New Type of "ghost town"
Recession Strangles A Landmark Community
Displacement of a Community
Recently, it has been shown that one in four communities in the US has been given up and have now become ghost towns. This story is about one such ghost town that had seen it's better days but now overcome by for sale signs but no realtors.
Here is my narrative of a community that became a "Ghost Town".
It was late one night as I pushed on the door hoping to get enough light from the street lamp that was across from the service station. I then peered into the darkness of the empty room pushing the squeaking door which seemed to be saying, "entrance denied", though it adjusted barely enough to accommodate my entrance.
I tried to push with more force but some thing behind the door was preventing it from opening all the way. As I entered the doorway the odor of water soaked flooring began to fill my nostrils and with my left hand on the door knob I reached up to cover my nose .
Suddenly, as I turned my face back towards the entrance hoping to get a breathe of fresh air, my attention became drawn to what appeared to be a scribble on the door just above the peep hole. On closer examination I recognized it to be the number 5.
This had been room number five of the Motel Chariot which had been before the recession a vibrant business especially for the trucking industry. The hotel Chariot served as an over night stop for truckers on their way to destinations like New York, Chicago and San Francisco but now had become a dirge.
In fact the motel had franchised with a very well known restaurant chain, the National Pancake, to add to the many amenities they offered to the motel guest, not to mention the “kerb crawlers” who became a special attraction to the truckers.
Now this place had become a byword on the side of the highway. There was not a soul in sight. I was standing in the midst of an economic devastation. The marketing structure had been forced out with all the human elements and now this place was left as an habitation of ghostly memories mixed with animal droppings.
How could the most prosperous country in the world allow itself to be contaminated by this "Sodom and Gomorrah" likeness? Could it have been decisions of the insane or maybe it could be attributed to the prayerlessness of the church? Maybe it was all part of a terrorist plot to stop the economy by stopping the distribution of wealth; after all he who possesses the gold is the one that has rulership.
Recently it came to my attention that a well known automobile manufacturer had made plans to build 43 automobile plant with the latest technological designs in China.
This manufacturer had recently been afforded a bail-out with the tax payers’ earnings and rather than use the “dividend”, (for if you really look at it that’s what it was), to build in the country that gave them the billions of dollars, and I repeat; of tax payers money, they have chosen it as an investment in a communist nation that doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the host country that gave the bail-out money.
We have a responsibility to each others welfare in that your brother would not have to settle for cloned chicken necks bones and old bread which they had to stand in line for hours to receive.
But as I stood in the door way of room #5 of the once booming Motel Chariot, I thought about the moments of desperation which was brought on by the closing of the motel mall.
I thought about the number of employees and their families and to anyone that at some time found it to be a safe haven and a place of refreshment from their travels.
I thought about the prosperity of the motel at one time and how it had brought certain esteem to the life of the people in this town.This town had been settled by immigrants from the old country in 1889 on the two lane highway, between Pleasure Ville and Abrams town.
About 25 years ago it went through major development to include Motel Chariot with the franchised National Haberdashery of pancakes, a hardware store and across the street Clem’s Gas and variety shop. Of course it had ample parking for truck which at any time, day or night, not less than 15 trucks would be seen in the parking lot.
You may be asking, what brought you to this place at 11:30 pm on a Friday night. No, I was not there to pick up on my past experiences, though I would have loved to have had some of their fine steak covered over with onion sauce and two upside down organic eggs but disappointingly so, it was a flat tire that had causedt this discovery.
It was about a mile down the Highway that the flat occured and I considered rimming it to Chariot Motel since I had no spare tire .
I decided against rimming it and so I began to walk to the gas station where I thought that I would hopefully receive some help.
As I approach the motel I wondered about the quietness of the night around the motel grounds then I happened upon a sight that I will never forget. The music and the laughter was gone, even the smell of diesel oil.
The sign of the motel was hanging and every so often as the gust of wind came the aluminum from the hanging sign would drag against the pavement as a reminder of it’s history.
I had walked about a mile to the motel hoping to get some assistance only to happen into what seemed like a nightmare. I was in a dilemma. I was hungry, tired and disappointed.
My concern for the people who had lost their jobs because of the recession became heavy upon my heart; the ones who because of the closing of these businesses, had been forced to give up houses, lands and vehicles.
My concern for my car lost its place of importance as I thought about the stress; the depression; loss of medical insurance and the men and women who had built up a high self esteem but now they were spending their nights in government shelters. Some of them have chosen a life of crime and others have not been able to deal with the trauma and have ended up committing suicide.
Those who have been blessed to hold on to employment, who have never been in a position as the people at Chariot have faced will never know the disappointment that they have had to endure. It’s like the man who complained about his shoe until he met a man with no feet.
So I have found out that no matter how difficult my situation there is always one that supersedes and that makes me hopeful that as long as I am living, change is inevitable.
It was my grandmother who used to say, “As long as the chicken got life feather will grow”. But I recognized that day that for every displacement there is a rearrangement.
I pulled on the door of room five to where it had been before and thought about how blessed I was as I slowly retraced my steps onto the highway.
All of a sudden, as I began to walk down the highway, I felt a fire began to burn in my soul for those people who had suffered for some of them an irreparable and terrible loss and I began to pray to the God of heaven, so much so, that my eyes began to be filled with tears.
I had locked away all of my earthly needs and desires for my thoughts were consumed by the current needs of the people from Chariot, so much so, that I was unaware of the headlights coming up behind me.
Then I heard, “Neighbor, can I give you a lift? I turned around wiping the tears from my eyes, with no shame and said, “Su…sure thing!
That stranger remained with me until the tire was repaired, I thanked him, offered him payment for his services but he would not receive a dime.