May 23, 2012 Russ Tarby Uncategorized
The wind had whipped itself into a frenzy on the last Sunday in April as Joan Cregg and Dorianne Elitharp-Gutierrez tidied up the Willow Museum, preparing it for the upcoming summer season.
“Suddenly the wooden door was ripped off its hinges by the wind,” recalled Dorianne, the village historian. “It flew down the sidewalk and landed face down, smashing its window to pieces.”
Joan, the president of the Historical Association of Greater Liverpool which maintains the museum, stepped forward to pay for its repair, forking over a tidy sum that would be reimbursed by the association at its May 12 meeting.
Longtime Liverpool resident Ken Hurst, whose 19th century ancestors crafted willow baskets and furniture in the willow shop which is now the museum, called the door mishap “an act of God.”
Between 1915 and 1924 more than three dozen households in the village of Liverpool featured willow shops and storage barns involved in the ongoing willow-weaving industry. The whole family contributed to the painstaking work of creating clothes baskets, cradles, shopping baskets and even furniture.
Wives and children traditionally stripped the willows, wives made the bottoms of the baskets and husbands finished them off. Some of the more creative husbands graduated into “fancy work,” designing and weaving chairs, tables, baby strollers and even lampshades.
The cottage industry dates back to the efforts of John Fischer, a German immigrant who began weaving baskets here in 1852.
HAGL needs help
The Historical Association of Greater Liverpool lovingly preserves our willow-weaving roots at the Willow Museum outside the Gleason Mansion, 314 Second St. The museum opens for the summer season from 2 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 2. Visitors there can touch the tools and view the entire process from harvesting to finished product every Saturday and Sunday through Aug. 26.
Like most volunteer organizations these days, the Historical Association of Greater Liverpool suffers a shrinking membership, and is finding it no easy task to staff the museum for those four hours each weekend. Dues are a mere $10 per year, lifetime memberships cost $75, and volunteers would surely be welcome even if they don’t officially join up.
If you’d like to help celebrate the village’s proud history of hard work and family values, please contact Dorianne by calling 451-7091 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wyker at the helm
American Legion Post 188 member Fred Wyker, a World War II veteran who lives in Liverpool, marks his 34th year as general chairman of the Memorial Day observance here on Monday, May 28.
“Pray for sunshine,” Wyker advised.
Fred follows in the footsteps of another Fred – Fred Kies – a World War I veteran who coordinated Memorial Day here for an amazing 60 years, from 1918 to 1978.
The Monday-morning ceremony which begins at 9 a.m. at Johnson Park, will be keynoted by Liverpool Public Library Director Jean Armour Polly, who was raised right here in the village.
Perennial Parade Marshal Garrey Curry, a veteran of the Vietnam War, is experiencing health problems but he’ll surely be on hand as the parade marches from the park to the cemetery where “Taps” will be intoned and a firing squad will salute our fallen heroes.
Bronzettis squeeze Sitrus
Guitarist Tom Bronzetti and his sister, singer Alicia Bronzetti – both graduates of Liverpool High School – will team up on a set of jazz standards and show tunes from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, May 25, at Sitrus on the Hill, at the Sheraton Syracuse University Hotel.
Last year, Tom released his debut disc, “Make Someone Happy” which features tunes such as “Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered,” “Jet Stream” and “London Blues.”
CNY Jazz Central hosts the Friday-evening series called Jazz @ Sitrus which continues June 1 and June 15; cnyjazz.org. The Sheraton University is located at 801 University Ave., on the SU Hill; Admission is free; 475-3000.