PURDYS, N.Y. – A group of Purdys Central School alumni are collecting old movies, film footage, stills and slides of North Salem to create a video about the post-World War II days in town.
“I got the idea at the 2012 Purdys Central School Reunion,” said old-timer Ed Juengst. “Call it a sequel, if you will, to ‘When Our Town Was Young.'" He was referring to the 1945 collection of essays written by seventh-graders and reprinted in 2010 by the North Salem Historical Society. “I knew a lot of the kids in that book,” said Jeungst. “Some of them babysat for me."
The 2012 reunion was a stirring experience for most. “There were 185 people, many in their 70s and 80s,” he said. “We all knew one another, and we all had fond memories of growing up in North Salem.
“There was such camaraderie in those days. North Salem was safe. We had lots of freedom as kids. You could go into the woods and pick berries. There were great people who taught a great work ethic and values.”
Purdy Outhouse, whose name betrays a long history in North Salem, recalled, “Everyone knew everyone in town. If you had an ice-skating party sometimes 100 people would show up.”
“Our name was originally Aulthaus, meaning someone who lives outside the village,” he said. “Our family came from Holland in 1641. We were related to Peter Stuyvesant. Some of my ancestors married into the Purdy family in the 1700s.”
“When I was a kid, we made our own entertainment,” he said. “There was no bowling alley, no ice cream parlor. Albert C. Purdy’s Drugstore in Croton Falls only had five stools. The only hangout was the porch out front. We were all close-knit. I could have a great conversation with someone 20 years older, and we’d be friends.”
The proposed video will be created by 1963 Purdys Central School graduate, Bob Field, a professional video producer. Jeungst is collecting the materials.
Poke around in your attic for any North Salem memorabilia that may be lurking there, or perhaps there is some on your bookshelf. Then contact email@example.com.