December 5, 2012

Examining the man in the mirror

SCHUYLER FALLS — Author Clyde M. Rabideau turned his writing focus closer to home in his latest book.

In “Coming Home,” Rabideau writes a candid, funny and poignant autobiography. His numerous illustrations of farm implements and family members provide visual markers of his examined life.

“Someone suggested it,” Rabideau said. “It stuck in my mind. I came back from Hawaii full time. I spent the winter doing it.”

The subtext of relocating from Hawaii was the painful termination of his 16-year second marriage. He returned to the house he built on Irish Settlement Road.

Though Chapter 1, “1936-1945 (Age 1-9),” chronicles his parents’ newlywed days in Chazy Lake, Schuyler Falls is Rabideau’s touchstone.

In Chapter 8, “2001-2012 (Age 64-75),” he writes:

“To me, home is on the Irish Settlement Road in the town of Schuyler Falls. It is the home that I came back to each summer and contemplated on the meaning of my life.

“It consists of the approximately 70 acres of land that my family purchased in 1945 and that I purchased from Mom and Dad. It has a house on it that I built in 1985. This is what others would see on the property. It means much more to me.”

It’s a rabbit hole to his childhood of riding and falling off of Molly, old-bee-tree honey extractions and getting skunked.

He wrote his autobiography during an auspicious time when his marriage unraveled and two great-grandchildren were born.

“A lot of things were coming to an end. I wanted to make sure the grandchildren heard what life was about with their grandfather. I have three great-grandchildren now,” Rabideau said.

He assembled his cache of documents in chronological order and used online newspaper archives to outline his life.

“When I looked at them, it brought back the memories of that time and period. Plus, I have a good memory. It took me about eight or nine months. I finished in May of this year. As I got more current, it was still fresh. It’s easier to look back and find funny moments in your life after you forget the bad parts,” he said.

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