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Inside Out

The comfort of change

Jeanne Sager
Posted 8/23/22

 

Many of us have returned to a place where you spent extensive amounts of time as a child, only to realize it’s no longer the place you remember.

But sneaking onto the property …

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Inside Out

The comfort of change

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Many of us have returned to a place where you spent extensive amounts of time as a child, only to realize it’s no longer the place you remember.

But sneaking onto the property where we spent family vaca- tions year after year when I was a child, I was struck not by the changes but by how much was the same.

There were the same red painted Adirondack chairs, the wood worn smooth by thousands of legs and hands. There were the uneven red and white stone tiles of the boardwalk responsible for more stubbed toes than I care to recall. There was the long stretch of clothes line where I’d hung countless swimsuits and beach towels in my youth.

Returning to this place was like being rocketed 23 years into my past, and yet so much in the surrounding area had changed.

The convenience store where a young me had once wasted her babysitting money loading up on candy, ice cream, and magazines had been renovated and now hosted an expensive coffee and pastry counter, its soda and juice coolers now full of wine and micro-brewed beers.

Now the museum tower where I’d once climbed one hundred thousand steps (or so it seemed) boasted a glass elevator to bring you to the top, and the shack-like restaurant where already vegetarian-leaning me could order up a grilled cheese while family members dug into seafood platters was now serving up sushi and sashimi.

Surely these changes that occured in this special place of my childhood were warranted. Shoppers likely demanded ex- pensive coffees and pastry, visitors called for ADA-compliance and the lure of seeing the town through a rising glass structure, the shack was no longer serving the needs of its ownership. Change was necessary. Change was inevitable.

From childhood forward, I’ve seen Sullivan County go through thousands of changes in my lifetime. But this was my first glimpse of what it must be like for those who come back to this place year after year seeking the comfort of sameness.

As year-round residents, we move forward because that is how we grow and how we survive, because the world changes, demand changes, our own needs change.

We must get comfortable with change for our own needs, but it’s OK too to mourn the comfort of sameness.

 

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