Remember the old high school, stores like Kay’s Corner and Jonesey’s Gyp Joint and a Blue Dolphin that dished out everyday diner fare? How about when “Fred’s” referred not to a hair salon, but an ice cream parlor on Valley Road? Were you lucky enough to ride the miniature railroad encircling Halstead Park’s backyard?
If so, you might be a Katonah Kid.
Some six hundred K-Town youths of yesteryear have regrouped on Facebook to reminisce slower, simpler times in our humble hamlet—the days when Healy’s Deli was the hotspot, Peppino’s was still the train station and your neighbor was more likely to be a butcher or auto mechanic than a lawyer or hedge fund manager.
The “Katonah Kids” page has more than 500 posts to date of schoolyard memories, local lore, searches for long lost friends and general armchair reminiscence of a seemingly picture perfect childhood hometown.
Members who moved on to distant places speak of their lives after Katonah. Others who stayed share how it just isn’t the same. Both cases spark lengthy chains of commentary.
“My dad owned the Nosegay Florist next to Kelloggs & Lawrence Hardware; he was ‘interested’ to hear it is now a lingerie shop,” wrote poster Bill Bergen.
To which Mary Chiasson responded, “Bill, the Nosegay was my favorite store as a little girl. I just loved to walk in and take deep breaths. I even thought all florist shops were called the Nosegay. Sign of the times, flowers to lingerie.”
The group’s generation gap is quite vast, with recollections ranging from as recently as the 80s to as far back as the 40s. Posters have dusted off in discussion such distant and forgotten pieces of our past as the original A&P on Katonah Avenue, the old ski hill and even Katonah High School, which graduated its last class during the Eisenhower administration.
Before lattes at Perks or scoops at Scoops, there was the hard roll roast beef sandwich at Healy’s, described as a cult favorite akin to today’s Cluckin’ Russian at Cameron’s. The venerable deli, founded by Gus Healy in 1952, changed hands numerous times before becoming the Wooden Nickel nearly a decade ago—yet is far from forgotten.
“In those days a bottle of Coke cost a dime and there was a two cents deposit on the bottle,” wrote poster Rich Gallagher. “Mr. Healy would waive the two cents if we promised to bring the empty bottle back.”
But despite all the happy memories, the group isn’t without its occasional sad moment, too. Obituaries for old classmates, longtime teachers and other familiar faces in town frequently break the banter and shift conversation to memorializing those lost. That was the kind of thing you didn’t have to deal with as a carefree Katonah kid.
A time treasured here so very much.