August 13, 2009

Should I Still Call It "My Hometown"

Elk Rapids High School, June 1990.

Perspective. How we see things. Perspective. How you see something. How I see something. Perspective. How it really exists ...

As time goes on, does your perspective change, or do things change and we react to the change?

As I walked around "my hometown" recently, I noticed lots of change. Things I've known about, I looked closer at. As I walked past the baseball field, which was nothing more than a field in 1990, I thought, "You know, I never played ball on that field." The old baseball field doesn't exist anymore. It's part football field, part track. One cool aspect of the old ballfield was the outfield was actually the football field — like a multi–purpose stadium. In '90 it was cool; today, I think back and wonder why they did it that way. We were a rare baseball team, though. We could play under the lights.

The entrance to the "new" Glowicki Field is really cool. It's professional looking, with a gate to walk though and the name arched above the walkway. And a huge elk greets the football fans. The football pressbox, in the '80s and '90s was orange and black, school colors. Sometime earlier this decade, before it was razed, the pressbox was painted gray. The new pressbox: boring, blah color. Bring back the orange. The black. The orange crush of the '70s.

In '84, when Bruce Springsteen released the seminal album Born in the USA, it didn't seem like 25 years would pass in the blink of an eye. I was 13 that year. The Tigers won the World Series. Life was grand. I received Born in the USA as a Christmas present. It might be more relevant today than it was in '84.

"Now main streets whitewashed windows and vacant stores ... Seems like there ain't nobody wants to come down here no more; They're closing down the textile mill across the railroad tracks ... Foreman says these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back to ... Your hometown, your hometown, your hometown, your hometown."
— Bruce Springsteen ("My Hometown")

In reality, Elk Rapids actually has grown since '84. It's become a tourist town and booms during the summer. If you own the grocery store, you're doing all right. Some industry thrives in ER. Some businesses are running low — they supply the auto companies and such. Not a lot of demand. I remember playing the song, and many songs, in the old 1976 black four–wheel drive Ford Econoline Van, or the red '78 4X4 Ford F150, or Mercury Topaz as we cruised around ER or Traverse City. Time, it seemed, was on our side. Perspective, I suppose. We were 18, and life was in front of us. Heck, 30 was old. But Bruce warned, in a line many missed ... "these jobs are going boys and they ain't coming back." We didn't hear the message. Nobody wanted to listen. Times were still good, and would only actually get "better."

"These jobs are going boys, and they ain't coming back ... "

Elk Rapids High School, today.


Carl and Sally said...

This is the real world, boy! 47 years ago I graduated from High School and now "We are the people our parents warned us about!"

Life is precious, enjoy every minute!

Carl and Sally said...

I want to say Elk Rapids will be your hometown, until there is no more hometown to come home to! That is when the homestead is gone due to selling or deaths. Then you make your house the "home" for you! Now Elk Rapids is my "hometown" no more calling Clarkston "hometown" because there is no home in Clarkston to call it my hometown.