Tonawanda News

Columns

September 27, 2013

ADAMCZYK: Never made it as a wise man

Tonawanda News — I used to be what’s known as a “car guy,” but more-or-less outgrew it. 

Oh, I can pontificate for many boring minutes on how the new Cadillacs take certain styling cues from old Cadillacs, and have a small bank of stories about intriguing-but-disappointing cars I’ve owned or otherwise known and how their parts would fall off or fail at inopportune moments, but I assume every male in America, and certain women, can do that.

When my appreciation of local history intersects with anything to do with cars, I become an attentive observer and researcher, to wit: 

What recently crossed my path was a photograph of Delaware Avenue in Kenmore from 1961, a simple picture of storefronts and automobiles in the street. Everything about it said “snapshot, quickly taken through the driver’s window of a moving car, note the car’s mirror in the lower right corner.”

A moment frozen in time, as Rod Serling might have intoned darkly in 1961. A car traveling past a women’s clothing store, Roger Lewis Shop for Men and Boys and Watson’s Restaurant. Cars going by in the other direction, southbound on Delaware.

Scan the picture into the computer and zoom in, then hold a magnifying glass to the screen. People, including men in fedoras, are bundled up and walking on the sidewalk, so it’s not summer. The manikins in the store on the far left are in lighter-weight clothes; they must think its spring. 

All right, the cars. You cannot depict a street scene without cars. (A photo exists of the antiques store once at Tremaine Avenue and Delaware, formerly among the oldest houses in Kenmore and now a vacant lot; in the foreground, a Jaguar XK-E, perhaps the best looking car ever designed, is traveling north on Delaware and dodging a massive pothole.) 

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