The Best Little Hole House in Greater Western New York

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Our family moved to the Rochester suburb of Chili during the Christmas break of my fifth grade. There are a lot of things I can tell you about that particular transition. It’s amazing what I still remember. There’s the “long” (because it was written on a narrow roll of paper) letter I received from the fifth grade classmates I had left behind in Woodlawn Intermediate. There’s my rediscovery of the game of chess while partaking in what was promoted as “science” class. (Apparently, “mapping” the moves – not even real chess notation – had something to do with scientific thinking.) Most relevant for this tome, however, was my new classmates’ anticipation of summer.

For many youngsters in and around the Rochester area, the summer not only brought the welcome end of “pencils, books and teacher’s dirty looks,” but it also ushered in the Continue Reading “The Best Little Hole House in Greater Western New York”

Greater Western New York’s Split Personality Explained

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To the uninitiated, Batavia might seem like a mere crossroads on the map, but the hustle and bustle of Route 5 (a.k.a. Main Street) tells a much different story. Any visitor will immediately see a testament to a thriving community. Without the telltale skyscrapers of a modern city, the heart of Genesee County clearly doesn’t come across as a quaint nineteenth century town. No, there’s a hint of modernity in its traffic, its business and even in the complexity of its inner city layout.

Yet within this bastion of modest progress lies a jewel with a much deeper backstory than meets the eye of the casual passerby. But before we get there, perhaps it makes Continue Reading “Greater Western New York’s Split Personality Explained”

Saddam’s Savage State

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[This Commentary originally appeared in the September 6, 1990 issue of The Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel.]

CarosaCommentaryNewLogo_259Over 1,500 years ago, the great Roman civilization succumbed to the barbarian forces of the north. As the Huns swept down, the monuments of the Roman Empire crumbled. The invaders destroyed ancient buildings, killed innocent women and children, looted Christian graves and promptly left when they got bored.

These men had more in common with Continue Reading “Saddam’s Savage State”

Day 2: Saturday, July 9, 2011 – Roman Connection Comes Through

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Here’s what strikes me right away: the landscape. Leaving the confines of the Leonardo DaVinci airport finds us quickly on an expressway heading towards Rome. Being a good distance from the city, farm land and open fields surround the airport. It’s that landscape which first struck me twenty-one years ago that entices me once again. I Rome_Umbrella_Pines_300can’t tell you what it is. I’ve only been here once before but I feel so… at home. Maybe it’s the soft hues of subtle shades of green and aromatic amber. It’s like the feeling is on the tip of my tongue, and then I see it.

It’s a string of umbrella pines stretching across a small hill to our right. These trees. These trees have been part of me my whole life. I don’t know why I say that. They’re not indigenous to Western New York or even America. They are native to Mediterranean climes. Vague memories stir within the oldest parts of my brain. I faintly recall a home movie – perhaps from my grandfather? – shot through a window of a moving car, showing this exact scene. It’s odd. I don’t know if it’s Continue Reading “Day 2: Saturday, July 9, 2011 – Roman Connection Comes Through”