Altamont, Aug. 1, 2013

With all of the rain over the past several days, I was curious about the forecast for the coming week. Settling into my comfortable chair was easy. The day had been unusually testy and I was ready for some wholesome entertainment. As I picked up the remote control, I resisted the thought about how times have changed since I was a little girl.

In those days I could not turn on the television from my chair. I would have to stand up, walk across the room and manually turn the knob to start the set. Then, if I wanted to see what was on one of the 2 other channels, (yes, we only had three channels then and they were only broadcast in black and white), I would have to get up from my chair and manually change the channel again. I guess I did not resist after all!

When the weather came on they showed a picture a viewer had sent in on Facebook. The picture was taken of the sunset over Thompson’s Lake in the Helderbergs.

The sky started to clear, but there was a layer of puffy clouds hovering over the mountain. The sun was low in the west and its rays were bouncing off of the clouds. The mix of gray, black, pink, red, yellow and purple was breathtaking. I thought, “That would make a beautiful scene for an artist to paint.”

The forecaster continued with a rather dismal explanation of the days to come and, as I do, I began thinking about other beautiful scenes in and around Altamont.

We are favored with a great number of excellent local artists who frequently display the way they can capture the beauty of our mountains.

 Then I started to get excited because I realized that the Altamont Fair would be open in about two weeks and many local artists will display their work at the fair in the Arts Building. Each year there are new entries that can take your breath away.

 I began to think about a photograph of a flower in full bloom with a bumblebee hovering over the pollen ready to transport it to another flower that might catch its eye. Or perhaps an oil painting of a rusty old automobile with weeds growing through the floorboards; all of the glass is missing; mice have made a nest in the back seat and two boys pass by on their way to a swimming hole.

 The different interpretation people have when they see something and translate it into a visual medium is really exciting. Some of these artists use traditional methods to show the public what they see while others like to experiment with different ways to show their talent.

Many residents in Altamont have had the great pleasure of knowing some of our local artists like Ed Cowley, Tom Breitenbach, Dennis Bing, Irina Frinta, Mary Anne Brock and Joan Johnson just to mention a few.

 Others who have expressed themselves in different mediums include Agnes Armstrong who is a renowned organist; Father Joseph Girzone who has written many books that have been number 1 on the best seller list; Jim Gardner and Melissa Hale-Spencer who have used their talents to elevate the quality of The Altamont Enterprise to become an award winning newspaper.

 I can almost hear the groans from some readers because I have mixed people with musical and writing talents with others who have talent in art. Talent comes in so many different ways that it is hard for me to separate one from the other. Using various mediums seems to be just a means of communication or a way of conveying ideas and information.

 Take a moment to gaze around the room that you are in and slowly evaluate all of the objects that are in that room. Where did they come from? No, not what store but where was the object first conceived? Right! Someone had an idea. That idea was then communicated to a graphic artist or an engineer and plans were drawn to create the item. Basically, everything that we see, hold or use came first came from an idea.

 This is the point where I start to get blown away. Just take a minute to let that thought sink in. Everything that we see, hold or use came first from an idea. As an example, this newspaper that you are reading was first just wood pulp. If you are reading this in the evening you probably have an electric light on to help you see what you are reading. You are sitting on a chair or couch that was designed specifically to be a place of comfort for people. The list can go on with everything else in the room.

Many things are born out of necessity and others are born for comfort. I remember one good example of a practical invention that combined a useful tool of the day with an idea.

In Colonial days, when it was cloudy outside or the sun had set, outside chores may have been done, but there was still a lot of work to be done inside. Three methods of illumination were used; light from the fireplace; a candle or an oil lamp.

One Colonial settlement had people making and repairing shoes. One worker came up with an idea to conserve their candles. They set up four workstations in a position like the points of a compass. Then they placed a candle in the center of the four points. To get the most illumination and use from the one candle they placed a glass bowl of water between the candle and each worker thereby magnifying the light at all four workstations.

 Many of the ideas are simple ones, or at least they start out simple and then other people add to or change the item to make it easier to use, cheaper to make, more aesthetically pleasing to the user and the list, again, can go on and on.

We live in an age of change that is so constant that we don’t even notice all of the changes around us. Like the cell phone that we purchased and by the time we got home with it, we find that there is a new version that will be out next week.

Artists capture the world that they see, as they see it. Some are realistic and others perhaps not. With the many changes that are always going on around us we should take a lot of pictures with the camera,  cell phone, or ipad that we currently have because the world as we know it today will be different tomorrow.


   The public is invited to visit the archives at the Altamont Museum that is in the village hall located at 115 Main Street, Altamont.  At the museum you can learn more about Altamont, as well as, the town of Guilderland, both located in Albany County. 

Family night

The Guilderland Library located at 2228 Western Ave. invites you to enjoy Friday night at the library.  On Aug. 2, enjoy free popcorn while viewing The Borrowers, rated PG. The movie starts at 7 p.m. 


Come and enjoy the Wheelbarrow Boys on Tuesday, Aug. 6.  This is the last concert for this season to be held in Orsini Park.  This group performs country music.  

The Altamont Free Library has been the host of the free concerts throughout the summer.  If you have attended one, two or all, you know that it has been a treat for attendees of all ages.

Music starts at 7 p.m. Bring along a chair or blanket for your own comfort.  And remember, this is an event for the whole family.

Fair dates

Mark your calendar now the Altamont Fair dates are Aug. 13 through 19.  Tickets are $15 and includes rides. 

Food pantry

The Altamont Food Pantry needs such items as tooth paste, shampoo, laundry detergent, baby wipes and the list goes on.  Other donations at this time of year include back to school supplies. All donations can be left in and near the basket located in St. Lucy/St. Bernadette's Gathering Space.  

Class of 1968

It has been announced that the Guilderland High School Class of 1968 will hold its 45th reunion on Friday, Aug. 9, and Saturday, Aug. 10 .  The event on Friday evening will be held at the Inn Town restaurant, located at  5180 Western Ave. in Guilderland at 7p.m.  The Class of 1967 is invited to join the festivities with the class of 1968 that evening.

On Saturday evening the Class of 1968 will gather for  a social hour at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6  p.m. at  the Orchard Creek golf course.

For additional information contact Dave Stakavich at 372-2911 or Kathy Moshier Hasbrouck at 355-3468.


 Happy-anniversary wishes are extended to:

—  Jean and Tom Schuhle who will celebrate their special day on Aug. 6; and

— Tommie and Bill  Panepinto whose anniversary is on Aug. 7.


Happy-birthday wishes are extended to:

— Ryan John Huber and Mary Sanderson on Aug. 2;

— Jeff Genovese, Joan Grogran, Kyle McCormick, and Susan Taber on Aug. 3;

— Vera Adams, Stephen Kelly, Chris Ramo, Colleen Simmons, and Joan Whinnery on Aug. 4;

— Melissa Delacey, Jessica Lynch, and Kara Munroe on Aug. 5;

— Rose Cargill, Jen Levin Gerber, and Alice Riddet on Aug. 6;

— Wendy Giambo Arsenault  Mark Naginey, Joyce Omilin, and Andrew Mc Knight on Aug. 7; and

— Ernie Cardone, Amy Ciupek,  Becky Godfrey, Elizabeth Marks,  Liz Nitsky,  and Barbara Peters on Aug. 8.