The Dispossession of the Post-war Boom

John David Duke Jr

David was begotten and conceived in the ordinary way in the middle of 1972, possibly on his father's birthday. Since then, it's been an unremarkable go, except for the time his dad took him to help disarm a Cherokee woman who was shooting at her mother with a rifle.

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13 Responses

  1. I really enjoyed this. The truth of history lies in these observations about seemingly mundane things; they tell us so much more about how people lived than the movements of generals and politicians. Thank you for writing it!

    (and shout out from another in the 4 Boys Club)!Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    This seems like a nicer version of Flint. I had family in Flint (still have cousins there, I guess) who lived in a dinky little house that was perfect for Mom and Dad, 2.3 kids, and a dog. It was a smallish house in the 1970’s, I guess.

    When I went back a decade ago, I couldn’t believe how positively *TINY* it was.

    Flint was nice in the 70’s. That would have been a good starter home for a family at 2 kids and a good one to move out of when the 3rd threatened to show up.

    That was a long time ago.Report

    • Flint and Buffalo share many of the same sensibilities, but I think Buffalo’s non-manufacturing history makes it a much different place culturally. Even so, I think America has lost something important with the decline of Flint and Buffalo.Report

  3. Rufus F. says:

    I just got home from work and am far too tired to give this the attention it clearly deserves, but I will mention that I lived in Buffalo off and on for five years and got my PhD from UB, and think it’s one of the most beautiful cities in America, so I will have more to say. Thanks for writing it.Report

  4. Philip H says:

    My older daughters grew up in the South Towns with my ex-wife; my middle daughter was born at Buffalo Childrens when we drove up to visit them. Its city that I hold near and dear. You characterization of its neighborhoods is spot on architecturally and I really hope the city’s attempts to capitalize on that rich history succeed.

    Thanks for writing this.Report

  5. CJColucci says:

    I spent four happy years in Buffalo in the early ’70s, when it was already declining. Although the handwriting was on the wall, I thought it still had a lot of charm. On a recent visit, I could see that the rot had set in, but there were some hopeful signs, and if you could manage a steady, middle-middle to upper-middle class income — a big if — Buffalo had a lot to offer.Report

    • There is always hope for a tree.
      We’re not from here, but we love it here, for the most part. Some things from “better” cities we miss, but it has a certain je ne sais quoi that other cities don’t. Plus also it’s 6 months of weather paradise, and if you like winter, it’s a very mild, snowy winter.Report

  6. Mark from NJ says:

    As a proud member of what I often refer to as the Buffalo diaspora, I just want to say that this was a beautiful piece.

    Many years ago I wrote on this topic from that perspective of a member of the diaspora. It was probably ham handed and distanced. I am so glad to see this up close and personal perspective to remind me of so much of what I love about WNY.Report

  7. Mark says:

    I left a thriving Niagara Falls for the Marine Corps in the very early 1970s and came back six years later to what looked like the aftermath of a war – boarded up and abandoned buildings, and not much of an economy. My early memories of Buffalo are some cross country meets in the park, and a year at UB – mostly on the downtown campus, not the Amherst abomination. I did make a couple High School reunions, and I’d guess half my classmates went elsewhere, voluntarily or not..

    I have family from Rochester and I spent decades in Syracuse before leaving NY for good. It’s heartbreaking to see what has become of these places. New York City won its economic war against upstate. Even now, Central NY sits on enormous natural gas deposits, which Pennsylvania fracks and sells to NY. I wish them well, but I have seen too much of NY politcs to expect better.Report