The people make a community
Words by Matt Burkhartt | Staff Photographer
Video and photos by Matt Burkhartt and Rachael Le Goubin | Staff Photographer
Subagh Kaur Winkelstern. Photo by Rachael Le Goubin.
Subagh Singh Khalsa. Photo by Rachael Le Goubin.
Len & Judy Katz. Photo by Matt Burkhartt.
Warren Hickman . Photo by Matt Burkhartt.
Ted Goldsborough. Photo by Matt Burkhartt.
Describing Chautauqua to an outsider is a daunting, if not futile, undertaking — but it means something deeply personal to the Chautauquans who have been returning for decades.
Some Chautauquans will remember the ambiance of Bestor Plaza; others will remember the sound of the rhythmic tide, or the music of the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra that carries down the brick walk. When Warren Hickman, 93, leaves Chautauqua, he remembers his wife, Jane, who passed away in 1989 from melanoma. They met on the second floor of what is now the Pier Club the summer after Hickman returned from World War II.
“On the second floor there was only one person; we were eventually married, and I had the most wonderful wife,” Hickman said as a wide, boyish grin stretched across his face turning his baby blue eyes into dark crescents.
“It’s a good, special time of year that we are really together when we’re here.”— Len Katz
Hickman, an usher at the Amphitheater who has been coming every summer for 86 years, is enamored with the peaceful environment of Chautauqua Institution.
“What you really want is that feeling of peace inside yourself, and you get it here,” he said.
Ted Goldsborough, 75, has been coming to Chautauqua every summer since he was a child and is a third-generation Chautauquan, preceded by his mother, who was born in 1910, and his grandmother, who was born in the 1870s.
You may have seen him riding his bicycle sporting his bike gloves, suspenders and laboratory goggles strapped over his glasses, but chances are you’ll find him seated by the shoreline at Miller Bell Tower, staring pensively into the horizon.
Goldsborough offers conjecture that the water, which holds his hypnotic attraction, is a universal human lure. He enjoys admiring the idyllic landscape of the undulating green hills, the lake peppered with boats and scenes of children playing on the beach.
“There’s this intensity of the place that is wonderful, but is great to get away from. One of my memories is that annual ‘Ah! Phew!’ we made it.” — Subagh Singh Khalsa
“If you go down to the beach, to the ocean, watching the waves come in and hearing the sound of the waves and watching the foam on the waves, well, I like to watch that here at Chautauqua,” Goldsborough said.
Goldsborough appreciates his family’s intergenerational, shared experience of Chautauqua for its effect of creating enduring memories that his grandchildren will cherish. He laments having a limited recollection of his own grandfather.
“If I died tomorrow, how much would they remember about me and about our being at Chautauqua and riding bicycles together and watching the waves down on the lake?” he wondered.
Video by Matt Burkhartt and Rachael Le Goubin on Vimeo.