Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Our Town

The other night we went downtown to get pizza.

I have lived in this area almost my entire life.

I have seen this downtown area change from the 70s to the 80s to the 90s to today.

I have memories of this downtown area that I think may cloud my view.

Maybe it was the Christmas lights,
maybe it was the spirit of the season,
but as Jason drove down the familiar streets
I saw our downtown area with new eyes.
It was glittering.
It was beautiful.
It was quaint.
It was so cozy and homey...and so comforting.

I think sometimes when we see something EVERY DAY or when we have seen something all the time for forty years we don't take the time to notice it the way we would if say, we just moved to a new town.

For instance, I had never, ever noticed these wrought iron railings, yet they are on the building where I have gotten my haircut many, many, many times.

I never noticed how quaint these shops looked,
yet I have eaten many, many, many pizzas at Picasso's.

I never noticed these cute train shops.
These are something that I would marvel at if we were on vacation.
I remember finding the Colonial Williamsburg shopping area so quaint and wishing I could live there.
I never realized that the town where I live has such charm and appeal.

The sidewalks were paved when I was a girl.
I remember that.
I remember sidewalk sales
in the heat of the summer.
I remember my mom rewarding us for walking from store to store with her
by buying us each a toy at the toy shop.

I think the pavers were a charming recent touch.

Our pizza place is BYOB, so we sometimes stop in this wine shop for a bottle of wine on our way to get our pizza.

I had gotten very negative on our town at one point.
But I am starting to remember why we chose to settle here.
There is something so vintage-y and retro about it.
There is something that is so small town and comforting.
There is something that is so "A Christmas Story" about our downtown area,
I almost expected to see a Red Rider BB gun in a window.
maybe a Sno-King sled.

As we walked down the street to get some antipasti and a pie,
I felt so blessed to live in an area like this.
I felt so fortunate at the beauty and the twinkling lights and the quaint old shops.
I felt so lucky that I am here.

I love the connection I have with this town.
There was a fabric store right where those green lights are, the store was a mess, piled HIGH to the rafters with fabric and the owner despised children, yet my mom was always sewing something and we were always going in there with her to get fabric.
The store is no longer there.
But I feel blessed to have that memory, that connection.

I remember going to the show store and getting my Buster Brown shoes every year for school.
I remember the record shop where we bought our babysitter Meatloaf "Bat Out of Hell".
I remember the lunch counter at Woolworth's.
I remember getting called to jury duty when I was 18 at the courthouse just down the street from where this photo was taken.

The television in the window reminded me of something you would see on a movie,
people huddled around watching TV through a window
as a major event unfolds.

Jason always likes to stop in the music store.
We usually recall the time when we were first dating and a new Pearl Jam album was released at midnight and this store stayed open until 2am for the release.  I went and purchased it and then drove all the way down to Princeton and left it in his mailbox.  I called him in the morning and told him to check his mailbox.

I feel blessed to have this life.
To live in this town.
With these people.

I have passed this shop window a hundred times and never seen how beautiful it is.

I am glad that store windows like this still exist.
I am glad it is not just all commercialized must-haves.
I am glad it is beautiful.

I encourage you to take your camera
to an area that you frequent
and to look at the area from a different perspective,
through your lens,
as though you had never seen it before.

I would love for you to share the results with me.