Another Memory Dies

It seems like every time I turn around these days progress, or the economy, is killing off more of my childhood.  Places guaranteed to trigger memories of things that happened while I was growing up are closing down, being remodeled to use as something else, or being bulldozed to make room for something else entirely.

When I was four, my family lived close to a huge General Motors complex.  My baby sister would have been about two years old during the time we lived there and one morning, while she was using the second floor bathroom…the lock jammed.  Dad was at work so an uncle brought a ladder to free the captive.

As an adult I realize it probably took him about twenty minutes to get there.  My four year old mind, however, thought it took forever and I wound up sitting on the floor outside the bathroom, sliding cookies under the door to her so she wouldn’t starve.

It’s a great memory, and I was a more than a little blue when the buildings were torn down a few years ago because they always reminded me of that day.

So many things are gone now that meant something to me at some point in my life…

An apartment complex and parking lot sits on the site of the field where I played softball for two summers.  Okay, played is a bit of an exaggeration.  Of course none of us girls knew what we were doing.  In fact, the only thing that made us a team was our matching tee shirts.  We were ‘The Untouchables’ the first year, and  ‘The Octopuses’ (yuck!) the next.  Turns out we should have kept The Untouchables because it was fairly accurate…in that none of the other teams even came close to removing us from our last place standing.

As I think about the title of today’s post, I realize that it’s actually wrong.  While the fields, restaurants, stores, theaters, and so many other places are gone, or closed down, the memories are still alive and well.  I not only remember what is no longer ‘there,’ I remember why it still means something to me.

The abandoned building where we used to buy the world’s best nutty donuts.  Another that’s now an office used to sell the world’s best fish and chips.  Or the old hardware store, across from the school that’s no longer there either, where we were introduced to Zots…the best and coolest candy in the world!

Has anyone but me ever noticed that if you did it, ate it, or experienced it when you were a kid, it was the best?  And that if we have an opportunity to ‘do it again,’ it never seems to live up to our memories of it?

This song never fails to bring tears to my eyes.

Are there any buildings or businesses that are gone now, but when you drive past the place where they used to be, they bring to mind special memories?

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10 Responses to Another Memory Dies

  1. Emma says:

    There was a beautiful old arcade building overlooking the seaside resort of Youghal in County Cork (Ireland). I have vivid memories of climbing the spiral red stairs higher and higher and having a perfect view through the glass walls onto the strand. The whole place was torn down some years back and replaced with horrible apartments. I was away the summer it happened and came home to the news. I was devastated I never got go and visit and take a few pics.
    I still have the great memories though.

  2. Debra Kristi says:

    Where I grew up if I search back far enough, much of the town was orange groves. They are hard to find today. I remember the old closed elementary school I used to walk past during my high school lunch break. My church bought the property and later it was the beautiful sanctuary I was married in.

    I also recall the Sears store my father worked part-time in, my parent’s bought my bedroom furniture from and where we used to go to for the giant Sears catalog all the time. Years later I was part of the team that closed that store down. It’s now a giant multiplex theater. Progress. Even my old high school has changed something fierce. It definitely feels odd stepping back there.

    • I remember the Sears catalogs (did you have the one with the guy in the boxers that made headlines?).

      That’s a nice story about the elementary school, but I know what you mean. Driving through the ‘old neighborhood’ is almost like driving through a different city these days, isn’t it?

  3. Calgary is growing so quickly but it is growing out at all the edges. there are a few things though. where the biggest mall is, used to be a drive in theatre. the first store in that mall was Sears which will be closed this summer.

    my grandma’s house was torn down and a big house built in its stead. i miss that, although I haven’t been there for decades. the house of my childhood is also gone – replaced by a condo…LOL i guess there’s lots of changes.

    • I think urban sprawl is affecting even small towns these days, Louise. When I first moved to this town it was perfect (think kind of the Mayberry of the north). Now it’s expanded to the point that I’d like to move a little farther north to another podunk town.

      As far as I know none of the houses we lived in has been torn down. Even my grandparent’s house still stands. It would be really hard to see them gone.

      It’s too bad that city governments are always looking to expand. Out with the old and in with the new and bigger. 🙁

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