“My story, like so many others’; begins before I was born. It begins at family dinner tables, as the head of the household grips his beer can with perpetually dirt-rimmed fingers, crumbling front porches as well swill Genny Cream Ale and smoke Marlboro Reds in dingy white undershirt and cracked, concrete playgrounds as children boast about their troubles trying to one-up each other’s misery.”
“Buffalo is a churchgoing, beer-drinking, hardworking town. When the factory [Bethlehem Steel] closed, many of those workers filled their new-free time with talk and prayer in bars and sanctuaries to so closely resembled one another in intention and absolution. Those men who built the city of steel stayed to fight its rust and decay, sending their sons off to college or to learn a trade, the better to keep their families in better condition than they had struggled to do.”
Toward the end of the book, “The sense of life at St. Barnard, Oxford, Dublin, Italy, and Washington, D.C. had taught me one thing above all: that no matter what culture I inhabited, I had to embody myself first and foremost. I had to find my melting point and either struggle to avoid it or amend myself to bending. In each place, I had chosen to string against the natural order of things, rejecting not only the atmosphere into which I had placed myself, but the instinctual progressions my own body, my own spirit, were to follow. When the rules change everywhere you go, you have to follow your internal rules. The spirituality I had been searching for didn’t exist in either place, because it wasn’t tied to a place at all. And that is okay.”
These amazing paragraphs are found on the pages of Buffalo Steel, an great book that I read one Saturday. Have you lived in Buffalo? Or in an industrialized city that had factories? Or studied abroad? Or been in college? Or high school? You will relate too and enjoy this book. Give it a read soon!
Reference: Schumer, L. (2013) Buffalo Steel. Black Rose Writing.