Susan Avery Bick – Traditional Crafts

Posted on June 1, 2012

In the first segment of Susan Avery Bick’s memories of living on Buckley Road which was published in the “Clay Insider,” we learned of her Grandpa Avery’s history and how he purchased the land. Many relatives lived all around the area of his farm. She remembers her Mother Jeannette Dudley’s parents who lived next door –Grandpa William and Grandma Minnie Dudley.“Grandpa was special in different ways than Grandpa Avery. He worked away from home (H. J. Howe’s Jewelry on South Salina Street.) Besides being a watchmaker and jeweler, he wound all the clocks at the Smith residence on Saturday mornings. Sometimes I rode with him and watch their huge cat go in an out of his own door. Judy (her older sister) and I would stay overnight at the Dudleys. Grandpa would ‘rattle’ the walls snoring at night. To this day I’ve not heard snoring as loud.”

“Grandma was a special lady with many talents including gardening, quilting, hooking rugs with scrap wool, painting (watercolors and oils), needlepoint, baking and entertaining children. At 14 years of age, she had worked in the millenary department at Dey Brothers. She was one of our favorite playmates and always had time for Judy and me. We played unusual games like looking for objects in the clouds like birds or animals. In the winter, we’d build snow statues and look at snowflakes on black velvet. Tea parties were a regular event with tea served in bone china cups with mostly milk and a little tea.”

“She loved gardening flowers, fruit and vegetables. The yard was all gardens – her favorites being morning glories, roses and phlox in many colors. And for many years she had chickens in a coop behind the barn. Painting was another passion. Watercolors, oils and brushes put her memories on paper and canvas. Two of her watercolors won blue ribbons in the Senior Art Category in the 1950’s at the State Fair. Another passion was hooked rugs using wool from old coats, dying some for the colors she needed and cutting them into strips. Eventually she had a machine to do this tedious task. To my knowledge about 90 per cent were her own geometric designs. I have several in my home. She also made crazy quilts with old bed sheets as the base and applied scraps of colorful scrap fabric into wonderful designs. She made beautiful dresses for Judy and me, even out of crepe paper on the fourth of July.”

“A favorite game to play when staying over was ‘jewelry store’. Grandma had the largest jewelry box I’d ever seen. With Grandpa working at Howe’s, she had a beautiful collection of jewelry as Howe’s costume jewelry was exquisite. We would spread velvet cloths on the table and Grandma was many customers. As New Year’s Eve was Granma and Grandpa’s wedding anniversary, we usually stayed over. So at midnight we would open the windows and bang kettles along with the sirens and whistles. Following the excitement we would have a snack and go to bed. Their wedding had been at eleven o’clock on New year’s Eve before a license was required in Onondaga County.”

A story she remembers especially was: One Saturday evening when we were staying overnight, Grandpa was napping in the rocking chair. Judy and I asked Grandma if we could put his hair in curlers and paint his fingernails. She said, sure, he wouldn’t mind. Grandpa never awoke while we rolled his silver hair in curlers or polished his nails. It was bedtime for Judy and me and Grandpa went soon after. When he awoke, he was angry with us. He had curly hair, bright red nails and he was an usher in church that morning. Needless to say, he was not happy. The curls would not brush out and the nail polish did not completely disappear. I can still picture him in his best suit with curls.”*There will be more from Susan Avery Bick’s “When It Was Country”, an original manuscript with only minor grammar and Punctuation changes. Permission from her son, Robert Bick.

Dorothy Heller, Historian

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