The Never-Ending Apple Wars of Summer

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The dynamics between the kids on Abbott Parkway were complex. There was always this “boys against girls” thing.

It started in school. By fourth grade, it got to where boys intercepted notes girls tried to pass to one another. Sometimes the boys would read them. Sometimes the boys would pass them to our teacher, Miss Powell. Miss Powell didn’t take too kindly to note passing.

This tension spilled over to the neighborhood. Several girls from our grade played on the Continue Reading “The Never-Ending Apple Wars of Summer”

Simple Summer Mornings In The Years B.C. (‘Before Chili’)

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If the summers of Dortmund Circle were filled with sports of all sorts, flingable fruit filled the summers of Abbott Parkway. That wasn’t the only difference.

While nearly all the kids my age on Dortmund Circle were boys, girls dominated the peerage on Abbott Parkway. There were a lot more kids on Abbott Parkway, in part because the street was twice as long. That length also changed our venues of play.

On Dortmund Circle, all us guys lived within a few houses of each other. Our playing fields (mostly the street and our driveways) lay right outside our doors. Given its substantial length and the location of most of the kids, Abbott Parkway presented a different avenue to fun.Continue Reading “Simple Summer Mornings In The Years B.C. (‘Before Chili’)”

Ground Control To Commander Tom

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You hear stories from older generations about having to “walk a mile back and forth to school each day… in a snowstorm… and it was uphill both ways!”

Well, truth be told, for my brother and me, it was just under a half mile each way. Four-tenths of a mile from our house at the end of the street (187 Abbott Parkway) all the way up to the school bus stop at the corner of South Park Ave, then a narrow two lanes.

Living in Blasdell meant we were in the crosshairs of the lake effect snow machine south of Buffalo, so you could bet your bottom dollar we often walked during snowstorms. And rainstorms. And thunderstorms. And thundersnow. And even hot (almost) summer days towards the end of the school year. Yeah, mom made sure we always dressed for the Continue Reading “Ground Control To Commander Tom”

A Memory of Frank Ricci

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You probably never heard of Frank Ricci.

You probably never met Frank Ricci.

But I have and I did. He is among the thousand points of light that have illuminated my life. This is my salute to him. As you read this, I’m confident you may find some familiar tidbits that you didn’t expect to be there. I promise you, before you come to the end of this column, you’ll discover why.

Francesco “Frank” Ricci was born in the mountains south of Rome, Italy on February 10, 1935. He immigrated to America in 1959 after marrying his wife Teresa. Teresa DeAngelis grew up on Abbott Parkway in Blasdell, New York. I grew up on Abbott Parkway, only many years later.

I remember much about growing up on Abbott Parkway. On the other hand, I don’t Continue Reading “A Memory of Frank Ricci”

If You’re Not Guilty, Don’t Act Like It

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In elementary school we walked a half mile each day to the bus stop at the top of the street. There were about twenty kids at that bus stop (this was during the peak baby boomer years, so it wasn’t unusual for one street to produce twenty elementary school kids). There were two sets of boys. The older boys and us (me, my brother Kenny, my best friend Angelo and his brother Markie). There was also this quite younger boy, Johnny, who desperately wanted to be like us (not the older boys, for even he realized that was too much a leap). We shunned him, as older kids are wont to do with younger kids, but we didn’t bully him like the older boys did to us (to see how I ultimately defeated these bullies – without any need for physical violence – see “Terror at the School Bus Stop – A True Life Story,” Mendon-Honeoye Falls-Lima Sentinel, January 11, 1990). As a result, Continue Reading “If You’re Not Guilty, Don’t Act Like It”

Strawberry Fields Forever – An Ode to Kenny

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Kenneth P. Carosa
11/2/1961 – 6/18/2017

This is the first of four parts of an older brother’s eulogy to a beloved younger brother.

I remember a bright summer day in late June. The sweet smell of acres upon acres of Queen Anne’s Lace, daisies, and the occasional black-eyed Susan surrounded us as we ventured into the bountiful fields of wild strawberries. The broad undeveloped lots just to the south of Highland Parkway rolled as far as the eye could see.

And with the weed trees then mere young saplings, the eye could see pretty far. We often tested our vision on clear August days. Me, Kenny, Angelo and Markie would hike deep into these virgin woods, being careful to remain within sight of civilization as we knew it. We walked just far enough so we could see the Hamburg Fair’s Double Ferris Wheel spin silently just on the edge of the horizon.

But while those late summer days were for friends, the first days of summer meant the strawberries were ripening. No one cared more about this abundant fruit except for my mother, me, and Kenny… and perhaps a few small animals. Each summer my mother would Continue Reading “Strawberry Fields Forever – An Ode to Kenny”

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