Up on a Hill and Thereabouts: An Adirondack Childhood (SUNY Press, 2013) by Gloria Stubing Rist is a memoir of growing up in Chilson near Ticonderoga, during the Great Depression. In the 1930s, life for kids tucked away in the quiet woodlands of the Adirondacks was rich with nature and filled with human characters.
This memoir contains the recollections of one woman who spent her childhood on the hillsides and in the woods near Ticonderoga. Rist served as Newcomb Central School’s school nurse for five years. Her father-in-law was Ernest Rist, a Newcomb politician in the 1920s through the 1950s. Following his death, New York State honored him by naming a previously unnamed peak after him, Rist Mountain in the southeast corner of the Marcy quadrangle.
“Originally, the idea for this book was to share my childhood with my children. I wanted to recall for them the way we lived as young children during the Great Depression in a small Adirondack community of scattered souls doing what it took to survive,” Rist says. “The methodology is simple, choosing characters, families and stories which reveal the hardships of poverty while relating how families and individuals interacted in their efforts to make ends meet. To that end, all the stories are true and while poverty and a difficult life are an inescapable theme, they attempt to show a lighter, positive side to growing up in the mountains. In essence, at least the kids in the stories didn’t know we were poor and I believe most, including myself, wouldn’t trade our childhood if we had a chance to. Looking back, as kids we were very young with too much responsibility, but most of us who survived surely would do it all again.”
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