With the recent death of my brother-in-law and the confinement of my sister to a nursing home, we have helped sort through their belongings before an estate sale and putting their house on the market. The process has probed into my earliest memories. Pictures and other family memorabilia take me back to an earlier time. It was certainly a simpler time filled with fond memories, even though we were recovering from a depression and involved in a world war.
Things have sure changed. The business section of my small town of Conroe was a square built around the courthouse that stood right in the middle. The courthouse is pictured above. It had a beautiful lawn, where everyone gathered on the evening when the local election returns were posted. The kids had a grand time running around, hiding in the shrubs and just romping. The courthouse was also the gathering place for political rallies or when a rare celebrity appeared. It was packed the time Lyndon Johnson was running for Senator and flew in on a helicopter. It was my first time to see a helicopter and the thing landed right there on the lawn. An equally large crowd gathered when the western movie star, Wild Bill Elliott, came to town.
The courthouse was built in the early 1930’s, when my father was a county commissioner. His name is displayed on a plaque in the building, and he always considered it as one of his greatest accomplishments. This is the courthouse for Montgomery County, named for Andrew Montgomery, my great grandfather who fought in the battle of San Jacinto. The courthouse was a thing of beauty, as the above photo clearly shows. It had a big clock in the center of the top of the building, and an American flag adorned the summit. The top floor was also the county jail, and you might occasionally hear the hollering of a prisoner, unhappy with his confinement.
The courthouse and the lawn don’t look anything like they did when I was a kid. Ugly extensions have been added, so there is nothing even faintly resembling the original building. The lawn has been replaced with the extensions. The businesses on the square are now in decay and boarded. Long gone are the 5&10 cent stores, drugs stores, cafes, ice cream parlor, dry good stores and the bank. Everything has been replaced by the Wal-Mart’s and Target’s of the world, that are located on the outskirts of a town, that has been raped by progress.
For now, I will just have to sit on the porch, and admire the old pictures, and be comforted by my memories. I have to interrupt my reminiscing, a little while this afternoon, to do some shopping. I plan to drive to our new outdoor mall and visit Best Buy to look at some mini speakers for my iPod and check out the plasma screen TVs. There is a Home Depot next door, so I can just drop over and pick up some filters for the air conditioners. My partner reminded me, before I come home to go thru the drive-in-window at McDonalds and pickup a couple of their Asian Salads, with grilled chicken, and Newmans Own Low Fat Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing. She also reminded me to keep my cell phone on, in case she needed to call for me to pick up some additional items at Wal-Mart that she may have forgotten on her shopping trip earlier in the day. I had better drive the SUV to hold all the stuff I plan to purchase. I love that SUV because of the satellite radio stations. Radio reminds of the old times.