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Editorial: Returning Home

Written By Editor on 12/7/17 | 12/7/17

Returning Home

Growing up in Astoria, Queens, I always looked forward to our family trips “Upstate” to my aunt’s farm in Roseboom, Otsego County.

There was nothing like leaving the dirt, soot, and grime of 1970s New York City to the pristine regions of the northern part of the state.

On the way to my aunt's, we would get off at the Saugerties exit of the New York State Thruway. We drove down Routes 23 and 32 in my father’s four-door Chevrolet (it was always a Chevy with him) until we reached Route 145. We traveled up 145, through East Durham to Middleburgh and would always stop for gas in this quaint Schoharie County village. In the early 1970s we invariably stopped at the Esso station across from the Middleburgh school. While we waited for the attendant to ask my father how much gas he wanted, I recall my mother saying, “what a beautiful school there is across the street.” In the fall, there were cornstalks and pumpkins on the lawn, in the winter, the trees were lit for Christmas. This was a far cry from my own elementary school which was built, for some reason, right next to the elevated train. Instead of a beautiful lawn and a view of Vroman’s Nose like Middleburgh, in Queens our yard was concrete and surrounded by a rusty chain link fence. Outside our windows, which had a steel mesh covering, we could watch the commuters traveling to and from Manhattan, which we called “the City.”

From that moment on, I loved Middleburgh.

If it was good enough for my mother, it was good enough for me. She did not live to see it, but three of her grandchildren would later graduate from Middleburgh Central School.
When my son Matthew was ready to go to school, I knew it was time to move from Queens. I called my friends at the Mountain Eagle and they said they had an opening in Schoharie County due to a retirement. Remembering how much I loved Middleburgh from my early travels, I jumped at the opportunity. We rented a small apartment on Grove Street that was owned by then-Mayor Charles Slater. Little did I know that my son would later become mayor of this great village.

I worked for the Mountain Eagle from until April 1993 and became editor in 1992. My “beat” was Schoharie County. Being the lone reporter covering meetings, news, sports, schools, and more, it was a 10-hour a day, six-day a week job plus Sunday nights after I became editor. Unfortunately, I missed a lot of my sons’ growing up due to the hours I worked.

In April 1993 I moved to another paper, which I thought was more secure. I continued to cover the Schoharie Valley as well as I could, being the “eyes and ears” for the residents of our region.

Now I have come full circle, rejoining the Mountain Eagle, at least in a part-time capacity.

I decided to return because, in addition to the opportunity of working with my son, I see the Mountain Eagle as the paper on the rise. It is 2017, businesses, especially newspapers, can’t do things the same way they did them 20 years ago. Your motto cannot be, “But we’ve always done it that way.”

Businesses and newspapers have to adapt to the changing times or they decline and die.

This does not mean that I will not cover all the meetings and events that I did before. I will try to give the best coverage possible in the Schoharie Valley as I have for the last 29 years and hopefully more.

It is an exciting opportunity for me and I hope that you join me by buying the Mountain Eagle at the newsstand or by through a subscription.

It has been my privilege to have moved to this Valley and become part of the Middleburgh and Schoharie family. I hope you will join me in our new move.

Thank you.

David Avitabile

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