March 29, 2007

“Whhhhhhy, back in MY day…”

Good morning all, it’s time for you to clamber into the Wayback Machine and participate in this week’s “The More Things Change” Edition of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three!

Our inquiries this week were supplied by our favorite college professor and small-engine repairman, who claims he was inspired by my recent jaunt through the freshly-constructed suburbs south of town--suburbs that in my youth were full of free-roaming wooly mammoths and cave-dwellers. At least in the perception of my youngest child.

Anyway, as is the usual case, all of you are free to play along by either leaving your answers in the comments below or a link to your very own blog.

And away we go--

1. Do you still live in the town where you grew up? If not, what do you miss the most? If so, what has changed the most?

2. Does your family still own the house you grew up in? Either way, what was it like the last time you saw it?

3. What is the biggest change in the last 5 years where you live now?

Okay, now that Sherman has closed us in and set the dial, my answers look like this--

1. Not really moved away--I still live in the same metro area, but just on the other side of the county from where I grew up in Forestdale. It’s changed a lot, for the worse. At one time it wasn’t much more than a wide spot in the road on the way to Adamsville and Graysville, but from the late-‘50s to the mid-‘80s, it had grown into a pretty bustling suburb. And then it seemed to take a nosedive. Older businesses moved out, and the title pawn places and arcades moved in, and the quiet tree-lined streets got ratty-looking and mean. I don’t like going back there now.

2. No. We had two houses, one on the highway where we lived until I was 14, then another one in a subdivision in a bit more private spot, where I lived until I was 28. The first one was sold off as commercial property and started off as a florist shop, that went bust, then later it was made into an attorney’s office. The house is actually still there, but covered with brick veneer and a large front addition. But it’s a testament to the solidity of the place that they didn’t see fit to demolish it, but instead added on. And it’s now got a title pawn place next door. The second house is safe from being converted to commercial use, but the area looks sad and the house equally so. It used to be such a nice place, but now it just looks old and broken down and tired--the whole place--our house, our street, our subdivision, our neighborhood. Again, I don’t like going back.

3. Well, now that I live in the shiny happy land of Paradise Upon the Pinchgut, probably the biggest thing has been the explosive growth of the two retail areas on both ends of town, which was fueled by the explosive growth in high-end residential developments. It’s still a pretty and charming small town similar to what I grew up with, but I sure hope it doesn’t turn out the same way.

So there you go.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at March 29, 2007 07:22 AM

Home at last!

Posted by: skillzy at March 29, 2007 07:58 AM

1. Hah! Dr Weevil and I are Navy brats. I think we moved at least every 2 years on average. The VA Tidewater area is closest to being a hometown for me. Don't miss much, the summers were even worse than here in Baltimore.

2. For Navy people, my parents didn't buy and sell a lot of houses, 4 that I remember, 2 in Norfolk, 1 in Va Beach, and 1 in Baltimore. Sadly enough, last time I looked for the one in Va Beach, I couldn't find the development (I know it's still there, just brain damage making itself evident). The neighborhoods are all still OK. My parents have moved into senior housing, so don't actually own a place now.

3. Nice thing about the Catonsville suburb of Baltimore is that it hasn't changed much in the 23 years we've lived in our house.

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at March 29, 2007 09:09 AM

I'm up.

Posted by: Larry Anderson at March 29, 2007 09:31 AM

I'll play.

Posted by: Diane at March 29, 2007 09:51 AM

you would think i would have better answers since i had longer to think abou them-- well you would be wrong. I do have longer answers but they need a cold beer or three
1. It’s strange to think about Bessemer as my “hometown” as I’ve lived away from there since college—over half my life. I guess I most miss old friends but they moved away also. I also miss the Alabama BBQ.
2. When my mother died we sold the house to a friend of the family. The last time I saw it he had cleaned and fixed it up and it looked fine. Sort of took me back to old times.
3. The growth and traffic and crime in Greenville in the last few years have been amazing. We are the hub of a rural area so we get the growth and the drugs and such. I used to say there was no place to do in town at 3 am but no place where you couldn’t go. Now both of those are false.

Posted by: jim at March 29, 2007 09:57 AM

No, I don't. I miss some things about Dallas -- good Mexican food, Indian food, the art museum.

I haven't been back to the neighborhood that I first grew up in for many years. We moved when I was 12 to the house my sister sold after my mother died. That neighborhood is now mainly Hispanic, but continues to be working class.

We currently live in the house Lyman's parents built when they moved here from Columbia, LA in 1962. The Riverfront development is new and pleasing, but traffic on the main street, Hwy 84, is getting worse by the day.

Posted by: Janis Gore at March 29, 2007 10:10 AM

1. Nope. Left it for college with no intentions of returning. Nearly kept that promise. Left for good 20+ years ago.

2. No, but they do still own some of the property across the road from it.

3. The biggest change in where I live will occur when my daughter heads out to college in the fall. Things are going to get so quiet.

Posted by: southtrek at March 29, 2007 10:21 AM

1. No, I've moved many many times. I miss non-stop seeing/hearing about da Bears, pizza, Italian Beefs and the general Chicago "vibe". I don't miss it enough to move back, as it's way too crowded for my tastes now. Seems like the main roads are one extended strip mall interrupted by highway interchanges.

2. No, we moved twice from early grade school to when I graduated. The house is about the same except the price increased by 10x in 40 years.

3. Not much except the WalMart moving and it's now a Super WalMart. We got a few more restaurants, but things are holding back as long as this area is dry (and I don't mean rain). That's fine by me.

Posted by: Marc V at March 29, 2007 12:20 PM

I'm in too.

Posted by: skinnydan at March 29, 2007 02:16 PM

Me too!

Posted by: Sarah G. at March 29, 2007 04:13 PM

1. Do you still live in the town where you grew up? If not, what do you miss the most? If so, what has changed the most?

I'm three suburbs away from Essendon. I was going to say I miss the rumble of trams along Keilor Road, but now I hear the rumble of trams along Sydney Road. I miss the sound of 1950s and 1960s aircraft engines warming up in the Ansett Engine Maintenance plant based in a corrugated iron 1940s hangar at the top of the street, just south of Essendon airport. I miss the Lockheed Electras, Vickers Viscounts, Fokker Friedships and Douglas DC-6Bs flying in from all over Australia; but they stopped years ago, of course. Even Ansett isn't there any more.

2. Does your family still own the house you grew up in? Either way, what was it like the last time you saw it?

Yes. Mother holds the fort. We visited a couple of weeks ago. The smell of vegetable soup greets you about a suburb away. The kitchen lino is as clean and polished as the day it was laid in 1959. The western view of the sunset has been built out. The neighbours have mostly gone except for several old dears up the street. Many houses have fallen to developers building multi-unit or mock-Georgian monstrosities. Nevertheless, it is home.

3. What is the biggest change in the last 5 years where you live now?

The accepted definition of inner suburbs has moved outwards some ten kilometres, creeping through Brunswick into Coburg and now beyond. The elderly are being supplanted by young professionals. The train station, formerly almost empty, is now packed with commuters from eight to nine in the morning.

Posted by: kitchen hand at March 29, 2007 06:59 PM

Speaking of trams, there's one thing that's been constant no matter where I've lived--the sound of freight trains. It's pretty hard to live anywhere in this county out of earshot of a railroad. We've got one at the foot of the hill from our house, maybe a quarter-mile away. When a fast freight comes through, it sounds like it's in the back yard. If I lived hard on the tracks it might be bothersome, but I kinda like it.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 30, 2007 08:10 AM

Background noise here is barge traffic on the river. When the river is high they sound as though they're passing through the back yard. The big tugs shiver the windows sometimes.

We'll lose a lot of that when we replace the windows.

Posted by: Janis Gore at March 30, 2007 08:33 AM

I bet you'll still feel it--anything that can rattle the windows probably makes the walls quiver a bit, too.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at March 30, 2007 08:41 AM