Sifting through shoe boxes of memories is a pleasant pastime, says Mae Figura of Honesdale. 

At 76-years-old, Mrs. Figura lives in the Honesdale home her parents: the late Raymond C. and Hazel G. Thomas bought around 1934. Located on 725 Maple Avenue, the home dates back to the early 1830’s. The second house built in that area, it was a prior toll-gate house where travelers paid a toll to pass through that section of town. “They had a cord road and that cord was on what was called the Honesdale-Clarksville Turnpike. A cord road was where they cut trees and laid the logs down, one after another, and shanked them in with mud. And it was to go over a very wet area. And they had to pay toll on that road,” she said.


Sifting through shoe boxes of memories is a pleasant pastime, says Mae Figura of Honesdale. 
At 76-years-old, Mrs. Figura lives in the Honesdale home her parents: the late Raymond C. and Hazel G. Thomas bought around 1934. Located on 725 Maple Avenue, the home dates back to the early 1830’s. The second house built in that area, it was a prior toll-gate house where travelers paid a toll to pass through that section of town. “They had a cord road and that cord was on what was called the Honesdale-Clarksville Turnpike. A cord road was where they cut trees and laid the logs down, one after another, and shanked them in with mud. And it was to go over a very wet area. And they had to pay toll on that road,” she said.
“When they dug up out front to lay the gas line, they found coins ...My mom didn’t ask them for any, so the workers that dug up the coins, kept them. But who knows what’s down there yet, if it was to be dug up. Maybe some of the old logs, parts of those are still down in there. Who knows?”  
1907 calendar 
“Understand that I moved back to the house where I grew up. And all of my mother’s and father’s things were there. And a lot of them had just been put in boxes. And now I’m getting out the boxes, so I’m re-discovering,” she said. Mrs. Figura moved back to her parents’ home, after her husband, Daniel T. Figura, Jr. died, in 1985.
It was in sifting through old papers that she came across a more than century-old calendar from The Wayne Independent. One of the pages featured a familiar face — former newspaper carrier H. Earl Ham — a man who meant much to Figura’s family.
“They lived down the street from us and across. And they were one of two families on our street that had a tourist home,” she said. They were good neighbors; their daughter Dottie becoming quick friends with Mae.
When Mae grew up and got married, she moved to Preston Township where her husband’s parents owned a farm. That’s where they were raising their four boys: Mark, Tom, Dave and Dan, until an electrical fire broke out one night, totally destroying their home. It was in 1963 “the Friday night before Christmas,” Mrs. Figura remembers.
For the next three years, they stayed with her parents. “So, for three years there were nine of us in the toll-gate house,” she said. Throughout that time-frame, her husband, his brother and a cousin were busy building a new home. “When we were ready to move in, we had nothing left,” she said, since the fire had destroyed all their furniture. “I had to furnish a home with four sons. I couldn’t imagine how we would financially do it,” she said.   
That’s when Mr. Ham and Dottie came through in a big way. With his wife passed away, Mr. Ham had decided to move in with his daughter. They offered Mae’s family good furniture from the tourist home for little or nothing. “They gave us beds. They gave us carpets ...things that counted so much. An iron and ironing board, dishes ...pans, the kitchen essentials that you have to go out and buy to cook. (Dottie) just kept putting things in boxes,” she said. “It was just a life-saver. It was just something that helped us so much, it’s indescribable.”
And that’s just one of the memories found in a shoe-box, with many more to sort through.  
Mrs. Figura has been a local dance instructor since 1952. “The most wonderful people like to dance,” she said. Mrs. Figura says she’s met and continues to meet hundreds of interesting folks through dance. “Just many pleasant memories,” she said.
Since 1997, she’s been the Project Manager of the Summer Festival of Events in Honesdale’s Central Park, put on by the Wayne County Creative Arts Council.
She continues to teach line-dance and ballroom dancing through the Wayne Highlands Community Ed Program. “It’s good exercise and a lot of fun,” she said.