Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don't Read Unless You Were at MHS With Me

Today you'll have to excuse my reminiscences.  If trips down memory lane aren't your thing, particularly someone else's, just tune in later.

For the last 10 years, we have operated a business in Moscow, the Alehouse. It was a wonderful way to get to return to the city and spend some time there intermittently about 20 years after moving away. Today, though, the purpose of my meeting was to tell the employees that we were selling our business to the longtime manager, Wendy. She has been treating like it was hers for years, so there is no doubt she will do a phenomenal job with the place and I have no regrets other than the occasional opportunity to relive the memories of living there.

I spent 3+ important years of my life in Moscow, Idaho; the ninth-grade, the 10th grade, and 11th grade. I was in town a bit before that and certainly returned many times after that, but that relatively brief period was my full-time residence.  They say that lasting memories are created by intensity of feeling, and if  that is the case, then those three years must have been very intense. Which is a funny thing to say considering what a mellow little town it was and how little seem to happen while I was there.  On a top line view, I went to school, hung out with friends - that's about it.  In retrospect, however, a monumental amount of stuff that has collected in the memory banks happened.  

So yesterday, when I arrived early for my meeting (yes, I agree, that never happens) I took the opportunity to drive up and down a few streets and say goodbye for now.

I drove around downtown, where I can remember virtually every store that was on those streets nearly 30 years ago and on which I used to able to name a surprising number of the folks on the sidewalks at any given moment.  I drove by the music store where we bought albums and cassettes.  The video parlor where we used to hang out.  The movie theater where we used to meet.  The tobacco store where . . . never mind.

I drove by the house we moved into when we arrived in town and then the house that we moved into a year later.  I drove by Moscow Junior High and the field-house.  I drove by the streets were cute girls lived that I probably drove up and down too many times just hoping to catch a glimpse or start a conversation. I drove by East City Park, the home of pick-up basketball games and the namesake offense on the junior high team.  I drove by Don's house, where, for some reason, I clearly remember parking my car on his foot.  I drove by Tami's house, the spot for many after school shenanigans and the famous Craig "What Would I Do If I Was Batman" story.  I drove by Diane's house, the starting and ending point for a few late-night walks.  I drove through the neighborhood of Lonnie and Craig and Bruce and Shannon and many others. I drove by Kendra's garage, where she backed out her father's prized Corvette to take us to a Sadie Hawkins.  I drove by Kim's house, the scene of many hours of MTV on the screen and maybe a couple of prank pizza delivery calls to an unnamed high school teacher.  I drove by Sara's house, the scene of at least one of my most enduring childhood embarrassment stories (which I will save for another time).  I drove by Tom's house, a place down the alley from my house and of many memories, including, and don't tell Jim or Susan, a memorable party after his parents left him for the weekend once. And, of course, I drove by MHS, the scene of many many memories from many people named and unnamed so far.

The thing that was striking was how quiet it was that morning while I drove around. I appreciated that there were very few people on the streets to remind me that new people occupy these homes and walk the streets. On the other hand, it did make me want to stop and tell a one couple walking along in the light snow that they should be aware of how important those quiet streets are, how important the community is, and how many memories are made there every day.

Thanks Moscow for all of the wonderful memories and that important piece of my childhood. Thanks to all my Moscow junior high and high school friends and connections for searing so many good times and thoughts into my mind.  I enjoyed my drive and I enjoyed my years there.


  1. Oh, that was fun, Gage! Moscow has a ton of memories, doesn't it? I am always a little sad my parents moved, as I loved that old neighborhood and would like to just run into more people when I'm there.

  2. It is different in Moscow these days, as I suppose it is literally everyplace, but it is amazing how many memories are contained in those few square miles. It's also amazing your parents let the whole crowd of people come and go so much from your conveniently located house right next to the school.