Tonawanda News

March 30, 2013

Easter arrives, ready or not

The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Happy Easter a day early. Hardly seems possible that Lent is over and I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll do better for those weeks.

Thursday, Holy Thursday, our family once again completed our annual visit to seven churches, a custom which traces back to the Apostolic Age, during a time when early Christians who visited shrines which were deemed holy to the Passion of Jesus Christ, or the events after his capture in the Garden of Gethsemane.

(I’m thankful to the Internet for this information.)

In my family, this is a generations-old tradition and in the 50 years of our marriage we have visited nearly all churches in the diocese of Buffalo, selecting seven different churches each year. In years past, many of you will recall the beautiful decorations, flowers and candles which were lovingly put around the altar or shrine on this day.

How things have changed. Even the grandkids wondered why the churches we visited had very few decorations and flowers to denote this wonderful evening. With the exception, we all agreed, of St. Francis of Assisi in Tonawanda where the chapel on Adam Street was amazing. The altar, moved to the center of the chapel, was resplendent with lilies and other flowers with chairs set around the sides. Those filling the chapel to overflowing took part in a ceremony they will remember. Thanks to Father Mike for the display and meaningful service.


Earlier in the day, my place was at Sister’s Hospital where my sister had back surgery. Everything went well and she is finally out of pain. Someone asked if she was coming to my house to recuperate, to which my reply was “Did that once, not doing that again.” Only joking of course as she was able to go to her own home this time — and, much to the surprise of family, we got along just great when she stayed at our house the last time.


Congratulations to Leah McDonell, who led the Cardinal O’Hara girls basketball team to state titles, for being named the Tonawanda News’ Player of the Year. Additionally, kudos to all the student-athletes who were chosen in their sport for their titles. The Tonawandas certainly produce a lot of wonderful athletes and scholars.


Stan Nicholson, who enjoys disagreeing with yours truly, sent in his feelings on the Forest Avenue psychiatric center’s buildings. He disagrees with my belief that the buildings, which housed the worst, most violent treatment of the mentally ill, should be torn down and buried.

Stan wrote: “I have a niece who lives on Richmond Avenue and I pass those lovely buildings quite often. I know, in the old days we used to call Forest Avenue the “nut house” and other worse things. Our ignorance of reality cannot be overlooked but that was then and this is now. Those buildings are beautiful and an astounding contrast to the glass and steel square stuff they put up nearby. Syracuse University has similar buildings on campus and won’t be torn down, you can be assured. Let these Forest Avenue buildings alone, please. The past does have its advantages in many ways.”

Sorry, Stan, my wish stands: When the millions of dollars are spent on turning this place of torture into a luxurious hotel, may the ghosts of those mistreated souls haunt the place.


Glad to see Tonawanda Coke is getting its share of consequences for polluting the air and ground. How many died from the actions of this plant? And thanks to those residents whose dogged pursuit made this come about. Too bad it took so many years for the regulators and the government to take notice.


Last week Ray Smith died. Most of you may not recognize his name, but to members of the Erie-Niagara Sunrise Exchange Club, he will always be remembered. Ray, in his late 80s, came to every meeting, unless his health did not allow it, always supportive of every event and fundraiser, full of fun and able to spread warmth and humor wherever he went. He was a devoted American and former and long-time Boy Scout leader. His reminisces were enjoyed by all. He was a friend to all and no one ever heard a bad word from him. May he rest in peace.

Contact community editor Barbara Tucker at 693-1000, ext. 4110 or email