Friday, October 30, 2015

I have noticed

 that when I return to my hometown that I tend to be decades behind on my references.

I noticed this about ten or fifteen years ago when I said to my sister "Go to Hit or Miss and take a right."

She laughed and said Hit or Miss changed to another business ten years ago but said I had a pretty good memory.

Because I don't live in the old neighborhood any more I tend to have it frozen in time in my memory. As I drive down the street I grew up on I know nobody on it except for two families and both of them are elderly.

As I drive down my memory says to me "Smith's house". Bob and Mary Smith have been dead and gone for probably thirty years. 

Ot maybe I'll thing the 'Alice Savage place'. Alice savage was around 90 years old when I was just a kid. She lived there with a companion of some sorts. I suppose she has been gone since the early 70s.

What is interesting is that there is a gap between two of my sisters. I might mention the Donton place. The Dontons moved after Mr. Donton was killed in an accident. The Willis family moved in.

I might refer to the place as the Donton place and likely my baby sister might think of it as the Willis place.

I really don't have Clue One as to who lives where on the street anymore.

The last time I was there I went to the post office and passed by one of my mother's bestest buddies. She didn't recognize me and I made a snap judgement not to reintroduce myself, probably because I looked like hell at the time.

They say you can never go home again and to an extent it is the truth. The old neighborhood certainly isn't the same. 

I don't see the armies of kids playing out in the yards. Partially because people are having fewer children. The other reason is that it is so damned expensive to live there. One can likely not afford to live there until the kids are gone. 

A trip to my old stomping grounds on the river lets me see that it isn't the same. The old wood float has been replaced by a new aluminum float. The old railroad bridge is gone save a couple of pilings. There's no place to dive off of anymore and it certainly isn't nearly as inspiring as it used to be.

One thing is the same about the place, though.

About fifty years ago one of my pals said "You'll never meet an a$$hole at the Point at 3 am."

I imagine that's true today.

On rare occasions I used to sneak out of the house in the middle of the night to fish there. There was often someone else doing the same thing. Quietly fishing and just thinking aimlessly. No conversation, just a person left alone in his thoughts. His face sometimes lit up briefly by the glowing ember of a cigarette.

One time I was walking to the point carrying a fishing pole and a bored town policeman pulled up alongside and asked me where I was going at 0300. I told him I was headed to the Point to go fishing.

He told me to hop in and hold my rod outside the window and gave me a ride. He asked me where my tackle box was. I dryly told him that I wasn't going to let some dmned fish ruin my evening thoughts. He grinned and grunted. 

He knew the fishing pole was just something to give legitimacy to just standing on the bridge and doing nothin'.

I remember the time Dad caught me sneaking out at about 0200. He softly asked me where the hell I was going at 0200. I held up my fishing pole. He told me to wait for him.

Out he came carrying his pole and two beers.

Less than a minute later we were stuffing the rods into the old Ford Falcon and pushing it into the street quietly.

We let it roll down the street for a couple of houses before he turned on the headlights, flipped the key on and slowly let out the clutch. He handed me a beer which I opened as we drove down to the point.

We stood on the bridge quietly sipping our beers and never said two words to each other.

We both grew sleepy and quietly drove home. He took the long way so we would be coming downhill on final approach to the driveway. Then he cut the engine and lights and we ghosted back into the driveway in silence.

I would imagine now that any kid carrying a fishing pole late at night would be stopped and hassled unless he was actually at the Point. Even then he'd likely be questioned.

Anyway, the neighborhood looks a lot like it did when I grew up there but when you loo past a few things it sure isn't the same place.

To find out why the blog is pink just cut and paste this: NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN THE WRITING OF TODAY'S ESSAY

1 comment:

  1. One set of grandparents lived in in Maryland, just outside of DC. I thought it was pretty neat visiting them because there was EVERYTHING! (Not like where I was growing up.) But DC being DC all the old shopping centers were built over and all the land that could be built on has been built on. Going back, we can't even find my grandparents old house. At least the church they attended looks the same.

    On the other hand, my other grandparents lived on the farm. I grew up referring to locations derived from people who had passed decades earlier. Being so rural meant that it was insulated from the impact of time, but not completely protected. Even today I can go there and mention a place that has been gone 60 years earlier and many will know. Yet some of the older places that were abandoned/torn down when I was a kid are all but forgotten. Quite a curious mix.