One recent evening, I found myself with a few minutes to spare and I took a virtual trip down memory lane.
With the help of technology, that is.
I had gone on the computer to look up directions to make sure I got where I needed to go for a recent event (it was really quite easy, I didn’t even get lost) and then, on a whim, plugged in the address for my parent’s house.
The address is in a small upstate New York community and the arrow for the address was actually on a barn on the side hill as opposed to the actual house, but I know where it is. I chose not to hit the ‘directions’ option, although that could have been pretty interesting to see how that website would have sent me for the roughly 3,000 mile trip. Can you imagine following that list of turn by turn directions?
Actually, I am probably one of the few people in the world that still prints out directions; most people just use their phone. Although now I could since 2020 has brought about my first ever smartphone, but there is something comforting in having the printed word to look at to help make sure I am going the right way.
Anyway, I chose the overhead view as opposed to the on the street, that way I could make out the house, the car in the driveway, the garden, and etcetera. I also enjoyed looking over the side hill that once served as the ball diamond for my brother, cousins and myself, before we grew up and went away, leaving the field for my dad to take over, adding a barn for storage.
Not satisfied with just seeing my childhood home, I followed the road a little further up the hill, seeing the familiar houses of neighbors all along the way. Then I hopped over to a nearby street, tracing the route my school bus took every day. Don’t ask me why. It’s 2020; that’s reason enough. I could even remember, that’s where the Thurber’s farm was, that’s where our good friend Doris and her family lived – her house was literally over the back hill from our house – a hill that used to be mostly field and is now covered with trees. But it was a fairly quick walk back in the day, when my sister and I would go visit Doris and enjoy an afternoon with her whole family. One of our favorite things to do there was get a glass of milk – because they had the huge commercial sized, restaurant type ‘pull the lever’ milk dispenser. No cartons in the refrigerator; just pull the lever and get cold, fresh milk. We loved it. I suspect her many brothers did as well.
It is amazing all the memories that are stored in your brain. Just following that road on the computer, I could remember some of the kids on the bus, where their houses were, sharing the after school ride home with them. I also enjoyed remembering how many of the roads in our rural area seemed to join each other. You started out on one, turned on to another and there were always a couple of ways you could get back to where you started. Take this shortcut through here, go over that hill, hang a left by the pond and, voila, there you are again.
Maybe that’s where my difficulty with directions came from, though; it didn’t matter which way you turned in my town, you eventually got to where you wanted to go. Now, it takes a computer to help me get from A to B.
Well, that’s not such a bad thing, either; especially if it gives you the chance to tap the memory banks and step back to a simpler time.
I know many of us are staring at computer screens and people in little squares way too much these days. So it was nice for a few minutes to use the computer instead to take a visit back home, where the grass was green and time stood still.
Marg Jackson is editor of The Escalon Times, The Oakdale Leader and The Riverbank News. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.