The Butcher of Clinton Street
This past week, we noticed the presence of mice in our basement. In one way, I like mice. They’re cute, plump and furry. I understand why they want to join us. It’s cold outside and there’s not much food. Inside, it’s warm and we have lots of food. They’re just trying to get along. But […]
Three stories about abortion: My parents listened to the news on the radio during breakfast and read the morning paper. I remember hearing reports of women found dead in hotel rooms, and reading about them, victims of botched abortions. Abortion was illegal, hence a lucrative sideline for organized crime, for doctors who had lost their […]
The AR-15 is made to kill people, many people in a short period of time. It is not made for hunting game, target shooting or home defense. There are guns specifically designed for those tasks. I grew up with guns. In the bedroom I shared with my brother, there was a gun rack over his […]
What Is Faux Postage?
“It was recognized even in the eighteen-sixties that collectors had to contend with not only forgeries of government-issued postage stamps but also stamps whose validity existed only in the imagination of their producers.”– Cinderella Stamps (1970) by L.N. and M. Williams I love mail, mail art, the post office, postage stamps, rubber stamps. All of […]
Where to begin. A friend sent me a copy of Goat Mountain by David Vann, and it dredged up all kinds of memories. My grandfathers were both hunters, as was my father, but I never went hunting with them, and I thank God for that. I was too weak, too small, too much like a […]
From the Beer Book
Mr. Clete and a cold one, art by Jo Buffalo In the 1960s and ’70s, I kept a notebook of beer articles, clippings, ephemera, but I hadn’t opened it in 30 or 40 years, until this week. I found things I had long forgotten. A keg label from Utica Club’s dark ale, a staple at […]
The Spanish Influenza, 1918
Two stories about the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic from my family: My mother’s mother, Cora Braun, was 30 years old in September of 1918 when the Spanish Flu appeared in Buffalo, New York. Her most vivid memory was of a day when she watched from her front window as the funeral processions began at dawn […]
Fish, Rooster, First Car
My father, probably at Chautauqua Lake. Al Kranz, with pipe and fish. My best guess: a bagpiper at the Canadian National Exposition, Toronto, Ontario.
After my parents died, these photos were among the things passed down. They show my father as an infant, his mother’s family, my Winship grandparents, who I knew, and my Slocum great-grandparents, who died before I was born. And my Aunt Mame, who also went by Mazie. Bucktooth Run (circa 1905). L. to r., Hollis […]
A Father’s Day Story
My father was a fisherman. He loved to go fishing. And then he would bring his catch home and we would have fish for dinner. Dinnertime with my father, at a very small kitchen table, was never fun, but the fish added a new element of pain. Every mouthful could contain a fish bone, an […]