Thursday, May 17, 2012

Holdrum's Gas Station

In the building that is presently the DPW Garage was the best "hangout" in the whole town. This was the gas station and repair shop of Mr. Garrett Holdrum. It was a cement block building with an office on the right side and bays for 3 or 4 cars on the left. As you walked in, there was a candy and cigarette counter on your right and a lift top Coca Cola box on your left, kept cold by blocks of ice. There were fan belts and hoses hanging all over the walls of the "office" that would occasionally find their way into someone's car in the garage section.

During the depression there were many people out of work so there would always be someone found "hanging around" the place.

The mechanic in the place was Abe Holdrum, probably the best auto mechanic in the entire Pascack Valley. He was a quiet person, but very kind and friendly to the pesky kids that were often underfoot.

It was in the office of this garage that I heard the announcement of the attack on Pearl Harbor and that event will remain embedded in my head forever. I'm not sure I completely understood what it meant, but I did know that it was indeed bad news!

There were about 6 young men in there at the time and Mr. Holdrum was usually in the office ready to pump gas or wait on the rare person who came in to buy something, so I always knew someone who would be willing to tell me stories of old River Vale. My interest in this kind of thing went that far back. I can plainly recall Mr. Holdrum telling me the story of The Baylor Massacre about 20 years before it was uncovered. I was surprised that everyone made a such a big fuss over the thing because I thought that it was common knowledge that no one cared. The most amazing thing was how accurate Mr. Holdrum's description was of the location of the mass grave. The whole thing surely was no secret to him... that garage provided many fine memories for many young people like myself...

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