SCHUYLER FALLS - The town of Schuyler Falls prides itself on not forgetting its history, and especially in not forgetting its historians.
The town officially dedicated its historian's office June 26 in honor of past town historian Leo L. Perry. The town's current historian, Marvin M. Connor, who succeeded Perry in 1993, applauded Perry for his years of service from 1987-1993 and the assistance he still gives to this day.
"I have been very fortunate that Leo still particiaptes as a historian," said Connor. "Leo has been behind almost every project we've done."
Though the 81-year-old Perry is proud of his past role in the preservation of local history, his fondest memories were of the people he met throughout the years. While in office, Perry made it a point to interview the town's older citizens to draw from their wealth of knowledge.
One woman in particular, named Tessie Gamache, was one of Perry's favorites. He first interviewed her when she was 98 years old. For Perry, the encounter was as if it happened yesterday.
"The first time I went up to interview Tessie, she was out back of her house hoeing her garden," said Perry. "I went up to her and said, 'I don't know if you remember me or not.' She said, 'Oh, yeah, you're the little Perry boy from down the hill.'"
Impressed with how quickly she recognized him, Perry instantly stuck up the first of many lengthy conversations with Gamache. However, the first was one that left a lasting impression on him. During their conversation, Gamache talked about keeping in shape and showed Perry how she could bend down and lay her hands flat on the ground while still standing up.
"I told her how I wished I would've known she was going to do that because I would've taken a picture," said Perry, who said he asked her if she could do the feat again.
"'Well, of course I can,'" Perry recalled Gamache saying. "She said, 'You tell me when you want me to get up.'"
The quirkiness of people like Gamache was what Perry said he misses most about his job as town historian.
Bernard Barber, who served as town supervisor during Perry's time in office, said he was very appreciative to be invited to the ceremony which officially marked the unveiling of the plaque in Perry's honor.
"It's seldom we get a chance to recognize a resident who's contributed as much to the town as Leo has," said Barber.
Though now a resident of Florida, Perry said he keeps Schuyler Falls and the North Country in his thoughts.
"I've been away for 15 years now, but I haven't been away from the history of the town of Schuyler Falls," said Perry. "I'm still very interested in it and I want to do all I can to help out."