I got an email earlier this week from a relative of mine. She told me that our local Norm’s Restaurant would be closing in a few weeks. It is being closed to make way for the new commuter train line heading from downtown to the sea. She wrote several paragraphs about all the good times we had had at that restaurant. I wouldn’t say that the food there was good, but it was plentiful and cheap and not really the point of going there. This diner was a launching pad or the landing place for other activities we enjoyed. So it is the memory of those excursions that make this place so important.
A couple of days after getting her email, I received a post on my Facebook page from the Empress Pavilion restaurant, the vast and awesome grand dame of dim sum in the heart of our city’s historic Chinatown. The post announced that it had closed for financial reasons. This saddened me as well. I had many good times and fun excursions with friends that started over those nifty little metal baskets of steaming, savory knoshes.
I have started thinking about all the other places of my youth that were now gone: the go-cart track, the Discount Book Library on Grand View, the Rollerdrome, Stern’s BBQ where our family would go on Christmas Eve when “Santa Grandma” was at home putting our presents under the tree.
Memory and Place go hand-in-hand and when the places change, we fear the memories will change too. Not to worry. Those memories just grow stronger and more vivid.
I should not be surprised that all things change. Constant flux, that contradiction of terms, is fact of life and a law of nature. So we remember and celebrate the things that are gone so they become brighter in our minds and hearts.
And today I think I may reinforce one memory by finding some cheap diner food.
ljg (c) 2013