Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Change isn’t always easy to take

Yesterday’s email brought news of one local genealogy society’s frustration that the genealogy collection will be moving from one library to another albeit larger facility in the library system.

For an outsider like Ol’ Myrt, the frustration seemed odd, because newspaper reports explain that “by putting the department at Haggard, the available space for genealogy increases three fold, and the shelve space doubles, as well as the budget,” said Karen Risser, assistant library director at Haggard Library.

Opponents of the move cite problems including “research hours were cut from 64 to 40 hours due to limited staffing, and research on the collection's more than 5,000 volumes and 8,000 rolls of microfilm is only allowed to be done on Saturdays.”

Change is inevitable. At least there is room for growth, but…

Change isn’t always easy to take.

At Dad’s request, I drove him up to his beloved Queen Anne hill in Seattle last Saturday, where he moved with his family nearly 81 years ago when Dad was a mere lad of eight. We often drive up there, so he can observe the development of his property there – an optician’s office now stands where his medical office once was located.

Since the weather was warm, Dad was amenable to riding his electric wheelchair up and down Queen Anne Avenue for a few blocks, taking in the sights and sounds of a mini street fair. We spotted old Dr. Douglas’ dental office, with its distinctive corner location and glass block windows. It was there that Dad first rented a room to begin his private medical practice after returning from Army service during WWII. Within a short time, growth of his practice (change) forced Dad to build his own office down the street a block and a half away. He told me it cost $500 to build that original structure.

Now days, Dad observes that most of the rag-tag old homes were replaced by modern apartment complexes like the ones my parents built next to Dad’s office in the 1970s. Now some of those “new” apartment buildings are being replaced by flashy hi-rise condos with gated below-ground parking. Only one or two of the grand old homes remain – typically converted into trendy shops selling whatnots for kids and grownups alike.

Dad remarked how tree roots had marred the sidewalk surfaces, owing to the planting of maples along the curb during a 1980s attempt at neighborhood beautification. “If the city only knew how hard it is for landlords to keep our roofs and gutters free from the leaves of those darned trees.” While shade is afforded us by the sturdy maples, I worried that the 4-6 inch cracks in the pavement would catch Dad’s wheelchair mechanisms and throw him to the ground unexpectedly.

Before long, the heat was getting to Dad. As we drove home, he told me that it was almost getting too hard to go see the old neighborhood because it had changed so much he hardly recognizes things. He remarked that most of his friends from grade school have passed away, and that he was feeling lonely lately, especially without his Blanchey-babe.

As we filled up the tank at the local Chevron station, I told Dad that I certainly could relate, since I can remember the olden days when gasoline was 29 cents a gallon. That prompted Dad to remember his father’s gas station and Seattle’s first parking lot down at 7th an Union.

And so another bittersweet moment had thankfully passed.

Yes, change is an inevitable part of life. It might not always bring the progress we seek, but it is inevitable just the same.


Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
Your friend in genealogy.

(c) 2007 Pat Richley All Rights Reserved.

No comments:

Post a Comment