Sunday, January 3, 2016

Ghost Signs

Along the top of the building, housing an expensive ice cream shop and art gallery, a ghost sign announces Gilman Paint, TOOLS, CEMENT. Whoever preserved the buildings along the north side of the river in Chattanooga respected the past while updating interiors for the present.

Every day, I am reminded by such ghost sign reminders of the "old days," not the ones only my parents or grandparents talked about, but ones I remember and even younger folks do. Just the other day, a former student sent me a funny video of two children trying to put a tape in a parent's Walkman, something I never owned but the generation below mine certainly did.

Perhaps out of longing for people long gone or nostalgia about my own childhood, I love these ghost signs for the same reason I love weathered brick and wood: like wrinkled faces or ropily-veined hands, they wear their age well.

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