…..downtown

October 31, 2015

Growing up in the 50s, we lived in a treed suburb of Rochester, New York (home of Eastman Kodak, Bausch and Lomb), but my father was a Pastor of a poor, post-WWII German refugee, inner city Church next to the Greyhound bus depot.  My fascination with the grittier side of Rochester’s downtown must have come from how much more interesting it was compared with the staid predictability of houses and lawns and more houses and more lawns where we lived.

Sneaking away during the sermon, I’d scout out the alleyways of crumbling late 19th century brick tenements with their fascinating tangle of iron fire escapes doubling as fasteners for clotheslines, festooned with gingham tablecloths and sheets and jeans.  Labyrinths of back-doored kitchens, cooks smoking, observing me in my too-small Sunday navy suit, an out-of-place kid trying to look nonchalant and part of the scene.

Luckily for me, Kamloops has that kind of feel.  It is a railroad hub, cow ranchers beyond that–a labourer’s city–begun in 1812 as an outpost of the Hudson’s Bay Company, and has enough Western wear and roughness that some citizens feel our downtown still lacks class.  By ‘class’ they mean there aren’t enough designer boutiques and specialty shops.

This is the start of a painting of downtown from behind one of the old hotels. . . .

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Downtown Kamloops, B. C. Canada

The intention here is to make this a Christmasy, snowy subject, and its progress will be followed as the days go by.

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12 Responses to “…..downtown”

  1. ….oh how very special your comments are! As a child I went to The Hochstein School of Music (since burned down) whose teachers were almost all students at The Eastman School. And of course, the George Eastman house has that grand pipe organ he had built–himself such a music lover and aficionado. Thank you for giving me even more memories!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love the personal memories, Lance. Rochester is also the home of Eastman School of Music – many of our music faculty went to school there. I also know some jazz musicians there who play on the grittier side of the city 🙂 I loved reading your description – can’t wait to see the painting evolve.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. ….thank you Sharon!

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  4. ….you do some pretty amazing creative linkages yourself, sweetie.

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  5. Shiela said

    The creativity of mind that links Rochester in the past with Kamloops in the current day amazes me.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Lance, it’s always interesting to hear about where we all come from and the influence we carry with us now. Your description of Rochester’sxgrittiness was easy to visualize. I’m looking forward to the unveiling of Kamloops.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ….Kentucky has class. Kamloops hasn’t got even a hint of your lush bluegrassed hills, only a love of the music (huge C&W following here)….thank you Barry for being there.

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  8. ….I didn’t say I didn’t get in trouble, Teresa—but we do what we have to do, no? I’m happy to hear you came through Kamloops in the past. Reading your fascinating history, it seems we kind of share a portion of the same story, only in reverse. I went to school in the Mid-West (Columbia, Mo.–Theatre Arts) and in later life ran a kitchen at a UBC residence for 7 years, and then taught ESL in Vancouver. We both seem to share calling wherever we end up as home, right?

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  9. …all that’s missing in Kamloops are the spittoons. It’s an old Gold Rush town…..you’re such a boost, Cynthia–thank you–I’m going to mosey on over to your site now.

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  10. I think I see a familiarity to rural Kentucky

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You snuck out during sermons and didn’t get in trouble? 😀 I’d only been through Kamloops once or twice and don’t remember it well. Can’t wait to see the progress of your painting of it!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Your backstory is so wonderfully inviting…I can hardly wait for the painting!

    Liked by 1 person

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