Friday, May 22, 2009

My Brothers Launch a New Book

The face of Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium, AKA "the Aud", now in demolition.

So these days I have a Google news alert set up to keep track of my siblings. Good thing, too, because I'm too busy getting the garden in to do much writing of my own. Today's alert tells me that Brothers Chris and Tim's long time project, a coffee table book about the heyday of the Buffalo Braves basketball got a nice review in the Buffalo News. The review also mentions the demolition of the old Memorial Auditorium, the big venue for sports, concerts, etc. of my youth.
I can see it from the third floor of The Buffalo News, a crumbling carcass of steel and brick. You think of the ghosts and memories contained in the old Memorial Auditorium, and in the hearts and minds of the athletes and fans who spent so many hours there.

Tim Wendel remembers. Wendel grew up in Lockport. He came of age in the 1970s, when pro sports in Buffalo were at their zenith and two daily newspapers were there to record the moment. Wendel would run out of his house on cold winter mornings to pick up the old Courier-Express, and to see what Phil Ranallo had to say in his column.

Wendel went to Syracuse to learn journalism. He got work as a sports rewrite guy at the Courier, editing Ranallo's stuff. He was on his honeymoon in September 1982 when he got a phone call from a friend who was watching his apartment. Your apartment's fine, the friend said, but your paper closed.

He ended up in Washington, D.C., where his wife got a job with the Post. Wendel wrote a book about the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team. He covered baseball and wrote a baseball novel about Fidel Castro.

He remained a Buffalo guy at heart. He and his brother, Chris, sat around at family gatherings, rehashing games from their youth. One day, they were carrying on about the Braves when a relative said, "Why don't you guys shut up and write about it?"

Buffalo, Home of the Braves is published by Sun Bear Press, brother Chris's new publishing company. Chris is a small business consultant for the the NorthWest Michigan Council of Governments; starting a publishing company is his response to Brother Tim's frustration with the state of the publishing industry, and the opportunity offered by new print-on-demand technology.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Leland Harbor Still Under Construction

Unloading the new floating docks.

The latest word on Leland Harbor from the Harbor Commission:
Leland Harbor is still closed for renovation. Don't look for any mooring in the harbor until June 18th, and don't look for fuel before June 26th. The boat launch will open around the same time.

The Leland Harbor project was on a tight schedule, having been delayed last fall due to State of Michigan red tape, and one of the waterside contractors was held up by the relatively late spring. I had hoped that they could catch up in the long days of late spring, but dredging is going slowly near the shore.

Once the dredging is done, they can stabilize the retaining wall and start on the building's front porch. The roof shingle are on and the shakes, stained a weathered gray, are ready to go up.

I have heard a lot of criticism of the building's size, the roof color, and so on. As the daughter of a civil engineer and an interior designer, I have seen a lot of structures make the transformation from blueprint to finished building, and have heard this same sort of criticism before. I went to the Thompson Street beach after hearing complaints about how huge and intrusive the building looked from the beach. Of course with no siding and shingles it looked bright and huge. But when I imagined what it would look like finished and with the flag flying in a stiff breeze, well my heart skipped a beat. The scene was so impossibly perfect that I'm anxiously waiting for the finish date so that I can see it for real. I suspect that by the end of the summer we will be tripping over artists and their easels painting that very scene.

Of course if you are out on the big lake, scanning the shore for a safe harbor, that red roof will be a most welcome sight.

Anna has been taken with the building process as well. She scrambled over the rocks to get this photo of the new floating docks, as they are assembled out in the harbor waiting for the rest of the components. Only two days on the water and already the seagulls are making themselves at home! An otter was playing around and flipped its tail at us.

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mimi at Shelagh's Birthday Party

This is another from the rolls of old film. This is Shelagh's birthday party, her first grade year. Shelagh would have been turning 7 this year, so it was 1993, and my Grandma Mimi, in the photo above was 90. Next to Mimi is Ashley Patterson, and the girl in the red bow is Becky Houdek. Mimi always loved children and loved a party, so she had a place at the table for every birthday party.

This is in the kitchen at our house. We used to have cake-and-ice cream birthday parties with musical chairs and Duck Duck Goose. You were allowed to invite only as many kids as the age you were turning, plus your sister, so turning seven made a pretty good party. Shelagh's birthday is just before Christmas, so other pictures on this roll show the girls making Christmas cookies. In another picture Shelagh is proudly modeling the hand me down white shoes that Ashley gave her. Shelagh was thrilled to get white shoes and I was honored that Ashley's mom trusted us enough to give a second hand birthday present.

Today is Mother's Day. All I wanted was to spend time with my family. Anna and I slept late, then went for a walk in the woods. For supper Richard, Anna, and I made half baked pizza crusts and cut all the fixings, then took it all over to my parent's condo and made them dinner. We also had baby lettuce salad and fresh cut tulips.
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