Friday, January 14, 2022

Postcard Picturesque

Small Town Adirondack Life Captured on Camera

jackie ely cat

A Collaboration Featuring Photography by Jackie Ely

My SLHS ‘81 Classmate & Friend   

Reflecting back now, I suppose it’s just one of the realities of life. Even in the small-town Adirondacks that most of us reside or grew up in, it’s surprisingly easy to live without ever really knowing the majority of our fellow citizens, classmates, or neighbors.

Everyone knows everyone’s first name. We say “Hello”, even wave. But we don’t really get to know each other.  Growing up in Saranac Lake was no different.

Our Saranac Lake High School Class of 1981 graduated one hundred and seventy- four students, a HUGE graduating class by Saranac Lake standards. I can honestly say I really knew about ten of them.

Jackie and I were classmates. We said “Hi” in the hallways. Jackie was busy doing, well, Jackie things, I guess. I was busy honing my teenage skills as an outlaw.

jackie ely yearbook photo

By the time Senior Year mayhem subsided and we all somehow survived and graduated, went off to work, college, entered the service, following our individual life paths, I lost track going forward with all but a select few of our classmates.

Flash Forward, to Facebook and today’s social media. Suddenly, like many, I found myself rekindling old friendships that most of us likely never even knew that we had.

I’m far from “tech savvy”, as my family will all readily attest. Still, after setting up a Facebook page, TWITTER account, and my own blog, in relatively short order I had an impressive number of followers and friends.  My SLHS ’81 classmate Jackie became one of them.

Over the past two years or so, nearly every morning and evening when I check in on Facebook, there is Jackie, sharing some awesome new hometown Saranac Lake photos.  They are exquisite, Postcard Picturesque. Jackie has a talent, that special “hometown eye”, capturing the essence of everyday life in Saranac Lake and the surrounding area.

Jackie shares her upper story apartment with her pet cat Wilson. Wilson is nearly sixteen years old!  From their bird’s eye (or in Wilson’s case- “bird’s eyed”) view, Jackie and Wilson chronicle small town life Adirondack, both its comings and goings, sunrises, sunsets, breathtaking fireworks displays and of course, the weather.

For those lucky enough to be counted amongst her Facebook “friends”, her photographs have become quite popular.  They are spectacular. Each day everyone on Facebook looks forward to seeing them.

One day I commented on her Facebook page; “Jackie, you should go into the postcard business! Your work is amazing!”  A number of Jackie’s other Facebook friends heartily agreed.

I think I may have embarrassed her. I’m not quite sure. However, not long thereafter Jackie admitted, “Selling photos as postcards has long been my dream.”

     That played in my mind awhile. Then it dawned on me. “I bet other folks would love seeing Jackie’s camera work as much as her friends do. I bet Melissa Hart & the folks at The Adirondack Almanack would help us out by sharing an article highlighting Jackie’s work.”  I broached the possibility with Jackie. She agreed to share some of her photography.  We made plans to collaborate.

So, without further ado, I present “Small Town Life Adirondack”, courtesy of my SLHS ’81 Classmate and friend, Jackie Ely, Saranac Lake’s unofficial “Postcard Master General.” If there is someone out there who can assist her in realizing her dream, I would consider it a personal favor.

I think everyone will agree, Jackie’s photography is Postcard Picturesque.

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A veteran north country writer & story teller raised in Saranac Lake, Dick enjoys “Living in the Day I Am In”, and then writing about it. A severely speech impaired 3x cancer survivor, his pen is his voice. He shares many of his Adirondack Outlaw adventures & tales here. Read the rest on his blog @

26 Responses

  1. JB says:

    Where there is a will, Almanack & friends will surely find a way. Thanks for privileging the rest of us to these great photos. I certainly enjoyed them.

  2. Joel Rosenbaum says:

    Thanks so much Richard Monroe for sending in these great photo from
    Jacqueline Ely!

  3. Nathan says:

    some great pictures of what it used to be like, when it used to be much nicer, quieter small town feeling AND real winters. Miss the 10-12 foot snow banks along the roads always felt like driving the bob sled run.

  4. Jeannine Pratt says:

    How very exciting, I too reconnected with Jackie on FB. ALWAYS love your pictures.

  5. Maureen Stunzi Santiago says:

    Jackie has a natural eye for capturing the beauty and wonder of our everyday hometown scenery. I’ve been a fan and follower of her photography for several years. Thank you to Richard for this article and sharing Jackie’s work for many others to appreciate!

  6. Rose Anne says:

    Thank you, Richard and the folks at Adirondack Almanac, for sharing Jackie’s pictures with your readers!

    • Richard Monroe says:

      On behalf of Jackie & myself, & of course, Wilson, I’d like to thank Rose Anne, Maureen, Jeannine, Nathan, Joel, JB, all of Jackie’s friends, & the Almanack readers for all of your support for my friend. The hardest part of this project was choosing which of Jackie’s photos to send. I suspect she has thousands in her archives. When I pitched the piece to Jackie, she asked; “But where do I start?” I suggested she send me a couple dozen of her best. She sent me sixty. My wife & I chose 15. I submitted them to Melissa Hart, hoping she would use at least 4. Melissa went the extra mile (like she always does) & used all of them! One more note. I must make a confession. My name may be on the “by-line”, but Wilson wrote most of it.

      • Jackie Ely says:

        Thank you so much Richard Monroe and Melissa and the staff….I’m so glad you enjoy them

  7. Jackie Ely says:

    I just want to thank Melissa Hart and her staff at The Adirondack Almanack for publishing our story and my photos! And also a Thank You to everyone who is taking time to read and share the article! We really do appreciate it! Thank YOU as well to Richard Monroe for the wonderful story…
    I really do appreciate everything!!!!!! Everyone is making my dream come true!! 🙂
    Thank you all so very much
    Jackie Ely

  8. Karen Pittman says:

    Jackie is a wondeful photographer. I live her pictures. Maybe the Community Store in Saranac Lake would allow her to sell them. Great job Jackie

  9. Bonni says:

    I must say I really enjoy looking at these photos… Originally from Saranac Lake I don’t get up there very often so this is a chance for me to see beautiful pictures… from back home…

    Thank you to everyone that assisted in making this reality for Jackie as she has a very good eye for her pictures… Everyone now is able to appreciate and benefit from her work

  10. Jackie Ely says:

    Thankkyou al for you wonderful comments. And for your support and encouragement. And for taking time to share ! It really means a lot.

  11. Pam Stanyon says:

    Wow Jackie!! Just wow!! Thanks Dick for kicking this one off.

  12. Shannon Pelkey says:

    Jackie!!!! I always knew you liked to take pictures, but these are amazing!!!! My favorite is the one with the turtles on the log!!! This must be so so so special for you!!! Congratulations!!!! You are AWESOME!!!!

  13. Betty L.collins says:

    Such beautiful views in these very fine pictures!

  14. Jackie Ely says:

    Thank you all for your encouragement and support…and for taking time to share the article! It really means a lot to me and Wilson (my black cat) and Dick Monroe..
    Thanks again 🙂