Drive to Painted Post- much longer than expected
I can understand why my Grandfather wanted to get out-of-town now that I am in it. Don’t get me wrong, I love New York! The drive here from Connecticut took all of four hours and was pretty much the same scenery all the way once I had crossed the Tappan Zee Bridge. I listened to NPR and wondered why I was doing this until I saw my “sign” . If you wonder what I mean about “sign” just read my last blog. In this case my “sign ” was a road sign saying “Promises Fulfilled Valley.It was all I could do not to let myself steer off the highway as I thought maybe there might be a promise for me in that valley.
This part of New York State struggles between true poverty and weird business. There are some farms left here but most seem to be gone. There are a lot of discount malls advertised on the highway. The towns are factory towns and Painted Post is not really either one. I stopped in Corning as I was tempted by the Radisson Hotel’s “Sleep Number ” beds as the one lone motel in PP didn’t sound inviting. At the front desk of the Radisson I was treated with courtesy and given a room with not one but two “sleep number” beds. I plan on pretending to be Goldilocks tonight and trying them both.
I think I know why I am here but I can’t be certain. I want to discover why my grandfather decided to be a great success. I want to understand where that desire came from and all the discipline to fulfill his dream. I would like to know what his original dream was and where it came from. Of course I know I won’t be able to figure all of this out in one night but making the trip is a beginning. It is a way to pay homage to the man who built IBM and a way to see what his life was like as a child. The light in Steuben County hasn’t changed much in the 130 years since my Grandfather was born: the harsh, blue/white of the sky still fades softly into the good night of the hills around the town. The bite of approaching winter is felt in the air and the people here still work hard.
Tomorrow I will find the Watson Homestead and walk on the land where my relatives worked and lived.