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"My City Was Gone"
August 27, 2010 - Jennifer Brookens
"WELL I WENT BACK TO OHIO
- Pretenders, "My City Was Gone"
I know how Chrissy Hynde was feeling when she wrote that song after taking a trip back to my hometown, a place I haven't been in six years. I originally resisted the idea - too long a road trip with two little kids. But it was my husband who encouraged it and thought it was important for me to see my friends. They had always met us halfway since my parents moved from Casper to Minnesota, but school started very early for Casper this year, and the timing... Well, I caved and we went for it.
Casper is not the same city today as it was when I grew up. A lot of the unique places have packed it in or been bought out by the chain stores. Areas that used to be sagebrush and prairie grass now are neighborhoods with lots of look-alike houses and strip malls. Got lost a few times thanks to new neighborhoods and the main drags under construction.
The roughest part was driving by my old home. I had to look closely to tell it was the same house. The structure looked OK, but my Mom would have a fit to see some rusty multi-colored pick-up parked on what used to be her garden. And my childhood pet's grave... I don't wanna know, but some old wheelbarrow kind of marked the spot.
But the one thing that hadn't changed were my friends. Their sincere excitment and love embraced me even though I packed on the pounds since our last meeting and my boy was acting like a spoiled brat in the restaurant. But the tears they shed when it was time for me to go told me the connection was still there.
Will I chance visiting Casper again? It's possible. Can't say if it will be another six years or sooner or later, and there's nothing specifically in the town to bring me back. But wherever my friends are will be the place I mark on the map to visit.
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