Susan Avery Bick – Grandpa and Grandma Avery on Buckley Road

Posted on July 1, 2012

In this third part of Susans’ Memories of her life on Buckley Road, she describes her Paternal grandparents, Lewis and Anna ,who lived on a farm on the other side of her home. Lewis was the son of Parke Avery, well-known in the salt industry of Syracuse. He lived on Park Avenue and his house was later known as the Parke Avery Museum.
Susan begins her memories “Originally, there were animals on the farm: cows, horses, pigs and sheep with an emphasis on vegetables and flowers. My father had a pet lamb when he was seven and one day he was told it was time to butcher the lamb. After that, he never ate lamb; when the family ate lamb he ate steak. Mother only cooked lamb once and that was that.”

“In 1912, there was a tornado on Buckley Road and my father’s pet pig ran away and was only found when it was over. Grandpa Dudley watched the neighbor’s chicken coop fly by with chickens falling out the door. During the depression, Grandpa bought a load of fertilizer for all the neighbors and they would pay when they could. All but one did. He was a best friend, a great teacher and a strict disciplinarian who loved fishing in Bear Trap Creek, which runs behind K-Mart in Mattydale, for trout. Golfing was a sport he started in 1940; his bag had three clubs – a driver, an iron and a putter, which was from St. Andrew’s in Scotland. He was a good player but got angry at himself on occasion about his playing. Mac Arthur Stadium was a favorite place for him and his friends. When I was invited to go along I sat in the row in front for him to keep an eye on me. I knew I must behave and not interrupt them, but we always had popcorn or a hotdog. That was my introduction to the Syracuse Chiefs.”

“I played billiards with Grandpa on his full sized table three or four times a week. Learning at the age of seven made pool very easy for me. He had a stool for me to stand on so I wouldn’t scratch the felt with the cue. Chess, checkers and pitch were other games we played after I watched for awhile. Judy (her sister) and I had an archery set on the front lawn. My arrows and plastic tips and Judy’s steel. Once one of mine accidentally went into Grandpa’s roof. Of course, when it leaked, the arrow was still in the roof and what a lecture I got. He also taught us about the outdoors. He had a parsley patch (one acre). My job was to weed it, remove the big yellow and black striped worms and bunch the parsley. When the pansy patch was in full bloom in Spring , handle basket s were filed with them for sale at the market. The seeds would have been planted in August for an early start next spring. He also had petunias and portulacas. Following his death in 1951, his flower garden continued its beauty every year.”

“My recollections of Grandma Avery were her beautiful silver hair pulled back in a bun and her kind face, sitting on a stool ironing or baking. She was usually busy cooking meals (for five hired hands), baking pies, bread and sugar cookies, fried cakes and tarts with current jelly. When they were ready, she would ring the bell – my signal to get fresh fried cakes for our house. I would do little jobs for her like pull rhubarb, shuck peas and pick berries. Also snip beans for dinner, husk corn and pick plums and cherries from the trees in their yard.”

“Grandma did all the driving. In the 1920’s, she had a Franklin touring Car and in 1941 a Chevrolet coupe. She would drive Judy and me to Wackerles Drug Store in Liverpool for nickel ice cream cones that were huge and delicious. Grandma loved her filled pastel colored bon bons. She would order them from Edwards, drop Judy and me at the back entrance on Clinton Street, drive around the block and pick us up to head home for a delicious bon bon. When Mother, Judy and I had a small summer business selling home baked goods, Grandma was our chauffeur, always dressed in a pretty housedress and straw hat. Mom stayed home to clean up. Coming home, Grandma would stop for an ice cream cone. She was always gentle and patient. Even waiting for me to come home form a date to report to Mother. “

“Grandma and Grandpa Avery were very special people who taught me many valuable lessons.”

From : ”When it Was Country” by Susan Avery Bick – original manuscript. Permision from Robert Bick with minor changes in spelling, grammar and sentence structure.

Dorothy Heller, Historian

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