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Family returns to its roots

Call them Buffalo's boomerang families -- people who return to the community with a renewed appreciation.

Take Mark and Eileen Tramont of the Town of Tonawanda, who not long ago moved their family back from northern New Jersey, where they lived for 17 years.

"Both Eileen and I really do love this area and are not afraid to invest in it," Mark said. "Things are much, much more affordable here -- especially housing.

"As slow as change occurs, we feel that, even though our children are somewhat grown, this is a great place to keep their roots in and teach them good life values."

And a slower pace can be a good thing in a city where traffic jams are a mere shadow of those clogging the highways of northern Jersey.

"The pace is much faster there," said Tramont, who said traffic reports in northern Jersey "run 2 4/7 -- and not for 24 minutes seven times a week."

"Family and friends who visited wondered why I checked the traffic report when we would come back from an evening or weekend day in New York City. I'd answer, because there's always traffic.

"Culture there was great, but came at a price," he added. "You had to get there by car or public transportation, park and find your way, and then you had to get home.

"New Jersey is not a bad area -- it's just faster paced," Tramont added. "While our friends in Jersey are wonderful, people here can be much nicer and less stressed.

"The work ethic may not be the same," he noted. "Most teenagers in the area we lived worked a little less than what they do here. I remember taking my daughter to high school one day and noticed the parking lot had many BMWs, Lexuses, Mercedes, and thought, 'This isn't right.' Whatever happened to the 20-year-old junker?

"When we asked our youngest whether she wanted to finish her last two years of high school in New Jersey or move back to Buffalo, she responded with very little hesitation. 'Family over friends,' and Buffalo it was."

Eileen Tramont said she enjoys returning to the community by being involved in breast cancer fundraisers and support groups. She runs Tonawanda's Au Naturel Boutique, which caters to women who have undergone surgery for breast cancer.

And some things about Western New York never change, they noted.

"When we left Buffalo," Mark Tramont points out, "there was talk about replacing the Skyway and a new Peace Bridge."

That was in 1990.

Have an idea about a local person whose life would make a good profile or a neighborhood issue worth exploring? Write to: Louise Continelli, The Buffalo News, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240, or e-mail lcontinelli@buffnews.com

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