My Favorite Three Decoys..
Denise Valenti was the favorite decoy speaker for January. The first decoy she showed was a black duck carved in 1958 by her grandfather Paul “Perry” Bigelow of Bellport. The decoy was made of fiberglass glass and wood. Denise inherited it from her mother, the daughter of Paul “Perry” Bigelow in 2009. She said her grandfather called it a “freak” he made because it was a prototype with the keel. Denise added that Wilbur Corwin liked it too. It’s a favorite of hers because it’s painted beautifully and its uniqueness.
Next she showed a wooden Mason Black duck in preening position. It was as a gift from her grandmother Bigelow, wife of Perry Bigelow in 1980. She said it was the first decoy that she ever collected and one of her all-time favorites. She said it was a doorstop in the decoy room and she can still remember playing with it when she was young. Denise added that she likes the sleeping/preening position of decoys.
Denise then showed a wooden Merganser that the head was carved by her grandfather Perry Bigelow but not the body. She doesn’t know who carved the body, but she does know that her grandfather repainted the entire bird, body and head. Denise inherited it in 2009 from her mother. She likes the stylish painting and how it extends its head.
Denise showed a picture of Perry Bigelow relaxing in front of his fireplace along with a membership card dated 1924 from his duck hunting diary. She showed another photograph of Perry, in that one he was eating his lunch. She explained that when her grandfather went gunning he would hear the noon whistle of the Pattersquash gun club. That was when he would take a break from gunning and eat his lunch.
When she was done talking about her favorite decoys Denise thanked the club for welcoming her in and for all the information and the companionship of the club members.
We thank Denise for sharing her family’s rich history of decoy carving and gunning on Long Island. And allowing us to see pictures and hear historical and humorous stories from her grandfather duck hunting diary. She has certainly made the past come alive for more than just one club member.
Bill Davis is scheduled for the February meeting.
(Reminder, if you are scheduled to talk about your favorite three decoys but will not be able to attend the meeting, please contact George Munkert or Kate Sohm so they can get a replacement for the meeting.)