RosenRaps: Joe

November 3, 2023

K: So this is Kathleen interviewing Joe at Stewart’s, while he’s eating a meatball sandwich.

How is that meatball sandwich, Joe?

J: Great.

K:Is it? Good. So if you wouldn’t mind, would you share a little bit of how you got here and why do you stay here and what do you like about living here?

(And I have some more questions. Please go ahead.)

J: Sure. I’m 63 years old. I moved into Rosendale when I was eight from Brentwood, Long Island. As a youth, I boxed at Floyd Paterson’s gym in New Paltz. That gave me the chance to go to Canada, Ireland and all throughout the United States.

K: Wow. What were you like? Heavyweight? Middleweight? Featherweight.

J: Flyweight!

K: Fly. Even less than a feather.

Yeah.

M: Before you got to the meatball sandwich.

J: Before I got to the heavy weight. But I boxed with Floyd Paterson’s gym for four years, been to Canada, Ireland all throughout the States, Golden gloves. I was a baker at the Grand Hotel before I came to Hudson Valley Resort.I Learned baking, from the age of 14 and was graduated from the Culinary Institute when I was 22. I like to travel. I’m a Mason. So I’m a traveling man.

I belong to Kingston Lodge number 10 out of Kingston which is a Colonial Lodge, it’s the tenth oldest lodge in New York, And it’s been around since the colonial era. I was raised a mason at 21 and I’m 63 now, so I’ve got quite a few years of being a mason. 

K: Yeah, got it

K: What do you love about living here? What matters the most for you?

J: The people. Uh-huh. I like my town. I’ve been all over. I like coming down to The Stewart’s shop and having my coffee and sit with one or two people I know because they sit here all the time. See family and friends going in and out of the store so I get to say hi to people that I don’t visit anybody. 9-11, the the residue  in the air you know has affected my lungs and my brain, so I have five *comatoses. I got 9-11 lungs, so they’re scarred.

K: Sorry to hear that Joe. 

J: I’m not sorry. Being a police officer, you know what you’re getting into. 

K: So you were a police officer?

J: Yeah. So I’m not sorry for serving my fellow man. It’s not only a Christian duty, but it’s a duty of most men to do what they can for their fellow man. That’s what I believe and how I was raised, so not sorry about what I did, no regrets. I’m living and breathing and kicking, so it’s all good. Mm-hmm!  Next question!

K:  I’m wondering what special place or characteristic most most captures the spirit of this town you mentioned Stewart’s – I happen to really love Stewart’s, that’s why I’m here – but is there something in particular that really matters to you, a place or a location or the quality that …

J:  Well, when growing up, I was an altar boy, St. Peter’s, 

K: uh-huh

J: With Wally Kern, Father Kern, so I just have many good memories of growing up in Rosendale, it’s a great little town. You know, as a police officer, I’ve seen a lot of towns fast-paced or what have you, you know, and a lot of issues. I really don’t see that encroachment upon one’s daily life unless you choose it, you know, you can bring havoc and chaos into your life wherever you are.  But this is a good respite, you know, it’s good people, and  I don’t know where I’m gonna die, but if I happen to be here, then that’s fine, too. My mother and father are over in St. Peter’s cemetery. 

K: So what would you like to see more of here?

J: Not so much more of anything, uh-huh, but retain its flavor of who we are and how people proceed, you know? I’m just a regular citizen or I’m a mr. Nobody in my town, but it’s all good. People are so nice, people are generous in their ways and I enjoy living here.

I’ve lived in a lot of other places. I lived on my boat in Florida, I lived out in Cupertino in California, and have been a lot of places. So at 63. I’m still a member of the Rosendale thriving community. 

K: Yes!  How could you imagine what would you like to stay the same here in five years now, like unchanged, you kind of answered that, but maybe you have a little bit more to offer?

J: There’s  not much in changing. I mean life changes, you know if you can get along with yourself and find yourself and understand yourself that you’ll be a member of good standing in your own life and in the lives around you.

K: Mm-hmm.  So if you had to change anything or maybe think about a change or what’s needed more here, or not maybe more but differently. Would you have some thoughts about that given that you have a long history here?

J:  Just more things for the youth, I guess, or supporting the families that have young kids. I have three daughters and a son, and they have children, so I’d like to see things that will help them grow and help them find themselves.

K: Do you have some specific ideas about what would be good to expand on in terms of what we provide for youth and families?

No, I just you know, but if the town is honest with its citizens, then the town will grow in the way it needs to grow.

K:  Yeah, that’s what we’re looking for, to talk to people like you so we have some ideas about what people envision that they desire more of, right?

J:  Well, it should take care of things like the bus depot that’s in Rosendale right across from the Rec Center, so that people can travel easier, you know, with a nicer place, do something with that, because we have a lot of people that work in the city and travel to and fro out of there so

We should look at it as a resource and look at it as a resource and support that resource. and not just let it slip away or just be what it is as it is today. 

K: I’ve got it. 

J: I’m not sure where all the things are today in Rosendale. Like I said, I have some scarring in my brain, so I don’t remember… last week where I used to remember years!

But whatever memories I have of Rosendale, they are positive I don’t have any real negatives, you know.

K: Do you have a memory, something that really sticks out for you? A particular story or experience?

J: All my years of boxing! I would hitchhike from Rosendale to New Paltz and I was a common sight on the road, I guess. Many of the locals picked me up and quite a few of them drove out of their way a little bit and brought me over to the gym so, me having 63 fights and traveling, me traveling all over the place was due to the people that I live with you know! They may not have

outwardly said, “Hey, we support you in your boxing and your church”, but they did in the way that they drove me there.

K: Well, yeah, absolutely! Anything else you’d like to share, Joe?

J:  Well, if you look at the Welcome to Rosendale signs, that’s either my father or my brother who made them. The old sign with the horse pulling with the horse was my brother Willy, William

That was his sign and it’s I think on the Rosendale site, the old archive of it, so I guess we left a mark even if you’re not here. My brother willy is in Taiwan teaches art and English, but his work here still stands,so it’s a part of him that this town holds 

J: I have the strength to do it. It’s the inclination!.

K:  That’s what it is. Yes, that’s right. Well, listen, Joe. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t tell you how much …

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