Hudson

Hudson, New York 12534


Last week my Dad, Frank Skrocki turned eighty-three years old. I drove down to Hudson, NY to visit with him yesterday. We talked about our lives, gardening and cooking. We identified a flowering vine that spread to his yard. He told me about the curious praying mantis that clung to his siding for a couple of days and the different garlic varieties he grew this year. We didn’t talk much about Hudson except for the rooster he heard crowing the day before. The city he knew is gone, replaced by one that is now foreign to him. We took a walk around the block and we were both surprised by changes. We discovered a farmer’s market just a couple hundred feet from his house, the new Democratic headquarters he never knew was just half a block away.

The changes to Hudson are not the kind that most people lament. They are positive changes that brought commerce, people and life back to this once dead river town; but my Dad misses the old days when he still knew all the stores on Warren Street and a lot of the residents by name. Today he barely knows the name of his next door neighbor and I know this is not an isolated situation. It is our changing culture that put most of us in the same situation. I like the changes in Hudson and still have hope that Amsterdam can see the same kind of positive change.

Here are a few sights from Hudson, New York.

Categories: Family, Hudson, Photography | Tags: ,

Change


Change is inevitable, we can’t control it. Change does affect how we view, interpret and react to our environment. Whether it occurs rapidly in minutes or slowly over years, we learn to accept it or reject it.

A Tuesday night snowstorm turns to Friday morning fog over a period of days as temperatures gradually rise. When the sun quickly rises the fog  burns off in a matter of minutes.

The Thanksgiving holiday marks another year in our ever-changing lives.  We reflect on our families and notice how we have aged and how changing family dynamics affect our relationships.  Changes occur within ourselves as we respond to the progression of time.  Some people age gracefully and like a fine wine become more refined.  Others tend to  fear the changes that come with age and cling to any remnants of youth with a death grip.

I celebrated the holiday with my Dad this year in Hudson, NY.  Change was the major topic of discussion.  What was once a large gathering has morphed into just the two of us (and his dog Casey).  We discussed changes in the political climate,  our homes, our pets and our relationships with others.  We took Casey for a walk after dinner and talked about changes in the neighborhood.

Frank Skrocki and Casey

Columbia County Courthouse, Hudson, NY

East Court Street, Hudson, NY

St Mary's Church, Hudson, NY

St Mary's (rear view)

Court House architecture

Some things never seem to change, yet undergo changes that are so subtle they are barely noticeable. Other changes are so all-encompassing that they affect every aspect of our being.

My father has lived all of his 82 years in Hudson with a brief stint in the US Army during the Korean War.  He was born during the depression,  the first generation of Polish immigrants. He worked in the cement factories that were once the fabric of this industrial river town.  He learned to adapt to the changing industrial climate as the factories shut and Hudson began a downward spiral resulting in blight and poverty.  He watched Hudson’s rebirth as an Antique Center for the Northeast. Although resistant to that change, he again learned to adapt to a huge increase in the economy and property values.  With a downtown train station and close proximity to New York City, Hudson transformed into a weekend getaway.  Many blighted Victorian homes are now thriving bed and breakfast locations. The City’s main street (Warren) is now full of restaurants and shops. The arts and culture are now celebrated with pride.

The house my father bought in 1969 and remodeled over the years is hopelessly stuck in the 70′s, but that’s the way he likes it. The City he grew up in has changed all around him. I used to think my Dad would never change but over the years, found that was not the case.  The truth is, we have both changed and somehow found a middle ground that is surprisingly familiar and for that I am very thankful.

Categories: Family, Hudson, Photography | Tags: , , , , ,

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