Sunday, May 1, 2011

Memories of times long ago...Alberta City

I grew up in Vance, AL which is a tiny "no light town" (well, when I was growing up) on the outskirts of Tuscaloosa. You'll probably recognize the names of these towns now, because they are national news. Not for something we really want to be known for. Wednesday morning I received a call saying a tornado had come through Vance and did damage to places I know well. Everyone in our family is okay and had only damage, but are still without power for day 5 now. Later in the day as we were going through storms here, my brother and mom were facing their second wave of tornados riding them out this time in basements and storm shelters. They personally were spared in the second wave. Even though I was without power here, I knew the devastation was going to be bad. My mom and brother were calling with updates about what was destroyed. It was only the next day, we would see the war zone that is left in the wake of this horrible storm.




When I grew up and moved back home, it was to Tuscaloosa. I have so many friends there...it's where I lived, worked and went to church, gave birth to my firstborn and so many more things. But today my thoughts turned to another little town, that most people had never heard of before this....Alberta City. Alberta in the 80s...you see, I knew Alberta at least once a month. When my mom would let us ride along as she took Grandma or Aunt Ollie (a cousin, who felt your elders should be addressed with a title, so Aunt it was and will always be) to town for their once month trip. We would sit and stare out the back seat window taking in all the places as we drove by.




I remember making two stops before anything---First National to cash her check and the other big bank to pay the "light" bill. Then, whatever was left was usually spent at Piggly Wiggly behind Big B Drugstore (later Harco). Sometimes, Grandma would let me put her green stamps in the little book. If we got sick, our prescriptions were always filled at the old Jim Myers drugstore in Alberta. When our washer broke, we used the laundrymat there in Alberta, right beside this little used bookstore. For lunch, we'd go to this little diner there beside Harco's or at the Hardee's real close to the elementary school. I can trace the landmarks of that street- University Blvd in my brain...almost picturing each place that I knew so well from the countless trips-- LaRocca Nursing Home, Moon Wink hotel, Krispy Kreme...that little Sno Cone place on the left, right past the overpass that was in the old gas station parking lot.




I know this Alberta is nothing like the one that was devastated this week. A lot of things have changed in almost 20 years. I have no close friends or relatives that tie me to Alberta. All I have are memories of times long ago. So I grieve for Alberta City, for those who have lost so much and have lost the only place they call home.

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