A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.
~I have been asked by some of my blog pals to add a disclaimer. This isn’t my typical cheeky, funny-ha ha post. This is a sad one. Okay, you’ve been warned. If you don’t want to read, that’s okay. Back to funnier stuff tomorrow. ~
I have many fond memories of going to my father’s workplace as a child, and as a young adult. Dad ran an auto parts store in the small town where I still live.
I remember going there as a kid and talking to the mechanics in the shop, getting a quarter to put in the machine for peanuts, a gumball or M&M’s. I remember dreadful home made gifts and art projects that my brothers and sister and I made adorned Dad’s desk and office wall. I also remember the chrome naked lady hood ornament ashtray….that he would try to remember to stash in a drawer if he knew I was coming.
The place had a charm of its own. Customers, mechanics, grease monkeys and body men from the area would congregate at Dad’s counter like it was a soda fountain some days, drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes.
A young man who worked across the street came in to my Dad’s store one day carrying a bottle of Coke with about a dozen straws sticking out of it. “Thought I’d bring you guys a Coke.” He said, and all the guys roared with laughter. Everybody’s a comedian.
There was a two wheel cart at Dad’s store, and either he or one of the guys would give us rides around the store or the stockroom when we were small. When my oldest son was born, I took him to the store so Dad could show off his new grandson to all of his buddies. As he held my tiny son in his arm, he called him “Tiger” and said that when he got big enough, he would give him rides on the cart around the store and the shop. Just writing that brings tears to my eyes, as my beloved Dad died suddenly just three weeks after that precious moment. He was just 52 years old.
The rides on the two wheel cart never happened.
Many years later, when that boy of mine was the oldest of three and just entering his teens, he came home in a frenzy one night with a group of friends to alert us to a large fire in the downtown area, which is just a few blocks from our house.
I went onto the front porch and not only saw a pillar of smoke, but a pillar of fire. Over the housetops and the overpass. This was a huge conflagration. The largest fire I had ever seen. My son told me it was my father’s parts store that was a literal towering inferno. Oil, grease, chemicals, rubber and God knows what else had created an immense fire that also engulfed and destroyed the lumberyard located next door.
As I wandered downtown to see the place that held so many fond memories turn to ash and disintegrate, I truly for the first time was thankful that my father hadn’t lived to see this happen. It surely would have killed him.
I have constant reminders of this place, working in a full service dealership, complete with a parts room. It looks similar, smells the same, and we even have a two wheel cart that’s just the right size for grandchildren.
I still live in the same house, just two blocks from Dad’s store and the scene of the huge fire. When I drive by now, I try not to think of the fire. I remember the place and the guys: but mostly Dad and that two wheel cart.
~This does happen to be a real slice of my life, in case you were wondering~
Some of today’s other Daily Prompt Posts: