Alternate reality not such a bad life
Published: Thursday, June 28th, 2012
For three days and three nights last week I was trapped in an alternate reality.
For three days, I wandered the streets of my childhood, peopled by the classmates and townsfolk I once knew. They say you can never go back home, but last weekend, Charley and I attended my high school “all-class” reunion.
As we were driving to Alpena, I related some of my childhood experiences to Charley, filling him in on my history.
I told him that even though I lived in Alpena for only seven years, it is still where I call “home.”
I related how in the summers, I would take swimming lessons in the morning, swim every afternoon and often swim at night in the town’s unfiltered pool. Nevertheless, I don’t remember ever getting sick.
We rode our bikes around town, often meeting for an impromptu game of softball or playing in a neighbor’s tree house. Our parents never knew where we were or even whom we were with, but they always knew we were safe in our small rural community.
In the evenings, as the day grew to a close, those of us who lived in town would gather at our house and play hide and seek until our parents called us in at bedtime.
I don’t know if we locked our doors at night. I don’t even know if we owned a house key. I doubt if we locked our cars or even if we took the keys out of the ignition.
I don’t remember any crime: not even any graffiti in our small town.
Main street boasted a blacksmith shop, several gas stations, a restaurant which served hand-formed hamburgers, a bar, two grocery stores, a variety store, a locker, a bank, a community center, an elevator, a weekly newspaper which faithfully recorded the events of our lives — providing a living history of our community — and my family’s telephone company. It was all we needed. There was no need to travel to the nearest town for shopping and we rarely did.
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