The Daily Miracle is reminiscent piece by Eric DuVall, the editor of the Tonawanda News when it closed its doors this past January, shortly before writing his story for Block Club #39: Away. DuVall sweetly recalls the "often boring, oddly fascinating details of life in the Rust Belt" by sharing his point of view of Tonawanda from behind an editing desk of a small community news paper that acted more like a group email among family members. He mentions how that perspective has allowed him to understand that in a community like this, it's the little things like a shared recipe or a birthday notice that really matter, as opposed to the detail-ridden investigative headlines.
On a painful winter day in March, the kind of day where a familial community shines most, I did what I could to capture DuVall's fond vision of his community. I brunched at Athena's Diner, a local staple, and chatted with folks over the warmth of hash browns, then spent some time at Tonawanda Bowl which was budding with families, birthday parties, and old friends staying active. I browsed ephemera piled high to the ceiling at the Shawnee Country Barns Antique Co-Op, where I spoke with shoppers and vendors who fed me cookies and told me stories of the hunt for some of their favorite treasures. That McGrath & Durk Sign- though formerly a local company, they found that sign on eBay out of state and drove to pick it up to bring it back to the county where it belonged! With cold fingers, but a heart full of new stories from Tonawanda locals, I closed the adventure out by swinging by the famous Tonawanda Coke plant and the Niagara River, where I found some friends making the best of a frigid day.
Being asked to do this story was a real a real gem because I got the opportunity to experience the community DuVall described in this piece by exploring it through visuals. This job ain't so bad, all I ever wanted to do with my life is learn through exploration and here we are. Check out the slideshow below to see what printed in Block Club and some favorite outtakes once again!