When You Live In The Same Town All Your Life

Memories are funny aren’t they?  It’s  interesting how something you hear, smell or see can trigger a memory.  It can be a recent memory or something from decades earlier.

Living in the same town my entire life offers plenty of triggers to a variety of memories spanning a half century.

There is one spot along the main north to south thoroughfare in my hometown that sends me back to the early 1970’s.  There was an ice cream shop called Choo Choo Cream.  It was so unique because you would sit at a counter and place your order than a model train would emerge from the back to deliver either your ice cream cone or dish of ice cream.  My brother and I loved it.

A few miles down the road, I pass a shopping plaza that was the site of a drive-in movie theater.  My mind drifts back to high school when my friend’s mom took us to see Robin and Marian.  I still remember drinking milk and eating yummy oatmeal cream cookies.  Back then, the drive-in was on the outskirts of town.  Not anymore.  Our city limits extend several miles farther.

When I drive around one of our larger lakes (I live in Lakeland so there are many), I pass the auditorium where I performed in eight years of dance recitals and six years of band concerts.  My children graduated from high school in that same auditorium. 

Another local lake is the home of large flocks of swans, geese and ducks.  The swans are descended from a pair gifted to our city by Queen Elizabeth.  I fed the ducks as a child and then as a mom with young children.  The local library is on this lake.  I have a memory of my mom taking me to check out books, always a large stack.  I took my children to the same library for story time and to check out books.

There is a small brick building close by where a hair-stylist opened a shop especially for children.  I can see my little boy sitting very still while getting his hair cut.

We have a very quaint downtown area with a park in the center.  Not a park with a playground but more like a town square.  For whatever reason, whenever I drive downtown at night, especially at Christmas, I see it as I did in the 1960’s — complete with the soundtrack of Petula Clark singing “Downtown” playing in my mind.  What makes us remember these things?

I could go on and on —  the shopping center in my neighborhood that had the super slide, the schools I attended,  the location of the restaurant where we celebrated our engagement with my husband’s family, the movie theater where I was supposed to meet a classmate (a boy) but chickened out, the church where we were married, the studio where my daughter and I both took dance lessons, the stable where she took riding lessons, our old homes.  You get the idea.  When you have lived in the same place your entire life, you are reminded of past events daily.

It is good to remember.  Throughout scripture, we are told to remember — usually to remember God’s faithfulness in the past.  Memories of the past can encourage us in the present, but, we should not be like the children of Israel who longed for their past so much that some of them missed the blessings of the future. Psalm 143-5 

Sometimes its like that in the empty nest.  We long for the past when our grown children were little and at home, even though we know that can never be.  Memories are great, well, most of the time, but, we need to be sure we are not so wrapped up in them that we miss the present.

I remember the days of old. I meditate on all your doings. I contemplate the works of your hands. Psalm 143:5


Have you lived in your current town a long time, even your entire life?  Can you relate to these multi-generational memories?  Are there specific places that trigger a memory for you?  I would love to hear from you.

7 thoughts on “When You Live In The Same Town All Your Life

  1. Kim, love this…love you. I remember a VERY exciting moment when we saw your parents and grandparents at the Publix Annual Picnic in Lakeland and they shared the big news…Jim and Kim are on their first date tonight! I remember exactly where I was standing and how thrilled I was that God answered our prayer. I also thought this might be the beginning of “welcome to our Wilbanks family, Kim!” We were so happy that special day and still are so thankful many years later as a prayer became a reality.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I live in a town which is ten minutes from the town where I grew up. I pass by my old high school and remember the late 1960s/early 70s when we were all hippies and protesting everything we could think of. Now it’s a quiet high school where everyone is obsessed with getting into an Ivy League School. Times have changed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, things do change! When I was in high school there were only 2 public high schools so there were 600 people in my graduating class. There are 4 high schools now and I think they have smaller classes. I was in band and Friday night football was huge, they often had to bring in extra bleachers. Now the stadium is half empty on a Friday night.


  3. Oh yes, Kim. Having lived in your hometown for 80+ years I have LOTS of memories. Some of the best ones involve your Mom and the family. Did you eat crushed pineapple toast made in the oven? Sadie Hawkins Day Party in Munn Park—City Halloween Party at the stadium–Meadowbrook Ave. as Christmas Tree Lane. Thanks for the scriptural reminders and the everyday reminder to not live in the past memories and forget to look to the future.

    Liked by 1 person

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