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Old 05-05-2008, 06:36 AM
 
66 posts, read 92,844 times
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I hope everyone can endulge me while I share some of my memories of Rochester. My father has had several strokes and is heading downhill- part of the process is my family remembering Rochester- somewhat involuntarily because my father sometimes hallucinates that we are still there.

My father's side of the family were Irish and German immigrants. I don't know exactly when they got there, but my grandmother and great-grandmother were friends of Susan B. Anthony, so they had been there awhile. They lived in the area of Ravine Ave and Leavingworth Sts, near Driving Park bridge. My father was born in a house on Leavingworth St. and then the family moved to an enormous 100 year old duplex on Ravine Ave, I grew up there for awhile, until we moved in the late '70's when the neighborhood went downhill. My family was staunchly Irish Catholic and heavily involved at Holy Rosary church. My father went there (I suppose his brothers and sisters did too) and I was a student there when the old building burned down. When it burned down, I believe that we were bussed to the school at Holy Apostles but I'm not sure if that is right. My father graduated from Aquinas High School and I had a full scholarship to go there but we moved down to Texas after my 8th grade graduation from Mother of Sorrows (we had moved up to Greece from Ravine Ave).

I was born at Genesse Hospital and I can remember spending so much time there because both of my parents worked there. I can distinctly remember experiences at the daycare at Asbury Church on East Avenue. Of course, my family members had worked at Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch and Lomb and I think GM had a plant there at one time too and my various aunts and uncles and cousins had worked at all of them.

When we lived on Ravine Ave., I can remember going over to Maplewood Park, smelling the lilacs and sledding down the hill in the winter. We also used to go to Glendale Park and I used to go to a babysitter on Dewey Ave- a miserable old woman who was appropriately named Mrs. Roach. I can remember it being a very old neighborhood, it was going downhill rapidly as the older people died off. The old ladies that we used to visit had the old pull down shades and the old china and knick knacks- I remember one woman always had dishes of these little square mints, which I used to pig out on. I had my first sexual experiences on that street, I must have been 4 or 5 when I started playing doctor with a girl who lived across the street. We used to go down to the drug store on the corner of Ravine and Lake Ave- an old guy who would recycle his Easter candy from year to year ran the place for years. I suppose it was the ending of an era there.

I also have great memories of Tent City on Lyell Ave- that place was great. I used to love looking at all the military surplus stuff. Then climbing up those nasty stairs to the second floor. We still have a tent and other stuff from there.

My father told me that Ravine was considered the edge of the Irish neighborhood and the next street, Locust, was the Italian area. Apparently, my Irish grandfather used to shout various epithets towards the Italian guy behind us, who would pee on the flowers in our backyard in return. The story was that he was a mafioso, something like the black hand society or something like that. The area was full of characters. My grandfather ran a numbers racket and my father was a runner for him when he was little. I kinds missed out on all the excitement though.

Unfortunately, my grandparents have been in the ground at Holy Sepulchre Cemetary for decades now. My father is the last of 5 bothers and sisters.

I mentioned that we moved to Greece- at first we lived in a large apartment complex on Long Pond (where we were adopted by a very street smart cat who we dragged all over the country for the next 20 years) and then in a house on Edgemere drive, like 6 or 7 houses down from Schallers (I went to MOS with some of the Schaller kids). Of course I have loads of memories of swimming, fishing, boating, biking, walking out on the ponds when they were frozen, watching the ice fisherman and the snowmobilers, seeing the lake freeze into ice and these bowling ball chunks of ice. I spent loads of my time at Schallers- eating the swirled custard (the chocolate and vanilla swirls), always with sprinkles. Ripping off their pickles from the jar when I didn't have any money to actually buy anything; eating their burgers with hot sauce (I loved that sauce! It is my most missed item from there). Eating white hots too, of course. My father and I built a wooden shed which I can still see on Google Earth images. We used to build igloos in my backyard during the winter. Of course, the lake effect snow would nail us, so the police would close down Edgemere. When we got dropped off by our schoolbus, we would get a ride down the street in a police 4x4.

I also remember a cool little corner store at Edgemere and Long Pond. And I remember when the volunteer fire department's firehouse burned down where it was near Crescent Beach (I can still see the foundation on Google Earth). Then they built a new one at the corner of Edgemere and Long Pond. We used to feed ducks at the corner of Edgemere and Lowden Point- there was a sign warning of duck crossings there. Then we would go to the public library down the street there.

I also remember riding my bike over to Charlotte and Ontario beach and eating Abbott's custard and walking/riding my bike out the jetty. I can remember one year when the salmon derby was on, I was down on one of the boat launches (which were newly built) and some guy gave me 3 gigantic salmon and we ate salmon steaks for a month. I remember when they re-opened the carousel and the bathhouse and redid the park there.

We also used to buy pop from a store where you could pick out all sorts of funky flavors and put the bottles into a crate. Then you would save the empties and take them back. I think that store was near Dewey and Stone. Which also reminds me of one of my ways to make money as a kid- turning empty pop cans in at Wegmans. The very nice one on Dewey and Britton- we were down there when they built that store. We had moved away from Rochester and back and ended up in a so-so apartment complex across Dewey from there. I can remember biking around there, going to Northgate Mall and Wegmans. I used to go and watch people practicing Karate at a dojo in that area (I distinctly remember doing that in winter, when the window would have condensation all over it) and my family used to get fish and chips at a fish place there. We also used to go to a store in Northgate, I think it was McCurdy's or Sibley's, which had a section of boy scout stuff that I always liked to look at.

When I was younger I remember going to Midtown and riding the monorail at Christmas, going through the mountain. Seeing the animatronic Christmas displays, both there and at the malls in Greece (Greece Towne and Long Ridge). I forget which goes in which mall, but I remember that one has this very dark, lava rock sitting area, sunk down in the middle of the mall. There was also a stand to get pretzels, which I loved. Then there was a toy store with this Rube Goldberg type contraption outside of it (in the middle of the mall) that had a ball which would drop and pass down through the machine. I can remember going into Woolworth's and seeing all the winter clothes- they had a lot of work type clothes- flannel, loads of them, which I always liked to look at for some reason.

I miss the sense of truly being an Irish American- going to Catholic schools, having some NORAID type organization come to my school (MOS) and raise money for the poor kids in Northern Ireland, showing us a video of the crappy housing estates. All the other times raising money by putting change into little milk carton banks for starving kids in Africa. Being an altar boy (no I never saw any abuse), getting to skip class to serve funerals. Hot lunches- particularly the pizza bagels from a shop in Northgate. Nuns with rulers. Making fun of wops and ******s, all in good fun of course. Bus rides, standing at the bus stop in snow that was taller than me because the damn schools never closed. The pipers and parades, the dancing, the drum corps, Emerald Societies, mummers.

I fondly remember summer camps at the Y on Long Pond, playing in Sawyer park, field trips up to Braddock Bay State Park. School field trips to some farm store (Green Acre Farms?) where you could pick apples and they made their own apple cider and honey, and in the fall you could get pumpkins. The place also had a teepee and stuff to play in.

The church that was turned into a library right next door to MOS and the ghost stories from there. The dances and rollerskating in the basement of the church.

I remember tall ships coming to dock at Charlotte and the huge lines to get to see them. I can also remember driving on Lake Shore Blvd, by Durand Eastman Park and hiking there. Going to Seabreeze and Don and Bob's (my father worked there as a kid). Walking out the jetty and getting splashed.

Going to the Eastman House was great (the photography bug runs through my family.

I have a somewhat random but very clear memory of being stuck at the Stutson Street Bridge when some idiot decided that he would jump it as it was going up- I believe it was someone who was being chased by the cops. He made it over but he blew out all of the tires of the car and I think broke the axles as well. But there we were, stuck in a huge line of cars as the cops investigated. Everyone got out of their cars and walked up to the bridge to look as the word spread.


Anyway, just so much. I'm sorry that this is such a rambling post, just a lot of memories and somewhat of a difficult time with my dad. We are mail ordering some Zweigle's white hots for him, a little taste of home. He wants to go and see how Rochester has faired all these years but I'm not sure if we will make it in time. Thanks for reading all of this.
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Old 05-05-2008, 08:24 AM
 
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Hello Leavingsoon...

I enjoyed reading your wonderful memories of Rochester during your childhood. We must be similar in age because I can relate to many of your experiences. I am also Irish...but Irish/Italian (dad Irish, mom Itailian)...what a mix!

I grew up in the Dewey/Stone neighborhood of Greece. I too remember the pop store (can't remember the name right now..but when I do I will post it) in the plaza at Dewey/Stone...along with the drug store Cramer's, and the Olympia Restaurant, and the archery store in there. Unfortunately that whole plaza was razed and a new Eckert Drug store was built there a few years ago.

I also remember biking down Dewey Avenue to Northgate Plaza....going to the same Bagel Shop for pizza bagels....yes, it was McCurdy's that used to be there along with a small JC Penny store, Wolworth's, Apple's Grocery Store (my very first job as a cashier LOL ! )...and I remember when they tore down Britton Rd. School, to build the area's first "Big" Wegmans....now that Wegmans seems so small compared to the ones they build today.

I still love Abbotts and Schallers is still just as wonderful.

You should come back for a visit someday...much better in person than looking at Google Earth.

Blessings to you and your family during the difficult time with your dad.
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Old 05-05-2008, 10:38 AM
 
118 posts, read 594,135 times
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Got it.....The pop store was called Towne Club
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:52 AM
 
66 posts, read 92,844 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MovesAlot View Post
Hello Leavingsoon...

I enjoyed reading your wonderful memories of Rochester during your childhood. We must be similar in age because I can relate to many of your experiences. I am also Irish...but Irish/Italian (dad Irish, mom Itailian)...what a mix!

I grew up in the Dewey/Stone neighborhood of Greece. I too remember the pop store (can't remember the name right now..but when I do I will post it) in the plaza at Dewey/Stone...along with the drug store Cramer's, and the Olympia Restaurant, and the archery store in there. Unfortunately that whole plaza was razed and a new Eckert Drug store was built there a few years ago.

I also remember biking down Dewey Avenue to Northgate Plaza....going to the same Bagel Shop for pizza bagels....yes, it was McCurdy's that used to be there along with a small JC Penny store, Wolworth's, Apple's Grocery Store (my very first job as a cashier LOL ! )...and I remember when they tore down Britton Rd. School, to build the area's first "Big" Wegmans....now that Wegmans seems so small compared to the ones they build today.

I still love Abbotts and Schallers is still just as wonderful.

You should come back for a visit someday...much better in person than looking at Google Earth.

Blessings to you and your family during the difficult time with your dad.
Thanks for the blessings, we need them.

Now I remember more of Northgate, I had forgotten about the grocery store but I can remember that as plain as day now. That is too bad about Towne Club, that was great being able to pick what you wanted. I seem to remember another store like that on Ridge Road I think, it was a drive through booze place with a driveway right through the middle of the store- I think that you could get pop there too.

I can remember that Wegmans like it was yesterday, we really don't have grocery stores like that down here. I also just remembered the fire station on Dewey that was north of Stone- it stands out because of that lime/neon green that the engines were painted. I remember always having to look at them when we drove past- it was an old stone building that was covered with ivy.

But the thing that I really forgot to write about that I really loved and now miss is World Wide News on St. Paul Street downtown. Every Sunday after church we used to go up there to get papers and for me to buy comics (especially G.I. Joe). I loved that place! There was always an old guy buying lotto tickets who would yell out "talk to me lessy(or something like that)" when he was picking his numbers. I see that they have a website and are still there. I'm actually surprised at the number of places that are still there.

My father also used to take me to the library downtown and the one that was on Lake ave. The downtown one was always special to me because it was so large and old and just seemed like a place that was packed full of old knowledge, if you know what I mean. I thought the one on Lake Ave was either at the intersection of Denise or Britton roads but there doesn't seem to
be one there now- do you know if it moved?

I was shocked to see all the talk about garbage plates and if you're from Rochester you have to have heard of them. No one in my family has heard of them but apparently that name came about after we left. I do remember hots and tots. I don't remember ever going to Nick Tahou's but both my parents had been there and they told me it wasn't in the best of neighborhoods.

It would be great to come visit but my father isn't in the condition to do it now. We have been talking about it and trying not to say "we would like to get back there before you..." But, we do have fond memories, although there seems to be some problems there now. I was shocked to see about the Kodak layoffs- that is just a huge number of people.

I remember finding some article on the web talking about the "lost generation" or something like that, describing the people my age who have left Rochester and have gone on to be successful professionals in other cities. I know that I will probably be living and working in Dallas or Austin and my background has helped me become what I am. Anyway, thank you to everyone who has taken the time to read all of this.
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Old 05-07-2008, 08:25 AM
 
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Kodak layoffs took a hit thats for sure...but Rochester has a decent professional population and we have a much more high tech economy now and are gaining jobs in that sector fast enough to make up for the losses in manufacturing, we are really starting to turn the corner here in becoming the stable sufficient region we were not too long ago. I think this region gets "written off" so to speak too easily...we have plenty of successful and professional people who were born raised, and stayed here; certainly moreso than many other cities in the great lakes/upstate NY.
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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"I also just remembered the fire station on Dewey that was north of Stone- it stands out because of that lime/neon green that the engines were painted. I remember always having to look at them when we drove past- it was an old stone building that was covered with ivy."

The fire department is Barnard Fire Dept. They are still there. I have fond memories of them because I used to be in their color guard and march in parades etc....fun times as a kid. Do you remember the Barnard Fire Dept. Carnival in July?
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:48 PM
 
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I do...they still have it. I took my kids to the Barnard Carnival (eventhough the oldest 2 were 16 and 13 at the time haha) a couple years ago when we were visiting (before we decided to move back).
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Old 09-17-2009, 01:12 PM
 
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Boy, all of you must have been my neighbors.

We lived on Paddy Hill Drive just off Latta road at the base of Paddy Hill.

My background is Italian / Scottish – now there’s a mix.

Leavingsoon, I'm sorry to hear of your Dad's stroke. My Dad also suffered a stroke this March (09). He passed away a week later. Our family now lives in Florida.

We got our “Pop in a crate” (Fiz Soda) from Frank’s Deli near the corner of Dewey and Latta.

I rode my bike to Charlotte via Island Cottage Road many times. Shaller’s was always a great burger. Kids used to say that the workers would spit in the pickle jar, but rest assured, my brother worked there and he assured us that that didn’t happen. There was however, a BB gun kept at the back door to scare off the muskrats that would wander behind the restaurant.

Our favorite was the Char Pit in Charlotte – great steak sandwiches and hot sauce. But, of course, the place we looked forward to every spring: Don & Bob’s. I can still hear them calling out the orders, “One Texas, one porker, one ground-round!”

My father’s favorite hot dog place was an old Mob hang-out (no he wasn’t in the mob) Ackermann’s on Lyell Avenue. They would dip the Zweigle's hot in hot oil and then pull it out, split it and fry it on a griddle.

Without a doubt for frozen custard it was Abbott’s. I was pleased to find that Abbott’s has two stores down here in Florida, one in Ft Myers Beach and another in Naples. The one in Naples has pictures of Charlotte.

As I said, we lived at the base of Paddy Hill and Father O’Rourke, from Mother of Sorrows Church, would tell the neighborhood kids the ghost stories of Greece, just before dark and then send them home through the graveyard.

But, our own ghost story was the best. We lived in a house that was occasionally visited by the ghost of what appeared to be a sea captain. He wore a captain’s hat and a pea coat. He would appear in my bed room and outside in the yard. After a few moments he would wisp away and float up to the grave yard at the top of the hill.

I never saw the Captain, but my brother’s and my sister did. Also, our neighbor said he saw him and his account is in a book about the Ghosts of Greece. I did some research and found that there was a Great Lakes Ship Captain who lived at the base of Paddy Hill in the late 19th Century.

(I love ghost stories, but still remain skeptical).

After the Navy, my Dad worked for Kodak and he met my Mother there . He was her boss, working on Sidewinder Missile primers after the war. . (If we had harassment laws then, I probably wouldn’t be here.)He later worked for Kodak’s Government Division on spy satellites.

Like many Kodak families, we had a dark room in our basement and belonged to the Kodak Camera Club. My Dad was a photographer for a short while and had all of the equipment. In fact, before he went off to war he snapped a picture of a couple of kids fighting in front of my Grandparents Orange Street store and entered it in a contest. The photo was called “Fighting Commandos” due to the T-shirts the kids were wearing that read “Fighting Commandos.” He won first prize and the photo was presented to FDR (whom my Republican family did not like).

I could go on about: Sibley’s downtown, Kelly’s Apple Farm, Bay Goodman’s pizza (yes, I like food), the fog horn at the end of the Charlotte pier, Letchworth park and public pool, Jimmy the Chimp, the blizzard of ’66 (or was it ’64?) the finger lakes in summer, the finger lakes wineries in the fall, the M.O.S. Festival, the Barnard Exempt…

…But I’m going on too long as it is.

Thanks for the memories, Leavingsoon – enjoy the Zwiegles.

(P.S. I write about some of my experiences on my family-friendly blog Azeperak.org )

Last edited by Azeperak; 09-17-2009 at 01:23 PM.. Reason: paragraphs
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Old 09-26-2009, 05:26 PM
 
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I remember ALL that stuff, too.
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Old 08-20-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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I actually have what's left of the Rube Goldberg type sculpture from Long Ridge Mall. Having it restored has been a royal pain though. Unfortunately, several storefronts at Northgate Plaza sat vacant for many years and some of them deteriorated rapidly. The old JCPenney store was demolished recently. Only the facade remains intact for now. I went inside of McCurdy's and Woolworth recently. Both of those stores have been empty for over 16 years! They will be demolished soon.
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