Visiting a Talker haunt: the Brickyard Trail with Leslie Frances and Audrey

groos darkened

From The Troubled Spirits of John and Irene. While firmly convinced there are no ghosts, some strange activity has been noticed at the abandoned Groos farmhouse near the Brickyard Trail. Hmm, that pitchfork wasn’t there last time we looked.


From “‘An early-season renewal of the spirit'” The 10,001st fungo! Dean in his Yale shirt. He spent thousands of fungos sending his daughter to New Haven, but did get the nice t-shirt. Xerox cap (from where he earned those fungos). Reifsteck Field, Brighton, Easter, 2016


Leslie and David Kramer, Machu Picchu, Peru; August, 1997 [Photo: Bruce]

Like millions of northern Californians, I live vicariously through Talker of the Town, the magazine Tweets richly woven into the fabric of our lives.


From A 1997 trip to deep Peru retracing the Shining Path with Bruce (left), Cuzco, Peru, August 1997 [Photo: Robert Kay]

I am personally blessed to have a special relationship with Talker. I have know him my whole life. I am his sister. And I have known the magazine’s occasional contributors — Dean Tucker, doubling as staff photographer, and Bruce Kay, our foreign correspondent — for decades.


David and Leslie Kramer, Narragansett, RI @1998

With a joy inexpressible in paltry words glowing on a computer screen, I and my beloved daughter Audrey were invited to visit some of the magazine’s haunts in my now immortalized home town — much like how Joyce made early 20th century Dublin a city of the ages.

kingston ri

Leslie and David Kramer @1995; Kingston, Rhode Island

wedding news

Leslie and Justin’s wedding (L-R) David Kramer, Laura Nelson, Val Vojdik, Julie Everitt, Carol Kramer, Eugene Kramer, Leslie Kramer, Justin Boyce, Marian MacLennon, Tracy and Jackie Gayle, John Irwin. @21st century, Piedmont, California

My beloved husband Justin tearfully could not make the pilgrimage to Brighton. But he and members of his prestigious law firm — winnowing their client schedules down to the barest minimum — are following our every footstep.


From The Troubled Spirits of John and Irene Luckily I always walk the trail with the pitchfork found at the abandoned Groos farmhouse on Westfall [Photo: anonymous]

For weeks, Audrey has been beseeching me: Mama, what shall we see first? Mama, what shall we see first?  After much hand wringing and indecision, Justin provided the answer: beloved family, in my absence go to the Brickyard Trail.

Of course, we had read the nostalgically-tinged account of the ground breaking of the Trail. And then about Brighton Memorial Librarian’s Matthew Bashore’s fascinating exhibit on a 1922 murder in Brighton and with it a harrowing and mysterious tale of misbegotten spirits roaming the Trail.


from Stalker of the Town plays Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candle Light Ghost Walk

But Mamma, Audrey beseeched, is it true that the ghosts of the murderer and his victim still haunt the Trail and the old Groos Farmhouse?

As I am a scientist and a rationalist, I reassured Audrey. My dear, no. The magazine staff have merely created a suburban myth, much like when Orsen Welles pretended martians had invaded the New Jersey countryside.  And in the process they hoodwinked the whole town of Brighton. There are no ghosts on the Brickyard Trail.

And when your uncle acted as Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candle Light Ghost Walk, it was just a historical and theatrical re-enactment.


Audrey mending Yankee soldier’s wound, Gettysburg, PA 7/2/63 [Photo: Frances]

Upon our arrival in Rochester, my brother was delighted with our choice. Alas, he could not accompany us. After having met at MCC the followers of Ted Cruz, he has reversed positions, now a fully committed “gold bug.” Today he was spreading the golden gospel to the unenlightened electorate, with Dean tweeting and posting pictures on Instagram (now that the magazine has joined.).


from Cruz supporters back the gold standard Interviewed at the Cruz rally at MCC by Channel 8’s Chris Amato (with beautiful sign made by Athesia) 4/15/16 [Photo: Jennifer Cherelin]


From The Ground Breaking of the Brickyard Trail At the Rockpile. 11/04/15 [Photo: Dean]

Just the two of us, Audrey and I first visited the Rockpile, the collection of large boulders resembling Little Round Top at Gettysburg and the site of the Crab Apple Wars of the 1970s (Brighton-Pittsford Post 2009) There, Audrey played the role of a young nurse tending to the fallen blue and grey. I fancied myself the famous Civil War photographer Matthew Brady, recreating his iconic portrait of those dead soldiers from July 2nd, 1863.

rockpile cropped

from The Ground Breaking of the Brickyard Trail Brighton-Pittsford Post (2000)

creek jump

Audrey unscathed with mysterious figure in background [Photo: anonymous]

Next, we went to the very spot where my brother made his daring leap of faith across the creek. Herself containing some Talker DNA, Audrey —  like a Flying Wallenda — never hesitated.

leslie cropped

Leslie accepting the surrender of Rachel’s henchmen waving white flags. [Photo: either the ghost of Irene or John] Brickyard Trail, Brighton, NY 4/20/16


Audrey had long been a daredevil. Unfazed (unlike me) at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. Stanford shirt provided by Leslie. 4/18/14 [photo: ghost] from Over “The Bridge”! Talker joins Instagram

Bathing in Brighton sunshine, Audrey and I continued our early spring picaresque. Suddenly, Audrey heard a noticeable rustle in the woods. Mama, what is that noise?  Dear, just squirrels like ourselves enjoying the earth’s springtime renewal.

But the noise grew louder and closer. Until . . .until . . . until . . .

audrey running

Speedy Audrey outstripping the sheet Brickyard Trail, Brighton, NY [Photo: ghost] 4/20/16

I am a scientist and a rationalist. I needed more evidence.  Disappearing back into the woods, the sheeted figures had dropped their pitchfork to which the cell phone was attached.

We took the phone back to Talker headquarters. It was cleverly encrypted.  But, Mama, it took the government’s team of scientists months to break Apple’s code?

the ghost's phone

Found: pitch fork and cell phone. Sadly, the sign placed by the ghosts has failed to hold back progress as the Brickyard Trail encroaches upon their fragile ecosystem. [Photo: anonymous]


Wearing her newly adopted “Gold Bug” outfit, Leslie dazzles us her with un-encrypting wizardry. Proving once again why Stanford hired Leslie.  [l-r] Eugene, Leslie, Audrey Boyce, Carol [Photo: David] 4/20/16

Returning in a few minutes after inspecting the phone — I too have much Talker blood in me — the code was broken.

As I examined the evidence, the case became clear. It was humans underneath those sheets. Humans hired as henchmen by our rival blog, Dear Rachel’s The Rochesterian. She wanted to spook Talker. And failed decidedly.

There were no martians in the New Jersey countryside. And there are no ghosts on the Brickyard Trail.

By Leslie Frances Kramer




Do the troubled spirits of John and Irene walk the Brickyard Trail? Probably not. At the Brighton Library, Matt Bashore unveils the twists and turns of the crime and punishment

A 1997 trip to deep Peru retracing the Shining Path.

From Tirana with love. And a dash of Pristina.

Local philatelist faults Talker’s Edgerton Park hoopla. Et tu,Tucker?

“An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later

On a mound at Cobb’s Hill! And how the City of Rochester handles its loose leaves.

OTHER BRIGHTON HIGH SCHOOL CONTRIBUTIONS Jonathon Caws-Elwitt, Stephen Shapiro, Justin Gastel, Ernie Clement, Brad Rosenbaum, Eric Kemperman, Michael Raff, Mary Brzustowicz, (the last three also magazine subscribers,

A poem from former Degrad Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, BHS ’80. And advice to young writers.

Brighton High School remembers its New Wave/retro punk/Art punk past: The De Grads

In search of Shirley Jackson and finding the Brighton High School Alumni author display case

Pick up softball games still exist

Brighton fans celebrate hometown hero Ernie Clement in victory

At Young Woman’s College Prep, Brad Rosenbaum aiming to hit 1.000

In grand fashion, Brighton celebrates its volleyball champions and the first Boys state team sports title in school history

On the 22nd of October, 1844 on top of Cobb’s Hill

Five years ago when Michael Raff found his perfect mark. And over 70 years of history at the B’Nai Brith bowling league

Talker sweet talks Cheetah Girl. Or was it vice versa.


Stalker of the Town plays Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk