I grew up at 5 Gaines Street in the city of Binghamton, New York in the 1950s and ’60s. It was only a one-block street, yet it was heavily traveled.
Let me describe the odd (south) side of the street when I grew up. At the corner of Front Street was O’Leary’s store. That’s where I would go to buy my father’s Winston cigarettes.
1 Gaines, a gray building, had a couple different families there. The guy at the latter house decided to take down an old tree. My father told the guy that the tree was going to crash into their house. The guy told my dad, essentially, MYOB. My dad was right.
5 Gaines was a small two-family dwelling with green asbestos covering. My parents and I lived upstairs for a time but we moved downstairs before my sister Leslie was born. My father’s parents, McKinley and Agatha, moved upstairs.
11 Gaines was yellow and had a huge lot that included chickens and a pretty large garden. When my sisters and I played in our back yard, our balls, Frisbees, et al inevitably went over the fence and we had to climb it to retrieve our stuff without being caught by their dogs. The Saliby (sp) family lived there. There was a boy named Mike.
13 Gaines was white with green trim and had the Greenes living there. We played with Danny, roughly the age of my younger sister. We were always getting their mail, and vice versa.
We really didn’t see the folks at 15 Gaines. There was a usually abandoned store on the corner of Oak Street.
On the north side, Ryan’s bar was at the corner of Front Street. The factory across the street went through so many owners I no longer remember any specific business. I know my sister Leslie had friends across the street.
Why was the road so busy? Canny’s trucking was on Spring Forest Avenue. The vehicles would turn right on Oak, then left onto Gaines before going left or occasionally right on Front.
I believe some rascally children would hit the trailer part of the vehicles with snowballs each winter. Occasionally, the truck driver would stop, and the kids would scatter.
For ABC Wednesday