Friday, July 31, 2009

Rocky and Chip

A few weeks ago I read that perhaps there was no need to scope out the site of the Buffalo Memorial Auditorium in order to try to figure out a way smuggle a souvenir under the fence. All one had to do was ask. Imagine that. Never crossed my mind, or rather, never thought it would work. So off I went.

When I got there a woman was hauling off a small slab of marble. So before the guy could get away I politely asked for a rock. Mistake. Should have specified marble or granite. However he did bring me a rock with sparkly things in it. Probably just concrete, but having forgotten most of what little I knew of geology, I can pretend it's something unique. Plus, it's mine! A while back I had pulled a little piece of brick under the fence, figuring that small was better than nothing. Now I'm wondering if I can get a hunk of marble...

My artifacts have been personified by naming them Rocky and Chip, in part to justify keeping them in the house permanently rather than tossing them in a rock garden like some other immigrants to the neighborhood. Rocky seen here with a neighbor's outside relics:

Then again, they're from the Aud, so that makes them special. However, a display case is not in their immediate future. Finally, here is the family portrait, Rocky with Chip on his back "He's not heavy, he's my brotherrr..."

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Carolyn Kosobucki Wolmering - RIP

Clarence alumna ('74) Carolyn Kosobucki-Wolmering passed away July 26, 2009. She graduated from the Univerity of Rochester in '78 and UCLA in '84 with an MS in Hospital & Nursing Administration.

Always active, Carolyn had many interests varying from the great outdoors to pursuits in the home, but none as important as her beloved children, Kalie and Chad. Rest in Peace.

WOLMERING - Carolyn A. (nee Kosobucki) July 26, 2009, loving mother of Kalie, Chad Wolmering; daughter of Eleanor and the late Raymond Kosobucki; sister of Robert (Deborah) Kosobucki, Linda (Donald) Mullen. Friends may call Thursday only 2-4 and 7-8:30 at the DENGLER, ROBERTS, PERNA FUNERAL HOME, 8630 Transit Rd., East Amherst (1 mi. north of Maple just past Klein) where a Memorial Service will be held following the visitation Thursday at 8:30. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Zion Lutheran Church, 9535 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Center, NY 14032. Online tributes may be sent to

Thursday, July 23, 2009

On-Site Memorials

There was an interesting discussion in the comments area of story on WIVB on the subject of roadside memorials. They seem to be everywhere, and it's not just a WNY thing but spans the world. I'm of the opinion that the place for grieving, for remembering, is wherever people find comfort.

From Perfect Memorials (source of picture):
"Roadside memorials can be therapeutic for survivors, according to E. Jean Scully, psychotherapist, bereavement counselor and retired professor at the School of Social Welfare at Stony Brook University. Scully states, “When a loved one is violently taken, it leaves you unable to say goodbye . . . and creates a helpless need to connect to that spot.”
Back to the online story, "can't understand" wrote (5th down):
"I can never understand the motivation to put flowers at a crash site. I mean, I don't put flowers on my lawn where my grandma had her heart attack. Now you have to go to two places to remember people---their grave and where they crashed?"
This sparked a lively interchange with numerous replies that the administrator finally cut off. On one hand a friend of Amber Graf wrote that the memorials are a way for people to deal with the grief and shock, and that it was very little encumbrance on the owner. Very emotional.

Another viewpoint (who seemed to me to be a person just spoiling for an argument) claimed that as a property owner they would tear up every last speck of a memorial because mourners were trespassing. Jerk. Then there was the dispassionate person who brought up a public safety issue, as in a distraction while driving.

First, public safety. This is in a time where community groups are solicited to "Adopt a Highway" and get out there with orange bags to pick up litter while traffic is sometimes whizzing by at 50+ mph. Then there are billboards, signs, you name it. Non-issue in my opinion.

Then there is the subject of the rights of property owners. Many people agree with the concept that an owner should be able to do with their property what they want, even if it means coldheartedly shoveling a roadside memorial into a garbage bag. Where things start to unravel is when an owner wants to build a WalMart or Wegmans, or maybe wants to fiddle with a historic building. Or when a widow wants to have an on-site memorial on her own property.

Karen Wielinski hopes the Town of Clarence and its residents can understand that a memorial for Flight 3407 needs to be on the spot of the crash. Robin Tolsma is on camera explaining that 6038 Long Street is where her beloved passed from this earth, not down the street, around the corner, or a mile away, but right there. And it is on that site where many feel the last tenuous connection their loved ones taken so tragically, so suddenly, from them.

From WKBW:

The Town supervisor is shown making a thoughtful but neutral statement, knowing he's caught between a rock and a hard place as far as the divided wishes of the residents of Clarence Center are concerned.

And now Long Street has now suffered another horrific loss, perhaps giving more people some insight on the need to go to the spot that will now be forever indelibly linked with the life and untimely death of a person they loved. Then again, perhaps not. Some may never understand how a memorial brings comfort, whether it be roadside, on-site, or a stone in a cemetery, far removed from the last moment of life. Loved ones live on in memories and in the heart after all.

However, whether it's to mourn, to remember, or to feel connection with the last moment of life of a loved one, the feelings of those left behind on this earth should be respected. Leave the mourners and memorials be. It may be the only semblance of peace they can find.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Amber Graf - RIP

Clarence alumna ('08) Amber Graf was killed in a car accident July 20, 2009, along with good friend Sarah Jo Breslin.

The Honsberger family, of which Amber is a member, has seemingly always been part of Clarence Center. Her untimely death slices across the generations of the Town of Clarence and many will come together in this time of tragedy, all with great sadness in their hearts.

The sudden loss of anyone's child makes all parents wish to hold their children forever to keep them safe. It hurts even more so when it's the child of a friend. Much heartfelt sympathy goes out to the family and friends. Rest in Peace Amber.

GRAF - Amber M. Of Clarence Center, NY, July 21, 2009, suddenly age 18, loving daughter of Robert and Denise (nee Honsberger) Graf; loving sister of Michael Graf; loving granddaughter of Dale and Norma (nee Graser) Honsberger and the late Ralph and late Dorothy (nee Wolf) Graf; also survived by aunts, uncles and cousins. Relatives and friends may call Thursday from 5-8 PM from The URBAN BROTHERS FUNERAL HOME INC., 6685 Transit Rd., East Amherst. A church service will be held Friday at Zion Lutheran Church, 9535 Clarence Center Rd., Clarence Center, NY at 10 AM, (please assemble at church). In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the SPCA or Zion Lutheran Church.

(see the Buffalo News for more on the accident)

Sarah Jo Breslin - RIP

Clarence alumna ('08) Sarah Jo Breslin died in a car accident July 21, 2009, along with good friend Amber Graf. She was born in Columbia, South Carolina on Feb. 6, 1990 and resided in Clarence Center, NY.

Words are inadequate to convey the shock and sense of profound loss felt by all. Much sympathy goes out to family and friends. Rest in Peace Sarah.

BRESLIN - Sarah Jo July 21, 2009; beloved daughter of Georgia (Terry Sr.) Majchrzak and Charles (Ellen) Breslin; cherished sister of Megan Nicole Breslin, Sam, Emily, and Terry Jr.; dearest granddaughter of Jonathan and the late Lea Breslin and George and Roxanna Sparks; also survived by many loving aunts, uncles, cousins and friends. No prior visitation. Family and friends are invited to attend a Memorial Service Saturday at 2 PM in Clarence United Methodist Church, 9750 Clarence Center Road, Clarence Center. Please share condolences at

(see the Buffalo News for more on the accident)

Friday, July 17, 2009

City Hall Tours

Even though I work within blocks of City Hall in downtown Buffalo I've never really gotten to know the place. Paying parking tickets or visiting other one stop departments doesn't exactly lend itself to an overall view. But that can be remedied!

Every day at noon Buffalo Tours leads a free one hour tour of City Hall from noon to 1pm. I'm gathering that there are descriptions of the various works of art and architectural located both inside and out as opposed to a blow by blow description of each department. I doubt if any City officials are on the meet and greet list for free either :)

The highlight may be a visit to the Observation Deck located at the top of City Hall. Imagine the view! Imagine the photos one could take! Unfortunately all I can think about is the guy who apparently decided to take a flying leap off the deck in 1976 and ended up on the flagpole. Sad, and totally gross.

I've seen a copy of a black & white photo of the incident, but there probably weren't a lot of pictures except for those by news photographers. This was well before everyone had some type of camera in their pocket at all times. Nowadays it might be all over the internet within minutes.

Anyway, take a tour sometime and enjoy the view!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Picturing Downtown

While reading about the most recent Buffalo Place versus James the Creamcycle Dude incident on Buffalo Rising the topic that really caught my attention was in the comments. Some people are getting harassed about taking pictures on downtown City streets and other outdoor activities by "security".

Can't take pictures of fireworks on the 4th of July? No pictures of downtown buildings? Seems to me it's a bit paranoid, although of what I'm not sure. I don't quite think prohibiting photography is terribly tourist friendly, or anybody else friendly for that matter.

I can't say that I've been prevented from taking pictures on Main Street, but on one excursion I did notice a security guard somewhat shadowing me, and I had a feeling that the camera was the object of attention. There just didn't happen to be anything photo worthy where I was at that point in time, so I wandered off, not shaking him until I was past the farmers market. Maybe he just thought I was cute :) Right.

Anyway, I've got lots more pictures from the 500-600 block of Main that I'll get on here sometime, but for now I'll leave you with one from the 300 block. While busy hassling people on the street apparently security failed to look up at the graffiti artists decorating the former AM&A's - amazing:

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Architecture in Western New York

Many of the books about architecture in Western New York focus on the wonders that exist in the City of Buffalo. However, my mom had a copy of Erie County's Architectural Legacy in her archives that was news to me.

The book was originally published in 1983 by the now defunct Erie County Preservation Board (it has since merged with Preservation Buffalo Niagara) through the Erie County Department of Environment & Planning. It features all those architectural and historical wonders that exist throughout Erie County outside of the City. It's full of photographs and also contains the history behind each structure.

Erie County's Architectural Legacy was a labor of love, possible by combining the talents of Austin Fox (editor), Chris Duffy III (photography), Rix Jennings (graphics), and James Keysa (layout).

The book is available for $11.95 through the Buffalo & Erie County Historical Society - I just checked in person to make sure - however not through their online bookstore for some reason or other. Maybe purchase can be arranged over the telephone (716-873-9644), or else you could go there yourself to its location at 25 Nottingham, corner of Elmwood (near the 198 ramps).

The bookstore at the entrance can be browsed without paying to look at the exhibits, but what the heck, as long as you're there...

Friday, July 10, 2009

Aud Time Capsule and More

My reasons for going to the Buffalo and Erie County Historical Society Museum (BECHS - much shorter) yesterday were two-fold. I wanted to make sure they still carried a book that I'm going to write a separate post about, and I wanted to see the stuff that was in the 1939 time capsule that had been in the cornerstone of the Aud.

Between those two stops I meandered throughout the museum since it has been a while since I actually took in the exhibits, as opposed to hunkering down in the research section. Truthfully I didn't get much family research done on those forays since I kept getting distracted by the articles in the newspapers on microfilm. They have a lot of material archived there and very helpful people to assist the novices.

They are building section to celebrate 50 years of the Buffalo Bills on the first floor that is incomplete, but they have some nice photographs on display already (picture here is a screenshot from an email). Funny how I can look at the days of old and kn0w exactly who's pictured without a caption, even without noting player numbers, while today's version of the Bills comes across as a type of white noise to me; there, but not there.

I may have wanted to go directly to the Aud stuff, but I managed to look at everything else on the second floor first. There's a large section called "On the Road to Freedom" which documents the Civil Rights movement and struggles in Buffalo. It's not like the suburbs were immune, just more "genteel" at times. From the Circle Association (a history of African Americans in WNY):
"1966a. A Black doctor buys and moves into a house in Buffalo suburb Clarence NY...Within a few days his new neighbors presented him with a petition urging him to leave."
Meanwhile, back at BECHS, the collage features photographs from city streets as well as the campus of UB. The students not only protested against the war but for civil rights.

The Apostle's Clock is still there, still functioning, however it's on the second floor as part of the "Buffalo Made" exhibit.

Finally the Aud stuff. Even though I had been given directions, I actually found it by accident. It's in a small room featuring paintings of ships, opposite the stairs. I tried to take some pictures, especially of the blueprints, but it's hard through the display case. Maybe with a better camera...

One thing I had somewhat disassociated with was the date - 1939. Europe was in a turmoil with WWII starting up which is evident through the partial glimpse of headlines.

The pictures here don't allow you to take in the entirety of the collections. Best advice I can offer is to go see for yourself!

Monday, July 6, 2009

One Room Schoolhouse

While wandering around yesterday I snapped a picture of the old schoolhouse at the corner of Keller & Strickler in the Town of Clarence. My father and his sisters went to school there back in the 1930's. I imagine it still looks pretty much the same now as it did then, with a few modern conveniences added and a plaque attached to the outside wall. One would need to trespass (it's occupied) in order to read it. It's a nice example of early schools in the area.