This is one of a series of short stories collected from oral histories with town residents that will be retold here.
Pardeesville resident Maurice DeLorenzo showed us a panoramic photo of the town taken from a culm bank on the southwest side of town in the mid-1930s. This photo has been imperative in helping us understand how the landscape has changed since the early twentieth century, but also in helping us to understand how people lived back then. One of the most striking features of this photo is the abundance of wooden fences. Homemade wooden fences from different lengths and thicknesses of boards can be seen surrounding every house on Lower, Upper, and Church Street! While we initially thought that these fences might have been used to keep livestock such as cows inside people’s yards, during interviews with local residents we have learned that the fences were actually in place to keep other people’s livestock out of their yards! With the time and effort put in to planting and growing a garden, families couldn’t afford to lose all of their produce to a neighbor’s errant goat (however, keeping neighborhood kids out of the garden proved to be a steeper challenge).
One story related to us by a long-time resident of Pardeesville tells the story of when she and her husband went to visit her husband’s parent’s house in Pardeesville. With kids, neighbors, and extended family constantly coming in and out of the house, the front door had been left ajar. When our storyteller and her husband walked into the living room, they were greeted by none other than a stray goat that had managed to slip inside the house! Whether the goat or the couple were more startled is unknown, but I know that this story is one that neither soon forgot.