The following opinions (in 2 parts, today and tomorrow) are those of two Clarence alumni, members of the Massaro Family (and also of Massaro Cleaners, then located in the Hollow). This will be broken up by writer for emphasis and also ease of reading.
On a recent visit home Alec Massaro ('75) was dismayed at the conditions he witnessed and wrote a letter to the Clarence Bee (published May 14, 2008). After reading the letter, sister Cathy Massaro Fisher ('72) added some sentiments and memories of her own in an email.
The Massaro viewpoint is more than valid in that they grew up in Clarence, as opposed to moving there at a later date. Their memories are real, rather than an attempt to recreate nostalgia.
Not everyone gets the Clarence Bee, and not everyone reads all columns. It's also not available online. For those who missed it, here is Alec's letter, rewritten in it's entirety:
"I recently came into Clarence for some family matters and was appalled by the condition of Clarence Hollow.
I grew up in the Hollow during the 60's and 70's when the Hollow was Clarence. The memories of the beautiful homes and the small businesses that dotted Main street with wonderfully kept yards are still fresh in my memory.
For many years I was able to come back, to visit my family and until recently, to see this once beautiful town of my youth.
I knew many of the families who lived in the Hollow. Some were local business people, and many were members of the volunteer fire department, as was my father, all with a fierce pride in their town's appearance. They all took special care in how their homes and businesses looked.
I know from talking with some of them that they are feeling betrayed and that no one cares. As I drove around town I saw homes near Our Lady of Peace Church literally falling apart and homes in the Hollow that are nothing more than unpainted storage garages. There are dirt piles left from the sewer installation put in to "improve" the town.
I understand that time marches on and that things change. Change seems to have moved Clarence out of the Hollow, and the "new" Clarence is further west.
That's fine, but there wouldn't be a "new Clarence" if not for The Hollow and the people who took such pride in it.
I was really shocked to see this once beautiful slice of Americana in such disrepair. Shame on you, town fathers, for how you have treated this wonderful piece of history and how you have failed the people that helped shape your town."
Interestingly enough, the following week in the Bee there were no rebuttal letters. In fact, a lone voice joined the Massaro viewpoint via the Bee Heard line.