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The Ruins of Nostalgia 8

Donna Stonecipher (2018)


We drove downtown and got disoriented. There was a forest of towering new towers refracting the familiar landscape, erasing the turns and curves we’d long followed unconsciously in our car, to get downtown, where now there was a forest of towers, where once had been only forest. We parked, and got disoriented. The low, ornamented, turn-of-the-century buildings were being wrecking-balled to oblivion to make way for towering new glass towers, wedged between one-way streets like the one we’d driven up the wrong way as a timid teenager in a blue Hornet picking up our sister from her summer job (selling ice cream in the old outdoor market) (saved from the wrecking ball by citizens’ initiative 1971).   *   We tried to find the ice cream shop, but got disoriented.   *   We drove to a neighboring neighborhood and got disoriented—there was the blue bascule bridge, but what was it bridging? Two halves that did not make a whole. We crossed back to the canal where the poplars of our childhood had all been felled, felled, the canal now canal-front—canal-front property—for new residents paying to muse upon the mutability of moving water.   *   We drove to the wooden house we’d been born in on the ridge, with little windows not showcasing the picturesque mountain view (little windows because nobody cared back then about views) (had once elucidated our father) (inching ever closer to his own wrecking ball) and got disoriented, for now each house on the ridge had had its back or front wrecking-balled to make way for picture windows giving the new residents a permanent picture of the picturesque mountains—and—were they visible?—of the mounting ruins of our nostalgia.

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