Tuesday, September 10, 2013

You Can't Go Home...But I Guess You Can Shop There

The title of this blog is based on a line from the movie Grosse Pointe Blank. John Cusack returns to his childhood home, only to find it's been turned into an Ultramart. As he's speaking into his cell phone, he says: "You can never go home again, but I guess you can shop there."

My childhood home isn't an Ultramart. It's still a home. But there are only a few "childhood memories" still standing in my hometown. My junior high was demolished. My high school is now a middle school. The first placed I ever worked, a Burger King, is still standing, but I think I still have PTSD from the six months I spent at that job.

There is one place I remember fondly that's still standing. And on the few occasions we drive past it on our way to somewhere else, I always torture my husband with stories.

"That's where I worked when I was sixteen," I'll tell him. "Best job ever." (Except for writing, of course.)

So imagine my surprise...horror...shock when we drove by Monday on our way somewhere else and saw the words "CLOSED" on the marquee. Before I figured out the run-down theater was actually an abandoned theater, my husband was just talking about how small it was--and I was saying that in the 80s, a theater with eight screens was considered fairly large. "Back in my day" we didn't have megaplexes and villages with restaurants and shops. We had a mall with a movie theater behind it. And that was normal. Here's the "small" theater...when it was still open.

Here's how it looks now that it's closed.

It was nice knowing I could go back if I wanted to take a tour down memory lane. It was there for two full decades and I may have gone back two or three times--all more than ten years ago--but that's beside the point.

I would say the next time I go back, it will be an Ultramart, but that entire area of town is in rapid deterioration. I have a feeling Rivergate 8 will probably be an abandoned building for a while.

No, you can never go home again. But you can drive past its abandoned carcass on the way to somewhere else.


  1. I know how that feels. I worked at an electrical store and it was pretty horrific, but somehow I was still nostalgic about it. I liked knowing I could pop in on my old colleagues once in a while, so I did.

    Then the company went bust and they turned it into a pound store and I was sad. It sounds like you had a lovely time at the theatre and that photo is just lovely!

  2. I always think it's sad when an old childhood spot shuts down. My town is constantly shutting down favorites. I guess it just happens. All good things must come to an end I suppose.

  3. I go back to places from earlier days in my life all the time. Often the ceiling is the only thing that's the same. So I look up at the ceiling and think, "Wow...that ceiling has probably seen some THINGS in the past 30 years."

    Of course, it's just a building. The memories are always with you. And even when those buildings stay exactly the same, we usually don't visit them again.