Leo Bower has lived his life of 61 years in Hudson. His family first lived on Warren Street between 1st and 2nd Streets, then they moved to Front Street; living there from the time he was five to sixteen years old. Leo was raised by a single mother with two brothers and a sister. When Leo was four or five his father left the family. Growing up was hard, there was not always a good meal, or anything new; they always wore hand me downs and generally went without a lot.
At about 15 years old Leo went to Shantytown (The Furgary) to get to know his father. Together they would go out with big nets to fish for shad and herring, which they then smoked. Leo worked nights at WB McGuire’s but in the daytime helped his father do plumbing and electrical work. He enjoyed working with his father and learning more about him. His father originally lived on Blue Hill Road in Livingston. His mother, Thelma Snyder, was from Hudson and had 13 siblings. The Snyders eventually moved from Hudson to have a better life. Thelma worked at Cavell House, cancer treatment for Columbia Memorial Hospital, and then she worked at the cafeteria.
Leo first worked at Kaz Vaporizer Plant for $2.00 an hour. He described it as a sweatshop. It was located off Ten Broeck Lane and Cross Street, by the railroad. He then worked at WB McGuire’s, a well-paid job, for 25 years. They manufactured levelers and seals for trucks. When he got an indefinite lay-off he started working at Taconic Farms, the rat and mouse farm. Leo also became a part-time caretaker of Mrs. Benson’s house, the shoebox lady who sold shoes. Her family was the McIntyres. She helped write the book about Hudson, Diamond Street, with Bruce Hall. She knew the history of the brothels.