Albert Einstein again

It always amazes me that the famous physicists, Albert Einstein spent so much time in Saranac Lake. He rented a summer home from William Distin in the Glenwood Estates beginning in 1936 and then in the 1940’s, at least until 1945, stayed at the Knollwood Camp on Lower Saranac.

He loved sailing, even though, it is claimed that he could not swim. The number of people who rescued him seems to grow every time there is a new story about him capsizing his boat.

Now, thanks to my pals John and Mary Peria, I have a 27-year-old copy of The Enterprise when our imminent Saranac Lake historian, John J. Duquette published a 4-page spread of stories and pictures about past Winter Carnivals. He included a short piece about Einstein in a long story about Ed Lamy that is worth repeating here.

A different rescue

“While serving as lock tender after his retirement Ed had one more brush with fame he actually rescued Albert Einstein from ignominy! Jimmy Munn, Ed’s cousin, had spent the day with Ed at the locks while he was home on vacation from his job in Washington, D. C., where he was a reporter for the Associated Press. After quitting time the pair started down river in Ed’s outboard. As they entered Miller Pond they found Einstein and Frank Kawatch becalmed in the professor’s sailboat. Frank waved them over and asked if they could start the balky catboat’s auxiliary motor. After several vain attempts Ed offered to tow the stranded pair behind his own boat. Frank was quite eager to accept but Einstein seemed to be slightly reluctant, perhaps from embarrassment. Finally a rope was connected and the tow job proceeded homeward. It was soon apparent that the exhaust from Ed’s engine was sending smoky smog into the face of the great mathematician. Stopping his boat Ed suggested that Einstein and Kawatch join Jim and himself in the lead boat which they accepted without hesitation.”

Car accidents were frequent

It seems that back in 40’s and 50’s when we had nearly twice as many people here and half as many cars there were a lot more car accidents. The files in the Adirondack room of the Saranac Lake Free Library are full of them. The thing is, I know there are still a lot of people around these parts who know the people mentioned in the accidents.

April, 1949 -?”Two Saranac Lake residents were taken to the General Hospital as the result of a two-car accident about 11 o’clock Saturday night two tenths of a mile north of the Saranac Lake village line on the Bloomingdale Road

“Miss Thelma Mary Morrow, 23 of 44 Duprey Street suffered a broken right thigh and Louis Joseph Paye, 50, of 4 Virginia Street, operator of the car suffered lacerations of the face, contusions of the chest and possible rib fractures.

“According to state police both cars involved were headed toward Saranac Lake. The first car, owned by Walter Richard Callaghan of Saranac Lake was driven by Donald Oliver, 18, of Gabriels.

“Oliver reported that the car started to falter due to insufficient gas and as he reached for the choke the Paye car hit him from the rear and catapulted him into the rear of the 1931 Chevrolet coach. [A brief explanation here: those old cars all were equipped with a choke, used mostly to bring gas into the carburetor when starting a cold engine, but what Oliver was trying to accomplish by pulling out the choke was to suck the last little bit of gas out of the tank to keep the engine running another 100 yards or so to get the vehicle off the road.]

“Passengers with Oliver were Ronald Louis Sawyer, 19, formerly of Gabriels, now in the Air Corps, and Fred George Mace, 18, of Route 1, Saranac Lake who suffered an injury to his right ankle. Oliver and Sawyer were not injured.

“Troopers reported that the road was slippery and that a light snowfall hampered visibility. Considerable damage was caused to both autos.”

February 1950 with busy with babies

“Twelve girls and 9 boys were born at the Saranac Lake General Hospital during the month of February, according to James Meagher, registrar of vital statistics.”

The name of one birth stood out for me because, a son, Edward Walter was born to Walter Bentley and Lillian Irene McDonald Darling of Lake Colby. I was in high school with Mr. Darling, who was known as Bentley, never heard him called Walter. But we remember the silliest things; whenever our Social Studies teacher, Miss Elizabeth DeLisle, would call on us, she would use our full name, so when she called out Bentley Darling, he would answer, “yes, dear” which really flustered Miss DeLisle.

Now, remember, those were the baby boomer years, and not to worry boys about that 12-to-9 ratio in 1950; because in 1949 in August there were 24 babies born at the Saranac Lake General Hospital and You Know What? There were 16 boys and only 8 girls.