Voices Journal Volume 2021: 3-4

Edited by Todd DeGarmo

Articles In This Volume

ALN8BAL8MO: A Native Voice

Writer, storyteller, healer, athlete, and crane operator—in many ways, Ted Williams was an original. In other ways, he was also the inheritor of more than one tradition from his Tuscarora people. Born in 1930, on the Tuscarora Reservation near Niagara Falls, New York, Ted’s father Eleazar Williams was a Turtle Clan sachem and an Indian doctor whose reputation as a healer was widely known. His mother, Amelia Chew, served as the Clan Mother of Ted’s own Wolf Clan.

Bob Hockert's All-New York Whiskey Barrels

I explained that I built the barrel myself, and he promptly explained I could not have, as there were no coopers in New York State. I explained that he was wrong, that I had built it and dozens more, sent him to my web page to see the photos of them being built, etc. ...,His name was Angus McDonald, and he was the master distiller at Coppersea Distilling. He had been looking for years for someone to build him barrels for his distillery.


In Chinese, there is a phrase, (chi ku). It means “to eat bitterness,” to endure hardship, to carry on, to persevere. My great-grandparents, Kao Tsao-Yuan and Loh Mei-Chun fled Shanghai for Hong Kong in 1949, before settling in the Bronx in 1960. They crossed through Ellis Island amid intense immigration restrictions from Asian countries. Leaving Shanghai was their bitterness to eat, as was navigating a new country.

From the Director

As we all move more fully into the digital age, New York Folklore’s concern has been to provide our full catalog to as many people as possible. Our catalog is substantial, as it represents more than 75 years of consistent publishing, with content that spans every corner of New York State.

From the Editor

We saw the Strawberry Moon rise over Eldridge Swamp two nights ago. Just south of our home in Shushan, New York. At a place we had never visited. Nor knew of its existence. No interfering lights. No one else nearby. No other sounds. Only the chorus of frogs encouraging the moon’s performance.

From the Waterfront

...Over the following weeks, I received calls from FEMA and the National Park Service, who wanted to see the bungalows and the bay houses that survived. The staff of these large agencies were as curious as I was as to why the bungalows showed little damage. From that point on, they recommended that residents begin planting beach grass to create dunes, a scene we saw happening throughout coastal communities in the following months.

Good Reads:

Reviews of The Last Slave Ship: The True Story of How Clotilda Was Found, Her Descendants, and an Extraordinary Reckoning, by Ben Raines and Barracoon: The Story of the Last “Black Cargo," by Zora Neale Hurston; and All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake by Tiya Miles

In Memory of Carol Gregson (1925-2021)

The long, eventful, and celebrated life of Carol Gregson has come to a close. She died Friday morning, November 12, 2021. Born December 2, 1925, she was 95 years old....She was known in the Adirondacks as the “Mother of all Gregsons.” Actually, Carol only had seven children: Kris, Eric, Barry, Kent, Blair, Jill, and Lance (in that order).

K's Ghost City:

Anyone who has lived in New York for any time soon becomes aware of “Ghost Sites,” places too soon relegated to memory. As part of City Lore’s Place Matters project and the Census of Places that Matter, we struggle with how to think about and address vanishing sites, especially during this COVID-19 era. Our longtime friend, writer Kathryn Adisman has a unique take on the subject, and we invited her to contribute to City Lore’s guest blog for us, which we share here with Voices, focusing, in part, on Bleecker Street in the West Village.

Our Story Bridge:

On September 6, 2019, internationally acclaimed author Russell Banks recorded his own true story about a singular afternoon he experienced 25 years ago in Keene, New York....This oral story, with its bullish, charming conclusion, is titled “Refugee Crisis in Keene” and can be heard among the many three-to-five-minute stories being recorded and collected as part of a grassroots oral history project, Adirondack Community: Capturing, Retaining, and Communicating the Stories of Who We Are (http://www.myadirondackstory.org/).

The Poetry of Everyday Life

...clichés are also part of the poetry of everyday life. When my close friend Carol Reuben starts conversations with “What’s the story, morning glory?” and ends them with “Okey-dokey, artichokey,” she is not only using rhymed clichés; she is expressing her characteristic playfulness. Some people even use silly clichés to create others: Toodle-oo, Kangaroo; Take care, Polar Bear; Keep on Talking, Steven Hawking. When Lucas Dargan, my late father-in-law, said, “Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt,” the time-worn phrase nevertheless captured his thoughtful, succinct, and sparing use of words. He had made it his own.


Musicians love good instruments, and they love to play them for receptive people. Audiences love to be entertained and for the length of a performance, the musician,instrument, and audience share the same space. This is the story of some of those spaces.

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