I’ve been told many a time that one should “never go back”. By that, the people who tell me mean don’t go back to places you once knew.
Being “trapped by the past”, I usually ignore that advice. I browse through my memories and truly enjoy them. My memory (even as I stagger through old-age!) is very clear still and I’m able to recall even the fine details of most of the things I’ve experienced.
Last week, when visiting our old home-town, brother-in-law Terry suggested that I should have a look at the webpage “Lost Pubs of Wolverhampton”. I did so when we got home – and was shocked at the number of pubs which I once knew which have disappeared. Not just changed their names, but disappeared.
Later in the week, I spoke with my cousin, Audrey, on the phone. Our chat drifted into people and places long ago.
A couple of days later, I followed Google Earth round Whitmore Reans, the area of Wolves where I was born and raised, at street-level. The places I remember are nearly all gone! Where those rows and rows of tightly packed, working-class terraced houses stood, there are lots and lots of new detached and semi-detached homes. No wonder the old town has had to spread out over the farm fields I once knew! A pair of semi-detached modern houses takes the space of – what? – half-a-dozen of those now-gone tiny terrace houses.
“Corner shops” have gone, pubs have gone, houses have gone and, worst of all, communities have gone. There is no longer a shared history of community which was there when I was young.
But my mind recalls, still perfectly, the atmosphere of those times.