Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wire Mysteries

A while back, I blogged about the Air King wire recorder my son (a lover of old technology) bought out of the bargain bin in the local electronics store.  For those of you who have never heard of these....they are a technology that peaked in the late 40's and early 50's....recording sound on very thin wires.

The recorder came with a wire spool.

The recorder works, sort of (as far as playback) but needs work. It has an arm apparently to play records, but it is broken.  Lights are burnt out.

My son, who loves to fix things, did manage to clean the heads so the wire recording that came with this plays.  I sure wish I could identify what is on it.  Son did record this (via a microphone) onto his computer, just in case.

There is, first, something sounding like a late 40's music piece, which I suspect may have recorded off the radio.  Jazz?  Have to admit ignorance.

The next thing on the spool is a live reading of a satire of "The Night Before Christmas" that may have been done by some drunken fraternity brothers-or people playing drunken fraternity brothers.  As a history buff this one interests me.  I wonder if we could do some detective work to find the former owner of this recorder-although I don't have the time to do this.

The third (and apparently, last) thing is a recording of a woman singing, accompanied by a band, again might be a recording off the radio.

Unfortunately neither of us are up on the music of that era.

For now, the contents will have to be a mystery.  Son was going to visit the local (we actually still have one) TV repair business.  The owner is elderly and may remember these. 

For now, the recorder is a valued addition to my son's Museum of Obsolete Technology. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Edward Marshall Boehm porcelain at Massee Lane

If I ever became rich, I would decorate in Boehm porcelain.

I would have to live a long time to obtain all the porcelain featured at the Stevens-Taylor Porcelain Gallary at Massee Lane.  I believe the person in the gift shop told us there was over $2 million dollars of exhibits in the rooms.

And then she left us alone to wander through.

Here is some of what we saw, back in March.

There was a beautiful eagle that I couldn't take a picture of, because of the way the sun was shining into the building, but there is a picture of it on the Boehm website.

Incidentally, Massee Lane isn't just for Boehm and Camilllas  There are gardens with azaleas, daylillies, and more.  And, during the summer, there are peach orchards nearby. They were in full bloom when we traveled by. 

A most worthwhile stop if you are visiting mid-Georgia.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

The Flower of the South

This is the most beautiful spring ever in the 24 years I have lived here.

The crabapples are in all their glory now, and I hope the local paper publishes the letter I wrote to the editor about us having a flowering tree festival of some kind here in the Triple Cities.

But, much as I know how hot summers can get down South, I miss the camillas that we saw in Georgia.  To be exact, in Massee Lane.

I didn't recognize them at first, when we arrived in Georgia in mid-March.  I was wondering what roses were doing blooming so early.  But, the leaves didn't look at all like roses.  And the plants weren't rose plants.

Somewhere in my vaguest of memories whispered, from long ago, the word....Camilla.

And, a local woman in Americus, GA confirmed that was what they were and told me about the place to see them.  A place called Massee Lane, in Ft. Valley, GA.  It isn't that far from Macon, and that was where we were heading next.

What an amazing place.

If not for that local, I wouldn't have found Massee Lane.  It is so amazing, it will take more than one post to describe it. 

First, the camillas.

Everyone is familiar with camillas.  Don't think so?  Well the tea many of you drink is the leaves of a camilla.

These aren't tea plants-which aren't truly hardy near Macon, although Massee Lane had several tea (as in drinking) plants.  Rather, what they grow are flowering camillas.  Look at these pictures and tell me if they aren't as pretty as any rose you have ever seen.  And the best part?  In Georgia, they bloom in the winter.  In fact, when we were there in March, they were close to finishing up.

The hand in one of the pictures gives you an idea of how large these flowers are.

Doesn't that make me want to start trying to grow these plants in the Binghamton, NY area (zone 5)? Wouldn't that be suicidal? (to the plants, that is.)

Maybe/Maybe not.

This link is to an article written by a man living in Long Island, NY.  Officially, Long Island is Zone 7 (and we are 5) but there is such a thing called microclimes.  So, this man grows camillas in New York State.

So why shouldn't I try something impossible?

I wonder if, one day, I should try this, maybe using the varieties that worked for him best.   Why not?  Since I am busy buying and knocking off orchids, why not try to grow camillas? 

Why should it just be the flower of the south?

In the meantime, I'll stick to killing orchids.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Orchids Spring Eternal

Another year, another leap of faith.

No matter how many orchid plants I kill, I come back for more.  To be exact, I return to the annual orchid show at the local mall.

I look at some of the prize winning displays and then go to the seller's tables.  Various orchids sit there for sale, all mocking me.  "Someone can grow these. But not you.  You've killed, how many orchids?  Is it 6 plants, now?  7? And did you not kill the one you bought last year even before it had stopped blooming, when your spouse knocked it over?"

At least, if I kill an African Violet, and I seem to once a year or so, they don't have that same mystique.

This year it is a pretty moth orchid that catches my eye.  It is small, and it is only $12.   A woman comes over and looks at the same plant.  She offhandly mentions that she has about 200 orchids.

I am too embarrassed, so spouse talks to the seller, a middle aged lady, about my problem.  They conclude I overwater.  She shows me how not to feel the soil (orchids grow more in a bark mix than "soil", anyway) but to lift the plant and weigh it.

I buy the orchid.  Will it join my other orchids in the great compost heap in the sky?  Or will I bring it safely through the year, to rebloom for me next year?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

The Midnight Sun arrives in Longyearbyen, Norway

April 17....the sun sets for the last time until fall in Svalbard, Norway (above the Arctic Circle).  Today, the sun will stay up....and up....and up.  Until fall.

Of coure the snow won't ever fully melt there but what the heck.

They are lucky, the prevailing winds are blowing the Icelandic volcanic ash away from them.

Here is a picture from a resident's window (this website is not written in English but Google will offer to translate it for you from the Norwegian).

Meanwhile, Fairbanks, AK came within two degrees of setting a record high for yesterday and we....well we continue our cool down.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Back to Snow

With luck, we won't get any accumulation.

But, after a couple of weeks of above normal temperatures, with the crabapples ready to burst into bloom, we had snow flurries several times today.

In fact, right now it is warmer in Fairbanks, Alaska than it is here.

Although I'll bet nothing is blooming in Fairbanks yet.  Meanwhile, here, we are probably a good two or three weeks ahead of time on flowering trees.  The forsythias and Bradford pears are fading, the magnolias are at peak, early rhododendrons are in full flower and the crabapples are starting to open up.

Tulips are blooming.  Early daffodils are dying, midseason daffodils taking over.  Grape hyacinths and dutch hyacinths are in bloom.

So, it would be a good time to think back to our late March vacation down to Georgia, and North Carolina.  Those memories will have to warm us until the weather warms up again.

Snow, snow, go away!  Stay away until next year!

Friday, April 16, 2010

The Disease Time Forgot

How can we forget about these kinds of things?, the historian in me wonders.

Recently, I saw the book "Asleep:  The Forgotten Epidemic that Remains One of Medicine's Greatest Mysteries" by Molly Caldwell Crosby  at the local library and picked it up to leaf through.  I haven't put it down yet.  I'm not into thrillers but this nonfiction story about the disease time forgot is one of the scariest books I've every read.

I remember seeing a movie a long time ago about survivors of an encephalitis epidemic starring Robin Williams.  When I read about the real Dr. Oliver Sacks I got chills.  He practiced at a hospital called Beth Abraham Hospital in the Bronx...the hospital where both my mother's mother and my mother's father died.  The institution still exists.  I remember going there to visit my grandmother.  I may have been so close to a great neurologist and writer.  And to some of the last survivors of the epidemic Molly Crosby wrote about, the ones fictionalized in the Awakenings movie.

Why should we care about an epidemic that started somewhere around 1915 and ended around 1927?   I never would have heard about it if I hadn't seen the movie, and more people may have heard of it only through the writings of Dr. Sacks.  But way too many people, including those in the medical people, have not paid much attention to it.

Well, the short answer is "H1N1".
If H1N1 scares you, Ms. Crosby's book will insure that...you never sleep again.

Her writing is so masterful, that you find yourself in the middle of early 20th century New York City, trying to solve a medical mystery that still hasn't been solved in 2010.  You walk right in the doctors' footsteps.  You feel the agony of the families touched by this unknown epidemic - including some very famous families.

(I highly recommend you read this Time magazine link.  Really.  How far have we come?)

Yet, most people, I bet, have never heard of sleeping sickness, except as a joke.  We all know about the 1918 flu pandemic.  We've heard of zombies, of Sleeping Beauty (intriguing thoughts that this illness has struck before.) But how could we have forgotten this part of our history?

The medical establishment would do well to increase their research into this disorder....and fast.  Just in case.

After all, George Santayana said, not long before this epidemic started, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

And now, back to my vacation musings.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Vanderbilt Town

It is said that George Washington Vanderbilt, youngest son of William Henry Vanderbilt and grandson of the famous steamboat/railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, enjoyed visiting western North Carolina so much that he ended up buying the place.  Well, 125,000 acres to be exact.

Calling Asheville a Vanderbilt "town" is not quite accurate, but it is safe to say that the Vanderbilts left their mark on the area.  And were they ever huge marks.  Their most famous landmark, the Biltmore House, covers 4 acres all by itself.  There is Biltmore Forest, Biltmore Village, and...the Pisgah National Forest.  No, that isn't a misprint.

When your property is turned into a National Forest, you know you have arrived.  (bad, bad transportation pun....)

No...I'm not going to post pictures of the Biltmore House.  That is because I didn't go there.  Going there is like going to a small city.  It has to be a destination in itself, and you could easily spend a couple of days (and spend a small fortune-which, unlike the Vanderbilts or their related family who now own Biltmore House, the Cecils-my spouse and I do not possess.)

I'd like to visit one day though, as the Cecil/Vanderbilt legacy includes one of (quoting from their website) "self-sufficiency, environmental stewardship of our natural resources, protection of the integrity of our mountains, and commitment to ensuring our community remains a model for living well and living purposefully."  I'd like to investigate that further.

Biltmore wine was sold all over Asheville.  I wish I could have toured the winery without paying the very steep admission charge to the estate.  But we'll save up for next time, and I think there will be a next time.

What we did visit, briefly, was Biltmore Village.  Generally, I am not into upscale shopping but this was worth a visit for the historical content.
Some of the original buildings are still there such as the All Souls Cathedral built as a house of worship for Biltmore workers.

I would post one caution about Biltmore Village though: because these are historic buildings, some have stairs in the front and may not be handicapped accessible. (this is a personal concern to me as I have knee problems).  There may be other ways to get into some of the shops without climbing stairs, but I was on a tight time schedule and I didn't have time to check that out.

But:  do come for the history.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The City the Great Depression Saved

Herewith are some more pictures of downtown Asheville, NC.  Enjoy!

This first picture is one of the many artworks along Asheville's Urban Trail.   I wish we had more time to explore this-if there is ever a next time for Asheville, we will return to this.  I have no idea how I visited Asheville without investigating the Urban Trail.  It is almost like my mind was in the same Mobius strip as I wrote about in my last post.

The second picture is the old S and W Cafeteria building.

This is a gem of Art Deco decorations, built in 1929.  Actually one of the few styles I have some knowledge of.

 This next one is a plaque on the S and W building.

This is Pack Square over on the left.  The obelisk is the Vance Memorial.

This sign is part of a written "tour" detailing the history of the Jewish people in Asheville.  The role of Jewish merchants in 19th and 20th century mercantile life is mocked in certain quarters, but Asheville is proud of it.

Here is one more picture; unfortunately I can't remember what I took a picture of.

The reason why Asheville has so many old buildings in its downtown is quite fascinating.

I'll let the link above tell the story.  But, in a way, you can say Asheville is the city that was saved by the Great Depression.  Of course, it never would have happened without city fathers who believed in paying their debts back.  Even if it took until 1976 to pay them all off.

Just think of that, in our era of instant gratification, and instant (or else) problem resolution.

And all of us tourists, and the locals, can be thankful for that.  Due to this intregrity, we get to enjoy some 170 historic buildings in downtown Asheville.

You can't talk about Asheville, of course, without talking about the Vanderbilt family.  More on them in another post.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Asheville NC-the Living Mobius Strip

We have found a living Mobius strip.

It is called Asheville, NC.

Asheville is famous for a lot of things, including its...shall we say, "New Age" population.  Some of these people believe that Asheville has special energy fields.  Upon feeling these fields, people have been known to move to Asheville immediately, and never leave.

The really strange thing about visiting Asheville, for my spouse, was that normally he can find his way around nearly anywhere.  He drives somewhere once and (even years later) can find his way around thereafter.  Not Asheville.  He was so scrambled up (and of course wouldn't ask for directions) that he kept getting lost.  And even I felt somewhat disoriented, and I have no sense of direction at all.

 Spouse kept saying his ability to tell direction was totally not working, and was it ever frustrating.

At one point, trying to navigate I-40, I-240 and I-26 in a vain attempt to find a Wal-Mart we never did find (to check out a Wal-Mart that sold wine: unknown here in NY), he said that Asheville was one huge Mobius strip.  If you don't remember these from science class, check them out on the Internet.

I am a firm believer in a quote attributed to the late Mayor Wagner of New York City, to the effect that "New York is a great place to visit but I wouldn't want to live there."  In other words, places you fall in love with when visiting are great for visiting..and that's it.  But I don't think Mayor Wagner ever met a city that somehow you could never find anything in, as if what you were trying to find was hiding in a different dimension.

We still don't know why that is, but we have never experienced that before.  And maybe never will again. (Cue music from "The Twilight Zone"...and we can do this, living in Binghamton.)

Another fact:  When spouse and I visited Asheville last month, we had no way of knowing that Asheville, according to at least one authority, tops the list of popular cities in which to retire.  And, in the 2010 list, one place that left the list was my vacation spot of last year, Sanibel Island, Florida. (that's a story for another day.  I'd move to Sanibel immediately if I ever won the lottery.)   We kept meeting people from New York in Asheville.  Maybe they were lost, too.  Maybe Asheville is full of lost souls who gave up trying to find their way, and decided to retire there.

So, what is so great about Asheville?  Many things.  Great shops, great food, the greatest Farmers Market ever (see last post) and....a city that cares very much about its history.

That's what makes a city great.

To me the coolest thing I saw in downtown Asheville were the Woolworths and the Kress's.  Huh?  Didn't these go out of business years ago?  Well maybe they did worldwide, but not in Asheville.  There is that "other dimension" again for you.  Here is some proof:  (actually, I am joking - there are businesses in there, but not the original ones - and the "Woolworth's" even has a soda fountain.)

 Woolworths and Kress's are fixtures of my childhood, living forever in my memory on Fordham Road in the Bronx.  And now, in Asheville, NC.

More later.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lexilicious I want to Be Your Friend? So What's Wrong with That?

Anyone who doesn't play the online game FarmVille isn't going to recognize this name.  But please bear with me...this post does have some relevance.  And maybe an important lesson to our younger generation.

A woman by the name of Lexi Smith is the "voice" of FarmVille, doing their podcasts that introduce new game playing objects and answering players questions.  She's never really tried to hide herself online although you never know for sure on Facebook if a profile is a hoax.  Somehow, for her, I think it is the real deal.  On FarmVille, she goes by the name of Lexilicious.

Well, in the April 9 podcast, towards the end of an approximately 9 minute broadcast, Lexi offered to friend anyone on FarmVille, and we could check out her farm.

Well, I truly don't know what she was thinking.  Estimates of how many people pay FarmVille regularly range upwards of 63 million people, worldwide.

Imagine inviting 63 million people to visit your house.

Facebook does permit people to create "fan" pages.  For instance, if I was a musician, a deejay, a politician, or even a private person with a following, I could create what Facebook calls a page (If I am misstating anything here, I apologize).    But what Lexi has is a regular personal site like you or I would have.

And suddenly she is inviting all those people to her online house.

Facebook has a limit of number of friends for those regular "sites".  So I have a feeling so many people tried to friend her, it shut down her ability to friend people.  And gee, what about her real life friends?  Or the other people named Lexi Smith?

Here's the kicker:  In order to friend someone on FarmVille, you have to friend them on Facebook first.  That is how it works.

I will be blunt here.  Offering people the chance to friend you on FarmVille is like walking into a meeting of post menopausal women (OK I can say that because I am one) and waving boxes of chocolate.  When the dust clears from the stampede, there isn't going to be much left of you.  (If you intend to give chocolate to me, by the way, make it dark.  Preferably, Godiva.  Thank you in advance.)

This next statement may not win me a lot of "fans" over in FarmVille, either.   There is an element to FarmVille that sometimes seems a little desperate.  For example, FarmVille runs a weekly contest to select a "farm of the week".  The reward for this achievement is pretty substantial, game-playing wise.  They allow fans to comment on the winner's farm photo, and mixed in with the "that looks neat! How did you do it?"  comments are always a lot of "Friend Me!"  "Pick me!" "Please be my friend!" posts.  Remember, these posts are being directed to total strangers!  Ugghhhhhhhh!

I love playing FarmVille but it is not my life.  I shudder to think of how much of other peoples' lives it is.  Lexilicious, I truly think this could have been done a little differently.  Sometimes it's hard to remember that your fans aren't your (real life) friends.

  I hope you can make good on this offer because...actually, I wouldn't mind being your Facebook fan (but not friend).  The world you live in is interesting, and I would like to know more.

It seems to me that, sometimes, younger people (and even if you are in your 40's you are younger than me!) make the mistake of underestimating the Internet.  The Internet is a microcosm of our world.  There are great neighborhoods and people but you always have to be cautious.  We humans love to prey on each other.  And when you just open up to 63 million people....well you don't know just who you are opening up to. You'd think someone who makes her living helping with development of online games knows the Internet.  But....maybe not.

And your profile says you are a widow.  I know some widows (younger than me, and older.)  You have been through a lot.  You don't deserve a bad ending to this.

 Lexi, I hope you can make good on this.  But please, next time, please be more careful.  I've never met you and never will, but your voice is part of my life.  Please, please be careful with your offers.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Agreed buy a Landslide-Save the Western North Carolina Farmers Market!

Back in October, there was a landslide that closed I-40 about 2 miles from the North Carolina/Tennessee border.  Asheville, NC, which isn't too far from that border, has suffered economically as a result.  Business and tourism comes down from the Gatlinburg/Johnson City, TN area.  Right now, traffic from that area has to make a 50 mile detour around the landslide.

I-40 is still completely closed.  Right now they are estimating May before it opens.

During a recent visit to Asheville, I was told by several business people that their businesses have suffered greatly and they aren't sure if they will be able to hang on if I-40 doesn't open soon. The "reopening" has been delayed at least twice. (I understand part of the problem is that they have to stabilize slopes near the highway, and that this part of North Carolina in general can be prone to landslides.  In fact, they had a partial road closing due to a landslide in the 72 hours we were there.)

One of these businesses was the Moose Cafe near the Western North Carolina Farmers Market.  I can declare that this cafe makes the best biscuits I have ever eaten.  My "inner southerner" is still crying out for more.

Another business...well, actually businesses, were located within the Farmers Market itself.  I'd like to post some photos of just how wonderful this indoor market it.  The two days we visited, it was almost empty, so we had a good chance to talk to some of the vendors.  And, take some photos.

I think, next to the Pikes Place Market in Seattle (which I visited in 1979), this was the nicest farmers market I had ever been in - and it wasn't even the growing season!  We did buy some local products:  white sweet potatoes, which were proudly served to relatives at an Easter dinner, local wine, and several kinds of dried beans. 

If you are a fan of wonderful farmers markets-you owe this one a visit.  Help save this Asheville institution!

In a future post....more on Asheville.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Goodbye to our early spring

Goodbye for now, spring!  We've enjoyed several days in the 80's.  Flowering trees are weeks ahead of schedule.  I won't make any political comments here, but who can deny a climate change is happening?

I've not been blogging due to trying to enjoy the weather but you'll probably hear more from me tomorrow.

We will have a cold front moving into our area soon.  A couple of hours ago it was 84 here in Binghamton and 39 in Buffalo.


I haven't worn a winter coat in over two weeks...how often can you say that in late March and early April?

And now, we return you to normal upstate NY weather already in progress.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Does Macon, GA Hold the Key to Binghamton Renewal?

On this holiday of Easter, with its symbolism of rebirth, my thoughts wandered to how Binghamton could revitalize itself.

My spouse and I visited Macon, GA recently.  Why did we travel  over 800 miles from Binghamton to Macon, GA?  And what does this has to do with a possible urban renewal in Binghamton, NY?

Short answer:  Flowering cherry trees.

I think even boosters of Macon, Georgia will admit that their urban renewal efforts have not all worked.  Walking around downtown, we passed many boarded up businesses.  Some blocks looked less than exciting.  But while we were there, thousands of people poured into Macon to celebrate....cherry blossoms.  Two city parks were jammed with people.  There was an awesome arts and crafts festival in Third Street Park that we spent hours in.  I'll post some pictures in a future blog entry.

And Macon was beautiful.  In some neighborhoods it was like driving through clouds of pink and white blossoms.  Here are several tree pictures I took, which do not at all express the beauty of what we saw.  The first picture may be of a different cherry variety, not a Yoshino, but it was beautiful.

Yes, these are the same type of cherry tree that Washington, DC boasts.

So, how does this figure into a possible urban renewal for Binghamton?

Let's look first at Washington, DC, which has the more famous festival.  It is estimated that the Washington, DC Cherry Blossom Festival brings in some 126 million dollars to the area.  It attracts an estimated 1 million visitors to the area, too.  Not bad.

Next, let's look at Macon.  Macon, GA's population is only around 93,000. (Binghamton's is around 47,000.) But, the 10 day long festival we just attended brought in a lot of people, too  And, last year, it also brought in an estimated 12 million dollars.  People come for the cherry blossoms and stay for many area attractions.

What makes the Macon festival ironic in a way is that it all started out with a mislabeled dogwood tree.  Macon is zone 8 (gardeners will know what that means) and a bit south for cherry trees.  But a local real estate developer (so the story goes), bought a mislabeled dogwood tree around 1947 and planted it.  Totally puzzled by what he got, he found out when he visited Washington, DC in 1952, saw their Yoshino cherry trees in bloom, and realized that was what he had purchased.

This man, Bill Fickling, saw a good thing and started propagating the trees-and one of the people he gave them to, in turn, talked to Mr. Fickling about planting them all over Macon.  He propagated them further and started giving them away.  So now Macon has about 300,000. of  these trees.  Some of the Macon trees have even ended up in Washington DC.

And Bill Fickling, known as the "Founder", is honored at the Cherry Blossom festival with giveaways of cherry ice cream, Coca-Cola and cake.  And homeowners get into the spirit too, putting pink ribbons on their doors and even painting cherry blossoms onto store windows.  (And putting pink poodle ornaments on their lawns, but that is another story.)

So, should Binghamton have its own festival?  I say "yes"!

Binghamton could sure use that kind of money.

My question is simply this:  what if thousands of blooming trees were planted in and around downtown Binghamton?  And what if various festivals were held at the same time? And tours?

What if Binghamton offered tours of historic downtown buildings at the same time?  We certainly have them:  the Perry Building, the Security Mutual building, just to name three.

Flowering cherries may not be the best choice.  Although what I found in researching indicates they should grow in Binghamton's climate zone (zone 5) I have a feeling it may be a little iffy.  Although, weeping cherry trees seem to do well here.

If not cherry trees, flowering crabapples may be another choice.  They come in both pink and white.  Cornell Extension could help to pick the correct tree or trees to use.

Our trees bloom later, so would not compete with either DC nor Macon.  We might be looking at a late April or early May date.

At the same time, tours could be given of various downtown historical buildings.  We don't have antebellum treasures like Macon, but we have our own treasures.  Examples downtown include the Security Mutual building, the Perry Building, and the Kilmer Building.

No, we don't have anything like the Hays House, but we have Phelps Mansion, on the edge of downtown. 

We don't have St. Joseph's Church (another Macon landmark) but we do have Christ Episcopal, designed by the same man who designed Trinity Church in Manhattan.

In fact, we have trolleys here that can be used for tour purposes.  Just like they do in Macon.

July Fest, a downtown arts and crafts festival held in (yes) July, could be moved to early May and expanded.  Nearby Norwich has Colorscape, why not another festival for us besides July Fest?

We need to get people into downtown, and if flowering trees work for Washington DC and for Macon, Georgia, why not Binghamton?

Why not?  What is there to lose?

Saturday, April 3, 2010

That Day One Year Ago in Binghamton, NY

What a beautiful, sunny day today.  In honor of spring, spouse planted some pansies in the front yard.  Our crocuses are up.  Some of our daffodils have buds.  Neighbor's forsythia is blooming.

Life goes on.

If you go back to my very first blog post of April 10, 2009 you will understand what this entry speaks of.  One year ago, our community suffered a random act of violence that took the lives of 12 recent immigrants, a teacher and a dedicated social worker at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, NY.

Our local paper had a very nice commentary. I couldn't have said it better myself so I will let this commentary speak for me.

This is in memory of the victims of the shooting of April 3, 2009.

May the sun shine on their families today, may they hear the birds singing, and may they know many in this community think of them today.

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Binghamton Shooting Anniversary

Binghamton is gearing up for the 1st anniversary of the April 3, 2009 shooting at the American Civic Association on the edge of downtown Binghamton.

This is the statement released by the ACA yesterday, which only just recently moved back into its renovated headquarters.

Our entire community feels this sadness once again.  While I did not personally know any of the victims, I probably crossed paths more than once with the murderer, who frequented the downtown library.  And, someone I know goes to church with a teacher who switched places with another teacher and lives with the understanding that she is alive today-and the teacher she switched places with is not.   May she find peace.  It was not her fault.  It never could have been her fault.

And finally, on that day at work mere blocks away when we hung on every piece of news, comes the memories of a 911 dispatcher.

Did we ever think we would make it onto the national news in this way, as a site of one of the lightning strikes of random violence that plagues our nation?

Tomorrow, we will pause and remember.

May all the families find peace tomorrow.