One of the best things about the internet is how easy it is to contact people you haven't seen in decades. Annette Artini, a year behind me at Solvay High School, found a picture on this website showing her with teammates on the 1953-54 Solvay basketball team, so she checked in via email to say hello and bring me up to date. Now a Florida resident, she hasn't forgotten her old hometown, which is evidenced by an interesting — and ongoing — project involving her Lionel Train set. The photos she provided should take Solvay oldtimers on a trip down memory lane.

"I lived on the corner of Freeman Ave. and Conklin Street," Annette wrote. "My father Vincent had his grocery store there, serving the needs of Solvay for many, many years.  I attended Prospect School which was right across the street, then Intermediate and of course Solvay High.  Tom Smolinski lived right next door to me until his folks built a home on the top of the hill overlooking the high school.  I used to climb over the fence to ride on the merry-go-round horse that Tommy's father installed on a washer machine motor. How I loved that horse!

"I have been back to Solvay many times on a hunt for memories.  I did my family history with my early life as the center.  I had a great childhood, one that has been of so much importance lately.  I guess my age is showing.....  I do have gaps in my family tree but it has been fun taking pictures of the old neighborhood.  My father's store has been made into four apartments and the house looks great.  I do miss seeing the church that was across the street the one my father caught me climbing the roof with the neighborhood boys.
"My second project is a train set depicting Solvay in the late 1940s when I was about ten.  It is of Freeman Avenue where I put my father's store, Prospect School, Bobby Maestri's house and Henry Salvini's house.  They were my best friends!  I also put, but out of actual location, St. Cecilia's, and several farms.

"Not all of the buildings are where they should be as I didn't have near enough room. I picked out the ones that had a special meaning for me. I squeezed in the ice house on Milton Avenue where I went every Saturday during the summer to get a block of ice for our icebox refrigerator at our camp on Oneida Lake." 

Below is Milton Avenue in Annette's latest version of old Solvay. Represented among the buildings on the right are a hardware store, Tarolli's Department Store, Bryant's Drug Store ("Oh, the chocolate ice cream sodas were fabulous!" she wrote), Lamont Avenue, Pozzi's Hotel, "my Aunt Theresa Bagozzi's Bar and Grill" and Craig's Movie Theater.

For more on Solvay way back when, check out
the Solvay-Geddes Historical Society