Monday, August 12, 2013

Eavesdropping on Memory Lane

I spent some time Saturday night hanging out on memory lane. I feel a little funny about it, because I went there looking for someone else's memories. So I was eavesdropping. Or maybe trespassing. I don't know for sure.

I have written in the past about a certain kind of Pioneer mindset in Columbia. By and large I have been referring to people who came to Columbia as adults. Another group I have been increasingly curious about is the kids of Columbia--those who grew up here while Columbia itself was growing up around them. So I went to this page to do some primary research.

Here you will find countless memories of places that no longer exist: a petting zoo near Merriweather, a bookstore/cafe in Owen Brown, a radio station at the Mall, a produce stand in Sewell's Orchard. Scanning through the threads gave me a clearer picture of what the Village Centers truly were in their heyday. I understand much better now what people are missing. 

Another recurring theme is loyalty to one's schools, with a little good-natured trash talking about other schools thrown in. Those who attended Faulkner Ridge seem to be befuddled by the closing of their school. Why Faulkner Ridge? Why can't it be fixed? What does it do to the neighborhood to lose an elementary school?

Larger than memories of Columbia is a nostalgia for a kind of childhood that doesn't exist anymore. There is a longing for days of adventure, unsupervised play, exploring the woods. Again and again I see comments, "Our parents just let us run free." "It was heaven." "I'd never let my kids do that."

This is the part I understand the best, because I had a childhood like that. The personal freedom and independence we had seems foolhardy by today's standards. Of course, we had no idea how precious it was. I was reminded of just how wonderful as I strolled down Columbia's memory lane. 

I can only imagine what the combination of that kind of childhood plus being at the center of the Columbia's beginnings was like. Reading through the shared memories gave me a glimpse into that golden world.


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