New Shoes in the Rain

Monday, March 24, 2014

How well I remember

Isn't it funny that, as we get older and accumulate more and more memories and experiences, certain things stand out more than others?

I'm reminded of this as there is a certain area of my home area of Lexington, Kentucky that's undergoing some dramatic changes.  Most of these are in the form of demolition of some longstanding businesses, like Turfland Mall, Lexington's first enclosed shopping mall.  Turfland was opened in the mid 60's and was anchored by a McAlpin's department store and a Montgomery Ward's, too (if you don't remember Monkey Ward's, just think "Sears" and you'll have a pretty good picture of what they were about).  It boasted the biggest movie theater in town way back when, a "Cinema on the Mall."  The Blue Boar Cafeteria, a local dining spot that was well attended in a couple of locations in its day, was also part of that mall.  Now, all that's left is a Staples office supply store and a Home Depot.  They're tearing the rest down to make room for a medical office plaza.

Across the road was the Springs Motel, which existed for a LONG time.  A good friend had his wedding rehearsal dinner there twenty-odd years ago.  I used to have lunch with clients there, too, as well as to attend an association meeting once in a while (complete with rubber chicken for dinner).  That's gone, too, replaced on the corner by a CVS pharmacy.  It had fallen into disrepair and could not compete with newer chains with more modern convenences and, undoubtedly, lower upkeep and operations costs.

The corner on the same side as Turfland was the location for the old GTE building, where regional telephone operators handled and connected calls.  GTE gave way to Alltel and then Windstream some time ago, and that building had been vacant for a good while.  Out with the old, in with the new.

In the midst of all of this reminiscence I happened upon Turner Classic Movies' airing of the mid-50s gem "Marty," starring the durable Ernest Borgnine as the lovable but unloved title-character butcher.  Picture, actor, director and screenplay all won Oscars that year.  I mentioned to my wife that I was struck by much of the dialogue, people talking about being "sore" about something or other, and whether or not college-educated women could be trusted or taken seriously.  Great movie, even if it shows its age a bit.

Here are a smattering of other things I remember for one reason or another:

My parents bought their first and only home when I was nine.  Their mortgage payment was $108 per month.

My father actually complained out loud the first time he bought a new car whose retail price exceeded $5000.

Whatever happened to soft drinks in returnable bottles?  Wasn't that MORE environmentally responsible than aluminum cans or plastic bottles?

When I was a kid, Lexington had ONE pizza place and ONE Chinese restaurant.  But even then, there were probably a half-dozen McDonald's.

Wal-Mart used to be the store that would open in towns that were too small to have a K-Mart.

Sears was a catalog store, but you could buy appliances, yard equipment and tires there, too.

Any time I needed a new tube for a bike tire, or any other bike parts, my mom would take me to Western Auto.

I grew up in a small town with a Kroger, a Super Valu and and A&P.  The town is bigger now but has fewer grocery stores.

There were three banks, all of them were locally owned and operated.

When you went to the doctor, you paid for the services that were rendered.  Insurance was only if you had to go to the hospital.

I suppose my kids will be able to do the same thing when they get older, and I can only imagine what my grandchildren will recall in the same wistful way.

Now, if I can only remember where I put my keys....


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