Gregory Maguire on Albany's Pine Hills neighborhood

Check it out: Akum got Gregory Maguire to write about the Pine Hills of his childhood -- of the architecture, the geography, the shops, and perhaps most importantly, the library:

To pull open the heavy oak door of the library! -- then to encounter, first, the silence; and slowly to note the creak of floorboards and the squeak of rubber soles on grey linoleum tacked down in heavily trafficked areas. Then to hear the clank of antique radiators and to smell the radiator heat. Then to notice the pleasant odor of old lady clothes, and of those replacement library bindings, which seemed to be made of plastic chitin and gave off a noxious smell that provided a good buzz. Then, at the same moment, both to smell and to see the wood varnish on the golden lintels and rood screens and turned bannisters of the magnificent staircase ... It was a kind of heaven.

Maguire grew up on Lancaster Street, near North Pine Ave. As he writes in the piece, his family moved there in 1955. And his stepmother lived there until this past spring when she passed away.

By the way: Akum has been working on a history of her house -- not too far from Maguire's childhood home -- and the surrounding neighborhood. You can catch pieces of the project on her blog.

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