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September 9, 2013

Western New York revisited

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Who says you can’t turn back the clock? On a recent trip to Western New York, I did just that. But I was only able to do it because Christmas (in my wife’s family) comes in early August.

Marcia and I were both born in Buffalo in 1934, and met in Mary Jane Orcutt’s 5th grade class at Lincoln School in the Township of Tonawanda, in 1944. We were married near Madison, Wisc., in 1992, but that’s another story.

The Chase family, of which Marcia is a proud member, celebrates Christmas in the summer because they have grown out of being able to meet in any of their homes in December. So Christmas for quite a few years is a backyard picnic/party, with Christmas tree, decorations, presents and everything we used to enjoy in December.

Admittedly, the neighbors do look a little shocked, and the customs agents often give me funny looks when I explain the purpose of our trip as we come across Ontario. But this year, it was the “day after Christmas” that offered the biggest surprises.

The flashbacks that occurred for me on Aug. 4 were a result of two events in my early years in Western New York.

In 1939, my father was a supervisor at the DuPont Cellophane plant, and had risen to the point where he was ready to trade his 1937 Ford for a new 1939 Buick. He had not been successful in negotiating a deal that he considered satisfactory, and he had heard that there was a dealer in Lockport that would “really deal.”

My parents had planned a Saturday picnic at Niagara Falls, but decided to first detour from the Kenmore area to Lockport and check out the Buick dealer there. The information about this dealer was apparently true, and we never got to Niagara Falls that day, but came home in a new Buick.

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