A town stalled in time
I did not spend the first six years of my life in Marysville.
Those years were spent in Kettering, one of several neighborhoods surrounding Dayton. It was a nice enough place. Looking back, it was an almost idyllic town where I was allowed to roam around my neighborhood without fear of harm. It was also the mid 1990s when I grew up there and in my head the area is stalled in that era.
It’s something I’ve always wondered if other people experience. That period of my life is still strongly associated with the ‘90s in my head and every time I return to the city, I’m taken back in time. I drive around my old street, Wren Circle, and it’s like I’m 6 years old again. I remember walking a few houses down to my cousin’s house to play, or across the field in the middle of the circular street to visit my grandparents.
My childhood home has since been occupied by another person, but if I entered it today, I’d expect “Gullah Gullah Island” to switch on the television, and I’d see the old MiG airplane I used to play with sitting on the dinner table.
I don’t know if it’s just my perception, but none of the architecture has changed either. Kettering is still dotted with the same style of utilitarian, boring structures they built in the seventies. Which, by they way, I believe were the dark ages of architecture.
I still expect to run into my brother, and his best friend “Smiley,” as they got up to no good tinkering with cars and driving them way too fast listening to Pearl Jam or Rob Zombie.
It’s the only place I know that transports me back in time. I’ve grown up in Marysville nearly my entire life, so everything here now seems natural. But Kettering was for only six years. It’s a snapshot that has always stayed in my head. A picture that my brain digs out whenever I return.
If I ever move away from Marysville and get some distance from it, I wonder how I’ll see it when I return. Will I associate it with a specific period of time? Or will I associate with a period of my life, rather than dates and years?
My parents are about to permanently move out of their Union County home, a home I lived in for close to two decades. What will I think of if I ever go back there to look around?
I hope something triggers in my brain when I visit. To me, the version of the ‘90s conjured in my head when I go back to Kettering is comfortable, in a strange way. There are a lot of things in the world that are better for me today, but things were also nice back then.
-Will Channell is a reporter for the Journal-Tribune.
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