Les Green was a “rare folk singer”

I figured Ed Link and Les Green met at one of Link’s business locations by the airport or maybe elsewhere, or through Link’s involvement with his charitable foundation

Les Green is rare folk singerI will always remember a visit c. 1985 I made to Charlotte, NC, where my late dad Les Green lived since 1974. I was SHOCKED to discover that he talked about me to his colleagues about how smart I was, how I would look up things I didn’t know. He talked about me? He LIKED my intellectual curiosity? I had always thought that it had annoyed him.

It was an intellectual curiosity that led me to this photo. You may recall this post from February, featuring a photo of my late mother, my sister Marcia and me standing in the driveway of 5 Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY. It was almost certainly taken by my dad.

I posted the photo on one Facebook group, trying to identify the building in the background. It is a red brick factory that never had particularly identifiable signage that my sisters and I could recall. I since learned that early in the 20th century, it was the home of Star Electric. In 1918 it became Barnes-Smith Co. cigar manufacturers. After being the Bonnie Silk Mill in the 1920s and ’30s, it was one of the first plants of Link Aviation.

WHAT? My father often spoke of his admiration of and affection for Ed Link, who was “a pioneer in aviation, underwater archaeology, and submersibles. He is best known for inventing the flight simulator, commercialized in 1929.”

I figured they met at one of his locations by the airport or maybe elsewhere, or through Link’s involvement with the charitable foundation he and his wife started. Could they have met on the street where I lived?

In the comments, a woman named Kathi, who had attended the same church I did, posted “this awesome pic that was in the Binghamton Press of your dad, me, and my cousin Butch.” My father cropped this specific photo and used it in fliers promoting his singing gigs in the area for a number of years.

My curiosity about the factory across the street led to the source of the graphic for the Les Green one-man PR machine. Dad would have been 93 tomorrow.

Gaines Street, Binghamton, NY

We were always getting the Greenes’ mail, and vice versa.

Roger.Marcia.Trudy
Roger, Marcia and Trudy Green in the driveway of 5 Gaines St, Binghamton, NY – the fence for 1 Gaines St is to the right
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