John Green shares memories and pictures from his Guilderland youth in a new book

Author John Green, who graduated from Guilderland High School in 1971, has been living in Arizona for almost two decades. His hometown is the topic of his new book, “A Baby Boomers History of Guilderland: The 1950s - 1980s.”


GUILDERLAND — Photos of Guilderland’s shared history from the 1950 through the 1980s are relatively scarce, as author John Green knows.

Green recently compiled a book called “A Baby Boomer’s History of Guilderland: The 1950s - 1980s,” and says the hardest part was finding photographs of long-gone Guilderland establishments.

Green, who graduated from Guilderland High School in 1971, put out a call on Facebook, on a page called “You know you’re from Guilderland when ….” asking for reminiscences about and photos from those decades.

During that part of the 20th Century, he writes in the book’s introduction, “The day of digital images from cameras, phones or tablets was decades away. Who gave any thought to snapping a photo of Carvel, Frosty, The Penguin or Dutcher’s ice cream? We ate, drank and caroused at Fonda’s, Hopper’s, Tommy Polito’s, Dell’s, The Late ‘n’ Lazy or the Village Drummer. Take photos? — no way.”

Not all Guilderland landmarks from that era have gone the way of the Polaroid, though. Two shops that are still carrying on and thriving are, as Green points out in the book, Candy Kraft and Gade Farm. And the tradition of the Altamont Fair continues.

Some of the most numerous and fondest memories were inspired by drinking places, particularly Tommy Polito’s and the Village Drummer. Polito’s was located at the intersection of routes 146 and 20, and the Village Drummer was where Pizza Gram now stands.

Polito’s was a real coming-of-age place, Green said last week in a telephone interview from his home in Ash Fork, Arizona. “When you were old enough to fake your way into Tommy Polito’s, you had come of age.”

Green, a retired graphic designer who has also written several novels and a memoir, is again looking for stories and photos with broad community appeal, that feature well-known establishments or events, for a follow-up to “Baby Boomers.”

“As we get older, we tend to wax nostalgic,” Green said.

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