Rochester: A City of Quality

In the early 1960s, my parents moved to Rochester, New York, on the southern shore of Lake Ontario. I was born there in 1966. I stumbled across Rochester: A City of Quality in the Prelinger Archives this evening — watch it, and get an introduction to the fertile ground that spawned me. To quote from the notes in the archive:

Beyond this, all Rochester seems to offer is “stable people” and “plenty of convenient parking”.

While I have no memory of my early days in Rochester (we lived there for only 3 months after I was born before moving to Ottawa, another city with plenty of convenient parking). But I do remember return visits over the years.

I remember a large discount store that had bowling alleys in the back, eating ice cream at Carvel, brother Mike peeing in front of thousands at an outdoor amphitheatre, going to eat at The Copper Kettle, going to visit the airport, and staying at a Holiday Inn that had a “games room” that I remember as being quite thrilling.

The weirdest visit was when, by sheer coincidence, my grade 13 end of year field trip took us to Rochester, to tour the various pillars of industry there (Kodak, Xerox, RIT). As is usual on such trips, various beer smuggling shenanigans took place, tempers flared, discipline threatened, etc. The highlight of the trip was taking the entire class to eat at the Copper Kettle; I don’t think they know what hit them.

Someday I’ll have to take Oliver back to see the old home place, such as it is.

I’m a registered voter in Rochester to this day — I voted for Ralph Nader for President! — and so will be connected to the city for as long as my franchise extends.