Friday, July 27, 2012

Just like when I was a kid?

I've been taking the girls around to a lot of places I went when I was young. I find myself saying out loud, "Oh, this is just like when I was a kid!" Except it's not. Not really.

The Multnomah County Library in downtown Portland, for example. My memories of that place center around the ornate interior staircase and its busy urban setting. Yesterday when I was there with the girls, the staircase was still really grand but not as awe-inspiring as it was when I was tagging along with my mom back in the day. It's a really nice library, but it's still just a library, you know?

As for downtown Portland, that used to be the craziest, most diverse hub of human activity I knew. One way streets, can you imagine? And the MAX trains zipping in and out of traffic, wow. Now, it's a city, and a busy city, and a nice city, but it's no longer the urbanest jungle I've ever seen. Not just like when I was a kid.

We went to the Washington County fair today and I had all kinds of ideas about how it was going to be. My idea of the county fair from childhood was that it was a massive event that everyone in the region looked forward to, just like me. There was a huge stadium for the rodeo events and there were wonderful rides and expansive grounds and the whole fair went on for weeks and weeks. Well, turns out it's more of just a long weekend thing and the huge stadium I remember is more like a few sets of really big bleachers. The grounds are large but really, you could walk from one end to the other in not too terribly long. I miss the sense of wonder I experienced at the county fair as a child, but it was almost as fun to observe said feelings of wonder in the faces of my own kids today.

Finally, I cannot get over the number of four-way stop sign intersections near my home that have been converted into major thoroughfares with left-turn lanes and stoplights and everything. Tonight, we drove by the intersection of Cornelius Pass and West Union roads and my head automatically looked to the right to look at, and remark out loud about, "the Grover trees." When I was a kid, there was a big field of trees there that my family called a grove of trees, but my kid self picked it up as Grover trees. But guess what? The Grover trees are gone. There are houses there now.

It may not be "just like when I was a kid." But that's OK. As I get bigger and grow older, the things that seemed so grand and permanent when I was young are bound to lose their luster. It's bittersweet to revisit these childhood impressions and have to adjust them for reality.


Britney said...

Love this post.

Susanne said...

I wonder what your kids will say years from now when they revisit Arabia. Actually I'm curious about their impressions of the US.

I enjoyed this post and seeing things through younger Bridget and older Bridget's eyes. And I'm sad to hear the Grover trees are gone!


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