Audrey’s excellent adventure in Rochester

Audrey’s excellent adventure in Rochester

Highland Bowl, sometime between 10:18am and 11:23am, April 21st, 2016

After having jumped a creek and had a ghostly close encounter of the Brickyard Trail kind, my beloved daughter Audrey wished to visit the Highland Bowl where she enjoyed many a childhood idyll sledding on her past trips to Rochester. This vacation she wanted to continue the tradition.


Audrey spinning her still frozen sledding saucer on stage. 4/22/16

When hearing of her aim, my brother condescendingly chided: Audrey, I know you live in California and don’t experience snow. But there is no snow in the Highland Bowl in the third week of April. To which my geographically astute daughter rebutted, but there is snow in April when we go to Bear Valley. Very well then, muttering under his breath, but it’s a fool’s errand.

Not as foolish as she appeared, all day Audrey had been tracking a very odd meteorological phenomena developing in the Genesee River Valley. When we approached the crest of the Bowl, Audrey was entirely vindicated. Taking after her engineer mother, Audrey quickly built a snow person (as we say in northern California).

And Audrey made new friends amongst the other Rochestarians also tracking this rare occurrence. I might add I half expected Dear Rachel to be reporting live, but after her henchmen were routed on the Brickyard Trail, her absence was characteristic.


One dramaturg on the shoulders of another.

Yet, there were more meteorological surprises. In an instant, a snow eating Chinook [a type of foehn wind. Refers to the warm downslope wind in the Rocky Mountains that may occur after an intense cold spell when the temperature could rise by 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit in a matter of minutes. Also known as the Snow Eater] descended upon the Bowl and the snow was turned to dust.

Audrey’s excellent adventures were just beginning. Like millions of northern Californians, Audrey had read of the collective rebuilding of the Shakespeare Players’ set last summer.  And the heart breaking theft of Goethe’s bust. And the life affirming stories of the Father’s Heart in the Bowl and the healthy food stands near the Bowl.

First, Audrey regaled us with a one girl performance of All’s Well That End’s Well as she has committed every Shakespeare play to memory (with the exception of a couple of the minor tragedies).  And then adding a little more light that spot in Highland Park —  even if temporary — giving the forlorn headless Goethe a smile.

Goethe 2008

2008, when Goethe still had a head. [Photo: Dean Tucker]


With picture of Lynda Howland’s grandfather and in his Spanish-American War uniform. Hope Cemetery, grave site of Spanish-American War veterans and widows [photo: Lynda, 2001]

Leslie gives thumbs down to the phallo-military-industrial-complex


Mt. Hope Cemetery, graves of Spanish-American War veterans and widows

From there, it was the Spanish-American War Trophy Cannon. Having read my brother’s PhD thesis on the Spanish-American War turned into a screenplay (in which she has charitably overlooked its plentiful blemishes), to my dismay Audrey climbed the cannon.  At first, I was envious. But ultimately, as a pacifist, I encouraged Audrey to see the cannon for what it was: an oppressive emblem of the phallo-military-industrial-complex.


One poet communing to another.

Our next stop was Mt. Hope Cemetery. Audrey had read the fascinating account by James Caffrey on Adelaide Crapsey. Audrey paid homage to Adelaide Then Audrey knelt before graves of a Spanish-American War widow and two soldiers, Bright and Schaeffer. If Audrey lives as long as Catherine S. Frenchman, she will see the 22nd century.

We then revisited the nearby site where my brother had acted as Jack the Ripper at the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walk. Looking too gleeful and self-satisfied for my taste at the terror he had sown, my brother peered upon the scene of the crime. Audrey felt this was the time for Talker to finally be rendered mute if not moot. For all future submissions, contact Audrey B. in San Carlos, California.IMG_2388


at the statue of George Eastman, the University of Rochester


my brother (left) showing Chomsky a D & C article about his visit to MCC in 1989 (that Chomsky signed). His wife, Valeria Wasserman Chomsky center. Talker Teaser: Interview with Chomsky shortly [Photo: Leslie Kramer] 4/21/16

Next we swooped over to the University of Rochester where I had been the very evening before attending Noam Chomsky’s lecture (which only confirmed my convictions about the phallo-military-industrial-complex.)

The University was bustling and much on the rise. In California, I have heard several parents of high school age children consider the University. Audrey herself has mentioned attending the University’s Dental School later in her academic career.  Of course, I would prefer she join the magazine as a cub reporter or photojournalist (regardless of salary), but I won’t stand in the way of her dreams of a lucrative occupation on the medical field.


FULL DISCLOSURE: we ran out of time to go the Lower Falls. Next excellent adventure! from The Lower Falls needs our help!

Like millions of northern Californians, Audrey has read every story on and by Talker correspondent Shadi Kafi. Audrey recreated Shadi’s pose from last summer.

Our last excellent was the Lower Falls. I explained to Audrey that George Payne and others are working to make the park a National Heritage Site by 2020. Audrey heartily approved and now hope to spend parts of a future summer — like WPA volunteers before her — beautifying the Lower Falls. Audrey did take a moment to rest on the seat of Forgetting and Remembering. Who can forget Audrey!

BY LESLIE FRANCES KRAMER (Author of “Visiting a Talker haunt”)


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


Quickly overcoming adversity at the Highland Bowl

Sadly, there will be no “Happy Ending” in Highland Park this time

The Father’s Heart shines in Highland Park and elsewhere

Healthy food stands stand for healthy communities

“Mr. Crane’s Vivid Story” 24 scenes and a modest appraisal

“Alone in the Dawn” Restorationist James Caffrey joins the conversation with more on Adelaide Crapsey

In Mount Hope Cemetery remembering the tragic vision of Adelaide Crapsey

On Spanish-American War monuments in Rochester. And remembering the Buffalo Soldiers on Veteran’s Day

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

From Thurgood Marshall School of Law to Rochester Prep High School

About The Author

Welcome to Talker of the Town! My name is David Kramer. I have a Ph.D in English and teach at Keuka College. I am a former and still active Fellow at the Nazareth College Center for Public History and a Storyteller in Residence at the SmallMatters Institute. Over the years, I have taught at Monroe Community College, the Rochester Institute of Technology and St. John Fisher College. I have published numerous Guest Essays, Letters, Book Reviews and Opinion pieces in The New York Times, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, the Buffalo News, the Rochester Patriot, the Providence Journal, the Providence Business News, the Brown Alumni Magazine, the New London Day, the Boston Herald, the Messenger Post Newspapers, the Wedge, the Empty Closet, the CITY, Lake Affect Magazine and Brighton Connections. My poetry appears in The Criterion: An International Journal in English and Rundenalia and my academic writing in War, Literature and the Arts and Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Starting in February 2013, I wrote for three Democratic and Chronicle  blogs, "Make City Schools Better," "Unite Rochester," and the "Editorial Board." When my tenure at the D & C  ended, I wanted to continue conversations first begun there. And start new ones.  So we created this new space, Talker of the Town, where all are invited to join. I don’t like to say these posts are “mine.” Very few of them are the sole product of my sometimes overheated imagination. Instead, I call them partnerships and collaborations. Or as they say in education, “peer group work.” Talker of the Town might better be Talkers of the Town. The blog won’t thrive without your leads, text, pictures, ideas, facebook shares, tweets, comments and criticisms.


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