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Tiny Town Tipster of the Year: Chazz I.B. Able

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chazz i b able tipster of the year

Tiny Town, USA – Some call him Big Daddy Warbux-Lilac, but we know him from The Covered Eye Group on Flickr.com.

Say hello to Chazz I.B. Able, Tiny Town's Tipster of the Year 2010.

Mr. Able is responsible for more than ... let's see ... 1, 2, 3, 4 .... 5 .... 5 ... Oh! 

More than five tips that led to hot stories and photo shoots for Tiny Town.

Reader: Gimme a "for-instance."

TTT: Why? Do you doubt us?

Reader: Are you paranoid?

TTT: Are you asking me or telling me?

Reader: Wha? I asked a simple question.

Us: No you did not.  And I am only being nice to you because you don't exist.

Reader: If I don't exist, why are you writing this? 

Us:  Good question. We're stumped. Let us begin at the beginning question then.

Mr. Able's Tips Include: The massive flooding that led to the complete evacuation of the Titus Flats area.

Reader: Gorr~ I didn't know about that~! 

Yes! And more: Mr. Able tipped us off to the battle between the Rats and the Guys on the Ithaca Commons.

Reader: What was that all about?

Us: You're not really a reader at all, are you?

Reader: Guess not. I must stay atop these reports of yours. And a big hand to Mr. Able there, he certainly does seem so. 

Us: Seem so what?

Reader: Able, like his name.

Us: What are you trying to say?

Reader: Blast me you are paranoid! 

Us: Well, maybe. But we certainly are fond of using plurals for singulars in our representation of those who write these pieces. 

Reader: Sad, really. 

Us: All life is suffering, said the Buddha. That's why we killed him. 

Reader: I thought was Kennedy said that.

Us: No, he said he was a German. That's what got him killed.

Reader: Here all the time I thought it was that nutty Cuban sympathizer killed him.

Us: Not. It was you and me. The Rolling Stones said so. 

Reader: After all. Sympathy for the Devil, was it? 

Us: First causes and what not.

– C. Penbroke Handy, not an Able Baker, Charlie 

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 January 2011 12:05

A Tribute to Alta Boyer, guardian angel of Lodi, N.Y.

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A Brief Encounter with the Legendary Chronicler of Local Lodi Lore and Much Much More

The following piece appears, slightly edited, from the original article published in the Fall 2010 issue of The Record, Newsletter of the Lodi Historical Society, Vol. 7, No. 3. 

Tiny Town Satellite of Lodi, N.Y. – Alta Boyer has a recurring dream.  In it, she goes to a car dealership and buys a BMW, cash on the barrelhead.

Then she hits the road.

Where to?

“Oh, I don’t know.  Just anywhere I guess.”

At 96, the legendary cataloguer of local Lodi lore sits in a wing back chair at her grandma’s house. There are cookies and lemonade for guests. A rare summer rain gives the place a cozy feel.  The sense of safety and security that permeates the two-story home may have something to do with the “friendly  ghosts,” who inhabit the place, says Alta.  And if that sounds at all spooky, consider such fantasts as fond memories.

“As a young girl I spent more time in this house then I did with my mother,” says Alta. “In fact, some days I feel as though I’ve become my grandmother.”

Alta’s mother had younger ones to attend to and all the many chores of a farm wife back in the day.  So the would-be Lodi historian spent many of her formative years beside granny, learning many lost arts of home keeping and basking in the wisdom of the years.

How do you get from there to dreams of a road trip in a sports car?

Alta says she’s come to apportion her life into various periods and “rites of passage.” She says: “I review my years as overlapping portions of time …  many of those years are associated with houses built by my ancestors, the Lott family.”

Alta was born in 1914 in a federal style house a mile south of the village. But her early years were spent in the Peter Lott mansion across the street from the Methodist Church, the current site of the Lodi Historical Society. According to Alta, Lodi was a “pleasant self-contained village” in the early decades of the 20th century. There was a Methodist and a Presbyterian Church each with full congregations, two doctors and two lawyers, a grocery, “mercantile establishments,” a meat market, and a drug store.

She coasted through Lodi high school and graduated as Valedictorian. That was nice, for Lodi, that is.

“My innate confidence faced a reality check in college where I found out that lots of folks were smarter – a lot smarter – than I was,” she says.

  Alta attended William Smith College She learned how to study from a friend in Phi Beta Kappa, Betty Redcleft, and “my capacity for research grew.”
She later received a masters in Library Science at Syracuse University and SUNY Geneseo, where she received a second masters in Medical Research Librarianship.

Alta took a position with the state compiling 100-year chronologies for Willard Psychiatric Center, Lodi Whittier Library and the Lodi Methodist Church. She also served as chair to the New York State Library Association, the Finger Lakes Library System and the Regional Library Council.

Alta was married twice, first to Charles Boyer, and raised a son and daughter, Charles and Elizabeth. Charles Boyer died in 1971 at the untimely age of 57. Alta delved into her work and later married Charles Blohm and they were married in 1960; he passed away in 2002.

Throughout her life Alta has pursued her passion as historian and record keeper. To her credit are dozens of magazine articles and two folios of important area history: "The History of Lodi Point" (1998), and a "Seneca County Bicentennial Chronology of Silas Halsey, Pioneer Settler of Lodi, NY,"  (2004). Halsey, who was born on Long Island in 1743, came to be a legendary county leader and died here in 1832.

Her lifelong interest in history and genealogy go hand in hand with her various roles as Historian, Chaplain and Regent of the Chief Taughannock Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Alta’s work has not gone unnoticed by national organizations.  Citations adorn a corner wall of her living room: The World Who’s Who of Women, issued from Cambridge, England in 1973, honors her achievements as historian; Her alma mater, William Smith College, issued a special alumnae commendation for her work, especially as chief of Library Service of Willard State Psychiatric Center, two New York State Department of Mental Hygiene Commissions, as well her tasks as an officer in the New York and Medical Library Associations also mentions her contribution to upstate history.

That latter note includes her “determined effort to save the (then) 106-year-old” Methodist Church that is now the Lodi Historical Society, from the wrecking crews.  Her efforts, with the help of others, as Alta is quick to point out, succeeded in placing the building on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Lodi Historical Society has since become a vibrant center for the arts in Seneca County along a once ill-fated and fading strip of Route 414.

In addition to her pubic service, Alta is a master creator of braided rugs, a painstaking craft, and several of these adorn her home. If that doesn’t sound like much to the uninitiated, a good look at her works will set you straight. These homespun rugs are works of art. In her free time, she also makes old-fashioned rag dolls and is fond of a matching pair of “Waldos” taken from the “Where’s Waldo?” children’s series.

On the fine arts side she is a collector of rare pieces that include a matching set of pen and ink works of the Roman goddess Aurora holding back the night, large pieces of exceptional beauty. In mythology Aurora renews herself every morning to fly across the sky, announcing the arrival of the sun.  

This tribute started with a dream – a dream of escape. It was the author’s license to see it so by way of introduction. It is misleading.
Alta has traveled extensively, seeing and absorbing much of the world far beyond Seneca's borders. Yet few people, especially in places where the past lies perishing all around us, have been so consumed in the pursuit of its resurrection and invigorated by the vital role one person with help can play in saving our own works from the human tendency toward economic myopia and amnesia.

Alta is a picture book, an atlas, an encyclopedia as well as an activist, homebody in the best sense of the word and formidable defender of local preservation.  She sits quite contentedly in the ancestral Lott house, immersed in a living museum she nurtures, adds to, corrects and annotates. It is not for her to travel in an astral sports car through the ages. But thanks to her steadfast work, strangers passing through this little bit of green ought not be surprised to catch a fleeting glimpse of that happy village of Alta’s youth, the one with two vibrant churches, a local butcher, and a drug store. There you might even see her surrounded by a bevy of old friends headed home from school, vivacious as a flock of jays and the all world spread out before them, behind them and around them.

–– Franklin Crawford

Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 January 2011 12:08

Sound Bytes from Lynn of Lynn's Famous WSJ Yard Sales!

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It's happening again this weekend -- Lynn's Famous Wall Street Journal Yard Sale! A list below will whet your stones!

This is a two day EXTRAVAGANZA event for this weekend. Show up for those precious last min Christmas items, or larger items for your home and office.

Fri. Dec. 17th - Sat. Dec. 18th

-Bag-O-Clothes for a dollar!!!, this is stuff you won't find anywhere else.
-Blown glass paper weights (stunning)
-Darling Angels under glass
-Pair of comb-back Windsors
-Queen size bed (sleigh)
-Large coral
-Microfiber sofa (near new)
-Large professionals mop bucket
-Beautiful belly dancers head dress
-Slab of gorgeous marble.
-Office size Christmas tree (lit & decorated)
-large photo chest
-Iron stone
-boots & shoes, and many many other precious items for anyone's home.

* Location: 111 first st Ithaca


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Last Updated on Thursday, 16 December 2010 17:29

Way Back When Dave Was On Call

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Why some stories linger in archives and never get to print can be explained, but it can't be excused. Here is one that existed before we even got started as a news blog: 

Tiny Town, USA –  This is Dave. He just drove in from Elmira to fix a glitch with the Alternatives Federal Credit Union's ATM in Autumn Leaves book store in Ithaca.

That's about a 45 minute drive. Maybe a half hour if you're used to it.

Dave is on call pretty much all the time. Calls for repairs like this come in from an ATM answering service in Ohio. When someone in Ithaca, New York, reports a problem machine, the call is routed through to Ohio and in this case, Dave in Elmira gets pinged and off he goes.

It was President's Day (2008) but that didn't matter much: none of the dead presidents in the machine were responding to customer requests.

Dave also is a regional repairman and troubleshooter for Toshiba copiers. The ATM fixit job is a sideline.

While disgruntled ATM users, like myself, blamed the credit union for not stocking enough cash in its machines for the long weekend, it turned out that this ATM had a problem with the "tamper on the fascia." It wasn't kicking the money door open.

There wasn't a lot of money in there, Dave said. But there was some.

Earlier I met another ATM customer here who was frustrated by the credit union's apparent disregard for its clientele. We both walked to another credit union ATM and THAT one was out of money. Really out of money. Dave checked because he was summoned there as well; it's been out of money since Friday.

So there is a reason to be miffed with the credit union. As it turns out this machine would not dispense money for me, initially, after Dave tripped the tamper, because I was hitting the credit card button when in fact, I have a credit union debit card.

So I, self-righteous ass-clown that I am, would not have gotten cash from this machine at any time, even if it were working and stuffed to the gills with benjamins. Therefore, my complaint as a customer, is invalid, and must be stricken from the record, even though, as Dave's visit proved, there was in fact, a problem with the ATM ...

I also learned that the cover of this type of ATM machine, the part that is lifted up for repairs, it called the Top Hat. The lower portion is called the Coat. I did not know that. Now I do. Thanks, Dave.

– Franklin Crawford, itinerant farmhand


A tribute to Lula Tucker and Tucker's Catering!

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Tiny Town, USA – If Lula Tucker appears a bit tuckered, that's because she's busy making hundreds of pies in her S. Plain St. kitchen.

She's been doing it since it's worth remember knowing but most of us can't think back that far.

We're pretty sure there was TV then, as there is now, in her kitchen out back of the family home where a sign states: "Tucker's Catering" and no messing around.

See a short video [below] of a true believer.

Step aside you vegan sillies, you no sugarites ,you afraid of a little lard and butter-free  sissies – this is REAL PIE – made Southern-style and if your fillings don't sing when you try the pecan pie, see your dentist and get some that do.

We don't often praise the Lawd or the Lard, but we praise both and are sincerely thankful to have Lula and her family among us for the pies and for their just being grand folks in general. 

– C. Penbroke Handy, eater of only one kind of pie as a rule, Tucker's Pecan Pie but he'll glom down a Tucker's Sweet Potato at Olympic speed and he's know to disappear a Tucker's Pumpkin Pie before you can say "boo." Eggs, butter, sugar and salt to you, too.


↑LULA IN HER KITCHEN HARD AT WORK: Dispatching with a reporter who bought three pies and taking orders on the phone, there she is, one of Tiny Town's greatest, Lula Tucker. 

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Last Updated on Thursday, 25 November 2010 03:46

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