A witty and wonderful remberence from Dan:
Thank you for the effort you are putting into this site. I am sure it is consuming much more time than you had initially thought or want to put into it at this point. I’ts probably like a funeral that seems to never end. Just when you think visitation is finally over, another dear or distant friend walks through the door and sits next to you and begins to recall their memories of the departed and you learn something you never knew or affirm something in question.
Now it is my turn to come through the door. You can’t leave just yet. I used to live on the corner at 14819 Pont Drive where it joined Selwyn. The house on the other corner was on Selwyn proper. I lived there from 7th through 10th grades and went to Holman and old Pattonville High in St. Ann. That was 1960-1964. It was a great place to live back then.
I will probably die from melanoma contracted by the persistent annual sunburns at the pool. It’s where we were from open to close almost every summer day and our parents didn’t worry about our safety there or walking to or from. When I wasn’t there, I would be at the Ben Franklin or the drugstore at the shopping center. Sometimes, I told my parents I was going there and went to the Carrollton Lanes to play pinball and eat at the snackbar. It was definitely not parent approved. If melanoma doesn’t get me, it will be the second-hand smoke from that bowling alley that eventually does me in.
When it was really hot or rainy, we would sneak into the model sales homes.
One of us would sneak in the front door and unlock the back for the rest of us to slip in. They were always heated or airconditioned depending on the time of year. They best part was that they were furnished. How great was that for a kids’ clubhouse? It being a different time, none of us kids ever thought about vandalizing them in any way. That would have meant the end of a good deal for us. We used to hang out in the new homes under construction but that didn’t have the comfort factor. We learned a highly usable fact early on at the new homes. As soon as they were under roof building supplies were stored in them. We discovered that all of the new front and back doors were delivered with multiple keys. We would remove one of the duplicates so we would have access when they were completed wating for sale. It gave us another option for hanging out during the off hours on weekends and nights. At some point, we tried our collection of keys on the model homes. We struck gold. We had acquired enough keys over time to have one for every model. Now we had 24/7 clubhouse access. Back then alarm systems in homes weren’t even on builder radar. They really weren’t necessary. We always left the places like we found them. I guess they never knew because they never changed any locks or had any police patrols. Like I said, we weren’t those type of kids. When I look back on it now, we probably had enough keys to enter most of the houses in the subdivision. Thank God we were raised better and never tempted to try it. We’d have been in juvenile hall for sure. I doubt they even had “juvenile halls” back then. The police probably took you home to your parents and stood back and watched while they gave you a beating for being supremely stupid. None of us were that stupid. Somehow, we didn’t look at entering the models as breaking and entering or trespassing. We were just looking for a place to hang out. I’m sure the builder/developer would have felt differently.
It was a great place for Halloween too. We would be out three hours or more going over the entire subdiivision. You came back with enough candy to last until next Halloween. Your parents didn’t worry about your safety alone and in the dark then either. Again, it was a different time and a good place to be in.
I can remember playing Khourey league ball on the fields at the entrance to the subdivision and going to get ice cream after the games, win or loss. I remember shopping at Grandpa Pidgens on St. Charles Rock Rd, a slightlty trashy precursor to the later arriving discount stores.
I remember when they built the interstate. When we walked to the pool we had to take the detour down to the roadbed and walk up the other side until the overpass was built. My slightly older cousin came to visit that summer and she got tired of walking up and down all the time. During the non-construction hours, she decided to walk the overpass I-beams across to save time. I was afraid of heights but coudn’t let a girl show me up. It’s surprising how you can get used to that narrow little path in time and not be bothered by the potential 15-20′ drop. If our parents had known, the fall killing us would have been the least of our worries. We even crossed at night by the moonlight of lack thereof. There was never a lot of traffic at night since the pool was closed by then. One night coming home from the pool I came close to buying the farm. I as out in the middle on the beam when a car topped the hill at the start of the detour and there I was: out midbridge on the beam like a deer blinded in the headlights. All you can do is stop moving and wait for your sight to come back hoping you don’t fall in the meantime. I can only imagine what the driver was thinking seeing me out there in midair. If he was drinking at the time, it was probably his last. I know it was the last time I walked them at night too. I wasn’t so smart that is was the last time I walked them though. Couldn’t let that girl show me up.
Oh well, I’ve revealed enough of my less-discrete side. You may rightly assume I have developed a little more common sense with age and my prefrontal cortex is fully developed finally. I look back fondly on both the wise and the wicked while I lived there.
We know we will not live forever. We now we are ever-changing. Our human lack of, but desire for, permanence cause us to seek out a constant in our lives. We lie to ourselves about the permanence of nature and the earth and seek constancy there. We hope for places and things that are, in even the slightest way, constant and as we remember them. When all around us is not as we would have it, we long to step back to a time and place that we remember as being all we wished it to be, even though we know deep inside that the memory is a deception. Carrollton was a farmer’s memory of fertile fields, a pioneer’s memory of a new begining, and an Indians memory of prairie where game was plentiful and life was good. They all thought and hoped it was to be so forever. We are only the latest to deceive ourselves with the same false hope. Change is inevitable in nature. We can’t stop it. We can deny it total victory though. The memories I have of Carrollton will never change. Change may be inevitable, but it is never total in its destruction of the past. We all have our unchangable memories that only we control. Carrolllton will always be there just as it was then.
I shared a link for this with my brother. Thanks again, Deasy.