Richard Russo, leave Gloversville alone. If you have to spend so much time thinking about the city, maybe you could do something in support instead of disparaging its good people and proud history to make your living.
I, too, grew up in Gloversville, a few years after you did. Growing up there in the '60s and '70s was a privilege. For me, at times, it was like growing up in a Norman Rockwell painting. I well remember the walks home from Mount Carmel School all the way up a bustling Main Street until the turnoff to my home at Prospect Avenue. My grandfather, my father and most everybody I knew worked in the leather mills. I spent as much time as I could there, too; after classes in high school (except for football season, of course) and during the summers. The pay was good. Yes, the work was hard, but good men and women doing hard work isn't something you should be concerned with.
I remember looking up "leather" in the "World Books" (I'm sure you remember those bound encyclopedias) and being proud that Gloversville (and Johnstown) were named as the number one leather producing locations in the world.
Most of the leather mills are gone now, and the city still has not recovered fully. Maybe that is what you wanted.
However, that is similar to the fate other upstate New York cities. Proud places like Utica and Buffalo - once one of the major cities in the entire United States - now fallen on more difficult economic times. We should look back at their past in a positive light. Many good people continue to try and build those communities and cities for the future.
Some new industry has moved into Gloversville, but hats off to the proud men and women who continue the tradition in the leather industry. To the Joe Sicilias, the Joe DeCristafaros and many others keeping the tradition alive even as the greater Leather Stocking region moves to new industries. Here's to your continued success and thank you for maintaining our heritage.
I only envy you one thing, Richard: You got to graduate from Bishop Burke High School. I was the last entering freshman class; sadly, the following year the school closed.
You may be a talented writer, but do us a favor and pick another subject for your next piece of fiction.
LOUIS GARGUILO JR.
(born and raised in Gloversville)