My World Wednesday: My Town

Like so many Eastern US places, today my town runs into the next town which runs into the next town which runs into the city. If you didn’t know how it used to be, you’d never know the individual towns and villages. Still I like to think my town has retained some of its original flavor. Please allow me to give you a tour.

This is the Opera House. Plays, lectures and musicals were performed there. Each graduating class conducted their graduation ceremonies there and danced at their proms. It really was a grand space. Unfortunately the first time I was inside was for a Halloween Haunted House and it fit the bill perfectly. No one seemed to know what to do with this building after it outlived its original purpose. A few years ago it was turned into low-income and elderly housing.

Here are our public school houses. Not much to look at, were they. And no playgrounds. Kids made their own fun. An elderly friend told me the story of how he jumped out of one of the windows during class. The teacher ran out after him, pulled him back in by his ear and pushed him back into his seat. This happened two more times before my friend got bored with the game and walked home. If there had been seesaws, he might have stayed.

The train station. This building is being restored by the historical society and in fact is quite impressive today, for people who like trains. The track is all gone now but a new walking and biking trail is in its place. Back in its day though, almost everyone in town used the train station on a regular basis. We also had a trolley system that went all over, from the city to the local swimming pool.

This is the Wallick House, the best hotel and restaurant in town. It still stood in the 1950s but was torn down to make a parking lot. There were several other hotels and places to eat but today there are just places to eat, mostly fast food.

This was the post office, a print shop and a drug store. The post office moved out of town a few years ago; no more walking to pick up your mail and the day’s gossip. The print shop and the drug store are still in that same building, run by the same families. You can still get an ice cream sundae at the original wooden soda fountain bar. Some things haven’t changed after all.

Some houses haven’t changed either. Oh, they did back in the ‘70s but people today see some value in preserving old homes and they are better than ever. This is my friend Cindy’s home. Today its trim is a creamy gold and it has dark rust accents. Pieces of the original woodwork were matched and custom knives were made to mill new boards. Behind her modern stove, a painting of the house has been fired into the tiles. Like all of us who live in old houses, it is a labor of love.

This last picture illustrates the reasons I’m happy to be living in my town today even though I may daydream of past times. How did anyone ever manage to cross the street without getting messy shoes!