I drove to Belleville, Illinois today to have lunch with some old friends....old as in how many years we've known each other. We met when I was in the 4th grade. We had a blast, talking about the past!
On the way home, I stopped off in Cahokia, Illinois to do more reminiscing. I drove past the house that had been home to my brother-in-law's parents for many years. I was pleased to see that it still looked nice, even though the neighborhood is deteriorating.
Then it was another mile or two until I turned into the lane that was home for my first seven years of life. What had happened? The street had shrunk and was way too narrow. The front yards were the size of miniature golf greens and the trees eclipsed the tiny bungalows. How in the world did we have so much room to run and play when I was young?
My house and most of the others had been neglected and looked different than the last time I'd taken this sentimental journey. As I slowly inched along, reading the house numbers, I recalled the names of the families I had known so well. The "so and so's" lived at 803, then next door had been the "J" family, and then my house at 807. I came to a complete stop and just stared for awhile, feeling sad. My brain accepts the fact that things change and sometimes in unpleasant ways, but my heart screams NO.
A brief moment did bring a smile to my face. I saw the original aluminum awnings on a house with the big "M" on them. They weren't rusty or aged looking. That warmed my heart, as if those wonderful people still lived there. And if they did, I knew if I parked my car in their driveway, walked up to the door and knocked, they would welcome me in with open arms.
While driving back home, thoughts and memories tumbled in my mind like clothes in a clothes-dryer. Going back to reminisce about those happy times during the 1950's is great fun, but when I'm back in reality, it's wonderful during a hot day like today, to have a/c in my car!