Today being the Feast of the Immaculate Conception I went to noontime Mass at Our Lady of Victory Basilica. It is only 10 minutes from downtown! Plus you get to drive over the Skyway. An experience I love!
Other people take pictures of the church. And the church is amazing. But me, I am different. I take pictures of the gift shop! The gift shop is where it all happens. That is a picture up above that I took in the gift shop. You can buy any saint you can think of!
My gift shop fixation reminds me of the Theodore Roosevelt Historic Site which I got to visit last week as part of the Buffalo News series 100 Things Every Western New Yorker Should Do At Least Once. It was a fascinating place but still I could not wait to get to the gift shop! And when I was there I bought a hat and a scarf. I wore them today to Our Lady of Victory.
After I got out of the gift shop I did take this brooding picture of the outside.
Remember my earlier adventure in Lackawanna? Who could forget it? But this trip was eventful too.
After Mass and the museum and lingering for a long while in the gift shop I drove a little around South Buffalo and saw the house where I lived when I was very little. When I was very young, my family lived on the first floor and my grandfather lived upstairs. My earliest memory dates from this house, at 193 Choate Ave. I remember being held in my grandfather's arms on the staircase in the back of the house and looking out a window. There was a star and the light from it was emanating as if it formed a cross. You know how that works, the window is streaked or something. And so you see this cross shape.
Today, passing the house, I slowed down and sure enough, there was this window at the back of the house. It was kind of between the first and second floors.
And I thought: That was the window!
That was where we were, my beautiful grandfather and I!
That was where it dates to, my oldest memory. That is where I looked out and saw that star. It is fun to think of what your oldest memory is. That is mine. What is yours?
My grandfather, whose name was George J. Kunz just like my dad, died when I was 9. He owned a men's clothes store in Lackawanna which I began thinking about while I was in Lackawanna today, at the Basilica. This being Buffalo -- well, Lackawanna -- I got talking with strangers after Mass and they were interested in where my grandfather's shop was.
I wonder if there is any Leonard Pennario connection with Lackawanna. I have not heard that there was. But there must be! I bet he was at the basilica once or twice.
Whether he did or not, I will have to go back there. A 10-minute drive, and you get to see this amazing place?
I am in!