Why you ask?
Because those of us who lived in a time when life was much simpler thought they would never change. We remember our homes, our neighborhoods, and our towns not in being alive and vibrant, instead of disrepair. And just taking a photograph back in the day was much more difficult than it is now. We didn’t have digital cameras or iPhones to take these pictures at a moments notice. Taking a picture (most of the time), had to be planned out.
Here’s a little background…Over the past 15-20 years I have been looking for pictures of the town in which I grew up. Blytheville, AR. Blytheville was a small northeastern Arkansas delta town that was a wonderful place to grow up and go to school, but this was back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Of course things have changed greatly since then. Although there were many, many businesses on Main Street in Blytheville, there are currently a disproportionate number of pictures available that show how it looked and thrived during these wonderful times.
Even lately every time I would travel back to Blytheville to visit family and friends, I would drive down Main Street and through some of the old neighborhoods (now pretty dangerous), and the differences from even ONE year to another are amazing. Recently on my last visit “home”, I went by one of the houses in Blytheville that contained a lot of fond memories for me and my family. I would drive by this house almost every trip home and watched how slowly the house deteriorated over the years. In fact, about 15 years ago when it had been abandoned, I was actually able to go into the house and see an old mirror mural (of a ship) that we had put on the wall in 1970, it was still there! It instantly brought back a huge flood of memories, but this was before the “smartphone’ revolution and I didn’t have a regular camera with me so I took no pictures.
Since that time, I had taken a few pictures of the house over the years, but over the past couple of years I would go by and just look at it. The last time I went by the house around last Thanksgiving…it was GONE. Yep, it had been burnt to the ground and there was nothing left except a few bricks and charred wood. Sad.
Same thing for Main Street in Blytheville. It was a bustling place to visit with drug stores, pool halls, theaters, discount stores, paint stores, recruiting offices, record stores, banks, liquor stores, neighborhood bars, barber shops, beauty shops and of course restaurants and cafes. Most of all these places are now gone…and very few pictures either don’t exist or not shared with the public…nothing but memories in our mind.
So, TAKE THAT PICTURE NOW. It may seem like an insignificant picture now, but 30,40 or 50 years from now, IT WILL MEAN SOMETHING. Buildings that are in disrepair or that you think may be torn down are priorities to remember how a town or neighborhood looked, take the picture now.
Take the picture, print it out and file it away. You’ll be glad you did…