Saturday, March 21, 2015
Half a roof over my head
As my son and I were walking back to the car after running some errands at the local mall, we happened to walk past the empty shell of a former anchor store. I stared at the now-dusty exterior of the building and couldn't help but realize how forlorn it looked, and how much it had been allowed to deteriorate since this place last closed it's doors just over a year ago.
The store that was once a magnet, a destination for thousands of people from the entire region, was now a derelict piece of 80s-era brown-brick architecture, with no sign of recovery in sight.
As we stood on the sidewalk in front of the now-shuttered front doors, taking in the sad spectacle of suburban obsolescence, my son said he hoped something would soon fill the quiet space and give it the kind of life it once had.
Although he's just as cynical as I am when it comes to the uber-commercial nature of modern retail fixtures like big box stores and shopping malls, it struck me as an incredibly profound statement from a very sensitive 14-year-old. He understood how stores like the one that was once here contribute to the fabric of the communities they serve, and what we lose when they disappear. It's more than mere picetags and shopping bags.
Almost as soon as he finished the thought, we both looked up at the overhang that once protected shoppers from the elements as they waited to be picked up out front. The still-vibrant yellow against the brilliant blue sky suggested, perhaps, a brighter future for this place than its dreary present might suggest.
Either way, my son will be watching.