Henry Stupakewicz is 93 years old.
Next year, his town, Hermon, will turn 200.
Stupakewicz is making 200 mugs at the Hammond Street Senior Center for the town to mark its bicentennial.
“I’ve lived in Hermon for 11, 12 years now and I’ve never done anything for the town, so I owe it. Everybody owes where they come from,” said Stupakewicz.
A bomb detonator during World War II, the Korean and Vietnam wars and a local shop teacher after his service seems to explain his patience and steady hands. He says he’s been working on the mugs periodically since the Spring.
“Henry don’t lie. But I think he just stretches a little bit because every morning he comes in, he’s on them, doing something, either making them, putting handles on them, glazing them or firing He’s been doing that ever since he got the clay,” said fellow Hammond Street Senior Center potter Charlie Taylor.
“This is not my livelihood, so whoever gets these things has to consider that they’re homemade,” said Stupakewicz.
No two mugs are alike and the clay used to make them comes right from Hermon soil.
“So they’re all numbered and these are the last ones. I suggested to them that they record the numbers and put the journal in the County Clerk’s office, so 100 years from now they might be worth a dollar,” said Stupakewicz laughing.
While the town doesn’t have bicentennial plans set in stone, those who receive a clay mug will get a piece of Hermon history.
“They’re taking something somebody put love into making and that’s what he does with everything he makes,” said Taylor.
“So when I give something to somebody and they’re using it, that makes me feel good. And that’s the whole idea. Try to do something for somebody, make then feel good,” said Stupakewicz.