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Our memories are one of the most cherished substances. There has to be a little pocket of brain cells that connect to all other cells, and that little pocket holds our childhood and remembrances.
And when a large sum of these are erased, who wouldn’t be completely entitled to wanting them back?
My childhood full of memories at Joplin could potentially be debatable. Everything that I thought would always be there is now gone, with no evidence it was ever there to begin with. I never studied the wallpaper and intricate coy designs under the glass of the tables in the old Chinese buffet restaurant, and I never examined the houses on Duquesne Road because I didn’t know they would disappear and never be returned, except in my recollections of them.
So many tiny details I left behind, so many thoughts I let slip away because when I spent a large portion of my life in the Joplin community, I had no reason to ever think it was all going to leave. I seem to forget I wasn’t the only one who had ties to this town — that the memories held in this community were far greater than mine alone, trapped inside crumbled buildings and slowly slipping from minds as replacement structures go up.
But since I can’t recall anyone else’s experiences but my own, I can at least share my retentions.
Seeing Joplin as a bustling, green city with plenty of trees and friendly people is hard for me. It being almost a year now, and the things I used to see are fuzzy, things I wished I’d paid attention to.
There were specific places my family and I would always visit, things to be excited about like going to CiCi’s pizza with my sister, Grammie and Grandad when Mom and Dad were out of town. The line was long; the tables dirty, and there were odd (but surprisingly delicious) deserts like chocolate pizza. But it was one of my sister’s and my favorite places, so my grandparents always took us there because we loved it and there was nowhere else we would rather be.
The only place in town that sold organic fruits and vegetables was Dillions and just for my cousins and their need for milk straight from a cow and grapes grown from grape vines (I’ve never seen a need for it), we would trek to Dillions, the old building with a bathroom on the second floor and rugs that hadn’t been cleaned in a while, but that still held a part of my life, even if it was only for an hour or two.
I guess the tragedy has taught me not only to live in my surroundings but to take them in and cherish every moment you have with people and places. Eventually I will forget these foggy memories with nothing to spark them anymore with the new buildings popping up all over town. It’s hard to remember the previous Joplin, the strong Joplin that held my memories, but, with almost a year under the belt in the recovery stage, new memories are already being made, and I’m sure there will be plenty more to make in the future.
By Kaitlyn Marsh