GORDON DYCK: Denise's articles
I love Denise Ancenzo’s articles. They make my connection to Niagara-on-the-Lake so much richer.
She recently published an article about Solomon Moseby. There is a picture of a house with the article. When I lived in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the house was owned by a lady I only knew as Mrs. Rahn, a single mother who came from Europe in the 1940s with her three children. They had nothing, but were able to live happily in their home until the three children left as adults in the 1960s. Mrs. Rahn earned meager wages doing housework and picking or sorting fruit on the farms. She helped my mother regularly and faithfully assisted on my uncle’s farm.
She was not alone. Many of the town’s past and present residents arrived there from Europe, and elsewhere, with similar stories. My grandparents, in fact, originally came from Ukraine in 1924 when Ukraine was controlled by Russia. By the 1950s, my father was successful and we lived well. But I had close friends, mostly classmates at Col. John Butler Public School, who struggled too with fairly large families in small houses in Chautauqua and the surrounding rural areas. Their parents working multiple jobs to make ends meet. My friends themselves worked on the farms as hard as adults would, so they could help out at home.
There was little time, or money available for the nice things many members of the Facebook page, Classic Niagara, like to say made growing up in the town so remarkable.
I’m not well informed on Niagara’s history, but I think the 1930s and 40s were lean years for the town. By the 50s, many of the houses were dilapidated and abandoned until the 60s and 70s. Certainly, there were notable residents. However, the community surrounding the town was kept alive with the help of individuals who arrived with nothing except strong will and a desire to make things better. The town took a new direction in the 60s leading to becoming the beautiful and tranquil place it is today.
It would be really nice though, to acknowledge and give tribute to those who, in more recently history, made a difference when the town was in rough shape and times were tough.
Regardless, I certainly look forward to reading Denise’s inciteful articles.