Monday, June 9, 2008

"Yep, This Used To Be The Place..."

Before I got distracted with Speed Buggy and ABC Wide World of Sports, I was writing about my trip to Fort Wayne and specifically - my foot excursion to the shoppes by the old Wells Street Bridge.

I showed you Richard's Bakery (both north and south approaches) and then, I also posted the south approaching side (or is that north???) of the shoppes that used to be the home of The Mouse House.

Today's picture is the front (angled) view of this strip of shoppes.

I was bummed that these people were working on the building because I wanted a really cool, clean shot of the place.

But being who I am, I decided to take advantage of the situation. I walked up to them and just started talking...

Me: Excuse me.

Guy: Yes?

Me: I used to live in this neighborhood several years ago. I haven't been back here for at least a decade. Am I crazy - did a business known as The Mouse House - used to be among these shoppes?

Guy: Yep. In fact it was right there (he pointed to the shoppe on the end - the one that now served coffee).

Me: Wow. I thought so. I peaked into the front windows. It looks a bit different - but much of the same structure is still there.

Guy: Yep. The last tenant that was here, after The Mouse House, was a bar. They made some changes, but not a whole lot.

Me: Wow! I had no idea - a bar!

Guy: Yep.

Me: Any idea why The Mouse House people left?

Guy: Nope. I just know that this used to be the place where it was.

I thanked him for his time and then I stepped back a ways, and I just took it all in. I wasn't sad. I thought about the impact that a tiny little, locally owned shoppe had on my life.

Its presence was a catalyst - it brought together my natural/naive curiosity with the patience/wisdom/history/story-telling of my grandparents.

What a great gift this place was to me. But you know what? It wasn't the only place in Fort Wayne. There were others. Some still exist. Others do not.

Me: Well grandpa, we're only in a hurry because there's so many things we have to do!

Grandpa: When you get older, you might see things differently...

And I'm older and now I get it.

We're so busy "doing things". We go through life on fast forward instead of taking the time to have moments like these. Part of that is how we - as a society - and as families - have taken advantage of modern conveniences. Part of it is, we've lost touch (I've lost touch) with simplicity and meaning.

I think for the past 20 years of my life, I have been preoccupied with things that are complicated and in the end, just don't matter much.

Maybe that's what inspires me to write this blog.

I'm reminding myself what made me most happiest - at a time when I had literally nothing (from a material perspective).

I did have though - grandparents, cousins, aunts, friends, teachers, neighbors - who cared about me.

And not because I was smart or had money or knew someone who could do something for them.

They just liked/loved/appreciated me for me.

Kind of a cool concept, isn't it?!