Thursday, July 31, 2014

State College Trip: The Aftermath

Well, I’ve been to State College again.  (There was a delay between me writing the first few posts and actually creating this blog. It’s been over a week since I went to State College, despite the fact that I posted about planning to go there only yesterday.)  So, does State College live up to the crazy pedestal upon which I’ve mentally placed it?  Overall, yes. 

Faccia Luna was still good, as I expected.  (Though it was the first time in my entire life that I didn’t order a pizza from there.)  As my wife and I drove around locations that I remember, I noticed that in many cases the places looked a bit off somehow from how I remember them looking in the early 90s.  I finally realized why:  The trees have all had 20 years to grow.  Damn biology…  I also discovered that Faccia Luna has a second location on Rt. 26 now.  That’s cool.  Later, we checked out the Palmer Museum of Art as well as some other places in downtown State College.  I think my wife enjoyed that. We later ate dinner at the Sichuan Bistro.  It was good.  I’ll call it a worthy successor to the Golden Wok.

 (Update - 5/18/2016:  It's called the Golden Wok again.  A little piece of my childhood is back!)

There was one somber note to this afternoon of childhood nostalgia, though:  I lived in a trailer park on North Atherton Street from ages 6 to 8, making it the longest I’d ever lived anywhere up until that point.  That trailer was gone!  In fact, the entire trailer park was gone!  Emptied completely!  After I got back home I looked for news stories about it, and I found that the owner sold it a year or two ago.  Apparently there’s been an ongoing trend of trailer parks disappearing from State College, as more and more trailer park owners are finding that it’s more profitable to simply sell their land as opposed to renting out the trailer lots on it.  Many of the trailers have either been demolished or moved to nearby towns like Centre Hall. 

I understand and can easily believe that the land these trailer parks occupied is worth a lot of money, but nevertheless, the fact that the trailer was gone… well it blows.  It sucks.  Etc.  It was depressing seeing only an empty overgrown lot where my former childhood home was.  A big part of that is because I would rate the time I lived in that specific trailer as one of the happier parts of my childhood.  Seeing the removal of the place that was tied to so many happy memories… hell, you might as well have made a small child witness the beating, rape, and murder of Santa Claus.  On top of that, it was the NICE trailer.  I lived in four different trailers through my childhood, and this trailer was undoubtedly the nicest of them.  (Though as I stood in the gravel rectangle where it used to be, I realized that it must not have been a big as it seemed in my memory.)   It’s also hard for me not to think of this trailer when I think of State College.  While most of my State College memories don’t necessarily take place in that trailer, I lived in it during most memories, at least, given that I lived there longer than any other part of State College.  

I choose to remember it like this.

Not like this.

Ironically, a much older, more beat up trailer park off of South Atherton Street that I lived in as a toddler is still there.

For part of that afternoon, I wondered if the loss of the North Atherton trailer would be enough to permanently mar State College itself in my mind.  In the end, even that won’t do it, though.  (Hell, all it took for me to start liking State College again was a trip through my local Wal-Mart a few days later.)  State College overall still feels like the nice place I remember it to be.  It was summer, so the town felt like it was half asleep, but it was definitely still State College.  I still love it.

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