Tuesday, February 18, 2014

The Times They Did A-Change

So, as I may have mentioned in previous blog entries, my return to Delaware County to resume permanent residence has been chock full of different. All kinds of different. 

And that kind of surprised me.

Naturally, I assumed the home I left would evolve. It’s just that I was under the impression that evolution took millions of years. Thank you very much, Mr. Darwin.

I now realize it happens much faster with places than with species. If I had known I’d have taken more pictures. So here is just a partial list of the Delaware County mutations I’ve discovered so far:

My drug store is different (Thrift Drugs magically turned into Rite-Aid).

Wawas are different (gas stations?). 

The MacDade Mall is different. 

The Sharon Hill Acme is different (something called Amelia). 

My barber moved to Prospect Park.  That was different.

Delco politics are different. Democrats can win now?

The high schools are different.

The Eagles uniforms are different.

The funny pages in the Daily Times are different. (Even the mom’s hairstyle on the Family Circle is different. Thankfully, Mrs. Lockhorn remains traditional.)

We have gained a Ruby Tuesdays, two Walmarts, an Appleby’s and even a Sonic.

We have lost The Springfield Inn, Septembers, Grants, Maltz Brothers, The Wild Irishman, and about a million Fotomats.

But most distressing of all, Hennessy’s Tavern is now a drug store. Back in the day I liked to sit right at the far bend of the long, beautiful bar at Hennessy’s so I could see everyone come and go. On a good day I’d make witty remarks to myself about each of the customers who wandered in. The more beers the wittier the remarks. Finally, when I was just too witty for words, I’d walk home.

Today that exact spot is approximately one-third of the way down the drug store’s “Feminine Products” aisle. I checked. Very quickly.

At least Leo’s Steaks is the same and as good as ever.

Of course, all this is a very roundabout way of getting to more changes that have taken place in those closest to me. Thankfully, my immediate family is intact. But we lost quite a few aunts and uncles over the past 18 years. Again, that’s to be expected. But it’s still hard. Somehow, being home again makes me miss them even more than I did before.

Not all different is bad though.

One of the very bright family changes is with my sister, Patti. When I left Delaware County in 1996, Patti was happily married and hoping to get a good job as a nurse while caring for her beautiful 2-year-old daughter. She always wanted to be a nurse, and we all hoped that she was going to get to live her dream.

Well …

It’s 2014 and Patti is a top Operating Room nurse at a local hospital. (Ever wonder why they still call it an operating room when I hear that everything is “a procedure” these days? Sorry … just had a Seinfeld moment there.) She is still happily married, and raising a 20-year-old college student and a 16-year-old high school junior. Both of them are beautiful young women, too. Time does not stand still, does it?

(By the way, rumor has it that Patti keeps them smiling as she goes the extra mile at work, too.)

I’ve saved my sister Jayne for last. That’s because she has undergone both the most and the least change. In some ways she hasn’t changed a bit in all my time away. (It’s just occurred to me that “my time away” sounds like I was incarcerated or in a special home. I should probably work on another term for that.) 

Jayne is still married. Still happy. Still working for the same company, and still looks 10 years younger than she is. She still keeps track of every niece and nephew, and seems to know exactly how to make them love her, sometimes no matter how shy they might be or how moody or how disinterested they seem at first.

Resistance to Aunt Jayne is futile.

But Jayne has experienced the most change, too. She was a lifelong Delco resident when I left. Since then, multiple promotions have taken her all over the country. She’s had homes in Neenah, Wisconsin … Dallas, Texas (never stopped being a Cowboy hater) … Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania … Minneapolis, Minnesota … and back to Appleton, Wisconsin. And the higher she rises in her company, the more down-to-Earth she is. No big-timing, no superior attitude, not a hint of conceit in her. She is always just my little sister to me.

I could not be more proud of these two accomplished, fascinating young(er than me, at least) women. I’m thankful every day that I’m their brother.

Sometimes different can be really, really great.

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