Dr. Ray Augenstein
It’s strange, that as we get older, our thoughts often turn back to our childhood. Sometimes we wish we could go back to those carefree days of yesteryear, and to the things we did as children. I was sitting in my office one day, thinking about the little town where I spent the first 14 years of my life. It was a little resort town along the shores of Lake Michigan, with memories of swimming, fishing, and playing on the sand dunes at Silver Lake. I thought of my older brother, so I called him and said, “Bill, lets take a trip down memory lane. Lets go back to the town where we were kids, and just see what has changed during the time that we’ve been away”.
I drove to his house to pick him up, then we drove about 30 miles to the little town where we use to live. When we got off the freeway, (when we lived there, there was no freeway), onto the exit leading into the village, I noticed that homes had sprung up in the wooded area along side the road. A motel is now where the roadside park used to be. The tennis court where we batted a ball around, pretending that we were great tennis stars, now featured an insurance office. And we hadn’t even gotten into the village yet.
We drove slowly down Main Street looking at the stores on each side. Most of the stores that we used to visit, were no longer there. The candy store, where we would buy penny candy from Mr. Stanchfield, The Post Office, and the grocery store, where our aunt used to work, had all changed into tourist geared businesses. We used to fish at the yacht club docks, and catch buckets full of perch and rock bass. That yacht club is now gone and a condominum is in its place. Things had changed so much it didn’t look like the same town.
My brother kept pointing out sites and asking “Do you remember, that’s where Dad bought smoked fish, and that was a Sinclair station over there. Remember that place, where I lost my bathing suit diving off Popp’s boat rental docks?” Now it was all gone…
I was feeling down and kind of lost, because it had changed. “Lets go see the house where we lived,” I told Bill. So we drove the 5 blocks to the corner where our house had stood. To our surprise it was still there. Our Parents had bought it from our Grandparents, when our Dad came home from the war in 1947. There was new siding on the house and the porch had been rebuilt, but basically it was the same, at least from the outside. We noticed a man in front of the house, so we stopped and told him we used to live there when we were kids.
He welcomed us and asked if we would like to come inside. We did, but the inside had all been changed and remodeled. On the outside it looked like the same house, but inside it just wasn’t.
My brother and I got back in the car and slowly drove away, looking around us, at all that had changed. Our hearts and mind still full of the memories of days gone by. The thought of old friends, some who were gone from the town like ourselves. Some who had grown older, and not remembering us, and some who had passed away.
One truth stood out. No matter how much you long for the days gone by, and the joys of your childhood, time passes on, and you can’t go back. You must keep on moving forward , being the best you can be where you are, wherever the road may lead you.