My Hometown

I visited my hometown yesterday. I was born in raised in a small town in California. I lived in the same house on the same street until I went to college. Yesterday I visited my hometown after a 8 year absence. Nothing was the same. Everything looked smaller, and closer together. Why is that? I mean I was the same height 8 years ago and yet my memory immediately goes to when I was 9 or 10. 

As we drove through this once “quaint” town, Bruce Springsteen’s song “My Hometown” kept going through my head:

My hometown…

Now Main Street’s 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

The town is far from quaint anymore. It’s ugly. We drove by one of my elementary schools to find it boarded up. My school boarded up! Most of the town is run-down and it is obvious there has been some poor planning. The house I lived in for my first 17 years of my life is now a daycare. Some of the birch trees I used to hide behind in the church yard on the corner are gone. The mortuary on the corner opposite the church looks much nicer. I think they’ve been getting quite a bit of business. From the looks of the town I can see why they would.

At least Jerry’s restaurant’s sign hasn’t changed in hmmm, 60 years? I just hope the food isn’t that old. I guess it isn’t good to go back to your hometown. Goodbye, Hollister, California. Goodbye, Jerry’s restaurant, goodbye.   


18 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. holly
    May 20, 2008 @ 01:31:08

    oh wow going home is so anticlimactic. you should have asked me first if it was a good idea. i’d have said no.

    wait – was the food good? or old?

    i am a former san diego gal. 92123. you needed to know that.

  2. tobeme
    May 21, 2008 @ 14:04:26

    Everything changes but our memories.

  3. rjlight
    May 22, 2008 @ 15:14:25

    holly — I should have asked you first!

    tobeme — yes, you are right and sometimes that is so sad.

  4. Theresa
    May 23, 2008 @ 10:31:33

    I grew up in Ontario California, which wasn’t small or especially nice back then, so I imagine it wouldn’t be any nicer now. There were some places I liked, but for some reason I remember a lot of parking lots. It would be weird for me to go back after 15 years, but maybe someday…

  5. Bee Repartee
    May 23, 2008 @ 11:42:40

    Hurrah for Cali girls. 🙂

    I love that Springsteen song, it’s kind of sad…

  6. rjlight
    May 23, 2008 @ 12:07:33

    Theresa — I can’t give you an update on Ontario. Never been there. However, the San Bern. county has grown leaps and bounds so I think it’s probably bigger unless it’s smaller.

    Bee — Everyone wishes they all could be us, no, they wish all of us were us. Anyway, yeah California girls.

  7. diesel
    May 24, 2008 @ 21:19:54

    Hey, that’s not too far from me. Surprising that it wouldn’t be booming. Seems like a nice area.

  8. rjlight
    May 25, 2008 @ 13:34:54

    Diesel, there are tons of people there, just not in the downtown where I grew up. The downtown where I used to buy my jawbreakers, comic books, and donuts doesn’t exist.

  9. Half-Past Kissin' Time
    May 27, 2008 @ 19:59:08

    Wow. That must be unsettling! My gradeschool was torn down many years ago, but my mom still lives in the house we grew up in. It’s hard to believe we all fit in it!

  10. Dlight
    Jun 11, 2008 @ 08:50:51

    What is wrong with Hollis. Many a good commercial was made there. The Granada theater, I’m sure never looked so good. What kept going through my mind as I read this was, does Mrs Erkman still send 3rd graders across town for a homestyle burger from a bar????

  11. Jbarnes
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 10:52:18

    When did Mrs. Erkman do that? I didn’t think Hollister was THAT bad, but then, I live in a small town in Wisconsin. We have 5 bars and only one grocery store! At least there’s a good clothing store that came out of Hollister. 🙂 It’s never the same going home!

  12. rjlight
    Jun 27, 2008 @ 14:16:07

    Dlight & Jbarnes — I dont’ even know who Mrs. Erkman was do I?

  13. Dlight
    Jun 28, 2008 @ 06:42:57

    No you dont, she was not around when you came about. She may have already retired when you started school.

  14. Nekikay
    Jul 03, 2008 @ 13:30:03

    Uh! I hate to disillusion you, but Jerry’s restaurant opened BRAND SPANKING NEW in 1971…so it isn’t as old as you thought 60 years! It is not much younger than you! Mrs. Erkman..that name sounds familiar but I think it is her son’s name I am remembering John..I think your Brother n law knows him! Now they are 60 years old!!

  15. The Mom
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 10:51:22

    OH my god. Mr. Erkman!? He was my GATE teacher! Total flashback overload!

  16. rjlight
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 14:25:53

    nekikay — 1971, well that does explain the decor.

    The mom–so maybe you had the son..Hollister is a bit weird…

  17. Nekikay
    Jul 09, 2008 @ 15:36:53

    Actually, I just saw this pass weekend that Jerry’s is under new management..maybe that 1971 decor will be gone soon!

    Two more stores have bit the dust…but the new bars are booming! Good thing is they still have a few orchards growing the best apricots in the world!

  18. Janelle Swartz
    Jul 10, 2008 @ 14:03:02

    I have never added a comment on your BLOG, how about that??
    I just went down memory lane the other day. I googled Hollister and did a visual tour on the street view. How cool. The ole house on 7th Street seemed so small and as someone said seemed so close together!! You have got to try it.

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