I don’t watch a lot of Television, but there are certain shows that were not to be missed in the days before video tape recorders, DVR, and live streaming. Tuesday night it was The Wonder Years, Neal Marlens and Carol Black’s flashback to growing up in the late 60s and early 70s. Each week, I would relive those memories through Kevin Arnold, his best friend Paul, and the girl next door Winnie Cooper. I identified with them. I was like them, and so were my friends. The music soundtrack was the fourth character. It was the music of my youth. It invoked the memories and enhanced the storyline.
On my way to work recently, I saw something along my route that brought a particular episode of that show streaming back into my mind. I only remembered bits and pieces of the show, but I knew I could find it online and fill in the gaps. Thanks to YouTube TV there it was, Episode 22, Who’s Woods Are These? Harper’s Woods to be exact. It was an unassuming patch of trees and wildlife within walking distance of the subdivision world of Kevin, Paul, and Winnie. It was their childhood playground and held memories of games played there, a first kiss, of taking a walk to be alone when the trials of growing up came crashing down.
I have driven by these woods on Overland Road almost every day for the past 30 years. I wondered what memories they held for the people that lived nearby and the children that grew up playing there. It is so easy to take for granted that which is routine. It goes unnoticed until it changes, even if your mind tells you that the change is inevitable. We all deal with change in our own way.
As the show drew to a close Kevin, Paul, and Winnie played one last game of hide and seek in Harper’s Woods and the words and music of Lennon and McCartney made me smile. “There are places I’ll remember all my life, though some have changed. Some forever, not for better, some have gone, and some remain. All these places had their moments, in my life. ” The next day they tore down these woods and I asked, what families will call it home? What good things will be brought by this change? I wonder what new memories will be built where these woods once stood.