Did You Know?…(10)



It’s always interesting to learn something new, even a little embarrassing at times. Especially when that ‘something’ new is about your own hometown of which you had no clue. I was watching t.v. last week and was very surprised to learn that 7/25/14, marked the 50th year anniversary of the Rochester Riots. Yes, I did say riots! I was so taken aback, that I found myself at a loss for words for at least a good half hour….and that is hard to accomplish for me.(smile) I still can’t believe that this tumultuous part of history, belonging to the place I’ve resided in for all of my life, had somehow escaped me.(Please click on the link above for a little background on these events) I sat dumbfounded in front of the television while witnessing the flashbacks of this ugly part of Rochester New York’s past. I was transfixed and did not move until I had familiarized myself with the sobering events that took place on July 25, 1964. Here’s what I gleaned from this eye-opening segment:

    • Rochester New York was once know as a ‘tale of 2 cities’. One tale was that of a city that was once known as one of the top places to live and work during those times, as it once thrived economically. The other tale depicted one of poverty, racial tension, and job inequality.
    • Lack of jobs, poor housing, and police brutality in the ‘black’ community, were thought to be the main causes that triggered the 3 days of rioting.
    • During this time, Rochester had one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state of New York
    • The 1st indoor mall was opened in Rochester during these chaotic times.(see previous post: https://sporterhall.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/did-you-know-7/
    • Police were called in from everywhere to try and get control of the fed up and angry Rochester residents.
    • Nelson Rockefeller called on the National Guard to bring order and control back to Roc City. These riots unfortunately, put Rochester New York on the map for an array of reasons; some bad, some good.
    • Activist Malcom X and sociologist Saul Olinsky came together to form F.I.G.H.T. which strongly urged Xerox & Kodak companies to make manufacturing job opportunities more accessible to minorities.
    • Nearly 1,000 blacks & whites were arrested during the riots. There was over 1 million dollars in damages as a result of looting and damage of city businesses and neighborhood stores, etc.

I wonder what it must have felt like during those times. To avoid ‘dating’ myself, I will refrain from saying how I old I was back then. But as I sit here writing this post, listening to the chirping birds outside my window, it is almost impossible to imagine the events outlined above. Even with the occasional shouting, or loud booming stereo systems blaring from random vehicles passing by, there’s still a tranquil kind of peace that I find here…if I listen closely enough. But reality strikes back hard and I know all too well that these events did take place and the undeniable footage that I stumbled across last week is proof positive of that for sure. Yet, in spite of all the negative national publicity and attention that shined so brightly on this little corner of New York state during those times, there was some good that did come out of those dark events in Rochester New York’s history. The willingness of some companies to create accessible jobs for all, brought a diverse groups of people together. So, one of the very things that once divided the city, ended up being the one of the very things that brought it back together again! I guess you could say, a kind of bittersweet happy ending if you will. You may wonder, what is Rochester New York like today? Well, that’s a whole other post, so stay tuned! In the meantime, what’s your take on this?

By Sylvia Porter-Hall






One Lovely Blog Nomination


Oh my goodness! I guess today’s not such a ‘Monday’ after all. I am pleasantly surprised and am happy to announce that I’ve been nominated for the One Lovely Blog Award thanks to the awesome D’Aller Naturel (pronounced: Dah-LAY Nah-choo-RELL)! I am truly blown away and so grateful!

The purpose of this award is to express appreciation and give recognition to small/new blogs/bloggers in an effort to increase viewership.

Here are the rules for the OLBA:

    • Thank and link the person(s) who nominated you.
    • List the rules and display the award
    • Share 7 facts about yourself
    • Nominate 15 Bloggers and comment on their posts so that they know they’ve been nominated.

Simple right? Now, for some facts about me:

    • I was born, raised and still live in Upstate, New York (close enough to Niagara Falls to throw a rock and almost hit my mark).

    • I am the proud parent of 1 awesome son.

    • I am a poet, but enjoy pretty much all forms of writing.

    • I formerly worked many years in the field of banking and even once worked for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court where after 3 interviews, I was selected out of 83 other candidates for the position.

    • I’ve only flown 1 time in my entire life. (I do hope to change that though)

    • God blessed me to escape death on 3 separate occasions; 2 of which were very narrow escapes. (I think I must be meant to do something really important in this world)

I only have 12 nominees and here they are:

D’aller Naturel

Writely Sow


Elaine Jeremiah



Wild Camera Words

We Fall Laughing


The moments matter

The Passion Dew


The Best Part of Your Life Awaits You

Here’s a beautiful post from my friend Karen Delchamps! It is such an inspirational piece that I just couldn’t just keep it to myself. By the way, I’ve read her book Reinholder to Rainmaker. It’s an awesome book and I’m so glad I have my copy! Enjoy!


Karen10Your best life awaits.  Don’t be fooled, it is not obtained by “finding God or being born again.”  It is not acquired by the average person changing his ways to a higher level of religious behaviors by which he now adheres to a new format of practices such as attending church every Sunday or praying before each meal.  In fact, not even the closest of family members, a best friend, or spouse would notice any visible changes or variations in the daily routine.  It is not gained by discontinuing certain behaviors or actions like smoking, consuming alcohol, or even using drugs.  The misconception that a person must change his ways is nonsensical rubbish perpetuated centuries ago by the churchgoers to separate themselves from the “barbarians.” There are no physical requirements. This new metaphysical and spiritual start must begin with the present state of who you are.  The journey begins only…

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Did You Know?…(9) Part 2


    • One of the most prevalent race-based stereotypes is that African Americans don’t swim. According to a US Swimming (America’s government body of competitive swimming) study conducted in 2010, almost half of white children (42%) had low or no swimming ability, while Hispanic children came in at 58% reported as having low or no swimming ability. African American children had the highest rate of swimming inability coming in at just under 70%.
    • Sadly, African American children are almost three times more likely to drown than white children. As a result of these generalizations, blacks are not viewed as being swimmers or even liking to swim, which couldn’t be further from the truth.
    • Historically, blacks were denied access and were steered towards pools that were undesirable and that had limited accommodations in terms of the number of people that could occupy the location(s).
    • Pools were often forcibly segregated to avoid the potential interaction between black males and white females in intimate pool settings. Blacks unfortunately met with violent resistance if they attempted to enjoy the pool to swim as did their white counterparts and were often threatened. For this reason, pools were kept securely segregated until the mid 1950s.
    • Blacks were often subjected to legal tricks and maneuvers and/or violence when resisting segregation in ‘public’ pools.
    • City governments commonly leased pools to companies because they could make any rules they wanted, including exclusion of blacks from their facilities, while the government could not do this legally.
    • Angry black communities were led to believe they would have their own pools for years on end, but never saw those promises come to pass.
    • According to the Inertia article: Debunking The Stereotype That Blacks Don’t Swim”, in the 1960’s, a slew of pools were built in low-income segregated neighborhoods. Blacks saw these so-called pools as more or less public bathtubs no more than a few feet deep. As a result, potential black swimmers were at a loss when it came to honing their swimming skills in these less than suitable settings.
    • Blacks faced the same resistance when it came to swimming at the ‘public’ beaches.
    • Near the beginning of the 20th century, the son of Frederick Douglas, Charles and his wife Laura, were the founders of a Black Beach Resort in at Highland Beach Maryland after having been denied service because of their race.
    • According to Doctoral Graduate Student at UC Santa Barbara Alison R. Jefferson, African Americans were prevented from living on the coast early on, which negatively impacted their relationship or lack thereof with the ocean.
    • Jefferson also says that Blacks eventually moved away from beaches over time as a result of a gradual process. There was so much hostility towards Blacks going to the beach, that they simply stopped going.


How tragic that something as pleasurable as swimming, was at one time reserved for some self-chosen and self-serving individuals. How anxious would you be to allow your children to swim when they would do so among ‘sharks‘ of the human kind? If you were ever excluded and made to feel like you had no business participating in a particular activity, how anxious would you be to involve yourself in spite of? How happy would you be to get your children involved in this ‘exclusive’ activity? How about their children and their children’s children? Oh, the vicious cycle! What’s your take?


By Sylvia Porter-Hall


Did You Know?…(9) Part 1

    • According to Inertia Surf Editor Tetsuhiko Endo, ‘surfing’ has been known as a predominately “white” sport that lands comfortably somewhere between mountaineering and golf.
    • Nick Gabaldon was the 1st African American Surfer according to The Encyclopedia of Surfing Author Matt Warshaw.
    • Nick Gabaldon was said to have learned to surf at a beach called “The Inkwell” which was located in Santa Monica California during the 1940s. Supposedly, this was an informally segregated beach at the time.
    • Gabaldon paddled on a regular basis, twelve miles North to Malibu’, which was believed to be one of the best waves in California.
    • He practically stood alone in his quest to chase his passion and went to extents that many would never have considered.
    • Nick Gabaldon met his untimely fate on June 5, 1951, as he rode his last wave where he lost control of his surf board.


By Sylvia Porter-Hall

Images: Free Google images

Is This Thing On?

I’m in a bit of a tizzy right now…a predicament of sorts. You see, I’ve been writing posts to this blog for a little while now and I am somewhat puzzled. I spend a lot of time on my posts, sometimes hours per post to ensure that the content is of quality, that my facts are straight, and that my opinions don’t offend anyone. It is very disappointing to realize that even after all that, hardly no one seems to be reading these posts. I’m truly at a loss as to why this may be. So, I now look to you, the ‘potential’ reader, to help me with this.

I need to know, is it the content? Could it be that the quality that I think and hope is here, truly isn’t? Is it that my posts are being read, but you the reader(s) simply have no comment? I find this hard to believe as I try and cover a wide range of topics and always welcome feedback and comments. Sure, I receive a few comments from consistently loyal bloggers and even some likes here and there, all of which I appreciate to the fullest. However, in the grand scheme of things, I mostly hear crickets!

I’ve read a lot of blogs since I recently entered this arena. Many are beautifully creative and chocked with information, while others are often crass to the point of offensiveness. I personally, refuse to go that route for the sake of huge numbers and readership. So, consider me a bit of an old-school person who simply believes in achieving goals the old-fashioned way – through consistent, hard work….one post, one article at a time.

So, fellow bloggers…I could really use your help. Are there topics that I haven’t yet touched on that you’d like to read about from my perspective? If this is the case, what are some of those topics? Please know that I am not shy when it comes to controversial topics either. I’d be more than happy to take a shot at bringing your subject to life while hopefully moving you enough to chime in! So, consider this an invite. Let me know you’re out there and that indeed….this thing is on!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

A Little Sunday Steam!


So, I wasn’t even going to do a post, but I figure, why not? I wasn’t in the mood to cook today so I spent a little time pondering what I would eat for dinner. After contemplating many choices, I finally decided on Chinese food. I usually order from a place that’s about 12 minutes away by car, but not only was I not in the mood to cook, but I wasn’t in the mood to go pick up my food either. This is probably beginning to sound like a case of a ‘bad attitude’ but honestly, it’s not.

I placed my order at 6:15pm and asked how long it would take for the food to arrive. I was told that it should be delivered to my home in about 45 minutes. Now, let me just say that I’m a pretty patient person as far as most things go. I will wait for things a bit longer than a lot of people would. At about 7:15pm, I called the restaurant back to inquire as to the whereabouts of my order. The young lady assured me that the driver was on his way and that he had a couple other orders besides mine to deliver also. Can you say red flag? I wonder how long the other people were told their orders would take?

It got to be about 7:50pm and still no food! Seriously?! What in the world? I should have gone with my first instinct and placed the order as a pick-up order. That way I could have had my food in a timely manner,  instead of waiting almost 2 hours after ordering. I called the restaurant back again and asked if I could be compensated in some way for the ridiculous ‘wait’ time? The young lady apologized profusely and finally said that I could have another order of the exact same food, free of charge, since my order most likely was cold after taking so long to get to me. Of course, I couldn’t resist…I asked how long that order would take and was told about 25 minutes being that the restaurant was no longer that busy. What?  Another 35 minutes goes by and again, I call to see what happened. This time, a woman answered, definitely not the same young lady who originally took my order. I asked about the free order of food and when it was coming. I was told that they never compensate with free food for any reason. Furthermore, I would receive 10% off of  my order the next time! Next time?! There wasn’t going to be any next time!

Needless to say, I am no longer a customer of this place. What makes it even worse is that this has happened on at least 3 other occasions and I’m sure I’m not the only one. I gave this place chance after chance. I had even resorted to going to pick up the orders myself. But today, I figured I’d take another shot at it and see if this restaurant’s delivery service had improved. Obviously not! And on top of that, you mean to tell me  that they, as a business, don’t make any effort to make up for  tardy deliveries, yet they still expect to retain repeat customers? Unbelievable! Like I said in the beginning of this post, I wasn’t even going to share this, but it was stuck in my craw in a way that really irks me; hence a random post. Nothing like blowing off a little Sunday steam, right? I guess this is my just dessert for not going with my first instinct. Next time, I will just cook my own Sunday dinner like I normally do. LOL!

Sylvia Porter-Hall

Did You Know?…(8)



    • A great number of teachers are ‘unhappy’ in their jobs.
    • Harris Interactive conducted a survey for Metlife that found that public school teachers’ job satisfaction has reached plummeting levels as reported by the Metlife Survey of the American Teacher.
    • Teacher satisfaction is the lowest it has been in 20 years. The proportion of teachers that had been satisfied with their jobs decreased by 15% in only two years.
    • Out of all the teachers surveyed, only 41% allege being very satisfied in their profession as opposed to 59% in 2009.
    • Layoffs over the past several years have negatively affected the sense of job security that teachers once had.
    • Many other factors contribute to teachers’ low satisfaction for their jobs including: staff layoffs, elimination of after-school programs, lack of updated educational technology, deteriorating conditions in school buildings and grounds, witnessing students coming to school hungry.
    • Forbes ranks ‘teaching’ as one of the unhappiest jobs as reported by Jeff Dunn on April 4, 2013.


All of this is very disappointing and disheartening. Teaching is such a crucial and invaluable piece to the development of our young people. It would seem that some of the things contributing to teachers being ‘unhappy’, could be significantly decreased, but how? What can parents do to help stop the elimination of after-school programs? What can be done to help schools update educational technology? How can teachers, parents and students play a role in helping their schools with this? How unfair it is that students and teachers suffer because of deteriorating conditions in school buildings? Is there anything that teachers, parents and students can do about that? Sadly, some families are on the brink of starvation, if not already there. What can be done to ensure that more students receive breakfast at school, when they are unable to eat at home?

Teachers often face danger when they come to work. They shouldn’t have to, but they often do. Especially in this day and age with all the school shootings.(which could be a whole other post) How can teachers be expected to come to work and be ‘happy’ about it, when they often fear that danger may or may not happen? Police officers use to reign supreme in terms of a profession that ‘fear’ was and is an eminent part of. Unfortunately, teaching has now joined that rank. I’d say teachers have a lot to be dissatisfied or ‘unhappy’ about. All these are very tough questions and to answer any of them is definitely a daunting task, but we have to start somewhere. Maybe it should begin with you and me!


By Sylvia Porter-Hall



Did You Know…(7)


    • Rochester New York (Roc City) was host to one of the first downtown indoor malls in the U.S. and was dedicated on April 10, 1962.
    • Victor Gruen not only designed Midtown Plaza but also Southdale Center, which was located in the suburbs of Minneapolis in 1956.
    • The idea of Midtown Plaza Mall was born as a result of discussions between Gilbert J.C. McCurdy, owner of McCurdy’s department store and Maurice F. Forman, owner of the B. Forman Co. department store. .
    • As suburban shopping malls outside of Rochester began to emerge, Midtown Plaza lost its vibrancy and started to struggle in the 1980s.
    • The last original tenant(s) of Midtown Plaza was a Record Theater store and a U.S. Post office.
    • On October 16,2007, it was announced that Midtown Plaza would be torn down and replaced by PAETEC Headquarters.
    • Midtown Plaza’s final Christmas season was celebrated in 2007. Midtown Plaza’s chief engineer donated a 40ft Douglas Fir tree. *Getting the ‘holiday’ tree into Midtown Plaza was always a major event, as traffic was interrupted on N. Clinton Ave near the side entrance to the plaza. The tree(s) had to be dragged into the mall on its side. I feel honored to have witnessed this on many occasions, being that I worked downtown for several years before the mall’s closing.
    • The “Monorail” was a familiar structure during every Christmas holiday season. **Hundreds of kids would wait patiently in line with their parents to get on this train that rode high above the mall floor traveling in a square formation. Sadly, the ‘monorail’ had its last go-round on December 24, 2007.
    • Six Rochester Radio Stations of Clear Channel Communications signed off the air on midnight on December 31, 2008.
    • Midtown Plaza closed its doors to the mourning public for the last time on July 29, 2008.
    • The Adirondack Transit Lines Bus Station, the last Midtown Plaza occupant, closed on November 3, 2009.
    • Geri Kavenaugh designed the Clock of Nations, a very well known Midtown Plaza attraction. This infamous clock was representative of twelve nations and had twelve cylinders displaying a puppet scene for each nation. When the Clock of Nations was originally unveiled, it was revered as an important piece of art. The original puppetry had to be replaced in the 1970s because it had not been well-maintained. Oddly enough, a local housewife contributed her handy work to the replacement puppetry.
    • Once Midtown Plaza closed, the Clock of Nations was moved for a brief time to the Greater Rochester International Airport terminal. It’s permanent residence is now at the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

It’s so sad when I drive through downtown Rochester New York in this day and age. The place where Midtown Plaza once stood, looks completely different. Had you not seen what it looked like before its demise, you might find it difficult to picture what was once there. I’m just glad I had the opportunity to become very acquainted with Midtown Plaza before all these changes were put into affect. Nothing beats those memories!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall


A Festive Occasion!


Okay, before too much time goes by, I want to mention the awesome 13th annual Xerox International Jazz Festival that just took place in my neck of the woods! This exciting event took over ‘Roc City, Rochester New York, from June 20, 2014 – June 28,2014. I guess you kind of had to be there, but I will do my best to give you a recap of my take on this fantastic music-filled event. Hopefully, by the end of this post, you may feel like you were there too!

There was definitely something for everyone at this music festival. You could literally walk through the streets of downtown Rochester New York and pretty much listen to the music of your liking, at any given moment. Unbelievably, there were more than 79 free concerts this year. Die-hard music fans  had the option of purchasing a Club Pass, which allowed entry into any of the tents where musicians were performing and activities were taking place. So, you could literally see oodles of performances nightly if you chose to with the use of the Club Pass. I may go this route next year and split the cost with someone, $189.00 for eight days of musical bliss. That way, on the days I don’t attend the festival, the other person can. However, this would eliminate the option of going to the festival with that person obviously, but no worries. There were so many people at this event, that there certainly was no shortage of interesting and friendly people to connect and converse with, my kind of occasion!

A reported 196,000 people attended the festival with over 1500 musicians from at least 19 countries; all gracing the festival with their crowd-pleasing music while performing for more than 325 concerts in over 20 venues in Roc City’s downtown East End Cultural District. Can you say A-MAZING?! What a boost to Rochester New York’s economy, in addition to some of the most versatile music ever in one place! There were at least 3 sold-out shows one of which was Earth,Wind & Fire. Other headliners included Janelle Monae and Michael McDonald. I did have the pleasure of seeing Michael McDonald’s concert and he was spectacular! It was thrilling to see that he can still hit those high notes and produce that one of a kind, uniquely soulful sound that is his and his alone. I loved it!

I did manage to take in the festival a couple of times and found the festive atmosphere to be both contagious and delightfully intoxicating. Even if you didn’t attend one of the shows or free concerts, you could find a seat some place or bring your own chair and sit,watch all the excited festival-goers and listen to the music, which was within ‘earshot’ from anywhere in the vicinity!

This annual event definitely put Rochester New York on the map, positively. You might also be impressed to learn that generosity certainly raised it’s lovely head in lieu of this musical extravaganza! Twenty one musical instruments were unselfishly donated to the Rochester Education Foundation at this year’s event. These instruments included: violins, a saxophone,clarinet, and many more as well as instruction books and accessories; all this, for the benefit of Rochester City School Students. Five thousand free pedometers were given to festival attendees compliments of Rochester General Health Systems, so that participants could keep track and measure their steps; a proactive move to promote walking and optimal health. Eric Waugh produced live paintings during the Lou Gramm concert with proceeds to be auctioned off to Hillside (Family of Agencies).

I simply cannot close out this article without mentioning the food trucks! Oh my! I had never had the pleasure of eating anything from one of these mobile feeding machines, until now. Lets just say that the pleasure was all mine! I had something called ‘meatball in a cup’. It was truly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten, one of many reasons to come back! Is this an event that you would consider attending in the future? Next year’s festival will run from June 19, 2015 through June 27, 2015, so plan early and mark your calendars! You will not be disappointed!

By Sylvia Porter-Hall

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