“It is typical, in America, that a person’s hometown is not the place where he is living now but is the place he left behind.”

The morning was tiring. Both dogs woke me up by playing on my bed. One attacked the other then both attacked me. They licked my feet, dug under the sheet when I tried to hide my feet, got tired of looking for my feet and tried to lick my face. I could take it for only so long so I got up up, let them out and waited for Henry. We both went back to bed. Nala would come in on her own when she was ready. We slept another hour. We’re talking sleeping the morning away, at least for me. The dogs woke me up by jumping on and off the bed. It was time to start the day. It was close to noon. I took my time to read the paper. I completed the Globe crossword puzzle. It had an error. The clue was Hawkeye’s home. We all know he came from Crab Apple Cove, Maine. Radar was from Iowa, the answer.

Both dogs have been in and out. The day is dog perfect for running in the yard and for chasing one another back and forth below the deck. It is 74˚. The high will be 76˚. The streaming sunlight has a cold look about it, a slant, a sharpness. It is a different light than summer light. It is still warm enough in the daytime for short sleeve shirts, but nights in the 60’s mean a sweatshirt for me, but I like the feel of these nights. The chill is still comfortable, even welcomed after a hot day.

I wrote a list of chores on Tuesday. I have crossed off two. One of those was cancelled so I really only did one. I was a slacker, a sloth of epic proportions, and I enjoyed doing nothing. Today, however, I feel like doing something so I’ll reactivate my old list. I never did throw it away. It sat on my table.

When I was a kid, I loved days like today. Mostly I rode my bike. I’d pack a lunch, roll up a sweater or a small jacket, put both in my bike basket and take off for the day. I remember riding to get uptown then walking my bike on the sidewalk so I could look at the windows to see what was new and what was old. Uptown was interesting when I was a kid. It had many little stores and many drug stores but they were a bit different from each other. The Middlesex Drug was grand to me. It had an epic soda fountain. It had the best vanilla cokes. Pullo’s had only four stools at the counter on the left. If I went with my dad who would often drop in to say hello, I got a coke while I waited. I never really went into the drug store at the furthest end of the square, at a corner which was never a corner for the stores. They were a sort of arc with the drug store in the middle.

On one side of the square was the men’s store, Finnegan’s. It was in a block of long stores with small store fronts. I never went inside, but I remember looking in the window and seeing long racks of suits. The luncheonette was beside Finnegan’s. I don’t know its real name. I remember a long counter with stools. When we’d get back from an orthodontist appointment in Boston, my mother would buy me a sandwich from there. I’d eat before I checked in at school. I remember the sandwich was always toasted.

Memories pop up unexpectedly. I think today I could have remembered every store uptown by name or function. My favorite has always been the cobbler’s. It too was in a long building. Inside was one counter the length of the shop. It was covered in shoes paired together. The cobbler was always hunched over a shoe. He wore a bib apron. I remember he was old, but I was young so old was different to me. He had the most interesting window. I could watch him work shoe by shoe. I don’t know when his shop disappeared. I just remember looking and not finding it there. I was sad it was gone.

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2 Comments on ““It is typical, in America, that a person’s hometown is not the place where he is living now but is the place he left behind.””

  1. Bob Says:

    Hi Kat,

    Today is a repeat of yesterday’s weather, but more heat is coming our way before summer is done with us.

    When I was a kid there were always small businesses along the main streets even in the suburbs. The British call those business areas “High Street”. Now most of them in the United States are gone. I would be hard pressed to find an independent shoemaker shop anywhere today in our mostly disposable world. Small corner drugstores with soda fountains are a thing that only live in the memories of old folks, like us.

    First, there came the big box retailers such as Walmart and Target. Then the chains like CVS and now even those stores are suffering because of online retailers such as Amazon. Is the brick and mortar store a thing of the past? Maybe except in small tourist towns such as downtown Grapevine Texas. The restaurants and small shops only survive along the historic portion of Main Street because of the tourists. I think there’s a shoemaker shop on that street squeezed in between a restaurant and a wine bar. 🙂

    My hometown is not really Brooklyn New York where I was born, nor Dallas Texas where I was raised, but Grapevine Texas where I reside today.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Bob,
      We also have a repeat of yesterday and a preview of tomorrow. The day has been lovely.

      Up until around five years ago, I had a cobbler in a small shop who fixed my shoes. I was sad when he closed his shop. There are still small shops here. I try to shop there. What I like is you find items unique to that store, not part of every box store. I also shop at the local museum shops. The cape hasn’t as many options for supermarkets as other places.

      I always think of Stoneham as my home town for that was where I was born and where I did a lot of my growing.


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