Saturday, June 15, 2013

On Memory Lane

The owners of the Crestline Piggly Wiggly and the property owner have hit an impasse in negotiating a new long-term lease. Neither side has discussed details of their talks, though the lease owner appears to have offered an option for a national drug company's lease. It would make the fourth drug store in a four-block village. 

My grandfather built one of the first houses in the new suburban village some time in the 1920s. My father spent most of his teens and twenties there. After college, my father and his friends, including a friend's girlfriend whom my father later married, made a silent horror movie. The house figured prominently as the home of an evil scientist. Each of the people in the film continued to live in the village, and I knew them all.

My parents' first house on Euclid Avenue was a block-and-a-half walk to the village which contained one gas station, one mom-and-pop grocery owned by the Levios, Ariail's Drug Store, a five-and-ten, a church, a dry cleaner, Davis' delicatessen, Crestline Elementary School, a dancing/piano lessons school, and Hill's Grocery. Crestline proved the rule that it takes a village to raise a child.

My parents' second house lay between creek and woods two blocks out of the village, three houses from my grandfather's house. After building the house, my mother was asked what the dirt road should be named (or at least I have been told): Memory Lane, she decided. From there I walked to school, sometimes passing old Mr. Hill's farmhouse behind our home, sometimes walking through the neighbor's lush yard. I stopped for penny candy on the way home and "helped" Miss Irene Vereen at the Utopia cleaners. Everyone knew my name, and I knew theirs.

My nephew and his family live just two blocks from the Euclid Avenue house, and his children have the same small-town experiences I enjoyed. For them, the Pig is the anchor -- a place where folks greet them by name, wish them happy birthday, commiserate and share life's experiences. I would be sad if they were to lose their safe and happy place.

I must be old. I know this because I have been spending time looking back, especially since the news broke about the Pig. Like this horse, half in and half out of his small stall (his safe place), looking down the road into woods through which neither of us can see, I am stuck in a kind of time-warp, remembering my own childhood, knowing something of my father's, and hoping that my grand-nieces enjoy the same kind of youth we enjoyed.

Oink if you love The Pig!

No comments: