Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Jog to My Memory

Saturday was scheduled to be my long (7 mile), Zone 2 run.  Since we were in Galesburg at my parent's place, I mapped a nice long run down Memory Lane.  I had run a couple of times before in Galesburg, oddly enough over ground that was completely new to me.  Which was strange as I had lived in that town for 15 years.  However, this particular run that I took on Saturday ran right through my old stomping grounds.  There were a few new editions to the areas, but the most exciting part was reliving the memories of my youth.

The first stretch I ran up Broad Street to Carl Sandburg Drive (Carl was born in Galesburg).  I passed by Russell Fox's old place.  I remember that it had a baseball field in the backyard.  The Little League Blue Jays practiced back there, and I even got to play a couple of scrimmage games on that field.  Next, I ran by Todd Fox's old house.  I remember the night that Sean Hanlon rang the doorbell and when Todd's dad came to the door Sean sprayed him with Silly String.  Steve (Todd's dad) grabbed Sean by the top of the head and the crotch of his pants, lifted him into the air, and slammed him down into the flower bed.  It was hilarious at the time, but now that I am writing it, I wonder how it would be viewed today.

Next, I turned on Carl Sandburg soon enough I passed by the Sirloin Stockade and I remembered how just a couple of years ago my grandfather fell outside of this place.  I was not with him at the time, but my 2 and a half year old son was, and he still recounts the story of Grandpa falling, seeing the blood, and the ambulance coming to take him to the hospital.  I wonder just how long Alaric will remember that event.

Soon I passed by the YMCA.  I went to this place a lot.  I remember playing basketball while my mom swam in the pool.  I remember playing games with my dad coaching.  I also noticed that the Y has put on an addition and added a ton of parking and put in 3 new soccer fields.  Galesburg is struggling economically, but it is good to see that they are putting money into the community youth activities. 

My next turn was on Losey Street and this is where the memories really came flooding back.  I lived from 1980 'til 1990 at 2013 W. Losey Street.  I passed by the house and remembered fondly the time I spent growing up there.  The house still looks exactly as I remember it.  There used to be an empty lot next to the house that all the neighborhood kids and I used for football, baseball, and any number of things.  The lot has a house on it now, and it makes me sad that the kids in the neighborhood will never know it the way I did.  I remember Chad Belfour, Eric Wilander, CR Smith.  I remember playing until all hours of the night under the street lights.  I remember building a snow fort in the "alley" across from my house.  One of my best friends in the entire world lived just down the street.  Matt was one of the first friends I remember going out and intentionally trying to have as a friend.  Matt's family became an extension of my own, I grew up in his house as much as I grew up in my own.  I still talk to Matt and continue to count him as a best friend.  I was lucky to have grown up so close to him and his family. 

Next, I turned on King's Canyon.  I passed by CJ Ramage's house.  I remember playing basketball in his driveway for hours.  After one such marathon, I remember we went inside of his house and ate an entire loaf of bread and jar of peanut butter.  Where does that metabolism go?

Then I turned on North Street and I could see the back of Wes Corzette's old house.  Wes was a long time friend and he ran with the neighborhood quite a bit.  He was always up for a game of flashlight tag, and when we were in eighth grade we shared a birthday party at the VFW.  Wes died from aplastic anemia when we were sophmores in high school, and it still makes me sad to think that he is gone.

As I continued to run down North Street, I ran past what used to be Nelson's, the candy store that we went to all summer long.  Next I passed by the store that used to be the Schwinn shop.  I got my first BMX bike here, a Predator Nighthawk; I thought it was the coolest.  Then I got my first skateboard there and I thought I was even cooler.  Finally, I got my 10 speed bike there.  My friends and I road bike for miles when we were kids, all over town.  The shop is now a kitchen and bath appliance store.  I wonder where kids get there bikes in Galesburg now?  Probably at Wal-Mart.

Finally, I turned back onto Broad Street.  I ran past half a dozen remodeled Victorians that look amazing.  Then I passed by Jaci Humes' old house. I couldn't really remember if hers was the one on the corner or second from the corner.  I had a huge crush on Jaci when she moved to that house.  We had Algebra together and I would damn near do the homework for her.  Sadly, I just moved into the "friend" zone from which there is no escape, but we stayed friends for a very long time.  Then I passed by Seastedt's house.  Brian is another best friend that I still have to this day.  His parents still live in that house, and I fondly remember spending a lot of time with them, as well. 

Pretty soon I made it back to my parent's house.  The run was awesome.  I loved running through my life in this fashion.  I made the time fly, and it probably took longer for me to write about it then it did to run the whole thing.  But it was a lot of fun to do both.   

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