Like many metropolitan areas in America, Rochester is surrounded by a number of small “bedroom community” towns. Some of these towns and villages straddle the old Erie Canal, a waterway connecting the cities of Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, and Albany. Like the canal, they have become artifacts of a way of life remembered by very few. Now they’re mostly just places to live, places where your kids go to school and you buy your groceries.
Brockport is such a place. A small town about 20 miles west of Rochester, it has the usual small – town atmosphere, including a main street full of potholes, old store fronts, and a few old churches. The village’s biggest claim to fame is a college – SUNY Brockport, where, coincidentally, I received my undergraduate degree – and a small hospital.
Over the past several weeks, we’ve spent an awful lot of time in that hospital. My wife’s mother contracted pneumonia in the middle of January. After dealing with a number of complications, she passed away this past Friday. Ironically, she died on the same floor and a few rooms down from where my own mother died in June.
On one of the days we were there, I left the hospital for a while and walked along the old main street. When I looked up and saw the old “Ivory Snow” sign painted on this building, I had this strange feeling of nostalgia. It’s been there for as long as I can remember, and I’m willing to bet that it was there when my mother and mother-in-law were young. Once upon a time, it was the way advertising was done (or at least one of the ways).
Heck, it’ll probably still be there when I’m gone. Some things just seem to go on forever. Except for people, of course.