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Big Chuck

February 25, 2013

Film clip a window into Oneonta's past


“Mr. Important” marches quickly by the most interesting cast members of this nostalgic pageant. They appear to be a well-dressed mother and her two daughters. The mother wears a “flapper style” hat pulled low over her eyes. Her coat is trimmed with an elegant fur collar. They are all carrying parcels. Perhaps they have just come from Bresees and are hurrying in the cold to put the packages into a waiting car. “Dad” is nowhere to be seen, so we assume he has been avoiding the shopping excursion back at the car, like men have been doing since, well, at least 1927.

It is at this point in this brief film a mystery presents itself. Is this just a family of three, a mother and two daughters? I think not. Because just before the screen goes dark, we see the littlest child stop and look back down the sidewalks clearly waiting for someone. And then another cast member emerges from the background.

We haven’t noticed her as yet because her presence has been obscured by the hurrying Mr. Important. But now all eyes are drawn to her. I believe it is a nanny. Perhaps a grandmother. This woman is bringing up the rear of the little feminine procession. She is determinedly pushing a wicker baby carriage along the sidewalk. She is dressed in full winter finery. Yes, including a hat. The little girl pauses and waits patiently for “Nanny” or “Granny” to catch up.

And then it is over.

A sunny but obviously cold day in Oneonta, 1927. It must be a busy shopping day because every parking spot along Main Street is taken. There is just so much to see and to imagine in this tiny little time capsule. 

What did “Bakers” sell? Who was the barber on Main Street (an Italian, I bet). Who was Mr. Important? Who were the two substantial women crossing the middle of the street (perhaps illegally)?  

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Big Chuck

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