RosenRaps: Dawn

Dawn by Ruthie at The Big Cheese

March 15th, 2024

R: We’re at the Big Cheese in Rosendale. So Dawn, what brought you to Rosendale?

D: Well, let’s see. I was living in Catskill. I was married. We had a house. And then I had a baby, a little baby boy.  And my mother-in-law at the time was going to help us [laughter] with child care.    So we moved down here. To be closer to family.

R: To be closer to family.   And where did they live? The family? Like here in Rosendale too?

D: Yeah, they live in Tilson also. My in-laws , My own family lives in Albany County.

R: Okay, but that’s still not too far. And what do you love about Rosendale?

D: Oh, I just, I love the community of it. I love we have a rec center. There’s a lot to do for kids.

There’s a lot of outdoor activities.The rail trail. And the history. There’s a lot of history to Rosendale.

R:There is. And you’re two boys are now. One’s a teenager still. And the other one is like 20.

D: He will be 22. And he’s in the army.

R: And so when they grew up here, what did they love to do the most?

D: My children had a lot of freedom because we lived in Tilsen Estates. And there’s only one way in and one way out. And they had the rail trail that leads right back there. So probably like riding their bikes and going for walks, playing “man hunt” and playing football in the firehouse lawn. So yeah, they did a lot of stuff outside.

R: Do you think that they plan on staying in Rosendale?

D: My youngest does because he has a business in Rosendale. Hopefully he’s going to leave the house sometime in a new year.(laughs) He does landscaping.

R: I bet he’s busy.

D: He’s crazy busy. He’s doing so good. And the other one – he was just like, you know what, let me go do something else, take off.So I’m hoping that he will return here. It’s just a matter of time.

R: Yeah, I think a lot of times that kids leaving and then coming back is actually like really good for the community because they go and they like find all this other stuff. And they come back with like their ideas about like what they loved out there.

D: I feel like you always go back to your roots.

R: Yeah, I did. I lived in Rosendale in my twenties and I went out west and then further west

and then I ended up right back here.

D:Yeah. Exactly.

R: And if someone was coming to visit Rosendale that had never been here before, what do you think you would do with them to get them the true spirit of the town?

D: Probably the Rosendale Theatre. The cement, the Rosendale cement, I can’t think of his name, that owned it, that little museum there.

R: Dietrich!

D: Yeah. And High Falls where the canal was, Main Street because it’s, you know, it’s cute.

R: So cute.

D: It’s, Different. The rail trail for sure. I mean the rail trail is so amazing.

All those things, that was history board you can read by your ride and your bike.

 Every time I ride my bike that way I have to stop and read them all over again. They’re so big. And the caves! 

So yeah, it’s, I love this town.

I mean, and it’s funny because when you traveled to other places, like, I forget where I was, maybe in Virginia, was Chincoteague I think, and there was a lighthouse there.  And the base of the lighthouse was made with Rosendale cement.

R: Oh wow.

M: Did they say that on a plaque or something?

Yes, it did.

R: Well I often think about how there are a lot of people from Brooklyn that just moved to

Rosendale and didn’t, they used Rosendale cement for the Brooklyn Bridge. I’m like, well what do you expect?

D: Yeah.

R: It’s like a piece of them. They’re like coming home and away to this.

D: This Town, producing as much cement as they did, is all over the United States.

I don’t know if it’s all over the world, but it’s definitely all over the United States.It’s pretty cool.It’s so cool. This little town.

R: Yeah. This little town.

R: This little unassuming beautiful town.

D: Yes.

R: And you, I know that you, if I remember correctly, you said that you are retiring from your current job in a couple years.

D: Yes.

R: And when you do that, what are you planning on doing?

D: Oh, I, now that my kids are grown and I have a husband, not like he used to be taking

care of, but I want to just volunteer and I want to get back to the community. I think it’s so important because I see a lot of lack. I don’t know if it’s a generation. I don’t know if it’s the kids not wanting to. It takes up too much time. I’m not really sure. But I would like to do that and build this place into a spot on the map.

R: When I was at a meeting recently for the Frozendale Committee meeting at the library, someone brought up an interesting point. They said that it used to be that, you know, like people had these faith-based communities and now that a lot of people don’t have that, it seems like community is kind of falling apart and we don’t necessarily have to like believe in the same God,

but we have to, if we’re going to still thrive as a community, we have to have like common

ground and we have to get together still, even if it’s not how it used to be, right?

D: Yes.

R: I really like that idea too of like finishing like your job job and then doing something

that feels really good to you to do, right?

D: Well, being in that negative environment for so long and I mean I would never take it back.

I would never be like, oh, I should quit or I should not have done it. I wouldn’t take one aspect of it back, but like with inmates, people failed them.

R: Yeah.

D: People have failed them. And yes, I get it, they made their own decisions and whatever else, but I feel that as human beings, we need people to depend on.

And I’m starting to see that I want to invest more into people, my neighbors.

R: Yeah.

D: Perfect example. I went and talked to my neighbor the other day and he’s lived there longer than I have. And his wife passed away and I don’t know, I just went over and I knew he was struggling. He told me a guy kind of took his money, he was looking to get rid of some stuff.

And I went over there and he’s by himself. And I was like, if you need any help, just let me know, you know, I have a 19-year-old. I have, he has a dump truck, like we’ll just load it up and get rid of it. And he was just like, you know, I might ask you for that. And I’m like, that’s absolutely fine.

Like that is something that I want to do. Like, we will help you. And, you know, it starts with that one person and you keep doing it and doing it. And then you’re just hoping that people want to do it also because they’re like, wow, look how happy she is. She’s, you know, doing this stuff and playing a part and really helping people. And she enjoys it.

R: Right. And I guess it’s kind of hard to even find people that are not, that are comfortable to ask for help, right? They don’t realize that it’s not a burden, that it’s actually like a gift to be, to be thought of as someone that can help, right?

D: And I had talked to him previous to that in December about it because he had told me about the situation.And he was like, no, no, the guy’s coming back, the guy’s coming back. And I was like, okay, all right, well, if you ever change your mind, you know, just, and this time, you know, he was more open to be like, okay, you know, there’s stuff in the basement, I might need help with.Okay.

R: That’s great.

D: My little corner is mostly original people. And they are in their, they’re in their 70s.

You know, and they have children, but none of them like close by. So I feel like, like just taking them under my wing a little bit. You know what I mean? Like, oh, if you send me a message, like, oh, can you check in my house? I’m in Michigan. Like, you know, yeah, okay. I mean, what’s it going to take me two seconds really to walk over there and just make sure everything’s okay?

R: And give someone some peace of mind.

D: Yeah, exactly.

R: Yeah. I don’t think everybody has like the same mindset, but I think that more people would if they, you know, actually did receive help from someone? And they felt that, you know, that reciprocity is possible in the community. And you said that you feel that so much is lacking.

Do you have any ideas on how to fix that? Or what do you feel is lacking in the community?

D: Um, I think I personally, for me, like you see your neighbors and you wave. Like, I don’t think, especially the people that are widowed, how they might be struggling. And I don’t really know them.

R: Right.

D: I mean, like my neighbor next door, I know because, you know, but her husband just passed away maybe a year ago.And, you know, it’s just getting to know them better. And because once you get talking to somebody, you know, it comes out, it comes out. And just doing more, just doing more. Like, I want, like, our firehouse too, might get absorbed into Rosendale’s firehouse.

And that’s something they talked about because there’s no volunteers. And I would just hate to see that happen because, I mean, I get it. We’re right down the road, but it, like, I would like to have that as a part of, you know, our community.

R: Yeah. I know, um, part of our mission too is, is the hope that in us having volunteers help us,

like, learn more about the community, that we can inspire people to be more civically engaged

and to start volunteering and to want to be involved.

R: if something went missing, what would you miss about Rosendale?

D:Oh, the pool.

R:The pool. Yeah, the pool is pretty great.

D: I mean, I have my own pool, but, and that was because it was shut down for a while there where they were rebuilding it.But I still go down and I do laps at the pool. Like, just to have that.

The camp. My kids are grown, but to have it.

R:  My kids go there.

D: You know, and they do, they do a lot of stuff now. And I see more things coming.

 The Rec Center was doing, uh, cooking classes.  Someone’s doing yoga. I’m like, that, that is exactly, now the library could get a little bit more, you know, like, do stuff. I would, that would be great too.

R: The library? I mean, I, I think they do. They don’t really have much space in there, but they, I noticed that the, the last newsletter, like, they have a lot of little kid events. And what I’m really looking forward to are like, um, Luke. He’s the son of one of the librarians there. And he’s like this mushroom expert. And he just knows all about plants. And he’s doing these walks at the Snyder state next month. Where you like, identify plants and pick weeds and like, learn about mushrooms.

D: That’s great!

R: They have a lot of cool stuff at the library.But yeah, like, um, I keep hearing that, like, people want more from the library.

D: Like Stone Ridge library. They got game night or whatever. They have like a book club. They have some French conversation class or something.

M: Thursday walking group.

R: The Rosendale library also has a French conversation in the book club.

D: Do people really know what’s going on? Like, I didn’t hear about the Snyder, um, plant, foraging, you know, eating off the land.

R: That’s something that I’ve been having a hard time with too. I’m trying to like, um, make sure that I can  hear about stuff that’s going on in town. Like, there doesn’t seem to be like a real solid network. Unless you’re like on Facebook, like searching through all the pages.

R: Dawn? What are your hopes and dreams for Rosendale for the future?

D: Uh, I would like Rosendale to be… similar to New Paltz, how it is. Like, they don’t have any commercial stores. Nothing like that. And maybe a few more businesses. Like, this Big Cheese is so cute. Like, this little cafe. You can come here.Um, and just maybe, you know, more things like that. And have, like, so that people would actually come and use these stores.

R: Keep Main Street alive.

D: Yes, exactly. Exactly. And be able to walk. We did talk about access to…

R:To Tilson…

D: Walking, yeah.

R: I know it can be a little bit hard to walk around town.

D: But I mean, the rail trail goes to the end near the church. I mean, you can ride your bike down the hill.

M: So, is there, like, a town center of Tilson?  No. I mean, I’m familiar with where the old store was that’s not open anymore. And then a  down at the other end of the street is Darlings, right?

And you have a post office, right?

D: Yeah.

M: Fancy.

D: You can’t get a passport there. You’ve got to go to Rosendale.

R:Oh, you’ve got to go all the way down the hill.

R: And is there anything else that you’d like to add about Rosendale or anything you’d like to see changed or desperate to see, stay the same?

D: Um, probably… I mean, we do a lot for the youth. And I like that. But maybe do more for the elderly?

R: Yeah.

D: They used to have a senior center down and have lunch there, but I’m not sure they do that anymore. I think they…

R: I saw something about that. I wanted to go to the one there.

R: Yeah, um, one of my ideas was I think it would be so nice to get a bunch of young people together in the winter that go around after the snow storms and help people shovel their sidewalks because it not only is a hazard for people to shovel them that would be having a hard time doing it, but it’s also a hazard for people that do get outside and are trying to get by.

Like, you’re going to slip.You know, you have to go on the street. My son uses a wheelchair, so we just a lot of times before we got his off-road wheelchair, we were just stuck inside.

And stuck inside with kids is not fun. LAUGHTER But I thought that could be like a really fun…

It’s, you know, like just a group of people to shovel snow and then maybe get them like some hot cocoa or whatever. If they’re a little older, maybe some hot toddies.


Something to say thanks, and it would just be, you know,

you know, I know that when I volunteer to do something, even if it’s like grunt work, it’s one of those things like, you know, if someone asks you to  do something like that, you’re like, yes, and you know that you’re going to do it, and you maybe are dreading it, but at the end of the day…

D: Are you talking about me because I feel that way?


R: Yeah, but you feel good at the end of the day. No, you do. I did something. You do. I did. And it wasn’t necessarily about me, and yet I feel good.


D: Like, take care of your neighbor. Like, they say on the news to check on your neighbors, but no, really have a program where there’s a network. you’re like, okay, yeah. I mean, because a couple of lives across the street, they’re younger, and they have a baby, but like my older neighbors, I always make sure if I can’t do it myself, like I tell my son to go and take care of it, because you’re not going to leave it. That’s just the end of the story.

He’ll complain, but he’ll do it anyway, so…


R:That’s good for him.

D: It is good for him.


R: OK, Dawn.

Thank you so much for letting us interview you, and thank you so much for being a volunteer.

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