Friday, February 22, 2008
Home is a nice place to visit
So I have a week off of school (mid-Winter break) here in the midst of February, and since things have been tight and I felt the need for some coddling, I came home to my parents house for a few days...hence the need for trapping a cat, if you saw my facebook page. Among the things I have been noticing is that my hometown is getting large very quickly. I remember in junior high when it was a town of about 25,000 people, and now the "population" sign claims 45,000 people and it is probably more than that. Every time I come home there are more stores and more buildings and the streets are slightly different. Now I have heard that a California company is buying all the downtown buildings (all 3 streets of them) and intends to convert them into apartments whose rent will be approximately $1 per square foot. I understand the need for growth, and I suppose the way the economy is today that a town that is growing should count itself lucky. But trying to force that kind of culture on a place like this just seems wrong, although I am kind of surprised it took this long. I have to confess that I have at times eyed those buildings (which are beautiful and whose upper 2 stories are mostly unused) and thought that one building or another would make a very cool apartment or office space, but it seems somehow wrong for someone who really doesn't care about my town to do it. I am sure that the corporation which is attempting to do this sees the same potential that I did, but I do actually care about my hometown, much as I try to deny those feelings, and it bothers me that someone who doesn't have the same connection that I do will be the one in charge of changing things. I miss the old stores that were down there, the book store that had seemingly endless rows of dusty books and three cats that slept in the display window, the tiny "mini-mall" that had the best pizza in town, the antique stores that always had something I wanted (but couldn't usually afford), the "No-D-Lay" shoe store on the corner which was only about 20 feet square and as dark as the inside of the shoes they fixed (apparently without delay...). My town is changing, becoming more modern and with an increasing number of chain stores and recognizable names. If I were in high school, I would love the additional access to what everyone else has. As someone ever so slightly older, I think it is sad that small businesses are being pushed out to make my town just like everyone else's town. I know there is no way to go back, but sometimes don't you wish you could?