Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron, MI

Blue Water Bridge, Port Huron, MI (connects Michigan and Ontario)

You know what’s funny?  Interesting?  Returning to an area where one has grown up.  Where one’s family still lives.

It feels so different than living in an area where one moves, as a stranger.  In one’s hometown, one belongs.  When someone meets you they say, “Ahhh…you are so-and-so’s daughter.  So-and-so’s grand-daughter.”  You live in a multi-generation continuum.  You are part of a chain, a connective tissue.  It is a special feeling.

OK.  Last night my Mom, Dad and I drove to Port Huron and toured the backstreets around the Blue Water Bridge.  Dad grew up there, as a boy.  He would point toward invisible landmarks, places which no longer existed.  “Here was the candy store,” he said, “Here was our house.”  All torn down, dissolved in the name of Progress.

It was raining.  A lone squirrel chattered disapprovingly as I tried to take its picture.

Squirrel wagging his tail ominously at me

Squirrel wagging his tail ominously at me

Nonetheless, no matter what Mr. Squirrel said, we enjoyed a fine dinner at Red Lobster.

Today, I walked back uptown.  Hey, what do you think of the magic of this bridge shot?

Mill Creek Bridge

Mill Creek Bridge

Dad waits on bench for cappucino!

Dad waits on bench for cappuccino!

Do you see the “Sheldon’s Pharmacy” sign?  That is the drugstore when I worked from the age of twelve through eighteen.  My dad owned the store back then.  I started for fifty cents an hour back in 1969.  Waited on a zillion customers.  Learned how to relate to people, how to talk, how to share.  The tiny little figure sitting on that bench is my dad.  We were headed for a cappuccino uptown.  How wonderful it is to be able to sip a cappuccino with one’s father.  And even meet a former teacher in the restaurant!

Clover

Clover

You can’t forget about the natural world even in a small town.  It informs the life you live, when you’re a child.  Whether it is a red clover or an “oxbow”, it guides and strengthens your existence.  I have no idea the official definition of an “oxbow”.  That is what we called this swampy area on which we ice skated during the winter.  Today it’s mostly grown in, covered with cattails and lily pads.

The Oxbow

The Oxbow

Today, after touring the Oxbow, I wandered up to the school complex behind our house.  First, to the elementary school.  This is where my friends and I waited breathlessly each August to discover who our teacher would be the following year.  The principal always posted the classroom lists and teachers on the window. 

The Yale elementary school entrance

The Yale elementary school entrance

Then there was the high school, where we spent four years aiming toward graduation.  How long ago that seems! 

Looks like the desks & chairs are stacked up for summer

Looks like the desks & chairs are stacked up for summer

And, finally, as I walked home, I noticed the Old Sledding Hill.  That’s where we children used to sled in the winter-time. Now it’s blocked off by a fence.  As I peered down the slope, a bevy of ravens cawed and flew up into the sky.  Suddenly, it was 1967 and we were gliding down the hill as fast as we could.  Funny how you blink your eyes and more than forty years have passed…

Our old sledding hill

Our old sledding hill

Advertisements