Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Going home again

I left my home town at 18 for college. I left the whole state at 25 for a job.

That was 18 years ago

My parents forget sometimes just how long it has been since I spent more than a week in Wheeling.

Sure, once upon a time I was not only able to follow directions that included landmarks that hadn’t existed since 1973 but often used those landmarks myself when giving others directions.

But I mostly left in 1985 & really left in 1992.

Things have been built since I left. Some of those things have also ceased to exist. Some of them I have never seen even though they still exist. Some of them had the same name as other things that used to exist in a different location.

“Down by the old Reisbecks building”

Possibly this refers to the office/department store one down town but that is usually followed by “You remember, where Mr Dale had his office.”

So maybe it refers to the short lived grocery store of the same name, which I think is in a different part of town, but I can’t be sure because it opened and closed in the 1990s when I was only ever in town for the occasional long weekend and can’t recall ever visiting it, though I do recall being told about it.

“You know, the road out the Pike, it comes out by that truck stop”

Ok, I do know of a truck stop off I70 in the Dallas Pike area, but since I never had any reason to stop at it, or anyplace else in Dallas Pike in the 18 years I lived in Wheeling or the 5 that I was a frequent visitor, I have no idea what road you are referring to and no hope of finding the place in the Grove (or maybe Triadelphia, I can’t tell for sure) where this road begins.

Bethlehem, Elm Grove and downtown Wheeling, the areas I spent most of time in, are still fairly clear in my mind geographically, but the rest of the area is a mystery now. Those areas of my brain are now filled with references to where the Lowe’s wasn’t built in Brandiwyne (they successfully kept Lowes from building there) and ‘that road that dog legs back behind where the Farmer Jack used to be’ (it closed in 1997, 2 months after I moved here and has been 2 other stores since).

My parents think I want a hotel room in Elm Grove to be near the di Carlo’s pizza store, (which is true enough) but mostly I want one there because I know where I am there. I can get to my brother’s house, the park, my parents’ apartment, the other park and yes, the pizza place, easily and quickly.

Getting me a hotel in Warwood, or across the river in St Clairsville just makes it highly likely I will get lost and then have to endure conversations about how could I possibly think that turning THERE would have gotten me to the interstate, followed by directions for back routes with landmarks I don’t recall.

We ended up with a room at a hotel in Dallas Pike, which is fine. It’s right on I70 at the top of a mountain with a two mile long  stretch of road leading down right into Elm Grove

Except my dad seems to think this back road going behind a truck stop will be quicker.


Aunt Becky said...

I live in my hometown, so I can't imagine. But the image of you trying to find your way through back roads on some wild goose chase is HILARIOUS.

SciFi Dad said...

A lot has changed where I grew up too. New stores, new roads... one time I was driving along a road I'd driven on a thousand times, and ended up at a different intersection because they'd diverted the road to a newer one and I hadn't noticed. I was baffled; my wife (then girlfriend) just sat in the passenger seat and laughed as I insisted, "But, this road didn't bring you HERE before! I SWEAR!"

LizzieMade said...

Ha haaa... I now live in the town where I grew up (or in a village next door, but who's checking!). I lived away from here for about 5 years, but we moved back before J. started school. I still remember when the Nandos restaurant was a bank - that was before it was a pizza restaurant - and that the Letting Agent at the bottom of the High St. was a Belfast Linen shop for years and years, before it became a craft and gift shop, then a place where they had kids' parties, then the letting agents'.... I can remember the Co-Op, which became the Beehive and is now lots of little shops... I remember what was there before the Costa Coffee... I even remember the old Bedford Modern School, before they pulled down all but its front facade and turned it into a shopping centre (the school moved out of town, to the big new site on the hill - which isn't new any more, since it's been there over 30 years!). I remember sooo many things that are now different - yet there's lots that is still just the same. But, you know what? I still can't remember what was there, before that shop became a McDonalds' restaurant!
Happy reminiscing Stacey!

Andrea Chamberlain said...

I only live about thirty minutes from where I grew up but still, even when I drive through it, things have changed so much that sometimes, I barely recognize it as the tiny town where I went to school.