Tuesday, October 30, 2012

31 Days of Places: Memories of Rt. 507.


The house I grew up in, built by my grandfather, sits on the top of a hill surrounded by trees. If you go down the hill on the gravel road, the stones crunch beneath the car tires as you break at the entrance to the main road, route 507. Turning right takes you towards town, towards school. The road veers slightly after a brief stretch, past the sports bar that changed names every few years, and then inclined again until you reached Circle Green. Circle Green was an upscale community of huge townhouses with views of the lake, a set up that didn't fit with the way most people in our town lived, but marring this high class environment was the stone building that sat on the right side of the road, across from the main entrance.

This stone building had been abandoned for as long as I could remember it, a squat, square simple thing. Moss crept over the stones and the roof; scraggly grass grew between the cracks of the square of pavement that sat in front of it, a semblance of what must have been a minuscule parking lot at some point. I had no idea what kind of business ever occupied it, if any ever had at all, but the inside was empty and gloomy, visible through a few front windows. I passed it every day of my life.

I developed a fantasy: this is where I would open my bookstore.

Looking back at it now, I know the structure was too small to ever host a bookstore; it could fit shelves for one genre at most, and a small town isn't exactly the place for a niche market. Add on top of that that it was probably never inhabitable in the condition it was in in the first place. But I pictured the mahogany checkout desk I'd have up front; the plants I would place everywhere; the cat that could curl up in the windows. I never pictured any other employees or a business plan or marketing or budgets; I just pictured that space being mine, and it being filled with books. There wasn't a bookstore in my town; clearly, there was a need waiting to be filled, and the abandoned stone building on 507 at Circle Green was going to be it.

I can't remember exactly when they tore it down. Maybe I was in middle school; maybe it was way before or after that. But one day it was gone. From what I know, that space still remains empty, nothing ever built to replace it; just that weed stricken square of pavement left on the ground, preserving the ghost of my childhood, nerdy dreams.

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