This morning, I awoke in my hometown of Montrose, Colorado. My parents left Colorado for the glamour of Kansas City about 4 years ago, so over the past several years, my visits to Montrose have been few and far between. Anxious to get out for a stroll down memory lane, I decided to walk across town and then back.
Twenty minutes and just over a mile later, I arrived at what I thought was “the end of town.” But the joke was on me – the town does not end where it once did. “The end of town” is now at least 2 miles further south. Home Depot? Chili’s? Applebees? Starbucks? Since when did the sleepy little town of Montrose explode into a suburban sprawl?
And so I turned east, and headed for my old neighborhood. As I wound through the residential streets of “New English Gardens,” sporting such titles as Cambridge, Stratford, Sherwood, and Kent, my mind was flooded with memories of my childhood. Riding bikes through the adobe hills, fishing in the canal, setting off dry ice bombs to freak out the neighbors, daring each other to trespass into the old man’s garden – I felt like I was 9-years old again.
The Parsons family moved into the house on Leeds Ave. in January of my 5th grade year, and my parents remained there until I was 20. The subdivision was brand new when we moved in, and we had the chance to customize the paint colors, the tile, the carpet, the linoleum. I remember being so excited at the prospect of living somewhere brand new. I even got to choose the carpet color for my bedroom: cornflower blue. My parents did the landscaping themselves, and planted aspen trees in the front yard.
Today, I paused in front of our old house. I barely recognized it. The siding that was once white and blue is now 2 tones of brown. The trees that I remember as saplings, seemingly arboreal crack babies for so many years, now have thick, thriving limbs. The driveway has been re-paved, and an unfamiliar truck is parked in the driveway.
Now, as I sit at the Coffee Trader, Montrose’s most charming coffee shop, I am hearing songs by Paula Cole, the Backstreet Boys, and LFO playing through the speakers. And as I type these words, “Livin’ La Vida Loca” is starting. As if things could be any more 1999.