Sunday, June 08, 2008

"This Was Just A Dusty Crossroads"

Alfred Webber was the only member of his class –or his decade- when he went back for reunion weekend. It was the 80th for this 100-year-old alumnus.

What happened since he was born in 1907, or since my mother was born in 1910? What did they adapt to and what were the changes they had to handle?

She and I were traveling down Main Street in the Stratford CT where she used to live. As we passed a somewhat major intersection, she said, “This was just a dusty crossroads.” Now it’s four lanes crossing four lanes, with traffic lights, stores and gas stations. Dusty crossroads, indeed. I wondered if she missed it, but I didn’t want to ask. She probably did.

Let’s look at her and the old guy, three years her senior. Sure, the airplane was invented before they were born, but you didn’t see them flying around for some years yet, much less taking passengers on regular routes. Not everybody had a phone in those days, although Mom’s parents did. Who had a car when she was growing up? Her parents never did learn to drive.

Your quiet roads become crowded, then enlarged, then crowded again. The quiet night skies became bright with store and advertising signs. The edge-of-town woods and farm lands turned into developments with identical houses where you used to play.

Somehow, you adapted. Probably with sadness, but you adapted.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You adapted out of being sucked into the mainstream, but down inside you're still on those dirt roads.

''You can take the boy out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the boy''

When I moved here in the small farming village of St-Jean-Chrysostôme, which had seventeen
(17) RR crossings, a population of 2000, you knew who was going by just by the sound of the truck or car. We picked wild strawberries where there are now many condos. We picked blueberries there too, we snared rabbits and partridge, everbody's vehicle was dusty, there were no traffic lights, two garages, no zip code and we bought our milk and cream right off the farm.

Today? 24K pop., traffic up the gazoo, mostly all newbies who survive in big unpaid homes on two incomes and their kids roam free all hours of the night. They drive SUVs, the yuse cell phones while driving and are insulted if they get honked at after running a red light.

They wouldn't know a wild strawberry from a watermelon, take their kids to the zoo to see a rabbit, a cow, and maybe a deer.

I'm on dirtroads several times a week tooling along at about 20 mph, I see deer, a moose occasionally, find berries and take pictures of blowing snow and white-outs, and I return home very satisfied.


June 10, 2008 7:12 AM  

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