One of my favorite things about coming home is seeing what’s changed and what hasn’t changed through the years. I have spent the last few days driving through town, in search of all the things that I remembered growing up, in hopes that they were still there. Some changes are good, others, not so much.
The things that have changed:
- There is yet another new stoplight between “town” and my parents’ house. Except this one is in a totally odd place.
- The movie theater at the mall has reopened after being decimated by the evil Harkins Theater empire about 6 years ago. Now there’s a raffle before the movie for free tickets and popcorn and NO commercials.
- Furr’s cafeteria has finally been put to rest. It was leveled and is now the “future home of Wells Fargo.”
- My favorite smoothie place, Kava Juice, is now a bakery, and Souper! Salad! next door is gone.
- Jake’s Bar & Grill was leveled.
- They have finally begun construction on the 4th street overpass that they’ve been trying to get approved for 15 years at least.
- Wal-Mart was painted green, in order to comply with the city’s new beautification requirements.
- Perkins is now Garcia’s, and Salsa Brava (a local mexican restaurant), now has only one location.
- Target has a pharmacy.
- Rita, the owner of my favorite chinese restaurant in town, actually closed the place for the first time in 30 years, so that she and the family could be at her father’s 100th birthday in San Francisco.
- The Denny’s I used to work at is now an auto parts store.
- **added, 9:00 pm** I left something at my sister’s house, and when she called me to let me know, I decided to take one of the back roads to get there instead of turning around and heading back up the freeway. I turned up the street that I used to drive a million times a week, as it was the easiest way to get back to my apartment from campus. It used to come to a sharp right turn onto another street, bringing you into the neighborhood I once lived in. However, if you were in a 4×4 and headed to a bonfire/keg party, you could go straight and up a road that existed only from years of underage teens driving into the woods to party. As I am driving up a paved road through a development, I realized that I had missed the turn and was now driving over the bonfire spot. I wonder where the underage kids party now…
Things that have stayed the same:
- The I-40/I-17 interchange construction still isn’t done (it was started about 7 years ago).
- Driving the switchbacks to Sedona still makes me ill.
- The Flagstaff Mall still sucks.
- All of my favorite over-priced boutiques are still in business downtown…
- …but McGaugh’s isn’t back. McGaugh’s was a newsstand that my dad and I used to walk to after church every Sunday and buy a bag of popcorn. It also makes a cameo in Forrest Gump.
- You can still count on waiting for a train if your travel plans require that you cross the railroad tracks.
- The one way streets in downtown still go the same ways (they used to change direction every few years).
- My favorite coffee shop, Campus Coffee Bean, is still thriving (although they did get new menu boards)
- The wait at Oregano’s is still no less than 20 minutes, even on a weeknight.
It has been a lot of fun being back home, seeing everything, visiting with everyone, just driving through town and reminiscing about my life when it was much simpler. Part of me wonders why I continue to insist that I wouldn’t want to move back…and then it hits me: because of days like today, when I can’t possibly think of anything interesting to do.