Much of why this church/school declined was a result of the deterioration of the neighborhood in which the parish community was located. The 70's and 80's saw many families moving to the suburbs of Buffalo. Things began to change in many ways. With the changes, many families got scared and moved out too....which brought about more changes. Before long the neighborhood that we were raised in became a crime ridden area of Buffalo's inner city.
Also, part of the plan for today's meeting was to navigate through the school's old lyceum building to hunt for memorabilia to display at the reunion. In October 2007, while my family was in town for Madeline's baptism, a small scale reunion was held at the school. Although much of the building was empty even at that time, it was so much fun to go back into the building and reminisce. I was so looking forward to today's visit. How sad - the little bit that was left in the building at the time of the reunion was pretty much gone. Also, with the heat and power off, that sort of altered my mood for the scavenger hunt (it was so cold you could see your breath in there and my hands were pretty much numb when I left). We were, however, able to scrounge up some items but much had changed even in the year + since I had been there last. This picture of me was taken at the reunion in October '07. This statue was on the stairwell leading to the classrooms. Although the school building smelled exactly the same way it did "back in the day", as you can see below, even the statue is now gone.
Time goes by, things change, but in many ways our memories freeze and preserve the past. The memories take us back to simpler times and happy childhood days. It is quite jolting when things aren't as pleasant as your mind has preserved them to be. How sad is the realization that your past is simply just that - the past, which except for those memories, is lost forever. That realization is of course always known, but seeing the passage of time represented in the deteriorating neighborhood gives me a dull ache in my heart. I guess that is the hazard of being a nostalgic person. But, luckily, those memories do not change and it is those pictures, in my head, that I return to in order to feel close to my childhood, my family, my roots. Thanks, Mom & Dad for providing me with such a pleasant landscape for which to have painted my childhood memories!