You Really Can't Go Home Again
Today was my Mom's birthday. So, I went up to my home town of Newport, VT to spend the weekend with my Mom. It's really not that far away... about an hour and a half, but it's just far enough to be a pain to do on a regular basis.
Anyway, while I was up there I had a chance to wander around town a little bit. It's one of those small towns reacts badly to changing times; it takes a while to catch up with the rest of the world.
I was struck at how depressed the downtown area was. Now granted, it's not a very big "down town." You can barely even call it that. But when I was growing up, I remember it to be a busy, bustling area. There were people milling about, visiting, shopping. I used to love wandering downtown and seeing what I could purchase with my meager savings. This is what Main Street looked like on a Saturday afternoon at 4pm:
Now that's sad. Granted Newport relies heavily on summer tourism, but of the shops in business, 3/4 of them were already closed for the day. One out of four shops along Main Street had gone out of business and were sporting empty storefronts.
This is a struggling town, whose heyday was a solid 100 years ago. I hate seeing this town so devoid of life. I know that it struggled even when I was a child, but at least people were trying. Now, it just looks like everyone has given up.
There is an attempt currently going on to revitalize the Main Street, to pump some life back into it. I hope it works, and I hope it turns this sad little town into something people don't have to feel so dejected about. Because let's face it, towns with hope left in them don't look like this.