BEEKMANTOWN — Harold Relation Sr. has watched seasons come and go on Rooney Road for all of his life in Beekmantown.
He was born just down the road from the home he built in 1962 with his sons.
RUNNING THE FARM
His father, Alfred, was a dairy farmer and harvested maple syrup from the sugar bush.
“He died when he was only 61,” said Harold Sr., who was born Feb. 13, 1920. “I turned 20 in February, and he died in March. So, I had to run the farm.”
Next to the youngest, his siblings were Alfred, Raymond, Louise, Eleanor Chauvin, Ethel Salls and Alice Duprey.
“She (Alice) had epilepsy,” Harold said. “My oldest brother died when he was 90 years old. Alfred, he lived in Albany; he worked for construction companies. My sister Ethel was a school teacher, and so was Louise. Eleanor was a secretary. Louise used to teach right here at this school. I went to school on this road in Beekmantown.”
One of his teachers was Cora Amell.
“She lived on the Turnpike,” he said. “Her husband used to bring her to school with a Model-A Ford. I used to walk pretty close to a mile. Then when I went to high school, I went to the old Plattsburgh High School (Broad Street). I used to ride down on the milk truck, and then I walked home at night. It took me about an hour and a half.”
His parents taught him to work and to behave.
“Keep me straight,” he said.
CIVILIAN CONSERVATION CORPS
During his senior year in high school, he quit to join the Civilian Conservation Corps, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” to provide work opportunities to young men during the Great Depression.
Harold’s work assignment was the Coulee Dam on the Columbia River in Washington.