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A Small Slice of Life Piece (1 Viewer)

Thomas Wolfe told us:
“You can’t go home again”
How very true that is.

My last year of high school I took a train trip across the country
to visit my birthplace (Albany, New York). The trip was quite
an adventure, having never taken such a long train trip before.
The scenery was magnificent, the people I met were interesting
and the food was excellent (if somewhat expensive).

We had a layover, of several hours, in Chicago where we also
changed trains. I left the station, intending to explore the “windy
city”, but there wasn’t much to see near the train station, and I
didn’t know my way around the city, so just ended up going to
a movie to kill the time until I had to board the next train for the
final leg of my journey.

I don’t remember a train station in Albany, so I believe I had to
take a bus, that part of the trip is buried behind some cobwebs in
my mind. Anyway, I do remember going to see my old house
on Dot Avenue, which seemed much smaller than I remembered.
I walked through the underground tunnel to cross the street so I
could see my old school, and the familiar smell of the disinfectant
brought back a rush of nostalgia, finally something familiar.

Later, I went to the old park where my grandparents used to take us to
watch the boats and play the games in the penny (yes it was only
a penny back then) arcade. The boats were dry-docked and the arcade
was boarded up. The lake was still there, but it just was not the same.

Finally, I went to look for the old ice cream parlor where you used to
buy a dish of ice cream (your choice of flavor) and then “build” your
own sundae. What a marvelous concept—they had a long table covered
with any sort of topping you could imagine, and you could take as much
as you wanted of any topping you wanted. I think the ice cream parlor
is now a pizza parlor, there must be more money in that business.

The train ride home seemed much longer than the one going. And as I
closed my eyes and let the clackety-clack of the track lull me to sleep,
I dreamed of Albany, but the Albany I dreamed of was 1952.