Today, I was on a work trip to a city close to where I spent a good chunk of my childhood. I was about an hour and half drive (or a drive to work on a normal day) from Independence Kansas. It is a small town in southeast Kansas with a population less than 10,000 people. I was still in elementary school when my family moved out of Kansas and to Ohio, and today was my first time back in over thirty years.
I had a lot of good memories there, and going back was awesome and somewhat disappointing. When I lived there, the major employer was Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO), but in 1996 ARCO was bought by BP and those offices in Independence were closed. The building is still there, but not even Google says anyone is in it anymore. And Riley Elementary School, the school I went to through the third grade, was demolished, and while I can’t find a date, according to aerial photos from Google Earth looks like it was between 1991 and 2002. If anyone has a date for that, please let me know I would love to know.
But I stopped by the Riverside Park and zoo, known for putting a monkey into space and it looks the same as it did thirty years ago. It has been well maintained, and it was good to see it, but it did make me feel old. The pool there looks like a small water park, which is way better than I remember, when it was just pool with a diving board. I also stopped by the house I grew up in on Catalpa street, it has been remodeled and is blue now(my favorite color, but not sure how other people feel about a house that color), but still felt like home, even though I only saw it from the outside.
After we left, we also stopped by the “Little House on the Prairie” house, where they also have an old school house and post office. While I am not a hundred years old, going back to my old town after 30 years, and seeing this little historical area, made me wonder how things will feel when I am in my 70s and 80s looking back at something from my 20s. Because while things looked good, it was still depressing, because of all the good memories I have there, but I have lost contact with all of my friends and their families there.
Enjoy the moments you have as you are having them, because they will change, and when they do, for better or worse, you will miss what those moments were.