Discovering Dryden: Love, war and rock & roll


1968. The average house cost was $14,950. Gas price per gallon: 34 cents. Want to catch a movie? $1.50. The US was currently involved in The Vietnam War. This was also the year of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the release of the Beatles’ “White Album.”

Scouring the December 1968 Dryden Rural News archives, columns encourage readers to mail Christmas parcels early, remind of 6 cent postage, and show the proud face of that time’s student-of-the-month. Our world has changed.
Join the Southworth Library as they travel 50 years into the past. “1968: Love, War & Rock n Roll—50 Years Later” is a series based on Mark Kurlansky’s book, 1968: The Year that Rocked the World. Major Moran, a member of the Board of Directors for Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 377, will guide a discussion focused on the Tet Offensive and the Battle for Hûé. Excerpts from the Ken Burns series, The Vietnam War, will be shown. The group will explore how perspectives have changed over the past 50 years.

This program, funded by Humanities NY, is a part of a series, having begun in September. Embrace this opportunity to travel back in time, to commemorate where we have been, and explore where we are now.

This event will be held at 7 p.m., Nov. 29, at the Southworth Library located at 24 W. Main St.

Christmas comes to Dryden
Traditionally, the Dryden community has held a variety of events on tree lighting day, Saturday, Dec. 1. This year, library director Diane Pamel invited Santa Bob to come for Family Story Time, 3 p.m. Knowing that the village would need a Santa for tree-lighting later that day, she reached out to Village Clerk, Deborah Marrotte, so now the Dryden Fire Department will pick up Santa Bob at the library, and deliver him in typical Dryden style, by fire truck, to the Village Green, in time for the tree-lighting at 5:30 p.m. Check out all the events from craft fairs to open houses, to public craft-making events and caroling, at

Local Heroes
While living in Argentina for a year, Lydia Dolch, working with autistic people, a boy who had never spoken, uttered her name. She’s been passionately working with people with sensory processing disorder, autism, and other exceptional needs ever since. For most of Lydia’s career, she worked in the school districts, including Dryden, working to reintegrate students with special needs into the mainstream classroom.

In 2016, Dolch’s career was put on hold, her life turned upside down, when she suffered a violent fall, landing herself in the hospital with a concussion. Her life was profoundly affected by her injury. For the year following, Dolch couldn’t work at all. In an ironic twist of fate, Dolch had found herself living the sensory experience disorder she felt she knew so much about. Pained by light, noise, and overwhelmed by movement, Dolch had become the patient, an experience that forced her to totally surrender to being in silence and to listening. With time, many doctors’ visits, yoga, meditation, and her ever-driving passion to better the community, Dolch has come through this experience and explains now how it “helped me simultaneously let go of knowing and know more deeply about what people with sensory integration disorder go through.”
She described this experience as “the best professional development I could ever not want.” Being forced to learn how to navigate in a world that you don’t ever think you’re going to live, where everything feels different, gave new perspective and insights. It helped Dolch understand folks on the autism spectrum on a much deeper level.

Currently, she is working part-time with the Tompkins County Health Department. She helps kids deal with communication struggles, challenges in interacting with others and engages children in play to assess their needs. In addition to her work with Tompkins County, she also does her own private consulting. Dolch works with families on a wide range of needs and ages. Sometimes the work is with the parents, helping them learn new strategies to bring to their parenting, whether connecting with their teen, dealing with school avoidance issues, or aiding a family in establishing a system of communication with their non-verbal child. Dolch has consulted in the school districts as well, offering a fresh set of eyes, and helpful strategies to staff working hard to support the needs of exceptional kids. “I’m not a therapist,” she clarifies, “but I come to the work from an education-perspective, dealing with sensory processing disorder.” She’s also building her own web-based business to support folks with exceptional needs living in isolated areas. “My work continues to expand because I just love being with people and listening, and helping them figure out solutions to make their lives more whole, connected, and peaceful. So I’m really grateful for the opportunity to expand my skill set and share it with the community.”

Raising her own family locally, Dolch expresses love for this place and the people here. She gave a shout out to the YMCA, a place that became a vital source during her own healing process and has since become a hub of community for her family. Several resources she encourages people to utilize are ACCES-VR, a vocational rehabilitation program; Tompkins County Health Department, with its many social programs; Ithaca.Family, a website to be launched in 2019, allowing people to search local events and venues by their exceptional needs. Finally, our many faith communities, where we come together to support each other and provide hope.

As we parted, Dolch reminded me of a question posed to her during her challenges. “What if everything that happens to you is the very best thing that could possibly happen?” This question has prompted her to move forward, constantly utilizing “set backs” as a gift, as an opportunity to better serve her family, community, and world.

For more information about Dolch and her work, visit


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