Years ago a friend told us he had reached the “Didn’t Used to Be There” age. That’s what his kids labeled it after they grew tired of hearing him say, “Well, that didn’t used to be there” as he drove around his home area.
Saturday I had the opportunity to go “home” due to the need to tend to some family business. Though only an hour from where we live now, I don’t get back to the area as often as I would like to see friends and family. I try to appreciate each opportunity, no matter how brief.
Yes, I do experience the “I remember when” and “that didn’t used to be there” thoughts as I drive around Mercer County. Even more, it seems that I am confronted with how I thought things used to be; only to see things in a different light, and not just like I remembered.
For example, growing up I remember our yard (shared with my Grandmother who lived next door) as HUGE (together it was about an acre), and always perceived our end of the street being the “nice end” (my apologies to any from the other end of the street who may trip across this!). Now when I go “home” it seems that everything is so compact, and the other end of Diverty Road seems more together than “our end” sometimes. The yard that seemed so immense is still nice, but not as enormous as my childhood memories make it. The stretch of Reed Road that I would take to get to Diverty Road seemed much longer then, and I always felt like our street was almost highlighted in flashing lights (not really) because it was so amazing to turn on to it and be “home”. Now it almost seems easy to miss if I am not watching carefully.
As I drive Diverty Road I recall the kickball games we had, the time my shoe and foot got stuck in the Shaw’s gutter; swimming at the Elliots, waiting for the bus with Eleanor, visiting Mrs Bakay, the snow ramps we built in our back yard, my Dad’s huge garden, making home made ice cream each summer, picking apples from Grandmom’s tree, the swing that hung from the tree that is now gone., the playhouse Dad built . . and so much more.
Today, tomorrow, this month are the “good ol’ days” that we’ll look back on sometime. I wonder what it would be like to come back to Souderton, where I live now (and for the last 16 years) and see how my perceptions of now and then differ.