Hockey Cards that are reasonably priced, with gum, and packaged with that waxy wrap-around paper.
The Old General Store where you could buy everything from a side of beef to a shot gun to well just about anything. Burned down in the summer of 84 and not too long after a franchise moved into town.
The Old Post Office where the front face of the counter was covered with a couple of decades of graffiti from people testing their pens - a who’s who and who was of small town life. Later the building became part of the digs for the cable company (still remember the first Saturday we had cable) and the post office got a new building.
The Old Building that use to be something but not really anything. Every town has one of those I think. It was torn down so the new post office could be built.
The Old Antiques store that burned down one night. Half the village turned out to watch it burn.
The Bank that went on the site of the Old Antiques store. I miss that. Just an empty shell of a building left now with an ATM outside. Oh wait, the ATM left not long after the bank.
The Old Barber Shop where there was really only one style of cut that you got sitting in that one old chair. He moved out of town one day. I cannot remember when they tore the old place down.
The Old Drug Store where we used to ride our bikes to buy reasonably priced comics and try and sneak a peek at the “dirty” magazines. They tore it down and built a bigger one on the same spot a while back but its all bright and white and modern and big. And you cannot sneak a peek at the dirty magazines anymore cause they have video cameras watching you.
The Old Clothing Store. Well we used to call it by the name of the woman who ran it. She would make us hand knitted sweaters every winter for next to nothing. I cannot remember when she died but the new owner eventually sold out to the owners of the Old Drug Store and after some time of sitting empty, the Old Clothing Store came down to make way for the New Drug Store.
The Old Army Surplus Store. Actually that one is still there and has not changed much since I was a kid. Went shopping there last time I was home.
The Old Scout Hall. Its still there but its been condemned. Spent many an evening in that building with my friends - learning one thing or another. I remember building a cedar strip canoe there one winter. The man who taught us is not around anymore - he shot himself after his wife died a few years back. Now the building just sits rotting.
The Old River that used to have fish in it to catch and listening to stories from my father of about all the fish that people used to catch in the river only ten years before. I do not miss the Old Pig Farm though nearby that used to pollute the Old River. The Old Pig Farm burned down a few years back when the owner’s indoor horticulture project caught fire. The owners are currently at Her Majesty’s pleasure and the out buildings of the farm are starting to come down after a couple of harsh winters.
The Old Train Station . . . well that spot of dirt next to the track and beside the sign with the village’s name on it. Once we got the highway, folks seemed to neglect the train and one day the trains stopped coming. Not long after men came and tore up the tracks. Tougher to play chicken on the highway.
The Old Snow Plow driver that lived down the road. Our street always used to get plowed out first. And he’d stopped so not to block up the end of everyone’s driveways. I used to play with his kids until we were old enough that we found ourselves in different social circles and heading in entirely different directions. One of them works stocking shelves at the hardware store one town over and I will still stop in to say ‘hi’ when I am back in town. His dad died a few years back - lung cancer from a three-pack a-day habit but his colleagues will still plow our street out as soon as they can.
The Old Wood was our playground. A forest to ourselves and one where the Old River carved a path through. We used to leave at 8AM some days in the summer and not get back until after 8PM. We could always hear our parents calling us in for dinner but we never told them that. Dinner used to taste great cold on those days. Our forts have crumbled and trails grown over but I walked through the Old Wood with my girlfriend last time we were home picking wild berries and me telling stories of long past expeditions and civilizations and battles that we lived out in the Old Wood. Its not as big as it used to be though and someone has built a house in the Old Crab Apple Orchard where we used to have our crab apple fights.
The Old Meadow was by the Old Wood and the Old River. In the summer it doubled as a maze for war games when the crops were long enough and dirt bike track once hayed. It would flood every fall and freeze. It was our own giant ice rink. Every morning we would run down before school in November to see if the ice was thick enough and one day it always would be. Class was filled only of thoughts of getting home. It does not flood much these days - not every year anymore anyway.
The Old Hill overlooked the Old Meadow and we would converge on the Old Hill every winter to build an ice track for our sleds. And at the end of the track was a big ramp that would send us flying into the air. The Old Hill was on my property and so I was kind of king of the castle. The Old Hill does not look so big these days when I return home but it was a mountain back then. And those of us that have raced on it can attest to the fact that we faced danger everytime we pushed ourselves off.
The Old People who really weren’t but are now when you return home. They still remember your name though sometimes they may get you confused with your brother. And now like then they always have a story to tell only this time it is a story about when you were young and the world was a different place.