As I was driving home from work this evening I was listening to Def Leppard and was instantly transported back to 1988 when Hysteria was at the peak of popularity. I was in sixth grade... I didn't particularly like sixth grade any more than grade seven... nor was I too fond of grades eight through eleven. My senior year, however, wasn't too bad as I could see the light at the end of the tunnel and my escape from a hometown that seemingly sucked the ambition out of anyone crazy enough to stay there.
It hadn't always been/wasn't always that bad. Back in the early twentieth century it was like a Norman Rockwell painting. It was the epitome of small town life-- a thriving downtown, a growing population, Canadian golfers and skiiers who would drive down for long weekends at the golf course, or camping and hiking in the Adirondacks just south of the town.
Then... they took out the railroad, the town's link to the outside world. That wasn't the end-- it was just the beginning of the end, the turning point if you will. A few incidents of arson over the years blemishing the once beautiful downtown, the emergence of strip malls driving the once-thriving downtown shopping district out of business, and then the last nails in the coffin-- 2 medium security state prisons, and 1 super-max security federal prison. Add to that the long bleak winters and the town suddenly matches/matched the despair of an Ingmar Bergman film in which the only real escape seemed to be death.
My parents still live there-- hold-outs who remember the town as it once was-- who have lived their whole lives there, as does one of my brothers. I don't know his reasoning-- all I can figure is that he missed his "window" to escape before the town was able to suck the ambition and dreams right out of him. I love the guy, he's my brother, but I also see what that town has done to him and know that he could have done so much more with his life had he escaped like I had.
And to think this all came about from listening to Def Leppard, FUN hair metal from a decade that was a bit more carefree than the one we're currently in... Imagine what I could/would have come up with if I'd been listening to the Cure on the way home...
Wait, tomorrow's Friday.... I'm in love. ;-)