Local Matters

Community Sponsors

Anne Marie Starowitz

July 11, 2021 - 8:00am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in Anne Marie Starowitz, education, teaching, news, history, Le Roy, batavia.

When I began this article, I wanted to write about my second retirement from teaching. I was going to share my beautiful memories of the 1,000 students I have taught.

I wanted to talk about the fantastic field trips, classroom drama productions, learning about local history, and using the Holland Land Office Museum as a textbook. I was about to begin to expound on those treasured memories when my train of thought took me to what it was like to be a teacher for over five decades. 

It was 1972; I was a lucky college graduate to have a teaching job. I was a young unmarried woman and my maiden name was Anne Marie Peca. It was a time of miniskirts, long hair, and the Viet Nam War. You just left your college and were entering your classroom with so many new things to learn.

You had to hand in a lesson plan in advance for the administration to review, learn how to set up your classroom, learn your students' names, spell them, and locate the faculty bathroom. In your first year of teaching, you learned right along with your students.  

Everything was new, and it was so exciting and overwhelming.

You had to know where to find films for your filmstrip projector and how to thread a 16 mm movie. If you needed copies for your students, you made and ran off a ditto on a ditto machine.

You never slept the night before the first day of school, no matter how many years you taught.

My first job was at Wolcott Street School in LeRoy (in 1972, inset photos above and below). I have so many treasured memories from my five years of being on their faculty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My next teaching adventure was being a nursery school teacher at the YWCA. This allowed me, now Mrs. Starowitz, to teach but also be home with our daughters.

In 1985, I was hired to be on the faculty of the Batavia City school system. I spent the next 34 years on their faculty as a teacher and then as a substitute teacher.

I ended my career this year as a teacher at St. Joseph Regional School, where I graduated from eighth grade in 1964.

Over the years, teachers were required to change with the times. Many innovations such as teaching strategies, behavioral plans, grade-level subject changes would be introduced, and as a teacher, you were mandated to add them to your curriculum. 

As far as technology, a teacher could now have a cassette tape player instead of a record player, and possibly one computer in the classroom using floppy discs.

Later on, there were groups of computers in a classroom, and today most children have a Chromebook as their personal computer.

There was a new classroom configuration called the multiage classroom, where you would have two classes in the same room. There was also looping where you take your class from one grade level to the next. 

The Education teacher needs has also changed over the years. There is so much a young teacher needs to do before they have a classroom.  

There were so many beautiful memories as a teacher, but there were also tragic memories. The saddest memory was losing a student and attending the funeral. There are never any words for those tragedies.

On Jan. 28, 1986 my fourth-grade class watched Christa McAuliffe, a teacher, go into space to die in an explosion on the NASA space shuttle "Challenger."

I taught through the Viet Nam War, Persian Gulf War, Iraq War, war in Afghanistan, and the 9/11 terrorism attacks. I taught children how to behave in a fire drill, evacuate a building, and practice a lockdown drill. This past year, I taught 18 students sitting 6 feet apart wearing a mask — socially distanced learning during the coronavirus pandemic -- so many changes.  

The one thing that is a constant is how many hats that a teacher wears. Yes, you have a curriculum of what to teach, but you have to earn your student's respect before you can teach.

They are so intuitive; they know if you care about them. At times you are a parent, a nurse, and a therapist. We wear these hats proudly, and today my hat is off to all the excellent teachers I have had the pleasure of working with over the years. They indeed are heroes. I love this saying, "If you can read, thank a teacher!"

I can't end this without mentioning all the beautiful children I have taught over the last five decades. Those 1,000 students have left an imprint on my heart. To those students, thank you for giving me a lifetime of cherished memories. It has been an incredible ride.

"The greatest sign of success for a teacher...is to be able to say, 'The children are now working as if I did not exist.' "

-- Maria Montessori

Two inset black and white images above are from O-At-Kan LeRoy Yearbook 1972.

Photo below, Mrs. Starowitz's last class -- from St. Joseph Regional School​ -- in a teaching career spanning more than five decades.

Comments
April 25, 2019 - 10:00am
posted by Anne Marie Starowitz in Boulder Park, Anne Marie Starowitz, Back in the Day, history, indian falls.

From my book "Back in the Day. Snapshots of Local History, the Way I see it."

It was a warm Sunday afternoon. My brothers and I were sitting in the backseat of our parents’ station wagon. We all were watching for the sign that said Boulder Park, Indian Falls, NY, on Route 77. We could not contain our excitement. We were clutching the coupon that said bring this coupon and 25 cents to Boulder Park and get 50 cents worth of ride tickets for children under the age of 12. All rides are a nickel.

We finally arrived at the park, and of course we could not agree on what ride to go on first. Would it be the merry-go-round, Ferris wheel, a kiddies’ automobile ride, the airplane ride, or the kiddie chair planes?

People from Genesee County and the surrounding areas shared this happy memory. If you were born in the late ‘40s into the ‘60s you probably would have memories to share. When we asked people for their memories, their responses were, “I remember going on picnics with my family. It was a big treat to go to Boulder Park”; “I remember getting sick on the Ferris wheel. It was the best time of the week because we went as a family,” and, “It was one of my happiest childhood memories. It was the only time I did not fight with my brothers, as long as I got to pick the first ride.”

The man responsible for those memories was Phil Morrot. He bought the Reynolds Farm and Feed Mill on Phelps Road. There, he and his sister Emily created Boulder Park. He selected the area because it was the heart of Indian Falls. It was located between two great hills in the narrow valley of the Tonnewanta, now called the Tonawanda Creek. It was the site where six Indian Trails met. It was sometimes described as a well-hidden fairy spot, blessed by God and nature.

The Morrots were not the first who wanted to utilize this beautiful area. In 1929, Ely S. Parker’s grandson, Arthur, a New York State archeologist, endorsed a proposal by Nathan Strauvis Jr., a member of the New York State Senate, to preserve its beauty as a state park. He was interested because at one time his famous grandfather owned the area. The owner at the time, knowing the land was in demand, raised the price to an amount the state was not able to afford. Another proposal was to tear down the mill and build steps leading to the gorge below connecting the Tonawanda Creek with Diver’s Lake. This would have made a horseshoe park. This was another failed dream.

In 1949 Morrot’s vision for Boulder Park was fulfilled. The area covered 14 acres, including Morrot’s home. Hundreds of automobiles from as far away as Buffalo, Rochester, and Olcott Beach made the pilgrimage to the Boulder Park.

The first rides to be constructed were the famous merry-go-round or as some call it, the carousel. It replaced the old apple processing building. Emily Morrot Bourgard, Phil’s sister, designed the carousel. Herschell Company built it and it was said that the carousel was the best product Herschell Company ever built.

The merry-go-round was one of a kind. It had thirty-two horses and seven unique animals that included a giraffe, an elephant, a camel, a reindeer with real horns, a lion, tiger, and a polar bear. This ride was the first in America to have both an elephant and polar bear. The horses had elongated heads, decorated with plumes and jewels. They were realistic, elaborately carved animals.

The merry-go-round’s first home was not Boulder Park. It was first delivered to Olcott Beach, NY. It was operating at Olcott Beach until 1947. That was the same year Phil Morrot began clearing the land for his Boulder Park.

Most people remember the merry go round. 1,200 electric light bulbs lighted it. The lights were reflected back from a double row of beveled mirrors, which were mounted on panels. The mirrors were alternated with original oil paintings of local landscapes. A Wurlitzer style military band organ provided the energizing music.

In 1930 Theo’s sister Emily died at the hand of the merry-go-round she designed. She stooped down to pick up a ticket and the knee of the Black Charger struck her.

The park employed at least a dozen workers. Mr. Morrot’s children also worked spinning pink cotton candy, taking tickets, serving hot dogs, and ice cream. It was truly a family owned business.

In 1960 a mile long train track was added to the park. It went through the woods on the opposite side of the creek and returned to the park.

Phil retired in 1964 and sold the park. The new owner let the park deteriorate. In 1970 Boulder Park was closed, never to reopen.

Today, the once magical Boulder Park is just a happy childhood memory to many of us. It was a time when parents could leave behind their jobs and go as a family to the wonderful world of Boulder Park to picnic and hop on any favorite ride for the cost of a nickel! Many thought of Boulder Park as our Disney World of Western New York.

The area is back to its natural state, with wildflowers, and home to water snakes, raccoons, possums, skunks, and woodchucks.

The famous carousel was dismantled and in dire need of restoration. The unique animals Emily created were sold individually at different auctions. In 1989 a collector purchased the polar bear for $121,000.

Below, kids in kiddie cars.

Below, "Refreshments anyone?"

Below, this restored elephant is from the famous merry-go-round from Boulder Park.

December 5, 2017 - 10:55am

annmariebookdec2017.jpg

There is so much history in Genesee County and for the past few years, Anne Marie Starowitz has been writing columns that told the stories of the people and places and events that helped shape Batavia and the surrounding area.

Now she's collected those columns -- revised and updated -- into a newly released book, “Back in the Day, Snapshots of Local History, the Way I See It!”

Starowitz will hold a book signing at 11 a.m. on Dec. 16 at Ken’s Charcoal Pits, located at 59 Main St. in Downtown Batavia.

Starowitz, a retired school teacher of 45 years in Le Roy and Batavia, started substitute teaching after she retired in 2007. She has lived in Batavia her entire life.

She is also on the board of the Holland Purchase Historical Society, which led to her newspaper and newsletter column, which she started a decade ago on artifacts or exhibits at the museum and local history.

“Over that time, people seemed to like the articles,” Starowitz said. “I think they liked the articles where I was in the articles, with my memories. They were more subjective than objective.”

Three years into writing the articles, Starowitz decided she wanted to eventually put the articles together in a book. She has been working on the articles over the last year with editors and putting pictures with the articles.

“But, in the last three years, I’ve really put my heart and soul into it,” Starowitz said. “They’ve been edited, I’ve picked the ones I’ve wanted, and then I self-published the book.”

For each copy of the 300-page book sold, $1 will be donated to families of veterans who suffer from PTSD.

One day when Starowitz was giving a tour of the museum, a group of younger men and women came in, not looking thrilled about being there. Starowitz spent a lot of time wondering what their stories were when someone from the group told her they were from Veterans Hospital PTSD Unit.

“I was so moved looking at them, the young people, younger than my children,” Starowitz said. “I wanted to really thank them for their service.”

As she continued talking with the visitors, she learned more about them.

“I can’t imagine what they went through, but I could see it in their eyes,” Starowitz said. “I never forgot their faces.”

Starowitz is hoping to make people aware of what veterans go through.

When Starowitz is substitute teaching, she shows the students the edited copies, showing them the writing process.

“I think that really made an impression on them,” Starowitz said. “They don’t always like to edit.”

When she was writing the articles, Starowitz enjoyed interviewing people the most.

“When I was little, I remember a horse and wagon coming down the street, delivering milk,” Starowitz said. “A family member from the Branton’s Dairy talked to me about that story. It was interesting because I could relate to that.”

Family members are flying in from all over the United States, and even Africa, to come to Starowitz’s book signing.

“Ken has supported me in so many of my endeavors,” Starowitz said. “I’m really honored to have a book signing at his restaurant.”

Photo (By Howard Owens): Anne Marie Starowitz signing copies of her book at the Holland Land Office Museum this weekend.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2020 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button