Memory Lane

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by Hound dog, Aug 9, 2011.

  1. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    I moved from my hometown in central Illinois at the age of 20. I haven't stepped foot in the city since oh Nichole was about 7, when my grandpa passed away, so what about 15 yrs? Of course my Mom is not happy about this, but honestly I had no reason to go back.....not even to visit her as she used to drag the kids and I to every single family member every single visit and made it exhausting and unpleasant. And to be frank, there is really nothing special about the city anyway.

    In it's hey day my hometown was a pretty great place to live. About the time husband and I moved away, it was already going downhill at an alarming rate. When the heaven knows how many tornadoes hit it that day in 1996 (made national news several of them hit at once all over the city).......the city decided instead of rebuilding certain areas to take over the land and get rid of the homes, claiming they were crack houses. Now we're not talking one block or just a few homes, we're talking block after block after block for several miles in many different areas of the city. The crack house thing was an excuse to rid the city of it's poorer areas in an attempt to make the city more appealing. Only you take away that much housing from the poor and you suddenly find yourself with major housing issues.....and a lot of enraged people. Gangs went into full swing, crime rate is higher than Chicgao (has one of the highest crime rates in the country), violent crime is rampant, jobs are scarce.

    So. Moved out and on and no regrets. I've been in touch with a few childhood friends via fb which is pretty wonderful as we took off from where we left off and it's like we've never been apart.

    I discovered a fb page yesterday that was a You Know You're From Such and Such when you remember........... (thus the trip down memory lane)

    Totally bad idea, evidently. I suddenly was like a person possessed. I read every post, but what really got me were the "historic" photos. These were of places I remember vividly. Some like Kresges with it's built in diner I practically lived at with grandma. It's where she hung out with her friends over coffee while I carefully picked my toy for under a dollar (including tax lol) and if I was really good and she had the money I'd get a piece of pumpkin pie with real whipped cream on top. The supermarket shopping center I passed each day on my way to and from school, where my dad worked nights after his day job at Staley's, where when they had their cookie machine we could go in and watch fresh baked cookies come down the belt and if we were polite and didn't beg the manager would let each of us have a hot chocolate chip cookie to munch on our way to school. Much of my life was centered around this supermarket as well, oddly enough. Then the city parks they way they once were.........My old high school, which is still in use, jr high school which is also oddly still in use........but the grade school did me in. It was a historic building built at the turn of the century. An awesome place to go to school, even if we didn't have the fancy playground equipment of the other more modern grade schools.

    I found out they tore it down this summer after a long battle to save it failed. So I went hunting for photos of it in it's prime. If there is one, I can't find it. I have 2 of right before it was torn down and they break my heart. It's like an old friend being tossed aside.

    I saved most of the photos I found that are linked with my childhood memories as many of those places no longer exist....actually most of them no longer exist thanks to the "facelift" the city counsel decided to do after the '96 tornadoes. The entire city has basically been gutted. And the facelift project did them no good. No new people flooded the city, no new business fought to move in.

    I'm not much of a crier, but I had tears in my eyes going through some of this stuff. There is the saying "you can never go home again", and it's so true.

    My mom gets upset that I won't come home to visit, but this is a huge part of the reason. She does notice the changes ect because she tells me about them when they happen.....but for her it's gradual. For me it's like a punch in my gut. When I go "home" now it's not my home anymore but a strange ugly violent city. I can't even take my kids or grandkids to look at this or that landmark linked to a memory because they no longer are there. Very very few are left.

    It's so sad that my hometown which was once a thriving wonderful place to grow up is now writhing in death throes.

    Sometimes a trip down memory lane is just plain bitter sweet. I have my now treasured photos, at least I can show these to my kids and grandkids. But I have no desire to step foot in my hometown again. :sigh:
  2. AnnieO

    AnnieO Shooting from the Hip

    Lisa... I know what you mean!

    It's been 21 years since I spent any time at all in my hometown, and 6 since I've been there (fly in to El Paso TX airport, drive to Las Cruces NM). I'd love to just drive around for a while. There's a football stadium at the highschool 2 blocks from my house - WHAT?! We had to use the one halfway across town. My HS was only about 10 years old when I went there.

    But there are shockers - the Hilton filled in the pools and built another building... the NE part of town (army brat land) looks a lot nicer than it did. This is pictures a friend sent me.

    BUT - we moved to Ohio when I was 14. CULTURE SHOCK for me. In the town my parents still live in? The "new" HS I attended has turned into the junior high and they built a new HS. The fields are full of shops now. 3 golf courses in town. The park I used to hang out in, with woods and a creek, is all manicured lawn and amphitheatre.

    It's sad... The Kroger I walked to from my first apartment is GONE. There are condos there now. The only thing left is the post office.
  3. TeDo

    TeDo Guest

    I LIVE in my hometown. Moved out after graduation but came back when I was pregnant. Like big cities but would not want to raise my kids there. I had family to help with the twins so it WAS worth it.

    I have watched all the changes happen here. So many memories any time something else changes. My high school is gone, replaced by senior condos. I watched the drive-in being wiped off the map (sooooo many memories). Friends' houses torn down and replaced by pre-fab homes. My church was torn down and was replaced by the NEW public library and the old public library is now an outpatient treatment facility for chemical dependency.

    Every time something changes, I reminisce(sp?) and a couple times even shed a tear. But, "the times they are a changin".
  4. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    My hometown hasn't changed much. My mom still lives in the house I grew up in. They have a gas station and cafe now that weren't there when I left. The corner full-service station closed when I was in high school. This one came after that and is still going. A few houses have been torn down, and a few others restored (most old victorian styles). Nothing new. I do go back to visit mom, and even tho the landscape hasn't changed, the people have. Life has gone on - its not the place that I remember. People have grown up, moved on, passed on. New people replace them in the homes.
    I don't suppose "going home" works for much of anyone, really. Cause once you're not there anymore, its not "home" anymore.
  5. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    I went to junior high and high school here, but we didn't live right in town. Hubby was raised right in the downtown area (where we live now) and he remembers everything from the hometown FB, not so much. But I know what you mean about it being addictive, Lisa.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I might have to find that page for my home town. Of course, it is a pretty big place. Every time I go home, more stuff changes. Of course, I dont really have a "home" there anymore but the house I was born in is still there and the house my parents built is still there. Those are the places I still call home. My dad's last house will always be his house because I never lived there.

    I always get pangs when I drive through downtown Richmond. Not only do I have many fond memories but it is such a beautiful and wonderful city. I miss it badly.
  7. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    My "hometown" is the opposite of yours, Hound Dog. When I grew up there, it was rural becoming residential. It's now filled with $500,000 McMansions. And I now work in it. The piece of property that my facility is built on was my bus driver's pig farm while I was growing up. The horse farm across the street where they had polo matches is a high class strip mall with high price restaurants. I didn't go to public school, I went to Catholic, but was around the public schools too because we rode their buses and neighbors and friends. The middle school my dad was custodian at is now the school district offices. The old high school is the middle school, and the new high school has a fire place in the atrium. And the church I went to has rebuilt and enlarged three times now.
    People ask me since I've been working out there (25 miles away from where I live) if I'd move back. First - I can't afford to. Second - I'd always miss the small town it was when I was growing up. I actually remember when we went from "village" status to "city" status - although we lived in the township.
  8. donna723

    donna723 Well-Known Member

    Oh Lisa, I know exactly what you mean! Sadly, you really can't "go home again"!

    As a kid I lived in a suburb of a very large city and it was a wonderful place to grow up! It was an area settled by my grandfathers family generations ago and all my relatives lived there. Nobody there had any money but it was street after street of small, neat houses where practically everyone had an ethnic-sounding last name and it so safe that kids could roam freely as long as you showed up for meals. We moved away when I was 12 and going back now is just heartbreaking. All the relatives have moved to the more outlying areas now and the whole demographics have changed. Now it's one of those places that if you drive through, you make sure your car doors are locked. The residential streets don't look too much different but the business areas are unrecognizable. And the worst part is the church we used to go to ... one of those beautiful old churches with the stained glass windows and the pipe organ and the gorgeous carved wood alters. That congregation was over 150 years old and now that beautiful old church sits empty with a "For Sale" sign on it!

    When we left there, we moved to that town in Florida that has now been taken over by "The Mouse"! When we moved there it was a wonderful, very safe place to be a kid or a young adult. There were only about 50,000 people there then, still orange groves everywhere, lakes to swim in and real estate was still very reasonable. It was big enough to have everything you needed but still small enough to be safe and easy to navigate. Parents dropped their kids off downtown to go to a movie and picked them up afterwards and never worried. We lived in an outlying area with several miles of undeveloped land between us and the "big city". This is where we lived as teenagers and in our young adult "running around" years, it's where my kids were born, where I worked for many, many years. And's pretty much ruined! I can't even find my way around now. Most of it is unrecognizable compared to what it was like when we moved there. There's virtually no undeveloped land there at all now, the orange groves are all gone, the old landmarks have all been bulldozed, it's nothing but office buildings and expensive condos and trendy shopping malls now. They truely "paved paradise and put in a parking lot"! It's now completely tourist-oriented and nothing like it was before. We've had a very active Facebook group for quite a while for people who lived there back then and remember how it was when we were young, pre-"Mouse". There's over 4,000 members of the group, all talking about the places we used to go and the things we did that are gone now, and there's hundreds of pictures of all these restaurants and stores and movie theaters and the schools we went to that are long gone now too and lots of pictures of how the streets and neighborhoods looked back then when it was such a nice place to live. It just makes me sad.
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2011
  9. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I live in my hometown. I've left twice, once to Toronto, once to Connecticut. I always landed back here and would ask myself "why"?? This is NOT the town I grew up in. I have lived the past 7 years alongside the street I grew up in from birth to about age 9 when I entered the foster care system. Oddly that one street next to me, where I lived, hasn't changed much. Even the Italian families that grew huge gardens and had similar statues in their yards are even still living there or have passed on and their adult children are now in those homes raising their families. I get very nostalgic when I walk down the street, seeing those familiar gardens and remembering raiding them after dark and having the older widow across the street come out with his cane in one hand and grab a rake in the other to wave and shake at us as he screamed at us in Italian. We would be so scared of him and only raid his garden when double dared and too embarassed to back down in front of friends. It's funny because now I look back and see what we as kids missed. That he was never actually angry, that it humored him to scare us off but he never really minded, I am sure he got a kick out of it. He also was the neighbor to play Santa and anonomously leave bikes for us in our front porch to find Christmas morning. I found out as a teen that it had been him, it took years for my mother to find out who had done such a amazing thing for us. This street was full of families that all attended our church or the other church on our block. That church is now up for sale as of a few months ago. It's a beautiful small church with so much history for long term Italian families in our downtown core and a huge loss for them.

    Nothing about my town feels the same now though other than that one street that somehow has resisted change. The neighborhood stores are long gone. Entire huge subdivisions were put up where beautiful woods and trails once were. Our small outlying section that used to hold small shops is now full of big box stores, fast food chains and home improvement stores. Our downtown was once the hub of this town. Now they work hard to keep it quaint but it is slowly dying out and losing buyers to the big stores and the 2 malls. easy child's father has his book shop in the main street downtown and I think he only keeps afloat locating his shop there because it is a french language book shop and its the only french shop in town.

    I guess we all can find reasons to see the good things progress can bring but it isn't always for the better of a community and is often hardest on those of us who remember quieter times with kids still all out playing in droves safely on the streets etc. Certainly my kids have grown up here but will not look back at their childhood here as I can do. :(
  10. Star*

    Star* call 911


    I'm sorry for your heart. I know the hurt that you have is real, and I think in a lot of us there is some small part of us that would like to take our kids or grand children back to our childhood and say "This is where your Granny swung on this swing, or rode this merry-go-round, or I walked from this house down to this store and we use to take one dollar after doing our chores and buy candy, and gum and a pop and still have change left then spend the day riding our bikes over to the woods and do this and that." Who wouldn't want to see their proginy come full circle and be in the same places they were as a child? It's mesmerizing in many ways, or for some a rite of passage.

    With regards to loosing the school? Not hard to see why that would hurt. Some really good times were had there. Some good memories and now? That building, that housed those memories for you seems like it's gone forever. I've had lots of things like that disappear too, but I want you to think about this - NO ONE can take your memories in your mind. Those are yours, to have forever - no matter what. No one can get in there and take them from you, and just because there isn't a building to show the kids? Doesn't mean you can not tell the story so vividly that they can't see the story for themselves (they would anyway) and you are a wonderful story teller besides. You're a super Nana.

    I'm just sorry you hurt - but I get it. I do go back. For the most part? Our town is still the same. The people have changed, they are meaner, more aggressive, stupider - by their behaviors and lack care for anything - busting up grave yards and doing damage to things that once meant something to everyone - we were mischiveous - but these people just have no compassion for anything - nothing is sacred. So when I do move back? If I am that lucky? It takes people that care - about a place and love it - to make others stop being idiots and say YOU WILL NOT - because we do care - and I will stand up for what's right. People are just too much in a hurry to tuck tail and run...not my responsibility. I'm not like that....neither are you. I think that's what's bothering you the most.

    just sayin.
  11. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Well, I still wish I could find a photo of my grade school before they let it fall into disrepair..........Odds are if I actually went back home and went to the library I probably could find one........IF I could find the library.....seems they tore that down too and built a new one somewhere. ugh

    And it still makes me sad that it is gone forever.

    But you know what??

    From kindergarden until I left the school after 6th grade there was this painting that hung on the hall outside of the office. It was of a little girl maybe about 4 yrs old sitting in a chair wearing a dress and red canvas sneakers eating cookies and milk. From talking with other people of various generations, that painting hung there forever, probably until they finally shut it down as a school and long before I was born. I have LOVED that painting since I first laid eyes on it age the tender age of 5 my first day of kindergarden.

    A few years ago I squealed in utter delight as I discovered that same painting at a yard sale for 5 bucks. I don't know where the original is hung but I believe both my school and mine are original prints of this painting........and I've seen it hanging in other schools as well.

    It's now hanging on my dining room wall. I'd forgotten that I'd purchased it with several other paintings at the had husband fetch it out for me, I cleaned it up a tad (was a bit dusty lol ) and now it's one of the center pieces of the room.

    So I may not ever get a photo of the school. But I have the print that I've loved all my life that floods me with hundreds of memories from the 7 yrs I spent in the school every time I look at it. :bigsmile: