Louise Bliss of Hudson, a founding member of HRHBrass, writes her childhood memories of,
and her adult dreams for, the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse.
The Hudson-Athens Lighthouse evokes memories of Sunday family outings and sailing adventures. Seeing the lighthouse as a child from the Hudson-Athens ferry as it glided around the southern side of the boarded up lighthouse was almost picture book perfect. We were close enough to wonder in awe at the house on the water, and far enough away to long for a look inside. Later, sailing out of the Catskill Creek on a Sunday family sail, the required destination question was: “shall we make our way north to the lighthouse and come back on the tide?” During those years the windows were boarded up and unattractive graffiti marked the exterior walls.
In the late 1980s the lighthouse began to look alive and take its place as a substantial and upstanding member as one of the Hudson River historic lighthouses. A ticket purchased by me on a Saturday in 1999 gave me the official O.K. to motor out to the lighthouse on the assigned boat, enter through the north facing kitchen door, and at last stand in awe of the magical history of my childhood house on the water.
The picture on the front page of the Saturday Evening Post that I had studied sitting on my grandmother’s lap on a Tuesday afternoon was no longer just a picture: it was the ending of childhood stories created by my imagination and the beginning of my education about the importance of the lighthouse to many boats and ships and sailors, including my family. It was home to the family that smiled and waved from the cover of the Saturday Evening Post that Tuesday afternoon. It is my sincere desire and wish that the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse will still be visited in the last years of this century and beyond by the once young children who wondered and imagined about the lighthouse and its picture perfect existence. Childhood dreams end.
How many wonderers, as I have been, have been woken from their dreams at last and have been invited inside to have their wondering minds quenched with real facts about the lighthouse, and to hear the stories of the lighthouse keeper and his family? Lighthouses are not just for children. Lighthouses are for the parents and grandparents who continue generation to generation to tell the historical stories of the Hudson-Athens Lighthouse and the stories of other historical buildings that have at one time evoked childhood memories. These stories belong to everyone who was once young with a wondering and curious mind. Let us satiate young minds with stories of real picture book perfect that have reality in existence – not memories.
Please keep the lighthouse a reality – not a memory