Friday I took Nate down to Oneonta for a fun few hours of Taco Bell, Office Max, Wal-Mart and Bearded Dragon Comics. That’s Nate’s idea of a day well spent. As we drove away from our house, Nate reminded me of something.

“It’s been ten years since we visited here.” Here means our house in Cooperstown and, yes, it was a decade ago that we took our first trip to our new house on Chestnut St., a house that was going to be our eventual home once Nate, then in sixth grade, reached high school. After a few days in Cooperstown, and then a full week one month later during Spring Break, we decided to move sooner than later. How soon? From the moment of decision to the moment of arrival, it was about two months. By June 2003 I had quit my job, we sold our house and we were out of Illinois and in Cooperstown.

I gave Nate that quick recap and he said, “That was not good” and I know what he means. We all still miss Chicago in our own ways, but Nate suffers most of all. It makes sense on many levels. Nate only recently crossed the threshold of living half his life in Cooperstown. Robbie’s been here exactly 50% of is years, Joey’s been here more than that. And Nate has the strongest connection to the trappings of our former life – the house, the stores, the restaurants.

I attempted to explain the goods and the bads of our move, but I’m not certain Nate sees the goods in the same way I do. Case in point, yesterday’s meeting, when Professor Lauber, Doug Miller, Karen, Nate and sat and discussed Alpha Folks.

Alpha Folks is Nate’s soon to come t-shirt company based on his alphabet faces (you can find them in past posts and on Facebook). We all got busy and, though I’d hoped for a rollout last fall, we’re probably good to unveil the line this year. What we need is ready-to-go graphics and that’s been the hang up. Though Nate has Adobe skills, they’re not fine-tuned enough to go it alone. Or so I thought.

Having Lauber in the house was a godsend. She worked through some tweaks but then got straight to teaching. Nate, grudgingly, and with audible resistance, finally sat down at the kitchen table and Lauber showed him how to improve his work. Once he got the hang of it, he churned out product at lightning speed. While we still have nearly 1/3 of the letters to go, Nate now knows how to do it and what would take all of us months to finish he’ll knock out by the end of the week. My goal is to have Alpha Folks shirts ready by summer to sell at his art show at The Smithy in Cooperstown.

That’s the good Nate doesn’t get. Moving to Cooperstown allowed me to spend more time with him, get him to college, graduate, and start his career in art and design. To him, it’s all homework and annoyance. To me, it’s nearly impossible to believe. And all in a mere ten years.


About Jeff Katz

Jeff Katz is the former Mayor of Cooperstown, the “Birthplace of Baseball” and home to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. His latest book, Split Season:1981 - Fernandomania, the Bronx Zoo, and the Strike that Saved Baseball, (Thomas Dunne Books, 2015), received national attention, with coverage appearing in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, Sporting News and NPR’s Only a Game, among others. Katz appeared on ESPN’s Olbermann and The Sporting Life with Jeremy Schaap and MLB Network’s MLB Now, with Brian Kenny. Split Season: 1981 was a finalist for the 2016 Casey Award for Best Baseball Book of the Year.
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