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Short stories

August 11, 2008
By Howard Riley,

In the future, I have to promise myself to print more of the notes I receive from readers, because they are interesting and because it makes me realize how many former Saranac Lakers who now live outside the area receive and read the Adirondack Daily Enterprise.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that Mrs. Einstein (yes, that Mrs. Einstein) had complained to police about people trifling with their sailboat. That item prompted this note from Nancy Everett Forbes, SLHS Class of 1950, who now lives at 131 Clarion Drive, Whitesboro, NY 13492.

"I have the opportunity to read your pieces once in awhile and enjoy them. I was in Fifi Leser's class several years ago and lived up the street from her (I was at 27 Riverside Drive). Mr. Littell (the superintendent of schools) came to 'see' me one year when I had dipped Fifi's braid in my inkwell.

Article Photos

The Ampersand Hotel on Lower Saranac, Lake which burned in 1907
(Picture from the book published by the 1992 Centennial Committee)

"I noticed your comment about Mrs. Einstein in last weekend's Enterprise. I called my friend, Phil Klein, because he worked at the camp where the Einstein's were staying, when he was a kid. (Of course, not in 1936, he would have been a small child). He told me a story about the time the Einstein's boat was becalmed, I think on Middle Saranac Lake and Ed Lamy pulled him to shore.

"Phil has loads of Saranac Lake stories, as I guess you know."

Celebrating the

lake's history

So here we are with Historic Saranac Lake celebrating the history of the Saranacs at the Great Guggenheim Camp on Lower Saranac on Saturday, Sept. 6 (mark your calendar, because if you have ever had any connection with the lakes or even if you haven't, this will be a day to remember). Now wouldn't it be great to have Phil Klein back here to tell stories about his youth and especially his working at the camp where the Einstein's were staying.

I will have to ask my friend, one of the former star athletes of Saranac Lake High School, Big Bub McGrain, to come to that history day and maybe he can get Phil to attend if he doesn't live too far away. Phil, even in high school, was a great piano virtuoso. I didn't know him well as he was ahead of me in school but I remember his younger sister, Rosie.

The Red Door

The Red Door was a bar and lounge at the boat house at the end of Lower Saranac Lake that most of us remember with fondness - although I do not remember much lounging going on there - and that place is long gone.

But before the Red Door, there was the Algonquin Boat House, apparently a famous place that was torn down in the 1930's. Some bar room philosopher wrote a long poem about its demise that was in the Ruth McClellan papers.

I will quote part of it here but the full type-written text will be on display on a "story board" at History Day.

"More than four decades ago, like all June Brides, I too, was very young and gay.

But now, I'm forlorn, shabby, dirty and gray.

The Clarks, Jennie Ryan, the Alvords, and Ruth McClellan, all say, the old boat house has had its day"

And it goes on for five more verses.

A letter to Eddie Vogt

Eddie Vogt, a columnist for the Enterprise for many years, had cured for TB at Will Rogers Hospital and edited a newsletter for the Saranac Lake Study & Crafty Guild named The Guild News.

Here is a short piece from his column:

Tokyo, Japan, January 8, 1953: "Dear Eddie: Just a line to let you know that the name and fame of Saranac Lake is appreciated on this side of the Pacific, too. The other day I went down to give a freighter company another deposit on my ticket to Europe. When the lady behind the counter saw my moth-eaten check book from the Adirondack National Bank she was very surprised.

"Seems that she lived in Saranac Lake from 1915 through 1918 when her father was curing at the Santanoni. His name was Mr. B. Kasai and she believes they were he only Japanese in the area at the time. She is now Mrs. Fumi Kildoyle and she says that she and her sister, Yoshi, used to go to the Saranac Lake High School. Mrs. Kildoyle says the Kasai's used to live down at 'The English House' on the Lower Lake in the summer."



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