First off, I’m not some sappy living in the past guy. There are some great things about the modern era.
However, here are 10 things I miss about the past, mainly about the way Heavener used to be. Here they are:
1. Walking to and in downtown. If a person did that now, the loony squad would be in rapid pursuit. We used to walk downtown after school, on weekends, summer days and even to the theater at nights. Oh yeah, many of us who lived in town walked to school. No bus routes inside Heavener back then. We did have shoes and if the weather was bad, we could usually get a ride, no walking to school some four miles in the snow without shoes.
2. In the same vein (not blood, BTW), the way downtown used to be alive. That was the place to be. You didn’t have to go to Poteau, Fort Smith or ebay to get what you wanted or needed. There was a good chance somebody in Heavener actually had it.
3. The Liberty Theater. We didn’t care that it was run down, probably violating every health standard anybody could think of, that the seats were not comfortable and your shoes would stick to the floor. A part of Heavener died that October night in 1979 that has never been replaced.
4. The stores. We used to have Stanley’s Hardware, Wilson & Johnston, Caudell’s, the Appliance Center, T&M Pharmacy and my personal favorite, Ben Franklin’s. Wal-Mart and the malls just can’t ever top that.
5. The two banks. Back then, you were either an SNB or FNB person because your father and the father before him banked there. Both banks contributed so much to the community, not that I am knocking the current banking system here in Heavener. Just not the same.
6. Passenger trains. I rode on one of the last ones while in kindergarten. With the price of gas, it might be time to take another look at this type of transportation. I can just see it now: “Next stop, Poteau Wal Mart!” Plus, the caboose.
7. Shupert’s Service Station. I look over at his corner every time I drive by, knowing Dutch will not be there, but wishing he was. Back then, if there was something wrong with your car or you needed an oil change, you could count on Dutch.
8. Several different grocery stores. Now, we have Marvin’s. When I was a kid, we had a handful, some which would actually deliver your groceries.
9. The old athletic grounds. Our new football stadium, gym and baseball and softball fields are much better, but I would love to watch a game back in the old gym or sit on the uncomfortable concrete bleachers at Harvey Stadium one more time. Plus, in the summers, you always knew there would be games played at the baseball and softball fields and you could go back and forth, depending on who was playing.
10. Classmates. Some of moved, others have passed away and many still live in Heavener. But when we went our separate ways after saying farewell on graduation night, that bond slipped away for many of us. Now, we just see each other at alumni deals or happen to bump into each other at the store or a game.