By Dudley Gaman, Guest Blogger
L-R Tom Gaman, Ken Clarkson, Bill (now Dudley) Gaman show their catch after a day of fishing at Van Zandt’s Pond in 1960.
As boys living in Blawenburg during the late 50s and early 60s, many of our summer days were spent fishing. One of the best fishing spots was Van Zandt’s pond. You weren’t going to find game fish, but if quantity was more important to you than quality, the pond was a good place for a kid to haul in some Sunfish. The pond doubled as a swimming hole. I could almost stand up in the middle, but avoided trying for fear of the horrors awaiting my feet in the bottom muck.
The pond was behind Van Zandt’s Store, another special place for my brother and me due to two events. The first was the annual auction held at the end of March. The weeks before the auction saw the field in front of the store gradually fill with farm equipment of all kinds. Our mission was to find wheels for the “buggies” we built to race down the Mountain View Road hill. As we got older, our quest became old lawn mowers with engines suitable for powering our buggies. One year, my brother and I bought an old garden tractor that we managed to restore to life. Neither of us became a mechanic, but thanks to our auction finds we learned how to keep a gas engine running.
The second event was Van Zandt’s pancake breakfast. They cleared out the showroom and set up tables to feed what seemed like everyone for miles around. You could eat as many pancakes as your stomach would hold, but what I remember especially well is that they awarded door prizes. It was the first thing I had ever won and I couldn’t have been more excited, even if it was a gallon of paint. My father’s immediate offer of list price for my prize probably contributed to the fond recollections, but the Van Zandts nevertheless hold a special place in my Blawenburg memories.
Do you have a memory of Blawenburg that you would like to share? If so, send your idea to blawenburgtales@ gmail.com.