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Flashback Friday

There are companies that fly over farms and in this case villages and take pictures.  They then send a salesman around to see if you would like to purchase a picture of your farm.  Most of the farmhouses I ever entered when I was working for Uncle Ed on his farm had aerial pictures of the respective farms.  The company Vintage Aerial took many pictures of the farms around Seaton where I grew up and Emerald City where I went to junior high and high school.  

I scabbed these from their site and as you can see they have a watermark on them.  The actual cost for a frameable print (without the advertising) is kind of pricey so this will have to do.

From the Northwest toward the Southeast.

This is downtown Seaton.  The picture is probably late 60's or early 70's, but that is a guess.  This is main street when all of the buildings I remember growing up with are still there.  Today this is mostly gone now.  In the upper left hand side at the corner was Bill Greer's Texaco station.  Marj would always gas up here after a trip so she would have a full tank on the next run.  Bill ran a full service station and he'd come out and wipe the windows.  I remember Magic, our boxer, would follow Bill around from the inside of the car trying to get at his hands as she is snarling and barking.  

By this time most of the buildings were empty.  The first one from the gas station was empty and mostly storage.  The next one was the old home of the Seaton Independent newspaper, but by now also empty and full of garbage.  The next one down was the Ubben-Chism plumbing business.  I'm not sure what the next one was but then we have the post office and then the restaurant.  We went in there often during the summer when Aunt Gladys wasn't cooking that day or we were group shelling or baling hay.  Every time it seemed like some guy in there would tell Ed that something was following him (me) and he'd turn around like he was really checking and then act surprised by my presence.  

The big building in the center is the State Bank of Seaton that just closed its doors this past week after a hundred years in operation.  The building just tot he right of the bank across the street was the old grocery store that Dan Sims ran and then Don Levine.   At one time when we were small kids there was a barber shop in the rear that was operated by a guy who had gotten out of prison for murder.  On down the street the building on the far right was the Masonic lodge.  The fire department is on the far left.  The park is in the middle and the park is across the street.  This is where we guys would meet after our church softball games and talk about all kinds of things.  We even seceded from the union one night using the picnic tables under the pavilion.  

The plane that took the above picture also flew over the East End as this part of Seaton was called.  Our house is the second one from the upper right.  Our wonderful old maple is the biggest one in the block.  We climbed this one every chance we could.  The garage is closest to us in this photo and has three windows.  Uncle Ed's mother and father lived in the house next to us with the garage in the corn field.  See that garage?  For awhile the folk's favorite son kept his car in that garage.  The Wombie and I would see him drive by after a weekend outing to park it and we'd skip out and try to scare him some way when he was walking back tot eh house.  After they died Leatha and Warren Ludvigsen lived there and Leatha was Uncle Ed's twin sister.  Across from us Donna Minteer lived and I don't remember much about her except she had a great bluish-green '64 Plymouth Belvedere.   After she vacated the place the Wheelers moved in.   This was also the house Marj and Herb lived in when they first married and while they built the house across the street when the Wombie and I were born  and Phil was around three. To the left of the Wheelers is the Dorothy, Don and Lance Levine place.  The big house in the center is Dixie and Gary Greer's place.  The lower house is the Frey's place and no longer exists.  I ran away from home once and made it that far.  Evelyn Frey must have had cookies ready because I recall going in and being fed after my long journey.  The Halls are across the street and Buster Board's house is right next to the Halls.  The Board house was where the Wombie and I and Ivan Ewing placed M-80's on the new guttering as it was being built.  We used cigarettes to allow us to rush home before they went off.  After the explosions Herb rushed in to check on us as we were quivering in bed and heard him say to Marj, "Thank God it's not our boys."

I tell you all this simply because it is history.  My history.  Me and my brothers rode bikes on these streets, then cars.  Dorothy, the Greer's and the Wheeler's and Hall's still live here.  I recall the way it was and the people who lived here, many are long gone.  Playing in the park, then meeting after games and having a smoke and a beer.  Hoisting road kill on the bank flagpole with a blank check attached to its paw.  Being kicked off the kindergarten bus by a bully who threw open the rear emergency door and blaming the Wombie and I.  Falling off the slide at the grade school and creating a stir.  Walking from the school down to the park area at Halloween to show off our costumes.  Mike Sponsler's mom making some kind of brittle candy for school.  My grandmother coming to school and sitting next to us when she was visiting from Quincy.  Working for Herb at the grain elevator.  Leaving home for college, then leaving home.  

Thomas Dylan wrote a book called "You Can't Go Home Again." In it he writes:  "But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth.  He did not know.  All that he knew is that the years flow by like water, and that one day men come home again."

"You can't go back home to your family, back home to your childhood...back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things that once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time..."

Perhaps.  That much is true.  But in a sense he was wrong.  All you have to do is close your eyes and remember.



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