Memories of place

This afternoon my mom and I started talking about a Safeway that was near my high school in Portland, that no longer exists.  It was poorly lit and slightly dirty.  The parking lot drains were always clogged with fallen leaves, creating lakes across the white lines.  There was frequently a person of dubious residency sleeping off an encounter with a bottle of whiskey on the bench in the corner.  A couple of years ago the store was replaced by an artistically lit, clean and spacious one that belies its previous identity.  I’ve only been there once because I prefer not to supplant my memories of it’s other incarnation with this pristine location.

It’s got me thinking about things that aren’t there anymore and how those vanished things live on in our memories.   My mom hasn’t been to visit me in Philly since I moved here, and so has never seen the changes I’ve made the apartment.  She still sees it as it was when her mother was still alive.  I still see my college campus as it was when I went to school there, even though I know that the student union building has been torn down and replaced.  I even saw that change with my own eyes last fall when I went to my reunion, but I prefer to imagine it the way is was when I was there.

Is there some place that you see in your head one way, even though you know that it has been altered?  Are there places you avoid, because you don’t want to change the memory you keep?

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