My beautiful mother in 1942
Hazel Dorothy Neer Dran
Today, December 16th is my mother's birthday. I always think of her birthday coming as soon as December first comes. Before she became sick in the seventies, she was always a very independent woman. Her and my father made a life for themselves that was centered around their home and family. We were never rich, but we always had food, clothing and a home. My brother, Mickey and I had many happy memories of growing up in our family.
Mom chasing after Mickey 1951!
When I was three, they sold their house and gave away all their belongings except what they could fit in our car, and we headed out to California. Along the way we stopped at the Rocky Mountains. We stayed out there for about three months and my mother hated it. So they just packed us back up and we headed back to NY. My grandmother welcomed us home and we stayed with her until they could find another house.
Our house on Route 7, Harpursville, NY
I always remember the day they came home and said they bought a house. Mom said to get ready because my new next door neighbor is waiting to meet me! Kim Wright who lived next door, was there to meet me when we got to our new house. We became the best of friends. My parents had a bought a big two story, 12 room house about 8 miles from my grandmother's and one mile from the town of Harpursville, NY. I loved living in this house. Near all my relatives. I especially liked spending nights at my grandmother's house, which I did quite often.
Some of our friends and cousins at my party
Our neighborhood was full of children our ages. We had a lot of friends there and it was a good place to live. There was a creek behind our houses where we swam all summer. Our house had a big piece of land right next to our house, so it wasn't like we had houses on top of each other. We also owned the land across the road from our house. There was a good hill there for sleigh riding in the winter.
My father building our gas station
Soon after we moved there, my father started building a gas station. It was right on Route 7, and at that time, that was a very busy highway. Many years after we moved from there, they built 88 which is a very busy route for over the road trucks and travelers. But at that time, in 1956, Route 7 was an ideal place for a gas station.
Dran's Atlantic, Harpursville, NY 1955-62
My parents worked together on running our gas station. It was a local hang out for teenage boys who learned how to fix their cars since my father welcomed them and didn't mind helping them. I think he liked it. My mother was active in the local PTA and did all types of volunteer jobs at Harpursville School. In fact, when they gave shots in the gym every year, she worked there to help. But every year, they'd have to notify her that her daughter was in the nurse's office because she fainted in line waiting for her shot! She always told that story years later.
Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole
All Photographs Copyright © 2011 Kathleen G. Lupole