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The Lost Corners of Suburbia

The Lost Corners of Suburbia

Belk at Four Seasons Mall
IHOP on Hillsborough Street
Two Guys Pizza on Hillsborough Street
Wachovia at Spring Valley Plaza

All these things used to be on the corner of something. All these places are places I made memories in. All of these places are gone or soon to be gone in their current forms. Many of these places are examples of bad architecture, shadinesss of patrons and big conglomerate corporations that increasingly only care about the dollars of these patrons, not their feelings.

Yet, these and many other dead malls and outparcels and big boxes and downtown storefronts are now gone.

As I’ve prepared to move halfway across the country, and as my hometown and college town begin to make major changes, I’ve started documenting what some may think are mundane, ugly parts of physical space. After all, when I come back to Greensboro, Gate City Boulevard will be the official address of so many things, not just changed street signs. That corner of Hobbs and Friendly might be clear-cut. I want to remember things as they were, because change is inevitable.

And about that corner of Hobbs and Friendly. People are mourning the change of that corner for different reasons. What was once five homes, homes that held families and memories, could soon be the Trader Joe’s that we’ve been begging for years. The one that I’m still on the fence about wanting to come to town for this very reason. (Let me add that now that I’ve had the goat cheese and sun-dried tomato ravioli and I swear by the Maple Pecan Granola Cereal they make, I’m sold on them for more than just cookies).

Sadly though, it’s a lost corner. Lost in the sense that the use of it is changing and memories of the corner are gone.

Yet, there will be new memories right? Some new homes are going on the property. I’m sure one will be the first home of a baby, who will grow up to recount their childhood days walking across the street to Trader Joes on one side and to see Santa at Christmas and to pick out their first bike at REI.

Much in the same way I’ll tell stories about my first visits to the carousel at  Carolina Circle Mall, Belk at Four Seasons, the map store at Cotton Mill Square, the toy store with the cool trains at Forum IV, the Chic-fil-A at Holly Hill Mall, Marvin’s on Hillsborough Street, the soon to be old IHOP on Hillsborough Street.

This post owes a debt to all the many suburban retail nostalgia blogs and Facebook pages out there. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, for those of us who grew up in suburbia or a Southern city that mimics what those in other regions consider suburbia, these were our places.

Our corners.

The lost corners.

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