Notes From A Complete Stranger, Part 5

Newman Street, East Tawas 4th of July
Newman Street, East Tawas 4th of July

David Foster Wallace, suicide, Gordon Lish, NYC, poetry, Perchville, Barack Obama, Louisville architecture, 2009 ice storm, Joaquin Phoenix, fish, The Wrestler

Saturday 17 January 2009
5:50 PM
Just returned from a very long walk along the river. I am struck by the good taste the river city architects of Louisville used in constructing the river walk and the reclamation project of the area just north of downtown. The dismal fact of the I-64 expressway still cutting across my view of the river from my apartment reminds me that all is still not well in Louisville. Big mistakes have been made, and perhaps there are more to come. But the river reclamation work was not a mistake. Everything was done tastefully, with recreation and relaxation in mind. I am so impressed with all the benches and the trees and views of the mighty steel bridges stretching across the Ohio River. As my wife said again today on our walk along the river, "What they have done down here makes me so proud of Louisville". What immediately came to my mind again was my hometown of Tawas and the horrid designs they have incorporated into making that town "progressive". If Tawas could learn one thing from the Louisville planners it would be to use the natural resources you have.

Louisville, Kentucky

Tawas has a history of fishing, logging, boats, and recreation. They have a beautiful bay cut out of a mighty Great Lake. The natural sands, and heavy growths of pines and oaks, make the blues from the skies and water magical, if not spiritual. But when you add shiny black lamp posts and unnatural foliage like hanging pots of flowers at every intersection, large anchors welcoming me to the city, and fake nautical clocks, and then tear down the historical buildings that added to the authentic character of the city, replace them with ugly new brick buildings that have no design indigenous to the area, and finally, and most definitively, give new credence to the words ugly and out-of-sorts in comparison to the natural beauty of the area. But hey, kudos must be given to the people who take care of the State Parks in the area. The natural grasses along the shoreline that they have allowed to grow back looks wonderful. The wooden structures the State Parks team build are also natural and constructed properly. Seems the Perchville queen at some point would have seen these living testaments to good architecture and stopped promoting unnatural decorations planted all over town in her personal beautification projects that other city fathers and mothers have supported as well.

East Tawas

Sunday 18 January 2009
5:07 AM
I'm asking myself why I care so much about all this? What started out as an essay on a winter carnival called Perchville has turned into some angry rant over what is wrong with the town I grew up in. Would it help if we got rid of all of the people? Probably not, for truth be told most of the people are different now anyway than when I lived there twenty-five years ago. But their attitudes haven't changed. And their tastes. I mean, it is simply unbelievable how predictable the food is, the architecture, the latest "new" thing. These people are fucked up. Yes, certainly there are some who are not, and they will run for city council or go to meetings, only to be knocked down and beaten up by the ones who think they know everything and have a consensus of power on their side. Very hard to infiltrate this community with the type of ideas that would bring the town back to its heyday, which is something the typical resident would not want anyway. They love having their Walmart store on the bay and their big chance to be a super shopper in their own town. They tore down another historic building to build their Walmart mega-store, the Round House, which was part of the Detroit to Mackinaw Railroad which the Pinkertons kept for some time as a railroad museum that housed vintage cars and engines from days gone past. Now another small unremarkable town called Standish thirty-five miles to the south of Tawas houses these same antiques. Amazing. Just throw your history away.

Oh, the Horror. The Horror!

Tawas does have a very nice historical museum next to the city park that will soon be the only place to view what it used to be like, for nobody could imagine the old Tawas given what's left standing of this poor town. They even remodeled the outside of the museum this last year, cladding it with ugly vinyl siding and shitty colors that do not go with the area at all, except for the winning argument that the structure at least will now look like all the other ugly structures being built in Tawas, or re-clad in order to give them that fresh, clean look. Reminds me of a time forty years ago when the hippies took over Gordon's Creek during the Summer of Love, and the city authorities quickly moved to shut down the campgrounds the next year because these smelly hippies overran their downtown, filling up the restaurants, and creating a crazy scene that the prudes just couldn't accept. I remember it being an exciting time to be alive and living in Tawas, and my friends and I looked forward to finding a way out to the forest everyday to have our chance at "free love", though it never happened for me then, or ever. But, the sheriff stopped this nonsense. And we went back to a life where the authorities knew what was best for all of us. Nothing changes much. For example, my older brother reminds me of a time in the early sixties when our father was the school board president and the local Iosco County News ran the headline, "Sarki says there will be no Beatle haircuts in Tawas Area Schools!" Not just another proud day to be named Sarki, but a historical example of what it really means to be a native of Tawas.

To be continued...

The 60's

Comments 1 comment

ralwus 6 years ago

Yes, I remember well the days when hair could get a guy killed. I don't think I like Tawas now.

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