lime and root beer. No Pepsi or Coke at that time.)
The first entertainment of the day was the Gerry’s Boys Camp precision marching exhibition with their drum and bugle corp. At that time,.the camp was very large with several companies and divisions with their own officers in command. It was a wonderful group and enthusiastically received. The second exhibition was given by the New York State Police from Sidney, New York. They had an equestrian group that performed the length and breadth of the field. I always remember how impressive they were, riding those beautiful horses, sitting so straight in their uniforms and looking straight ahead. In later years, I thought it was such an honor that they came all the way from Sidney to perform in the little Village of Andes.
There was a break for lunch. Some people went home for awhile, some had brought a picnic lunch for their families and some ate at the “big tent”.
Of course, the afternoon was dedicated to the baseball game. It was the biggest crowd of the year.
Then it was time to go get the cows in; shut down the tent; and tell each other what a fine day it had been in Andes! ~