Up on a Hill and Thereabouts

An Adirondack Childhood

By Gloria Stubing Rist

Subjects: Memoir, New York/regional
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438448909, 344 pages, September 2013

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Table of contents

Heading for the Mountains
Moving on from Stoney Lonesome
Nellie and My Birthday Cake
The Peeking Game
For a Little While, My Friend
Uncle Arthur’s Tree
Voodooing Carly
O’Prince, Grandpa and Me
Rhode Island Reds
My Miracle
The Blind Man
Christmas Came Early
Keeping Christmas
The Day I Had Charge
Making the Run
Never Let the Left Hand Know
Sauce on the Ceiling
My First Symphony
Old Beets
Little Coat
About My Very Own Dog
Cousin Henry and Strawberries
Junior, Little Boy Lost
At Last We Got a Car
Rock of Ages
With Love to Our Catholics
No More Make-Believe, Virginia
The Bums
The Stones
On Swimming Holes and Pigs
Gypsies and Good Luck
The Fourth of July
And So We Had Milk
Candy bar
Down in the Narrow
I Am a Lily, Easter 1934
Lake George Vacation
The Wedding Reception
Elmer Clanged
Afternoon at the Carnival
Circus Time
Great-grandpa Hall
Pros and Cons of red Twine
Politics, Country Style
Typical Late Summer Morning
Oh My God, Bedbugs
Just Another Day at School, or the Joys of Teaching
Old Alice, or My First Halloween
Did We or Didn’t We?
The Summer Picnic
I’ll Always Owe Beatty One
Charlie Fox
Special Friend
Talking to Sarah
To Get a Better Place
All About Eggs
Solving Problems
Kayo, Free Spirit
Rolland Rivers’ Rope
Up in the Overshot
In Every Garden There’s a Serpent
Playing With Fire
My One and Only
Henry Galusha’s Bananas
Our Maine Adventure 1937
Learning About Sex and Musterole
Davey vs. Old Faithful
Crown Point Bay
Kitchen Hops, “Staying Good,” and Swearing Off Men
Finally Getting To Be Thirteen
There’s Always One
Jencie and the Best Day Ever
Not to Worry
To My Beloved Teacher, Mrs. Connors
Carrie’s Wintergreen Patch
Crystal Summer
Indoor Toilets vs. False Teeth
Who Lived Where in Chilson—1930s
Fires I Have Known
How I Happened
Mrs. Rite
Special Pal

Childhood recollections of life in the Adirondack Mountains during the Great Depression.


In the 1930s, life for kids tucked away in the quiet woodlands of the Adirondack Mountains was rich with nature and filled with human characters. This captivating memoir contains the recollections of one woman who spent her childhood on the hillsides and in the woods near Ticonderoga. A child's-eye view of days long gone, the book describes a time and place of poverty and hardship tempered by compassion, hope, and humor.

Gloria Stubing Rist is a retired registered nurse and mother of three. She lives in Marcellus, New York.


"Stubing Rist offers a unique and refreshing perspective on Adirondack life … Each character and event comes to life through Stubing Rist's simple and concise method of storytelling … Up on a Hill and Thereabouts paints a complete picture that harkens back to a simpler time in American history. " — Hudson River Valley Review

"In close to one hundred short thematic sketches, the reader sees the world through the rose-tinted eyes of the child, who filters out the pain and chooses to see the world with expectations filled with hope. This collection of memoirs captures the heart as recorded by a Grandma Moses of the pen. " — San Francisco Book Review

"Superbly entertaining, thoughtful, and deftly written. " — Midwest Book Review

"This book gives us wonderful snapshots of life in the Adirondacks in the 1930s, where a smart kid grew up and treasured the best parts of her life. " — Adirondack Daily Enterprise

"…spellbinding … When the Harry Potter novels came out, my family waited in line to purchase each one at midnight; we enjoyed reading them together. Gloria Stubing Rist is no wizard. But her writing and her life have a special magic that often makes Harry, Ron and Hermione's titanic battles with evil spirits look like small potatoes. " — John Rowen, Schenectady Daily Gazette

"Gloria 'Yada' Stubing Rist writes about growing up in the Adirondack Mountains during the Depression with a clear-eyed purity. The author's hardscrabble childhood bears echoes of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes in its sensibility and her frank descriptions of rural poverty. As a young girl, she shivered herself to sleep on bitterly cold winter nights inside a tar paper shack with no electricity or running water on two acres her mother bought for $39. They made dinner out of bullheads caught in a nearby pond and found joy in walking barefoot through meadows, making mud pies, and attending barn dances. Stubing Rist's astonishing achievement in Up on a Hill and Thereabouts lies in its simplicity and a style that heeds George Orwell's dictum: 'Good prose is like a windowpane. '" — Paul Grondahl, author of Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma

"A ripping good read. As a girl-child of the 'North Country' myself, I was stirred. As a scholar and reader of women's stories, I was engaged. Full of mischief and mayhem, this memoir recounts a hidden history of the rural poor in upstate New York. 'Yada' is more than a naive narrator here—she is a character of grit, self-reliance, and persistence, who tells the stories without sentimentality or irony. " — Kate H. Winter, author of The Woman in the Mountain: Reconstructions of Self and Land by Adirondack Women Writers and Lost Twain: A Novel of Hawai'i

"Few girls could endure the scraggy, impoverished life of Stubing Rist's Adirondacks. In stark and earthy detail, young 'Yada' tells how she not only survived but somehow thrived among the mean-spirited drunkards, entrancing gypsies, and oddball animals. In this engaging memoir, she reveals the valuable lessons and rich charms of her homey life 'up on a hill. '" — Sandra Weber, author of Adirondack Roots: Stories of Hiking, History, and Women