Muriel Werbovetz, November 13, 2019

Title

Muriel Werbovetz, November 13, 2019

Subject

Wethersfield Schoolhouse Project
Syracuse, New York
Crouse Irving Hospital
Liverpool, New York
Holland Patent Central School
Holland Patent, New York
Oswego, New York
BOCES
ESL
Refugee Center, Utica, New York
New York State History
Wethersfield, Connecticut
Wethersfield Historic Preservation Society
Crawford and Stearns Architects and Preservation Planners
New York State Council on the Arts
National Register of Historical Places
New York State Historic Register
One-Room Schoolhouse
Trenton, New York
Restoration
Remsen Central School District
Fundraising
Executive Board
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
Oneida County, New York
Pierce Road
Limestone Quarry
Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in Utica, New York

Description

Muriel Werbovetz is a kind-hearted community leader and retired teacher living in Holland Patent, New York. Muriel was born at Crouse Irving Hospital in Syracuse, New York on July 14, 1942. She grew up on the north side of Syracuse where all her neighbors spoke Italian, including her parents who had to learn English at an early age.

Muriel and her parents moved to Holland Patent, New York when she was four years old, due to her father getting a new job as a social studies teacher at Holland Patent Central School. She attended Holland Patent from kindergarten to graduation, and loved going to school there. Muriel had a lot of friends in high school, including her best friend, Peggy Kidder. She also met her husband when she was a sophomore and he was a senior.

When Muriel graduated from high school, she attended college at SUNY Oswego to become a teacher at Holland Patent Central School, where she held many memories. She happily taught 4th grade at Holland Patent for 30 years until her retirement. After retiring, Muriel worked as a substitute teacher and as an ESL instructor to immigrant adults from Bosnia, Ukraine, and Belarus for BOCES in Utica, New York. Muriel expressed deep care for her immigrant students and was in awe of how much they respected educators compared to American students.

Muriel is very active in her community. She started a grief group at her church and is the Secretary of the Wethersfield Historic Preservation Society, which was founded to restore the Wethersfield one-room schoolhouse in Holland Patent, New York. Her interest in the project started when she taught at Holland Patent school, where students completed a unit on New York State History. As part of the unit, Muriel and fellow teachers thought it would be a great idea to take a field trip to the one-room schoolhouse to meet a former student who attended the schoolhouse and immerse them in old rural American education.

The historic preservation society was founded in 1996 with successful funding efforts for the project that allowed for the restoration of the schoolhouse to be completed in 2018. Muriel is now working to encourage the community to use the schoolhouse for events or gatherings and liaise with the superintendent for the Holland Patent school district.

I interviewed Muriel at her home in Holland Patent, New York. We conducted the interview in an attached apartment to her home that she had built for her mother as she grew older. She casually conversed with me about how this is the quietest area of her home and how her mother lived to be 99. Muriel expressed that much of the information regarding the Wethersfield Schoolhouse Project was lost to memory, so she read many passages from documents during the interview which are italicized and in quotations. Muriel tends to start her sentences with "and" or "so" which were mostly removed for enhanced reading flow. There are also three brief instances where her grandfather clock sings.

Creator

Shannon Ragone

Publisher

Cooperstown Graduate Program, State University of New York - College at Oneonta

Date

2019-11-13

Rights

Cooperstown Graduate Association, Cooperstown, NY

Format

audio/mpeg
1.1 MB
audio/mpeg
29.8 MB
audio/mpeg
28.9 MB

Language

en-US

Type

Sound

Identifier

19-014

Coverage

Muriel's Home
Holland Patent, NY
1942-2019

Interviewer

Shannon Ragone

Interviewee

Muriel Werbovetz

Location

Holland Patent, NY

Transcription

MW: Muriel Werbovetz
SR: Shannon Ragone

[START OF TRACK 1, 0:00]

SR:
This is Shannon Ragone with the Cooperstown Graduate Program,. I am interviewing Muriel Werbovetz at her home about the Wethersfield Schoolhouse Project. It is November 13th, 2019. So, before we delve into the project, I would love for you to tell me about yourself.

MW:
Okay, I was born in Syracuse, New York on July 14th, 1942 to parents whose ancestry is Italian. I was born at Crouse Irving Hospital, and I’ll tell you a little bit about my parents. My mother couldn’t speak English when she started school, and probably my dad couldn't either, because the only language spoken in their home was Italian. So when she went to Kindergarten she had to learn to speak English. We lived on the north side of Syracuse and that was the Italian section, so everyone all around spoke Italian too. That was my mother's parents, my father's parents were farmers, and they lived in north Syracuse and Liverpool. So I lived in Syracuse until I was four, in my grandmother's home, my mother’s mother and father’s home. I remember that my grandfather had a garden behind the house, and he had a grapevine like you would find in Italy with the vines going over the top of the garden, and on each side were vegetables, and then in the back he had a peach tree and an apple tree, things like that.
[TRACK 1, 2:20]
When I was four, my dad got a job at Holland Patent Central School, teaching social studies. We couldn't find a house in Holland Patent right away, so we moved to Rome. And we lived in an apartment house on Bloomfield Street until we found a house to rent in Holland Patent, which we did. At five I started Kindergarten at Holland Patent Central School. I went to school there and graduated. All the time I was there I was in the same school building, from Kindergarten to when I graduated. The house I lived in, in Holland Patent until I was 15 was a Victorian style house with the pocket doors and I really loved that house. But, my parents built a new home across the lot. We used to go across the lot from one street to another, and it was a ranch. I lived there from 15 until 18 when I went to college at Oswego.
[TRACK 1, 3:38]
I loved school, I loved being at Holland Patent school all the time. I had a lot of friends there, and that's where I met my husband in my sophomore year. He was a senior, we met at the water fountain and got talking about the Yankees. [LAUGHTER]
I have known him a long time, over 60 years. My best friend when I was growing up was Peggy Kidder. She lived next door to me when I lived in the Victorian house. Things we did for fun, we played hopscotch, we played jacks, we went to the library and we sat outside and read books, we played that we were army nurses [LAUGHTER]. She was maid of honor at my wedding. When I was in high school, I wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse. So, I guess I took the teacher route. I graduated in 1960 from high school, and as I said I went to Oswego, studied to be an elementary school teacher.
My first semester at Oswego was pretty awful [LAUGHTER]. I was homesick. My roommate was from Long Island and that was pretty different, being from a small town of Holland Patent and then had a roommate from Long Island, and there were a lot of Long Island girls on my floor and she liked to have them in the room until all hours of the night and it was not good. But then second semester was fine and then on it went well.
[TRACK 1, 6:13]
I graduated from SUNY in 1964 in June, got married in July of 1964. Started teaching in 1964 in September, in the same school system that I graduated from, [LAUGHTER] Holland Patent Central School, started with 5th grade. I had 36 students, and I loved it. But, then I got pregnant. I quit teaching for a couple of years, had my first son, Carl. He is now 53. [I’ve] been married 55 years and I taught about 30 years at Holland Patent before I retired. I substituted after I retired, and then I worked for BOCES, and taught ESL to Bosnian immigrants and immigrants from Belarus and Ukraine, which I absolutely loved. It was such a good experience. I remember the first time I walked into a class full of students from Belarus and Ukraine, they were sitting down and they all stood up. And that’s how much respect they had for education and teachers, I was dumbfounded.
[TRACK 1, 8:20]
SR:
Wow.

MW:
Yeah. So, I did that for maybe 10 years. I watched students get their citizenship, watched them raise their families. My students from Ukraine and Belarus were very education oriented. Their children, they wanted them to get a good education and a lot of them have done very well. That was through the refugee center in Utica which is very active. My students from Bosnia, well, even my students from the former Soviet Union had horrific stories to tell, and my students from Bosnia of course did too. So a lot of them, well, the Bosnian students went through that terrible civil war, and my Russian students mainly were here because of religious persecution.
After I retired, both of my parents, well, especially my dad, was suffering from Parkinson’s. He went into a nursing home. When he did that my mom sold the house in Holland Patent and built on an apartment in my home, and so she lived with me 11 years before her passing. She lived to be 99. Now I'm more involved with my church I think than anything else. I do go to a book club. I did start a grief group at my church with another lady and learned a lot about grief. Right now I'm working on our 60th class reunion from high school. I started a 75- plus group that goes out to lunch once a month at church.

SR:
So you stay busy often?

MW:
I try to, yeah. I’m the chief domestic engineer of the house. I have a son that is 39 that has a disability. It's a developmental disability it's not physical. So, he lives with us too. Is there anything else you’d like to know?

SR:
Yeah, so what drew you to the Wethersfield Schoolhouse Project?

MW:
[TRACK 1, 12:02]
Ok. When I taught 4th grade we did a unit on New York State history, and part of the unit was local history. So we team taught, and the other teacher at my school who taught social studies and I decided we would start this unit about one-room schoolhouses. We knew that there were several around here, but we concentrated on the Wethersfield school. As part of the unit, we decided to take a field trip to the Wethersfield school. It was a real mess [LAUGHTER]. It had been first a schoolhouse, then an antique shop, then it had been a home, and then it was vacant. But on this field trip, we met one of the ladies who was a student there, and she gave us some background into the schoolhouse. We walked up the road so we could see the path some of the students took to the schoolhouse when they went to school. We went up to the apple orchard so they could get a good look at the road that used to be there, the apple orchard and the stone wall that the first settlers built from Wethersfield, Connecticut. Then, we took a bus ride around all of the district that would have been covered by the Wethersfield Schoolhouse and we saw different homes that the children lived in. That is how that got started. If I could read you just a little blurb?

SR:
Sure.

MW:
“In January of 1996, the society called the Wethersfield Preservation Society was founded as a not-for-profit organization to preserve and restore the 1825 stone schoolhouse. In November of 1999 Crawford and Stearns Architects and Preservation Planners prepared a conditions assessment report funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. In June of 2005, the schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the New York State Historic Register. In 1998, Roselyn Teelin who was the lady that was a student there who met us on our field trip, [her] estate gifted a parcel of land on Pierce Road to the Wethersfield Historic Preservation Society.”
[TRACK 1, 15:29]
In the unit in 4th grade, the students were provided with names of students that went to the schoolhouse. They took the name of one of those students and for a day we pretended we were in a one-room schoolhouse. We did not do that at the schoolhouse because you could not go in it. It was dangerous and a mess, so we did it right in our classrooms. The two teachers dressed like they were teachers in that era. That is how the Wethersfield Schoolhouse Project got started. It was initiated as a response to the field trips by the 4th graders in 1994 and 1995. Would you like to know about the first meeting of the preservation society?

SR:
Sure.

MW:
[TRACK1, 14:20]
It was on January 26th, 1996. It was at my home. There were 18 friends and neighbors who attended.
“The meeting centered around the possible purchase and usage of the Wethersfield school. I reported on how the Holland Patent Central School rural school unit in social studies has the Wethersfield school as its focus. One of the gentlemen spoke on the Historical Registry aspect and the possibility and prospect of grant money. We talked about the actual purchase of the schoolhouse because it was owned privately by Mr. Stefanowitz. There was a questionnaire distributed to the people attending. 15 people indicated that it was a good idea to try to purchase the schoolhouse as a historic structure. 13 of the members were willing to give some hours of physical labor to the project. 14 were willing to promote the project in the community. 12 would participate in fundraising and 11 would financially support the project.”
There was a selection of the officers. The president was Richard Jardine, Vice President was me, Secretary was Cindy Rye and Treasurer was Leeanne Jardine. That was the first meeting. The next meeting was at the Trenton Town Hall, so we were progressing. One of the people at the meeting was Robert Dicker, and he also was one of the original students there. One of the things we had to be careful of was to see if the school building had a clear title. It did, the first members were given a membership card and I believe most of them donated 10 dollars.

SR:
Tell me about how you raised money to get the project moving.

MW:
[TRACK 1, 20:36]
We had the membership drive where we collected 10 dollars. We also had a date where we cleaned out the schoolhouse, which gave rise to an auction. There were things in there we thought the public might want to buy. We had an open house for that, and we sold quite a few things. Then there was a man named Mr. Parker, who was an artist. He had an original painting of the schoolhouse with children in the yard. He had prints of that that we sold. So, that was another money-making endeavor. We went to community businesses and asked them to make donations. We also had more than one open house and we had a place where people could just give money. [Phone rings] People would send money. Sometimes businesses would send 1,000 or 2,000 dollars. That's basically how we raised money. Parker’s prints. The Telind estate gave us the land. We cleaned out the contents of the building in 1998, and we made 1,252 dollars and fifty cents from cleaning out the building. We wrote letters to local politicians and they also sent money. We got grants, that was the big thing. The biggest grant came from the Community Foundation. I don’t remember how much it was.
“Individual donations and volunteer labor, corporate gifts, grants or public funds, private foundation support.”
We figured that the restored school would provide a view of life in a one-room schoolhouse, give a glimpse into early Wethersfield agricultural forestry, farming, and gardening, get a feel for how limestone was used. Would you like to know some goals?

SR:
Yeah, your plans for the schoolhouse?

MW:
[TRACK 1, 24:39]
I have some goals for the actual building of the school or restoring of it.
“In 2009, they removed the deteriorated roof, the collapsed ceiling, they leveled the floor space with sand, and they constructed the basic water-tight roof. In 2010, they installed wood shingles on the roof exterior, replaced the door and frame, repaired the windows, restored plaster arched ceiling, rebuilt the floor, pointed the limestone walls and restored the interior walls.”
But, the actual school was finished in the summer of 2018.

SR:
So the restoration is done with?

MW:
Yeah.

SR:
So would you say your fundraising was successful or did you have some drawbacks?

MW:
[TRACK 1, 26:04]
It was mainly successful. We still have enough money to keep it going. I want to go back to Mr. Stefanowitz, the owner. He wanted 3,500 dollars for the building, and the officers of the society wanted to get him to lower the price to 2,000 or 2,500 dollars, and we did get it for that much money. That was good. We do have the deeds. We had to go through the lawyers, so there was quite a process, and it's been going on since 1996.

SR:
So it was a long time from owning the house to seeing it completed?

MW:
Yes. Now it is actually ready for the community to use it, but we have not had anyone use it yet. We are hoping that Holland Patent School and possibly Remsen will use it for educational purposes. That probably will happen in the Spring. The Superintendent of Holland Patent school district has been talking with his teachers and he’s sure that they will have classes and students coming up to the school in the spring. No one has talked to Remsen yet. That’s a neighboring district.
The schoolhouse inside is pretty bare. Someone was talking to me, in fact it was the librarian you met last week, and I don't know if you heard her say that possibly a class reunion could go up there and use it for an informal get-together before they have an actual dinner, but there's no tables in there. The officers are going to have to meet and see what we want to do if we want to put tables in there. Right now everyone would have to bring their own chairs and their own tables. It could be used for a book club, a sewing circle, parties, yoga. There are so many ways it could be used because there is heat in there all the time. But, so far we don't have anybody using it and that's going to have be addressed.

SR:
[TRACK 1, 29:37]
Are you interested in making the schoolhouse authentic to how it would have looked at the time or are you open to how the community would like to use it?

MW:
From what I get from the other members of the Executive Board, I think they would like to leave it open.

[START OF TRACK 2, 00:00]

MW:
They don’t seem to be too interested in getting any kind of desks of the period in there or anything like that, although the fixtures are authentic. There is a stove in there that is authentic. As far as anything else not so much.

SR:
So more for the community interacting with it rather than it being used for historic education?

MW:
They said they don’t want it to have a museum feel.

SR:
Okay. Interesting.

MW:
So, I think if you put a lot of authentic desks in there or things of the period it would have more of a museum feel. What do you think?

SR:
Yeah, I agree. So more so as a meeting place or something the community could use.

MW:
Another thing you would have to do is get a list of rules and regulations for people who use it, and we haven’t done that either.

SR:
I would like to know more about how you got the schoolhouse on the National Register of Historic Places.

MW:
[TRACK 2, 1:52]
I might have to take a minute to look. I do have that somewhere. [Looks through papers] It might be a good idea to look at this. This is the 501(c)3 from the Internal Revenue Service, which qualifies us to receive tax deductible bequest devices, transfers of gifts, and become tax exempt. But, that's not the historic registry.
Oh, another way we got money was at the Holland Patent retired teachers luncheons that I went to I asked for money [LAUGHTER]. In 2004, we had to get specific forms to do the historical registration application. Some of the things on that were approximately how much it would cost to restore it, what work would be done, the money that was raised so far, and I don’t remember much else about it because I filled that out.

SR:
[TRACK 2, 6:02]
[LAUGHTER] That's okay. So was it an application you had to fill out to get the certification?

MW:
Yeah, it was, and I probably even have it somewhere but I don’t know where. Oh, here's something.
“A major boost to the society's efforts was provided in October 2005, when the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, notified the group that the Wethersfield Stone Schoolhouse had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the nation’s official list of properties worthy of preservation. This recognition was appropriate and well deserved for one of the oldest landmarks in Oneida County. Inclusion on this list of properties owned by not-for-profit organizations, entitles such organizations the eligibility to apply for state historic preservation matching grants.”
So it was important that we got that.

SR:
[TRACK 2, 8:00]
Where is the schoolhouse located?

MW:
It is located on Route 365 in Holland Patent, New York. My address is actually where people send things. If people want to make donations they send it to me. It does have its own address.
“It is located at the southwest corner of Pierce Road and Route 365.”

SR:
So the Holland Patent Preservation Society, was it started for the schoolhouse specifically or have there been other projects?

MW:
No, it started specifically for the schoolhouse. The restoration of the schoolhouse.

SR:
Okay, so it started at the same time.

MW:
Yes. At one time we thought we might incorporate other things, like there's a nature trail in the Town of Trenton. We thought we might incorporate with other things but that never materialized. So it’s basically the schoolhouse restoration.

SR:
Do you have plans for other projects or is it a focus on the schoolhouse?

MW:
We are pretty much focusing on the schoolhouse.

SR:
Yeah, it’s a lot to deal with, just this one thing right?

MW:
[TRACK 2, 10:00]
[LAUGHTER] Yes, and it’s been going on for so long, that to be totally honest, some of the enthusiasm of the founding members has waned a little bit because we are getting older. We are really trying to get new blood in the organization but we are not doing really well with that.

SR:
Are you reaching out into the community to get people interested?

MW:
We just had an open house and we put a paper out. The open house was in October, and we put a paper out with, “Are you interested in becoming more involved with the schoolhouse?” We did not get a very good response to that. I think if in the spring, if the students start coming to the schoolhouse and start talking with their parents, maybe we will get more involvement. Also, there's a member of the school board who is the daughter-in-law of the vice president, and she seems quite interested. So hopefully she will get her friends interested and they can become really involved [LAUGHTER].

SR:
You mentioned earlier that there were former students involved with the project.

MW:
Yes, but unfortunately the last person, Mr. Dicker, passed away last year. Yes, there were three that were really involved. Would you like their names?

SR:
Sure, and if you could tell me how they got involved with the project.

MW:
[TRACK 2, 13:00]
Okay, Roselyn Teelin lived two houses up from the school, was a student there, met our classes when we took them on the field trip, told them about the school, she was really involved. I have some of her comments. This was written in October 1994:
“It was one of those days when you did not know when the sprinkles might come, but it turned out to be a beautiful day. The leaves were very colorful, and sure they were enjoyed by everyone. Four school buses, youngsters and teachers, visited the South Trenton Wethersfield area. The bus took everyone up the Pierce Road and then a half mile up Posey Hill Road…”
That was the road with the apple orchards and the stone wall.
“...Everyone was given an opportunity to walk around the schoolhouse and maybe pick a special rock or wildflowers. They were a happy group full of smiles and questions. I rang the old school bell to welcome them back from their little adventure. Each youngster had their little pad and pencil with questions such as what I had done as a pupil at the school, what were the school hours, where did we get water, did the youngsters living on Posey Hill Road have to walk both ways, did we have a special teacher come to give us art and music, were all 8 grades taught by one teacher...”
Yes, that school went to 8th grade
“...Where did we get our fuel and who tended the fire and janitorial work, what did the pupils do when the teacher was teaching a 3rd grade, there were many many more questions.
The teachers did a beautiful job at controlling the youngsters and they seemed to enjoy our little question and answer period. They also had treats of cookies and drink. They were all smiles when they arrived and seemed to be full of laughter and good cheer when they left. I try to impress on them the importance of preserving their history. I suggested they talk to their mom and dad and ask what they did when they went to school or better yet ask what their grandparents did when they went to school. It was a joy to meet with each group. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did.”
That was written by Roselyn Teelin. The other student there was Bob Dicker, and he passed away last year. There was Eveline Perry McClusky and she passed away two years ago. Those were the last of the students.

SR:
[TRACK 2, 16:12]
So Roselyn was teaching how she went to school at the schoolhouse.

MW:
Yes, and she did have the actual school bell. Which, I don’t know where it is either. I think maybe one of her relatives still has it.

SR:
Could you tell me about the history of the schoolhouse?

MW:
Sure. I have that somewhere. I can read it for you.
“School was first built in the early 1800s to serve the inhabitants of the settlement of Wethersfield. It was established in 1796 to 1797 by families from Wethersfield, Connecticut. This took place at the same time that the Town of Trenton was established in 1797. The Connecticut newcomers, several of whom had fought in the Revolutionary War, were impressed by the area’s abundance of fertile land, water, timber, limestone and wild game. Land was cleared and a number of farms were built, but the area remained sparsely populated. Due to the then widely scattered population, decision makers in the Town of Trenton subsequently deemed it practical and appropriate to organize public education around a system of local school districts. Wethersfield designated as district number six…”
[WHISPERS “that's wrong”] [LAUGHTER]
...was first established in 1813, and a wood framed school was erected the same year on the site of the present stone structure. Still existing records show that by 1819, the Wethersfield school had an enrollment of 85 pupils, of which 76 were between the ages of 5 and 15. Each student was required to furnish a cord of wood for the school’s wood stove, or pay 75 cents in lieu of wood.”
[TRACK 2, 19:04]
...In 1825 the wood framed schoolhouse was moved across the road and the limestone from a nearby Wethersfield quarry was used to construct the one-story, one room, gable roofed building now standing on the site. Stone from the Wethersfield quarries, several of which exist, were used during the same period to build both a number of homes in the Wethersfield community and the oldest historic building at what is now the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in Utica, New York. Based on school records, and the written accounts left by several Wethersfield residents, it is believed the first day of school in the present structure was September 5th, 1825, during the same year John Quincy Adams had succeeded James Monroe to become the 6th president of the United States and the Erie Canal was completed. The stone building was operated continuously as a school and a center for community activities, from 1825 until 1934...
It was also used for Christmas parties, I remember Rosalyn telling us that.
...During which year this district became part of the Holland Patent Central School district. Since then the structure has served a variety of purposes unrelated to education.”

SR:
Well, I think we covered all my questions. I was just thinking, my understanding of one-room schoolhouses is each town or each county is split up into districts, and each district would have one schoolhouse. Am I correct about that?

MW:
[TRACK 2, 21:23]
It seems that you’re right, because this was district number six, but the other schoolhouses around were given a district number two. I don’t know, it must have been the town, rather than the county.

SR:
I believe it’s the town.

MW:
It said the Town of Trenton.

SR:
And they all got different district numbers.

MW:
But, there were one-room schoolhouses in Steuben and that was a different town, so maybe it was counties. Oneida County, South Trenton might have been district number “something.” But that was the Town of Trenton too, I don’t know. Good question.

SR:
Is there anything else you would like to talk about that we did not cover?

MW:
[TRACK 2, 22:53]
Maybe that the preservation society is looking to the Town of Trenton to possibly purchase the school. They put it under their umbrella but I’m not sure if it’s a purchase, just to get help with funding the insurance, the heat, the electricity. We asked Holland Patent Central School district if they could help us out anyway financially too. So we’re looking at trying to get some kind of financial help. I don’t know if the Town of Trenton would have to put that on or bring that up as a vote to the residents, I’m not sure. I personally think it would pass. We are looking to the future to see how we can support it.
Oh, on one of our membership sheets, we gave designations on how much people donated. Freshman, Scholar, Principal, Valedictorian, Chancellor, that was if you gave 1,000 dollars and above you were considered a chancellor [LAUGHTER]. Are you interested at all in a letter from a person that lived there when it was a residence?

SR:
Sure.

MW:
[TRACK 2, 25:18]
This letter is from a man named Dave. He and his wife graduated high school with me and they lived there for a while. I wrote him about the schoolhouse being restored, and he said
“Great to hear from you, I had no idea the schoolhouse was historic. It was fun reading the website. It was a neat place to live especially when you’re 24 years old, have no money, have a baby on the way, and I think our previous apartment didn’t allow kids. As to your water question, we had no problems with water. There was a kitchen, dining room and living room all one room in the middle of the house. The kitchen was on the west side and had normal running water. They just added I think, not sure when, a bathroom outside the main house next to the doorway to the house which was on the north side. Water was normal but a little chilly in the bathroom, I would have assumed they had well water, but I really have no idea. I’m not sure when we moved in, but probably the fall of 1965. One date I remember was February 1st 1966 when Carol, my wife, and our high school friend, gave birth to Kathleen. I can see Carol in the kitchen the night before washing dishes and cleaning everything in sight. We were watching tv and all the people were going to the hospital on snowmobiles.”
He is writing about a big snowstorm and he had to get the Trenton plow to plow them out to take his wife to the hospital to have the baby.
So that was just a little tidbit about living there when it was a house and not a schoolhouse [LAUGHTER]. There have been several articles in the local newspaper, in the Utica paper so the schoolhouse has gotten a lot of publicity through the years. That also helps when you’re raising money. How are we doing?

SR:
[TRACK 2, 28:25]
If there is anything else you would like to add, if not we are good on time.

MW:
I read you basically the first reading. Okay, I’ll just read something near the last. This is from June 5th, 2019. It was a meeting at the schoolhouse with the superintendent of schools from the Holland Patent Central School district:
“On June 5th at 8:30 am a meeting with the superintendent of schools for Holland Patent was held at the schoolhouse. In attendance was the superintendent, his secretary, some of the officers of the preservation society. A couple of the officers explained the building’s construction and a little of the history to the superintendent of schools.”
I spoke on the 4th grade unit, tied with New York state history. The superintendent said he would like to bring principals and teachers to the schoolhouse who would like to be involved. Our president told the superintendent that they might be interested in giving some financial support.

[START OF TRACK 3 00:00]

MW:
Our last open house was September 14th, 2019. Donations that day totaled 190 dollars and 29 cents.

SR:
Okay if we covered most things I think we can conclude the interview. Would you mind if I just shared with the listeners the website?

MW:
Oh no, go ahead.

SR:
It's Wethersfieldschoolhouse.com. [SPELLS WEBSITE]
Thank you for talking with me!

MW:
[TRACK 2, 1:00]
It was my pleasure.

Duration

30:00 - Track 1
30:00 - Track 2
01:07 - Track 3

Bit Rate/Frequency

128 kbps

Files

Citation

Shannon Ragone, “Muriel Werbovetz, November 13, 2019,” CGP Community Stories, accessed December 3, 2020, http://cgpcommunitystories.org/items/show/392.