Monday, April 27, 2015

It's True...We Really Can't Go Home Again....

Collin and I went back to the old neighborhood last week--where we lived when Mom and Dad were still with us. It's been a while--at least a year, I think. We had some business to take care of, and we wanted to have lunch at Fazoli's.




Fazolis

 
There was a time I was determined to stay there, in that area. It was home, the last place that really felt like home. It was familiar to me, and I needed that. I think Collin needed it, too. I wanted to stop time, in a way, to be surrounded by all the sights and sounds I knew so well. It was the next best thing to keeping Mom and Dad with us.

But being there again made me see that nothing ever stays the same. People we knew and cared about are gone. Some we couldn't stand are gone, too. Some of the restaurants we used to love are gone--some of them have even been torn down. The movie theater is gone. It--and the shopping center across the street--have been demolished. All that remains is a huge pile of rubble.


Kenrick 8 Cinema

 

Ted Drewes--best frozen custard on the planet!

Target--the one we knew--is gone. In its place is a new, bigger, more upscale Target. They definitely can't call themselves a discount chain anymore. Walgreens has moved. Hollywood Video has gone the way of the dinosaur. The bookstore's gone, in its place a Noodles & Company. The IHOP is gone--that was a shocker. It had been there for as long as I can remember. Home Town Buffet is gone, as is the restaurant that occupied that location afterward. Our family doctor has retired and the rest of his joint practice moved to a new location.

Top: Buder Library
Bottom: Noodles & Company

 
The library is still there, as are Schnucks and McDonalds. The bank where my parents had their account is now a credit union. But so much has changed, I realized that no matter how much I wanted to hold onto the past, we really can't go back. We can only move forward. The people we love and lose, the places that were once a big part of our lives but no longer exist, still live in our memories. We have to accept that. We can only move forward.

Top: our home from 1995-2003 (we
lived on the second floor, right side of building)
Bottom: Hampton Village Shopping Center

One last thing: in recent months, there has been a great deal of racial division in the St. Louis area. There have been non-violent protests. There have been riots--looting, burning buildings, rage. A white man was assaulted on public transportation by three African-American men while other passengers looked on. I wasn't too crazy about having to take a bus for any distance for that reason--but something happened on our way home that might not seem like a big deal to most people, but it meant a great deal to me. To get home, we had to change buses. I don't get around very well these days. I use a cane. Getting on and off buses can be tricky, so Collin boards first so I can grasp his arm to pull myself up. He goes ahead and gets off first so he can help me if the step down is a long one. That day, he was already off the bus, waiting, when I finally got to my feet. We'd been seated for a long time and I was in a lot of pain. I couldn't balance myself and almost fell.

The only person who came to my rescue was a very kind African-American gentleman who helped me stay upright and guided me to the exit, where Collin was waiting. This man could have just let me fall, as everyone else on board seemed willing to do--but he didn't. He saw a fellow human being in distress and came to help.

I pray that one day, we'll all see each other as people, just human beings, not colors or any other label. Random acts of kindness are a good start....

22 comments:

  1. Well-written my friend. Glad there was someone there to help you not fall that day.

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  2. That man was more than man-- he was part angel. You're so lucky Collin goes with you. I often wonder what will happen to me since my husband is considerably older but he promises to stick around.

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    1. Right on both counts. I have a hard time sitting in one spot for very long--except on our couch, which is very comfortable. The pain, especially in my left hamstring, is unbearable.

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  3. Very well said, and very commendable of him to step in.

    I sometimes wonder about my childhood home, how long it'll be before it gets torn down and five or six houses get put on that one acre. It's been years since I've seen it.

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    1. Twenty years ago, I wanted to buy back the last house my dad built for us. I got a real estate agent we knew to approach the owners. But when we saw it again, I realized it would cost us a fortune to restore it. It looked awful!

      Our old apartment, however, looks great. The building went condo and has been completely remodeled. I found the listing for our apartment online with a slideshow. It was bittersweet, seeing it again after all these years.

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  4. Everything does change. That's why we have our memory, I think. So that we can recall the places where we were happy.

    And yes, it would be wonderful if people could stop classifying others according to color or religion or sex or anything else. The only thing that matters in the end is whether someone has a kind heart. And the only thing we ourselves can do is try to be as kind as possible.

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    1. That's why I originally started blogging, Cheryl--a way to preserve my memories in case I ended up like my mom.

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  5. So glad someone was there to help you. My childhood home is gone and the ranch home I never wanted to leave (in Phoenix) is now four townhouses two stories high. Thomas Wolfe was right.

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    1. As far as I know, all the houses my dad built are still standing--but one he didn't build (we lived there when I was very young) was demolished along with a few blocks of the street it was on when I-44 came along back in the late 50s-early 60s.

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  6. Norma ! are we twins from different family ?
    I know that Collin helps you like my children help me. Since I don't ride the bus I am able to take my walker.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. I think we might be, Gayle. Aren't we lucky to have such great children?

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  7. I loved growing up in Central Africa, best teenage years ever, but I'm never tempted to go back and visit because I know it won't be the same and I want to preserve those memories and hey... Perth is pretty fab :) maybe it was good for you to do that for closure. As for the gentleman who helped you, kind people come in many shapes, colours and sizes :)

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    1. I was just telling William I don't think we'd move back there, for the same reason you don't feel the need to return to Central Africa. I do still miss it at times, but too much has changed.

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  8. Well, I definitely can't go home. My father's house was demolished when someone bought it after his death.

    As far as buses, I can't believe they can't lower the bus for you. I would, if you were riding my bus. But maybe those aren't equipped with that. I don't know.

    And that was a good person helping you. It was said to me once that people are people. You get the bad (and really bad ones), and the good and really good, no matter their race.

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    1. They do indeed, Lorelei!

      Most drivers do lower the buses. But sometimes, they're not close enough to the curb. And some are just jerks.

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  9. Happily, there are many many more people like that man on the bus, than there are rioters.

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    1. The trouble is that we only see the rioters making news.

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  10. Going home is tough. My Dad died last August, and my sisters moved Mother in with one of them, and the family home is for sale at this very moment.

    Now, when I go 'home,' it is to my sisters' houses - it's a good thing I got a copy of the wonderful photos the real estate agent took - everything cleaned up and looking nice.

    My kids think this rattrap I reared them in is home. They love its nooks and crannies, and the odd corners where they had their clubs, and the top bedroom with its own bath and airconditioner that always went to the oldest child still living at home, and...

    'Twas always thus.

    Alicia

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    1. I never gave much thought to revisiting past homes--Dad designed and built houses, and we'd start packing every time he came up with a new idea for us--until after he died. I didn't particularly like that house (though it was in a good neighborhood--harder and harder to find in St. Louis), but it was the last place he lived with us. I still picture him the way he looked walking out the door the day he went to the hospital.

      The apartment building where we lived when Mom died--that was another story. We had ended up there after one of the worst episodes of our lives, and it was a symbol of peace, of serenity. It was security.

      I think home is more about a feeling than a building.

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  11. This brought tears to my eyes, Norma. It would be nice to go back. The town I grew up in is all built up. Concrete on top of concrete. Crime and racial issues abound there. Every other person in a checkout line is either drunk or whacked out on some kind of a drug. I hate going back because of this.

    Glad you have your son to help you. Glad to see a gentleman was able to see another person in need.

    Hugs and chocolate!

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