By Cody Niccloy
Over the month of October, I have been able to spend time at the Leroy Historical Society and Jell-O Museum, helping them in any way possible. I was a bit nervous at first because I wasn’t sure exactly what I would have to do during my hours there. Within the ten minutes of my first day volunteering however, I knew that I would have a good time with these laughable, friendly Leroyans.
Day one was spent mostly on sorting through pieces of paper that everyone who visits the Jell-O museum is asked to fill out. The paper consists of only two questions; question number one simply asks your favorite flavor of Jell-O. I sorted through hundreds of these sheets of paper and tallied the amounts for each flavor. A record is kept to show which flavors are most possible. More importantly, the second question asks for each person’s area code. I then split each of the papers according to their numbers and also recorded my results. This question is important because it gives a demographic view of where their visitors are coming from. To my surprise, the visitors came from such places as England, Canada, and covered all fifty states.
My next three scheduled days of volunteering consisted mostly of moving boxes and desks, trimming flowers, and removing paint from an old school bench. The paint removing became boring, and slightly painful, the conversations on the other hand did not. During my time there Lynn Belluscio, the curator of both the Jell-O Museum and the Leroy Historical Society, was investigating the mysterious background of the schoolhouse located outside Leroy in Lime Rock – known as District 13. After making many phone calls and scavenging through old books, Lynn discovered more than she initially wanted about the District 13 school house. One book she found listed the annual budget of the schoolhouse, like how much it cost to build and renovate. Also, it mentioned the meetings board members had for the school, when the meetings were held and what they were about. Lynn is now in the process of trying to recover the schoolhouse and bring it back to the site of the historical society. This way she can help preserve and show off what a classroom looked like almost a century ago.
My favorite moment from this entire experience was on my first day there. After sorting through all the little pieces of paper, I stayed a little longer to take up Lynn on her offer. Being a Leroyan myself, she told me that I could go through all the archives under the Niccloy name. Inside the “Niccloy” folder were clippings from different newspapers and penny savers around the Genesee County. I was able to see articles about the births of family members that I was never even able to meet in my life. It was sort of a “blast from the past” for me. It was a special moment for me and appreciate that Lynn gave me the time to do so. I can honestly say that I enjoyed my time spent there. Each day I learned a little more about the town I grew up in, along with fruitful conversations and laughs to accompany it.
Cody Niccloy currently attends GCC as an undeclared major and enjoys playing on the Men’s Soccer Team. He is from Leroy, NY.