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Family Heart And Home Sharing Three Generations Of Stories With Sylvia Hallock
photo by Photos ProvidedFormally a one-room school, this historic home has seen three generations live in it. Each generation has added additions and memories of love and family. Sylvia Hallock's joy is family and celebrates with them each and every milestone in life!
photo by Photo ProvidedSylvia's mother and father raised Sylvia and her sister Glenna with a love of family and a strong commitment to family and to helping others.
photo by Photo ProvidedGary, Bethany and their children Trevor, Samantha and Ethan make generations two and three that call the Collins School their home.
photo by Photos ProvidedTammy and Michael and Kyle, Caleb and Cole round out Sylvia's family and her joy of having six grandchildren.
Tuesday January 13, 2015
By Cookie Steponaitis
The walls of Sylvia Hallock’s home are covered with photographs of her family and she lights up when talking about them and sharing memories accompanying each photo linked by genealogy, love of family and a home reflecting three generations.
Sylvia was just seven years old when her parents bought and moved the Collins School from the corner of Shell house Mountain Road and Buckwheat Street to Satterly Road where it still stands today. “My grandfather came over,” reminisced Sylvia, “and he helped my dad set it up on cement blocks. We lived there two years before we made any renovations. The joke was we used to have to run for water because we literally got our water in milk cans from where the water flowed off the mountain on Rt.116 in Bristol. My mother, father, my sister Glenna and I lived there and absolutely loved it. It was quite something when a couple of years later Spafford & Sons came down and drilled our well and having running water was a real treat.”
The one room school has some unique features that Sylvia made into games and part of the magic of the structure. There was a small kitchenette in the building that had a kitchen size refrigerator and stove and only Sylvia’s mom could fit into the room and cooking was an adventure each day. Sylvia and her sister cherished two original desks their father found in the sheds and would sit each day in front of the floor to ceiling windows and play games and school. When their father added the new rooms on both girls were eager to help. “Dad had just said, girls be careful,” recollected Sylvia. “suddenly my sister’s foot went through the ceiling and mom looked up to see a leg dangling through the ceiling.” Sylvia grew up in the renovated school house and raised her children Gary and Tammy there. She has now passed the property to Gary, his family and children. The school house has seen additional renovations each generation. Sylvia added a living room and bedroom during her years in the house while just recently Gary added a beautiful dining room incorporating the original wall of barn board of the building as a part of the charm and decor.
Sylvia is constantly in motion and worked two jobs her whole life just as her parents before her, even living in Vergennes during her four years of high school while taking care of Phil and Doris O’Brien’s children. She had a thirty-five year career as a Quality Control Inspector and also worked long term at John and Judy Naylor’s restaurant JJ’s, Vergennes Variety and currently splits her ‘retirement’ between working for Vergennes Redemption and being involved with her six grandchildren. “This is such a wonderful blessing and surprise,” grinned Sylvia. “I was certain that both of my children would not have kids and my son has three children and my daughter is in the process of adopting three children. Got to love it! I enjoy all the time I spend with Trevor, Samantha, Ethan, Kyle, Caleb and Cole.”
Sylvia’s passion for life also reflects her firm commitment of helping others and being involved. She has been a member of American Legion Auxiliary #14 for more than twenty-five years and cannot even begin to count the number of dinners, fundraisers, meals, Christmas parties and events she has worked at. “It really is all about people,” expressed Sylvia. “I love being around people and helping people.” This reporter and Sylvia reminisced for well over an hour, sharing memories spanning decades, generations and our first meeting when this reporter was five years old. “You wanted to ride your pony in the Memorial Day Parade,” recollected Sylvia. “And you were worried that the noise would make the horse act up. So, your parents asked me if I would walk with you in the parade. I had been in a car crash just the day before and I was really hurting, but I just couldn’t disappoint you. So I calmed you and the pony down and the parade went off like clockwork!”
Sylvia Hallock is in motion and engaged in life loving every minute of it. She looks at her wall of family with a smile and greets each day with the same zest for life she learned all those years ago in her one room school house home that is home today for her children and grandchildren. Still not fully convinced that her life is interesting enough for an article she grins as the interview comes to a conclusion and remarked. “You sure you want to print this? It’s really just all about family and how family does for family. It’s just what you do.” Indeed it is and the Valley Voice salutes not only Sylvia Hallock but generations of Vermonters who work, cherish family and choose to call this valley their home.
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