You can’t go home again. Yesterday afternoon we said good-bye to Jeanne’s Mother and headed for my home town of Ridgeway. This is a trip I’ve wanted to make for the last 15 years and I certainly had vivid memories of the way things used to be where I grew up. I really intended to fill up a few photo memory cards taking pictures of all the areas of my childhood that had become so real to me again once we planned this trip.
So there was an air of anticipation, excitement, and wonder as we stopped and photographed the welcome to Missouri sign. Only 12 miles to Ridgeway and the beginning of a tour down memory lane. Time moves on and waits for no one or nothing. Of course things change even memories, but not this much.
The road off the interstate into town is even different. There used to be a great hill with windy curves called “Wet Hill” and as a young driver it was a hoot to come down that hill as fast as I could and see if I could get my car airborne when going over the rise of the bridge. 🙂 The hill is not so big anymore and the bridge is way more level than it used to be. No I didn’t even try to get airborne.
The main street of town was the biggest shock. When I was back 15 years ago it was not the bustling main street of my youth but it was certainly active. Now many of the building are either gone or boarded up. We drove most of the streets looking at abandoned homes, where once I delivered the twice daily paper. Some of them I could remember the people who lived there but most had faded into the dark abyss of my feeble memory. All the street are gravel as well. Only the main streets through town are paved.
We drove to the high school where I attended. So many changes there as well. It was depressing. They have so reconfigured the school that I couldn’t remember where some of the classes used to be. The school is in pretty bad shape esthetically as well. We walked the hallway looking at class pictures. The faces on some of the classes that I should have known didn’t look familiar to me. Wow, 47 years can sure make a big difference in your memory. 🙂
Probably the biggest disappointment to me was the house where I grew up was completely gone and over grown. I knew the house was in terrible shape and I think I remember it had fallen in or been knocked down but I had also heard that someone had brought the property and was going to rebuild on it. As you can see from the image above that did not happen. So there is nothing left but weeds and probably a foundation somewhere in there. Even the big ditch in front of our house where I used to stave off big Indian attacks had been smoothed out and eliminated.
So demoralized and depressed we headed for Bethany. Jeanne was confident that we would run into people who knew me there. That used to happen all the time when we would come back for visits to my Mother. It didn’t really matter where we went there would always be someone around that I knew and we’d strike up a conversation about the “good ole days.” Not yesterday. I didn’t see anyone. We stopped at the new law enforcement center to see if anyone from my days on the Sheriff’s Department was around. The only name I said to them that they recognized had passed away sometime ago.
We drove by my Mom’s home and it had changed a lot as well. It was in pretty sorry shape as well. Bethany, overall has made improvements and looks to be a healthy community. It has a brand new Law Enforcement Center on the square and most of the store fronts were full of businesses. Not bad for a little town of 3,000 plus citizens.
So today we head out for Maryville to revisit NWMSU campus, where Jeanne and I went to college. We are having dinner with an old friend who was on the police department the same time I was. I’m really looking forward to that. I’m sure there are a lot of changes in Maryville as well.
Oh yes I almost forgot about the photo memory cards. I took a total of 15 images yesterday. Many of them at the cemetery. Hope today is more inspiring. Sorry for the downer blog today. I suppose if I had been realistic in my thinking I would have been prepared for this. Like Jeanne said however, I’m glad we came because it has bugged me for a very long time and now perhaps it won’t anymore.
Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your Friday and the weekend. I will hope to blog again tomorrow. Be careful.