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Down Memory Lane by Eileen Scramuzzo

It had been twenty odd years since I had been to my old home town in the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania. The spectacular view of the changing colors of nature in October took my breath away. I took this trip because I wanted to see the place that so shaped my life, at least one more time.

After World War II, job opportunities were limited to just the coal mines. Needless to say most of the young people left the town and I was among them. I made my new life in Chicago. A life time has passed all too soon and now in retirement my thoughts and heart needs to make this sentimental journey. Family and friends had long ago relocated or passed on in my little town of Smoke Run. I'm sure few have ever heard of it yet I will never forget it.

The crisp fall air and the overwhelming scent of pine trees made me stop t the side of the road to get a better view of the fields of wheat and corn. The view was like a patchwork quilt on the mountains surrounding me. A sense of deja vu overtook me as I wandered knee deep in tiger lilies that nodded and seemed to point me to the small white church I had attended in my youth. I was saddened to read the sign at the entrance that the church was closing due to poor attendance. A kindly old gentleman in bib overalls said I could enter as he was just cleaning for the auction to be held the next morning.

I trembled as I walked across the threshold. I headed for the huge ledger that held the signatures of friends and neighbors since the opening in 1924. I turned down the worn, yellowed pages and chocked back the tears as my father’s name appeared. The old gentleman coughed to indicate he was ready to lock up. As I took my last glance, a smile came easily as I saw the gold stars near the pulpit, as they had always been for the children with perfect attendance. Everything was the same: the ten benches, the stained glass windows, just as beautiful as ever, the hymn books worn out with time but unchanged.

The kind caretaker who was trying to close down handed me a hymn book for a remembrance. I walked to my car and put the precious book close beside me. The fog rolled in, obliterating the little church and hiding the steeple as the road before me beckoned to return to the present. It all disappeared from sight but my last trip to my old beautiful mountain home in Smoke Run will long remain in my heart’s memory.

Originally Posted by Josephine (Jun 10, 2002)

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