Robert Frost famously defined “home” as the place where, when you go there, they have to take you in. Buffalo, New York is no longer my home in that sense because no one has been there for a long time now who in any way required to take me in. My father and mother remain there in Mt. Olivet cemetery (see the photo below) but I am no longer in touch in a deep sense with any of those who were in other ways once family to me.
The November appearance of an essay of mine in a new book called The Buffalo Anthology beltmag.com/The-Buffalo-Anthology will help me fill this void. The essay, entitled "The Way We Were," is about my boyhood in the North Park section of Buffalo, which was a true neighborhood in that perhaps two or three other homes there would surely have taken me in if that had been necessary.
The photo below is of my mother and sister standing in front of our North Park home in the snow so typical of Buffalo.
My North Park neighbors and friends (even the occasional bus driver with whom I chatted from North Park all the way downtown) filled in for my parents almost as much as my blood relatives, and my essay honors them for doing that.
Its story is the other side of the one about family dysfunction emphasized in my memoir, Unsuitable Treasure: An Ex-Jesuit Makes Peace with the Past www.oaktreebooks.com/Bookstore/UnsuitableTreasure.html. The Buffalo Anthology will be published by Belt Books, which also publishes on other so-called “Rust Belt" cities that are now generally thriving. It may be ordered (or pre-ordered) directly from Belt Publishing, 1667 E. 40th Street, Suite 101, Cleveland, Ohio 441103 or online at beltmag.com/The-Buffalo-Anthology.