IT'S JUST ANOTHER DAY

A blog about a life awakened and rejuvenated around Western New York.


Leave a comment

REHEARSING TO BE MRS. KRUSE

It was an amazing 24 hours. The whole week really. Melissa had come home to be married out of our house like she always dreamed. We ate meals as a family. We watched movies together (wedding movies, needless to say). 

Cold, wet skies pocked the approaching days, and in a way we prayed for better weather. It poured as we entered the church to rehearse. Step here, do that. Don’t do this, the wedding party goes here… And it seemed to go smoothly (a precursor to the following nuptials). Dinner and a gathering again as a soon to be newly formed family. Drinks and laughs and food and long glancing looks.

Her mother looks contemplative. She knows our daughter will join the ranks as a wife and somewhere down the road, a mother. They’ve had their battles, both headstrong and driven. Melissa was too much like her mother, as much as neither would admit it. As much as they both hoped they would be.

And I was as melancholy as I had become as the big day neared. Mixed emotions, I guess you would say. Melissa was our first born. She was my helper, my right hand. She cared for her sister while mom worked nights and I tried hard to keep the ship afloat. Her chosen field (teaching) came to her naturally, again in her dealings with Andrea, her junior by seven years. The girls liked to play school. And in acting as teacher, Melissa did indeed teach her sister, how to read and write long before she had been enrolled at school.

She was my biggest fan. She enjoyed my music and was my best critic when it came to my verbal scribblings. I knew my poetry was good when I was able to elicit tears from Melissa through the touching beauty of some well chosen words. For a while it felt like I was losing that.

But all I was losing was the daily connection we had come to rely upon. None of the rest really changed.

The morning of the wedding moved like a high speed movie. Disjointed scenes, random clips of a pre-scripted show. Hair appointments, and dressing, photographs and in the milieu of time, a wedding happened. Me, on wobbly legs escorting this beautiful woman (the second time in my life) down an aisle to a new life. No practice was really necessary, she knew what to do all along. It was as if she were leading me to where she needed to be. I had been replaced. And she couldn’t have chosen a better man.

But in reality, it was he that made the correct choice. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple of kids.


1 Comment

BEING FOR THE BENEFIT OF… ROY HOBBS

cropped-robert-redford-in-the-natural.jpg

Iris Gaines: You know, I believe we have two lives.
Roy Hobbs: How… what do you mean?
Iris Gaines: The life we learn with and the life we live with after that.

                             ~ Dialogue from “The Natural”

Movies if well made, stand the test of time. In this Baseball classic based on Bernard Malamud’s novel, “The Natural”, the hero Roy Hobbs steps out of a self-imposed obscurity to become the best ball player in the game. The lessons learned in a lifetime of learning gave Hobbs the basis for a new future after baseball.

The stadium and other venues around Western New York, became the backdrop for many of the scenes in the movie, The Natural.

With big names like Robert Redford, Glenn Close, Robert Duvall, Kim Bassinger and Darren McGavin setting up shop here, Buffalo took on an almost surreal sense. Seeing familiar sites portrayed as clearly as day on the big screen, gave Buffalonians (auto-correct wants to change this to Babylonians) another sense. It gave them a sense of pride.

War Memorial Stadium (the “Rockpile”) became Knight’s Field, home of the fictitious New York Knights. The original home of the Buffalo Bills of the AFL, and long-time home of the Buffalo Bison Baseball club, the “Rockpile” took on legendary status here (as did the Memorial Auditorium, “The Aud”, where the Buffalo Sabres – ‘NHL’ and the Los Angeles Clippers (as the Buffalo Braves ‘NBA’) had their beginnings.)

The “Hotel Ellicott” in the movie changed the function of the Ellicott Square Building. ESB is an office complex which at the time it was built hailed as the largest office building in the world. The site also claimed the first dedicated movie theater known to exist. It was named for Joseph Ellicott, the purveyor who planned the then Village of Buffalo.

My favorite building in the area, the Buffalo Central Terminal stood in for the Chicago Train Station, with interior scenes captured there.

The candy shop where Roy Hobbs and his girl Iris meet while the Knights are in Chicago, is in reality The Parkside Candy Shoppe keeping its name and function, although losing its location on Main Street in Buffalo.

Buffalo’s All-High Stadium doubled as Chicago’s Wrigley Field during the filming of “The Natural”.

The NYC Maternity Hospital that Roy Hobbs was taken to was “portrayed” by the Buffalo Psychiatric Center. The center currently is not open to the public. Crazy, right?

Other memorable scenes in the film include: South Dayton, New York as the Water stop / Carnival where Roy strikes out “The Whammer” on three pitches as the Hobbs Family farm found its location in Stafford, New York.

***

Other films had their origins in and around Buffalo, but not to the scope of “The Natural”. It shined a bright light on the city and people of Buffalo and the surrounding area.

For more in-depth descriptions of these locales,
visit FORGOTTEN BUFFALO


Leave a comment

HERE, THERE AND EVERYWHERE – PEACE BRIDGE

Peace Bridge joining Buffalo and Fort Erie, Canada

Peace Bridge joining Buffalo and Fort Erie, Canada

The scene highlighted above is the Peace Bridge. It is a free standing structure that spans the Niagara River and joins the City of Buffalo, New York with the Town of Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

For more information please visit: PEACE BRIDGE

****

GOING OVER THE BRIDGE

Back in the day, before Homeland Security and terrorist threats, crossing the bridge into Canada was an afterthought. It was a trek we made on a weekly basis. And we were just kids.

Growing up on the border with out great Canadian neighbors, we were exposed early to the game of hockey. A good pair of “rabbit ears” could squeeze the signal for CHCH-TV (Channel 11 around the Buff) and a chance to view CFL (Canadian Football League) games and curling on Saturday afternoons. But the kids up and down the street would congregate to whose ever house had the best reception to catch the Maple Leafs playing hockey at Maple Leaf Garden in Toronto. Buffalo had a minor league hockey team, the Buffalo Bisons who had served as an affiliate to the Chicago Blackhawks, New York Rangers and the storied Montreal Canadiens over the years. We made the game our popular favorite long before we would land our own NHL team (Buffalo Sabres)

It stood to reason that having caught the “bug” that we would attempt to imitate our hockey heroes. A bunch of American kids with little equipment available to them, but a load of frozen creek to make our rink. We wanted to play hockey. Pond hockey was fun, providing an all day escape in the clear, crisp frozen air that graced Western New York when late November came to call.

But somehow, even that wasn’t enough. We needed an actual ice rink to play upon. Not many facilities in the area in those days, so our obvious solution was north of the border, across the bridge. 3 AM we loaded a few cars of the older guys who could drive and with our make shift pads and rusted skates, we would pool our little cash from a paper route, of grass cutting (a few of the older guys had jobs) and we would rent an hour of ice time in Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada.

The Peace Bridge was more than a crossing over the Niagara River, more than a portal into Canada. It was a lifeline to the game we loved. Early morning across the bridge.