Hammondsport’s people have the ‘It’ factor

Staff reports

To the Editor:

As Hammondsport approaches the holiday's and the end of being tied with Beaufort for 2012's “Coolest Small Town in America,” some may still wonder why?

Perhaps it takes the perspective of a family relatively new to the area to see it clearly. We are movers, having called a dozen places “home” over the years, but no neighbors have ever been as welcoming as those we found in Hammondsport. There are Sharon and a couple of Mary's, whose boundaries were secondary to being a friend; Bob, who left a note on our door offering the summer's harvest from his garden to encourage our work on a house. Deb, Alicia and Linda, who knew our name by the second visit, Marty, who along with every business here will consistently beat out the chains pricewise; Pete who patiently, repeatedly put air in a leaking tire until one could get to it; the library, village, health care and Fire Department workers who so willingly give of their strengths; the free Sunday paper which has become our favorite; and finally the school staff. Our 17 year old granddaughter chose when she left her Corning and Elmira roots behind  at 15 to join us here. I remember like yesterday the Monday she rolled into school two days after losing her second sister in five years. “We'll take care of her,” was the response to my phone call that morning to people who already knew.

A small town is a family with people as diverse as those around our holiday table in 2011. There was Jose, a Brazilian boy who still calls me “Mom;” Denise who works so hard to learn out language; Justin, an African American fellow who is my grandson's best friend; Joe, the Italian Texan son in law who has seen us through our toughest times along with our thoroughly white, Anglo Saxon tribe.

“It” is what brought them as well as our neighbors and tourists to Hammondsport. “It” is not the frontage on that lake. “It” is our people. Recognize them in your town – they are there.

Mrs. Albert (Dolores) Wheeler

Hammondsport, NY