Category Personal

The Can of Worms

I believe it was the summer of 1968. I was driving over to Rochester, N.Y., to visit a friend. Knowing my fear of the unknown, he agreed to meet me at the Thruway exit so I could follow him to his home. But he wasn’t at the exit, and when I called on the payphone, […]

George Dickel

On my twenty-first birthday, in search of something special, I purchased a “powder horn bottle” of George Dickel Tennessee sour mash whiskey. It was love at first sip and, more than half a century later, this whiskey remains my “desert island” favorite. I kept the bottle as a memento for a few years, but then, […]

Anthony Trollope

I am reading Masters of the Post: The Authorized History of the Royal Mail, a thumping big tome by Duncan Campbell-Smith, and I came across a passage that reminded me of a particular Waterloo of mine. The author noted that Anthony Trollope, who worked for the General Post Office before gaining fame as a novelist, […]

The Big Snow

In December of 1937, Buffalo, N.Y., had a snow storm documented by Keith Winship and his Brownie camera. The storm, while not the largest ever in Buffalo, did merit a British Pathé newsreel appearance.

My Most Favorite Incense Burner

I was in Syracuse, in my fraternity house at 115 College Place. I’d probably enjoyed a few beers, and was thus feeling unfettered by convention. On the kitchen wall, just to the right of the stove, was an old cast iron fire alarm box, connected to nothing. It had been painted over so many times […]

Monkeys, Cats, Fish

A selection of photos from Keith Winship’s photo album from the 1930s, taken in and around Western New York State. Probably Keith’s father, Clair, with a muskie. Boiling sap for maple syrup. Probably Chestnut Ridge Jean Braun Winship and Eva Winship Seaman Mom on a branch Love the lighting. No idea, but I quite love […]

666: Jared & Me

Before the New York Times or the Washington Post get a hold of this, I want to issue my denials. Yes, I am linked to Jared Kushner through our mutual involvement in 666 Fifth Avenue. Yes, I know Kushner is struggling to obtain cash for his investment at 666 Fifth, for which $1.2 billion in […]

Mom’s Yearbook

My mother, Jean Braun, graduated from Bennett High School in 1932, during the Depression, hence the small, paperback yearbook. She got the Principal’s autograph. She made the Honor Roll 20 times. She was Circulation Manager for the yearbook. That’s her in the front row, third from the right. She got good grades. Bryant & Stratton […]

The Cyclone

My father’s photo album included three photos of the legendary Cyclone roller coaster at the Crystal Beach amusement park in Fort Erie, Ontario, just across the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, N.Y. The Cyclone was one of three coasters designed and built by Harry G. Traver, and was variously described as “the thrill of thrills,” “revered […]

Lewiston Ice Jam, 1938

My father took seven photos of the Lewiston ice jam of 1938. Lake Erie, being shallow, was prone to the buildup of ice in the winter, which then went over Niagara Falls in huge blocks. The flow of the lower Niagara River couldn’t handle that much ice, and it collected in ice jams, most notably […]