The Rockford Files

This Is the Time to Remember

Every city is made up of innumerable stories, some overlapping, most not.  And, thus, every city needs many storytellers to provide a full account of its life, because—humans being finite—no one is likely to be able to encompass all of those stories in his work.  Few cities, however, are so lucky.  The best most cities of any size can hope for is an Anthony Bukoski, who knows the East End of Superior, Wisconsin, as intimately as he knows himself—knows the people, the places, the history, even the way that both the physical and the human landscape of the East End change with every change of the seasons.  For a city to have a second Bukoski would be a gift beyond imagining, and it would require an extraordinary people to be worthy of such a blessing.

These thoughts ran through my mind on the night of February 6, when, at the generous invitation of Alberto Altamore, more than 100 people from across Rockford gathered at Altamore Ristorante to mourn the passing of radio talk-show host Chris Bowman and to celebrate the life of a man who, over the past decade, was perhaps less of a storyteller himself than an editor and publisher of other people’s stories—the people in that room, and many more besides.  Rockford has not yet been blessed with even one Tony Bukoski, but, in the hands of Chris Bowman, the stories of these people had burst the bounds of their private lives and been woven...

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