New York Years - The Catskills


I grew up hearing the stories of Washington Irving. So when learned that we lived right near the Hudson River and that the Catskill Mountains just south of us, my imagination soared!

I pictured Rip Van Winkle climbing the hills where I played. When I heard a bird screech, I wondered if it was the one that signaled the approach of Henry Hudson's little men. Of course, thunder became the sound of them playing Nine Pins.

Our family visited the Catskill Game Farm. It is the one of the few zoos I've ever seen. One of the first animals we saw was the rhinosarus, within a stone wall instead of a cage. I hoped the wild animals, the lions and tigers, were not so lightly contained.

My favorite memory of the Catskill Game Farm was the giraffe exhibit. The giraffes were in a cage, but they were standing right near the edge--only inches from us. We could stretch our arms through and touch their legs. I was barely 4 feet tall and probably couldn't reach higher than their knees. I remember the peacefulness of the giraffes. They seemed to enjoy being petted. That was that day that I fell in love with giraffes.

On our way home that night, my mother and little brothers had fallen asleep, and I chatted with my father as we wound through the dark roads. He said, "Look, we're going through Sleepy Hollow...and it's October 31st." A chill went over my skin, but it was thrilling to again be in a setting of story I'd known.

I hope, as an author, that when my readers visit the settings of my books, they will also feel the thrill of being in the place where imagination starts.

1 comment:

Laury said...

Very cool memories!


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