Ithaca Journal, link to original article
What drew our kids to the Seneca Lake shoreline each year about this time, once the temperatures moderated of course, were the shoreline discoveries. Their haul over the years consisted of goose and duck decoys, injured waterfowl, driftwood of various shapes and sizes, lumber, shell casings, shoes and boots, fishing lines and lures, paddles and oars.
The kids hit the jackpot on one occasion north of Hector: A large garbage bag packed with beer cans. All empty, of course, but each worth a nickel to the beachcombers.
A man in Willard did even better. He laid claim to a drifting car top boat, bought some advertising space and offered the boat to its rightful owner. No one ever claimed the craft and it hangs in a Willard garage to this day.
Had our beach combers set out on schedule the morning of the boat recovery, they would have had a nifty, little car-top boat. But the thought of hot cocoa and donuts lured them to a local diner. While they watched time slip by, a neighbor was reeling in the boat.
A mystery to the beachcombers, whether winter or summer, was always the presence of tennis balls along the shoreline. Someone lost a lot of tennis balls.
They actually went looking one day for lakeside tennis courts hoping to find a reason for all the balls and didn’t fare very well. To be truthful about it, they lost much of their search time feeding the ducks at the Watkins Glen Marina.
Beach combing patrol areas, for the most part, consisted of the shoreline from Valois north to the former Sullivan Trail Council’s Boy Scout Camp and from Valois south to Peach Orchard Point at Hector.
A prize catch on one occasion was a duck. A sickly duck. The kids had no idea what was wrong, but tried to nurse her back to good health. They failed and she was laid to rest in an elaborate ceremony in a back yard.
Some sympathetic Willard firemen came to the rescue of the beach combers one winter when they discovered a Canada goose seemingly injured and resting on a Seneca Lake ice flow. With ladders lying flat on the ice, a fireman was to crawl out to the ice floe and free the goose. You probably already know what happened. The goose flew away.
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