Monday, November 22, 2010

When the quiet started

It barely seems possible that it has been fourty seven years. It was a Thursday, and we had it and the next day off from school due to a teacher's conference being held at our new shiny modern Regional High School. Well, high school with grades 7 thru 12 anyway. I was in its first 8th grade class. But that morning and early afternoon I was at at our new home on Lakeview Drive. I remember switching channels trying to find something to watch. And then Walter Cronkite broke in with a news bulletin. TV images were black and white then, and now it feels like so long ago instead of just yesterday or maybe last week.

I remember getting tired of the constant coverage of what they didn't know, so I took a walk outside to return a book to Kathy Penrose. Turn the corner at the end of our street, past the haunted looking building which had once housed the American Legion and where we still held -was it weekly or monthly?- dances for us kids. There was an apartment on the top floor and the folks there had a mean nasty dog chained up outside. One day, it would break free and firmly chomp into the back of my leg, making me have rabies shots - oh, I detested and feared needles. Past the lake where we used to swim, and where kids at that point still occasionally found arrow tips made by Indians. I walked past the John Deer place shoehorned into a corner lot,and up the hill until I reached the two family house where my friend Lyle Eastlack lived on one side, and Kathy lived on the other. I knocked on her door. Her mother opened it, and whispered, "Don't you know what is happening?", and after a quick look from side to side closed the door. I walked the half a block or so Main Street, which had several businesses on it back then. There was no one to be seen. No cars, no people, no one going in our out of the news shop, or the library (housed in what had been the local Bank and Trust company before they built their new place in the 1920's or so). No one goes swimming at the lake anymore - first insurance rates and then contaminated water stopped that. There are no more dances at the old Legion building - just about the time it was ready to fall down someone bought it and turned it in a mini-mansion. In the few times I've been there since the late 1960's, the only thing which seems to have stayed the same is the quiet from that day 47 years ago.

and it's all just a fading memory now, a world gone by

1 comment:

Austan said...

It is a world gone by. My memory of it all isn't so clear except for the silence only interrupted by the sound of crying everywhere. Sept. 11th reminded me of that silence. The week after John Lennon's death was also quiet in my life, with only the album "Double Fantasy" playing over & over on my spindled stereo. Most times, the silence says more than words could ever.