By David Lindeman
I’m having a little trouble processing that it is 2024.
It seems like as time goes by, each year rushes by faster and faster. When I was in high school, it seemed like time was barely creeping along. The clock in math class took half a day to move 50 minutes. Now it seems like each year goes by so quickly that I can hardly catch my breath before another new year kicks in.
It doesn’t seem all that long ago it was 1964. Things in Troy have changed a little bit since then.
I was eight years old in 1964. The high school was only a few years old. Cookson and Hook schools didn’t exist. Now, they’re going to tear those two schools down because they’re too old. How do you think that makes me feel?
The library was still in what is now Hayner Cultural Center. There was no Brukner Nature. No county park system. No Miami County Safety Building. The police and fire departments were jammed into buildings right next to city hall. There were only a couple places to get pizza. No McDonald’s. The city ended at I-75 – nothing but fields all the way to Covington.
Growing up in the 60s was an interesting experience. By the time I was in the fourth grade, I would ride my stingray bike from our house on Peters Road into town during the summer to see my friends from St. Pat’s. We would ride out to Foss Way for ice cream, terrorize pedestrians on the sidewalks, maybe go to Murphy’s or Isaly’s downtown. I thought nothing of riding my bike out Swailes Road to Barnhart, across Route 55 and out 718 to the Dolphin to swim. It was new then, too. There I was, maybe 10 years old, riding down the road while cars going 55 mph whizzed by inches from me. No helmet. No fear, either.
Summer was a time of great freedom. We’d be out all day playing baseball or exploring the fields or nearby creek or new houses that were being built. If it was really hot. I’d hang out in our basement and play my Cadaco All-Star Baseball Game. This pretty much was the greatest game in the world, with player cards based on statistics that fit on little spinners. The spinner would point to a number on the card. For instance, If it pointed to a 1, it was a home run. I had teams and leagues and kept statistics and the team with Frank Robinson on it somehow always won. Remember, this was before video games – in fact, it was before computers and cell phones and even CDs, so you had to find ways to amuse yourself.
I never admitted this, but by August I was getting pretty bored and was ready to go back to school. Things were more structured then. Get up, get on the bus, go to school, get back on the bus, rush out and play baseball, football or basketball, depending on what time of year it was, eat supper, maybe watch a little TV, go to bed. Get up the next morning and repeat. I look back on all that fondly now, but at the time I don’t recall thinking it was such a great deal.
I’m bringing this up not because those years were so perfect – remember, the 60s also brought us the Vietnam War, violent riots in many cities and the escalation of the use of street drugs that still plagues us today. I can remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and watching JFK on TV (black and white, by the way) and being worried that a missile hidden somewhere in Siberia had my name on it.
Plus, think of what was coming down the road … disco, for one thing. It’s a good thing I didn’t know.
But here’s the good part about getting older … since the Russians didn’t drop a missile on me, I am still around. All the bad things don’t seem quite so bad anymore.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation. When I walked across the stage at Hobart Arena I really had no idea what I would do next, although I was pretty sure I was going to leave town and only come back to visit. So here I am 50 years later still hanging around town. You just never know.
Later this year, if all goes well, other members of that class of 1974 will limp back into town for a reunion. A few things haven’t changed – we’ll be able to get a burger at K’s and take a walk along the levee, if we can still get up the stairs. But there’s a lot that has changed, including us. It used to be at 10 p.m. we’d be talking about what kind of pizza to get from Ording’s. Now at 10 p.m. most of us are ready to pull the covers over our heads and go to sleep. The muscle cars and VW bugs have turned into SUVs and minivans. The long hair has become almost no hair.
Then again, if you have to get older – and I guarantee there is no option on that score – it’s a pretty good place to do it. I’m looking forward to seeing all my old friends later this year. I just hope that 2024 goes a little more slowly than 2023.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at [email protected].