Something. A little. More. Unique.
It might seem somewhat incremental, but it really isn't. We thrive for uniqueness. We toil day in and day out to carve a piece a different part of ourselves in a society that screams for us to duplicate airbrushed images. When we have something old, we have something priceless. We have something you can't find at any at Walmart, something that isn't sold at J.C. Penny, it's ours and ours alone.
Old buildings are the best. They are solid. They need love, but have you ever been in an old house? Have you ever stood on old floor boards, old floor boards that were laid two hundred years ago and just thought of what exactly you are standing on? You are standing on history. You are standing on quality. My parents once re-tiled their kitchen floor and it cracked within a couple of months. Granted, it was a crappy tile guy, but still. It was new-fangled. It wasn't the strong as an ox old-time floor boards that you stand on and just think of all the people who have walked before you. All the conversations, all the dinners, all the children who have played, the elderly who have rocked on those same floor boards you are standing on.
And just think, when our neighborhood has something old it's the best! This is something we share, it's something that makes us whole. In Pawtucket we have several notable buildings that make us who we are, whether we know it or not. We have infrastructure that shaped us through the years, and those buildings deserve a fighting chance.
There are majestic mansions in Quality Hill, converted into multi-families, but still bearing the brunt of time and decay. There are countless little houses plotted up and down streets in Darlington, a welcome home to soldiers returning from the War. There are mill houses, still standing and still telling their story in walking distance from Slater Mill, the impressive birth place of the Industrial Revolution in America. In Slater Park there's a 1600's farm house and the shadow of a Shakesperian garden.
All this and more in one tiny town. One town, split by a highway. One town that is struggling to rebuild itself after near-by malls shut down it's commerce. This town is who we are, and it needs us as much as we need it. Pawtucket is what makes us unique. We may try to escape it, we may try to knock it down, but there is something endearing about it's age, about it's perseverance. It's worth fighting for. It's worth spending the money to rebuild the crumbling pieces.
Just think of this: You're driving on the highway, and it's rush hour. It's taking forever. And you see ...
It pops, doesn't it? You might not necessarily love the style, you might not ever see yourself driving it, but it grabs your eye, and for a brief moment, you're no longer stuck in traffic. For a millisecond you are in an endless meadow of freedom found in the delight we get when something strange crosses our path. And baby, there is nothing stranger than old stuff.
Will our houses be as impressive in over 300 years?
And then you spy ...
of the same
driving by ...
It's sad, but it's true; Things cost money. In a world where the cost of living is increasing left and right, it seems frivolous to worry about some crumbling building down the street. If the tower is leaking, chop it down instead of reinforcing it. If the building is vacant, pave it for parking. Our infrastructure is a crazy thing. It has rapidly become a pop-up enterprise, replacing houses that have stood for centuries for quick clones that spring up over night. With all the building, we forget the saving, and we shouldn't, because it's so much more than saving a structure for sentimentality. It's about saving ourselves from monotony. It's about reminding ourselves that quality truly is better than quantity, that beauty is in age, and that our past is there to remind us of critical lessons to save our future.
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