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Southern Eyes

During the summer, I interviewed senior citizens each week for the five questions feature on our Reflections page. One thing they had in common was a fond memory of Saturday shopping on Railroad Street. For those of you who don't know, our office is located on Railroad Street. So, I spend more hours on it than I do in my own house.

Thanks to Ivery's Restaurant, the parking lot along Railroad is always full. But, I can't imagine each little store bustling with activity, no matter how hard I wish it could be that way.

I can just imagine everyone strolling along the sidewalk greeting everyone they see. Even in my short time here, that sidewalk has changed. Several times a day, I enjoy a small walk just to stretch my legs and clear my head. Since the downtown revitalization effort began, I have to pay a little more attention to where I am walking. Every 10 steps or so, there is a tree sticking out of the sidewalk. The little trees are easy on the eyes, but tend to get in the way of one's course of foot travel. Especially if there's more than one person on the sidewalk at the same time. But I'm not complaining. I'm just learning to be more of a tree-hugger than I used to be.

I like to hear how Thomson has changed. Many of you remember attending Thomson High School when it was in the middle school. Or Pine Street Elementary School when it was, well, Pine Street Elementary. I encourage you to keep talking about those memories. It helps the newcomers like me. More importantly, it helps the younger generation who was born in Thomson, but may not know where they came from.

Each year, the Beloit College near the Wisconsin-Illinois state line releases a compilation of cultural landmarks. The list offers a glimpse of the world as seen through the eyes of each incoming class of freshmen. The school started producing the list in 1998 to remind professors that references familiar to them might draw blank stares from their students.

The 2008 list was released Tuesday, and like most things these days, it made me feel old, really old.

According to the list, members of the Class of 2012 think Harry Potter could be a classmate playing on their Quidditch team, that gas stations have never fixed flats or checked the oil, but have always served cappuccino and that schools have always been concerned about multiculturalism. The list is 60-items long, and it's quite the eye-opener.

I'm sure all of those kids also never experienced Thomson without Wal-Mart. Somebody needs to walk with them down Railroad Street and reminisce. Please take me along. I promise not to get my hair caught in a tree.

Web posted on Thursday, August 21, 2008

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