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Memories of my irascible Uncle Walt

— Childhood visits

When I was a kid in the late 1950s I always enjoyed visiting with Uncle Walt, Aunt Kate and my cousins, Dave and Patty, at their home on Maple Street in Baldwinsville.

Dave was a few years older than I, and whether we were playing badminton or playing rock ’n’ roll records, I learned a lot from him. Once he had dug a hole in the backyard deep enough for three of us to stand up in. I know it was nothing more than a hole in the ground, but to us kids, it was a holy haven and a rare retreat.

While Dave bragged and barked, Patty was quiet as a bird. She was a cool, cute little chick, though. On her bedroom wall, she posted photographs of pop singer Paul Anka.

War souvenirs

In the Tarbes' basement, Dave showed us Uncle Walt’s war souvenirs. As the Third Army rolled through Europe, Walt has somehow managed to snag a big red swastika flag, a German luger and a few Stahlhelm, those distinctive Nazi helmets with their iconic “coal scuttle” shape. Since I’d only seen such swag in the movies, I was amazed that my uncle actually owned the real things, and I hope Dave still has them.

But one of the best things about visiting with the Tarbes was the delicious breakfasts Aunt Kate served us after sleepovers. She made the best pancakes I’d ever tasted, and she served them with a big smile, one I’ll never forget.

Seafood specials

White Water Pub chef Larry Pavese is steaming hundreds of clams on selected Friday evenings. For instance, from 5 to 9 p.m. July 12, diners enjoyed all-they-could-eat little necks accompanied with corn on the cob, salt potatoes and plenty of melted butter all for the bargain price of $16.

On Monday nights Larry steams snow crab and serves all-you-can-eat for $24; 314-7398.

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