Yellow Farmhouse; White Rocking Chair

By Kayleigh Rahn
This is long overdue, but I want to extend a thank you to all who had a hand in making the WCIA Our Town Tuscola broadcast a success.

I know that coordinating the event and the week’s worth of coverage was no easy task, and I believe the entire campaign was a joy to watch.

I had a lot of fun volunteering for a short while before spending the evening exploring the booths and experience the fun with my family.

William and I also enjoyed the airing of Our Story: Tuscola Thursday night on WEIU. The community members involved did a fantastic job sharing their expertise on the various pieces that make up our town and its story.

Watching the various storytellers gave me a feeling of pride in my hometown, which is a feeling I’ve grown familiar with over the last four years working for The Tuscola Journal.

In our office we are constantly referring to our town’s history and the movers and shakers who have brought us to now.

The decades of residents and business people have created an ongoing success that both humbles and excites me. The breadth of our town’s history makes me realize how blessed we are to call this small town home, but also that the problems we face today, while still important, will not shake the legacy left before us.

Time and time again, I hear how our downtown isn’t the same people-watching mecca, the high school population is only a piece of what it once was, and the community as a whole doesn’t keep the same mentality we once held to raise every child as our own.

I am familiar with the recollections of the full streets and sidewalks lined with neighborly faces and characters of town from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.

As a kid born in 1989 and raised throughout the 90s and 00s, I missed this heyday.

However, don’t get me wrong, I have my own version of downtown memories.

I grew up in Parkview, and my parents made a rule that I wasn’t allowed to ride my bike (or rollerblade) across the railroad tracks that cut the town in two. However, that never bothered me much. The pool, park, and downtown were on our side of the tracks. However, the downtown I know had two (maybe three in good a year) restaurants. The Candy Kitchen was closed for seemingly good. The anchor building sat empty aside from a photo studio in the second floor.

Me and Casey, my best friend from childhood, wore a path down Center Street to Dollar General and the old Save Mor. We bought three candy bars for a dollar at the DG and sat on the stoop on the northwest corner of the now former Dollar General to watch the traffic pass while we ate our cheap chocolate and bottled soda.

It worked for us, although it’s not quite the idyllic, all-American downtown recalled from the mid-century.

It’s events like the Our Town and Our Story that remind me, not only is there a rich history, but we are unique in that we have a very neat revitalization happening in our community. It hasn’t happened overnight, it’s more than a decade in the making.

However, on several occasions, while heading to the office, I have found my self becoming quite frustrated as trucks block the road, holding up traffic, or on a semi-frequent basis there are no parking spots to be found on Sale Street.

What an excellent problems to have.

Yes, I realize it’s not exactly as it used to be. And, quite honestly, it never will be. I’ll never see the downtown shopping district of yesteryear, but in the here and now we have a vibrant place evolving in our community, and I’m anxious to see what the next decade has in store.

For now, William and I will continue to take advantage of the events in our community; I believe we are extremely lucky to have the opportunity to attend regular family-friendly outings at Festival Corner throughout the summer (thanks to several dedicated members of the library staff and civic organizations) and various vendor events year round.

These are the events and businesses I’m proud Nora will grow up attending and frequenting in her hometown. This is where she will begin to draw her connection with her town, and when she thinks of community in her adult years, these memories will be her foundation.

So, thank you to the city and its residents for, in recent weeks, giving us a snapshot of our foundation from which we will raise a new generation to love this community.

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