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Lesson in Perspective September 7, 2006

Posted by reddlissa in Uncategorized.
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While driving home from a weekend visit in south Louisiana to see my grandparents and aunt, I decided to give my daughter and boyfriend an impromptu tour of the town where I grew up.  I left New Iberia as soon as I graduated high school in 1994 and because my parents moved shortly thereafter I have only been back once.  Wow…things have changed and yet they haven’t.  My old high school is exactly as it was when I left yet it looks so much smaller than I remember.  Admiral Doyle is still THE main street in town but after living in Houston 6 years a 4 lane road isn’t impressive anymore — to think I once got terribly nervous driving in that much “traffic”!  The Wal-Mart has moved and is now a Super Center, there are now 2 movie theatres instead of only one, and they built a second high school 2 years ago; these are major changes in a town of this size but they haven’t pushed New Iberia out of the small town category.  [Side note: Gang-related crimes are drastically on the rise since Hurricane Katrina, which I find not only alarming but upsetting.  New Iberia was always the kind of town where a person could accidentally leave the front door of their house wide open all weekend and come home to find all their belongings in tact with a note on the kitchen table from the neighbor Boudreaux letting the home owner know the door was shut on Saturday morning when he left to go fishing.]

The biggest shock hit when we drove through my old neighborhood, which is really just two parallel streets connected by a short street halfway down the “block”.  The street used to seem muchl onger, the yards much bigger, the atmosphere more intimate and friendly.  It was afternoon yet no kids were out riding their bikes or shooting hoops in the driveway; when I was growing you coupdn’t drive 20 yards without seeing a group of kids running wild down the street 🙂 Now it’s an aging neighborhood that just looks semi-neglected and sad.

I’m glad I was able to show my family the important places of my childhood (the Baptist Church, Meche’s Donuts, Sonic, my junior high and high school) but I left feeling a bit sad.  The memories I had of New Iberia have been replaced with a new and different image that I don’t like as much as the one that, until recently, lived in my head and heart.   

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