Cross posted on From Where I Blog
Perhaps it's the baby boomer in me or maybe I'm just turning into an old softie in middle age, but history, heritage and 'the good old days' seem to mean more to me as the years roll along.
Maybe that's why I felt like I'd just received word that an old friend had died when I heard the news that Kohlsdorf's Quality Corner in Zeigler had burned earlier this week.
The store had been a fixture on the Zeigler Circle for 87 years and was nothing short of a landmark in the Franklin County community. The photo at left, taken by Ceasar Maragni of the The Southern Illinoisan, shows owner Mike Restivo on the morning after the fire. As he always does, Maragni also does a tremendous job catching the entire scene, the smoldering remains of the store, the water tower in the background and the sadness on Restivo's face.
I was in Zeigler on Tuesday morning to write a follow up on the fire and the theme with everybody I spoke with was two-fold. First, everybody was thankful that nobody was injured and that two adjoining buildings were saved. But, an overwhelming feeling of sadness and loss gripped the community. I think everybody was keenly aware that they had lost something very special ... something that they could never get back.
Some days I can't wait to get to my blog to rant about Muslim cartoons, liberal vs. conservative, Dem vs. Republican issues and whatever else happens to be making the news.There are other days, and today is one of them, when I want to stay as far away from those stories as I can and escape to a day long ago when businesses like Kohlsdorf's was thriving in small coal mining communities like Zeigler.
Instead of troubling my mind with all the hysteria, controversy, angst and anguish in the world, today I want to instead remember the many times that my mom would send me to M & B Market in Sesser to get something she needed so she could have supper 'on the table' when my dad walked in the door from his job at Old Ben Mine 21.
Maybe it's because I grew up in a small town but the mood in Zeigler rubbed off on me because I left town feeling sad also. I left town thinking about M & B Market, Butler's Store, Rozenski's Neighborhood Grocery, Klein's Grocery, Lackey's Market and a better time. Long before the days of cradle to grave shopping at Wal-Mart it seemed that every section of town had a neighborhood grocery or a store like Kohlsdorf's. Sadly, those days and those stores are dwindling fast or already gone.
While I always encourage visitors to this site to comment, I would be especially interested today to know if you also have good memories of those long ago days and the neighborhood grocery.
Thanks for taking a little trek down memory lane with me today.
And ... in every tragedy there's always a light-hearted moment.