Change? What Change?

She even walks in the SAME Halloween parade!

We were driving through the town where my husband spent the better part of a decade during his childhood when it hit me. The more things change in the rest of the world, the more things stay the same back home.

Here we were in a town that looked virtually unrecognizable to a man who left it 20-some years before. Where there once were open fields, there were entire malls. Where there was a small neighborhood, sparsely populated, was a settlement district teeming with people.

This was just one town changed by time.
One week earlier we’d made our way through the town where he went to college, driven on major highways that didn’t exist just a decade and a half ago, eaten at a restaurant built in a space where trees once overwhelmed the landscape.

And by Saturday evening, we were home, driving through a Callicoon that looks markedly like the Callicoon of my childhood. The pharmacy was claimed by a fire years ago. The firehouse has moved up the hill. The ice cream stand has undergone a major overhaul. And, of course, the Democrat building has gotten an outside update. There are changes if you look hard enough.

But it’s the need to look, and look hard, that really stands out. My husband wasn’t able to show our daughter much of his childhood on our spring break vacation because time has marched its way through the haunts of his youth.

But though just four years separate him and I, to look at the town of my childhood is to feel as though time has stood still. There is the movie theater were I saw my first film. And my second. And my 32nd. And so on.

There is the library where I borrowed my first book. And my second. And my 1,234th. And so on.
There is the headquarters of the newspaper that ran my birth announcement. And a photo of me at 1, picking out flowers with my mom. And my first bylined news story when I decided to get into journalism. And yes, this column. And so on.

There’s both a comfort to it and a sadness.

I hated this town as a teenager enough to want to leave it, to fly South and marry the Southern boy from so many towns he has no one childhood story to tell his daughter. And now I’m raising my child here, in the same town, the VERY SAME town. I’m doing that because I learned to love it. Time stood still and gave me the chance to get there. Will it do the same for her?

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