When I was in college in Upper East Tennessee, we used to take a day trip every now and then to Asheville, North Carolina. The drive there was beautiful back then; I don't think I'd have the heart for it now that the mountains have been scarred and left bleeding red soil. But back then a drive with friends in a big gas guzzler through the Appalachians was a treat. The photo above was taken soon after I graduate from college. Dr. H. (in the bandana) and I had not yet ended our long and final break-up, but we still hung out. [That's Tracy on the far right in the photo above; her sister Lauren and her baby Chelsea (who's now in her early 20s) are in the middle.] Back then we were all always broke, but we had enough to buy gas, eat cheaply at our favorite Chinese restaurant, and maybe even find a few treasures at the thrift shops. It was all about being together and having an adventure. Plus, Asheville is just so interesting. Like the bumper sticker says, "Asheville— where normal is weird."
This past weekend my college girlfriends and I met in Asheville for Tracy's 40th birthday celebration. The birthday girl is on the left, Angie's in the middle, and Suzie's on the right.
It's interesting to walk on streets that hold such strong memories. I found myself searching for familiar landmarks. Where was fountain where we took our picture? Where are all the thrift stores? Asheville 20 years later caters to wealthy tourists, and the thrift stores have been replaced by "vintage" clothing for the wealthy tourists, craft stores, galleries, and all kinds of restaurants. Perhaps it was like that before, but we poor college students sought out only those places that had $2 suit jackets and old pins. Our old favorite bookstore, Malaprops, is still there, and the musicians are still busking on every block.
I should probably make some kind of Thomas Wolfe reference here, as he is Asheville's native son. Something about "you can't go home again," perhaps. But I'm okay with those long-ago days being memories, and I'm not terribly wistful for the Asheville I remember. Creating new memories is awesome, too.
Do you have a Monday Memory you'd like to share? Post it on your blog and sign Mr. Linky below with a direct link to that post. It's okay if you don't post on Monday and if you don't have photos; I like to read stories any day of the week! So dig down deep into your memories and get started!