Tuesday, July 13, 2010

It Just Wasn't Holes in the Ground

I interrupt my Sunglasses Experiment to share this story of an event that happened, and is still happening to me from my trip to Indianapolis. I was going to try and wait until August to share this, but I must write this now. Later today I will go back to my Sunglasses Experiment as I talk about presenting to the officers yesterday as well as another trip to a video game store.

One of the days that I was in Indianapolis I was forced to take side roads back to the house I was staying due to an accident on I-465. This was on the day that I was at Noble Roman's on 10th Street and because I grew up there I knew how to get back to he north side without interstate.

I turned onto Girls School road and was amazed to see just how much things have stayed the same. The golf driving range was just as I remembered it from 20+ years ago as well as the signage on a lot of stores. I slowly progressed through the stop lights and eventually made it to High School Road.

I lived in Indianapolis until I was 10 and my dad was a pastor at a church very close to the area I was now so I knew this area well.

Nearing 34th street I knew that there would be a Putt-Putt golf place to my left, but as I neared I saw the fence that used to be the perimeter, but there was no Putt-Putt to be found. I thought this had to be a mistake because I grew up with that Putt-Putt. My dad took me there all the time. I remember this one day when I was about five, we spent most the day watching practice for the Indy 500, and then we played Putt-Putt.

In 5th grade we had a field trip to this Putt-Putt and I had a most unique hole in one. I hit the ball a wee bit to hard, okay I used an excessive amount of force, on a hole that had some ridges. My ball flew through the air, hit the railing, bounced in the air, and landed in the cup on another hole. It may not have been a legal score, but no one denied me my hole in one.

I have all these memories so I must have just not seen the place, right? I mean, I still have the scorecard of the day I played on Pole Day for the Indianapolis in 2001. I drove to Indy by myself and stayed with my sister and went to pole day. Later in 2001 Emily (the person from my book) and I played all four courses at the Putt-Putt the day before the Brickyard 400. I held on to that scorecard until 2004 when I had to give it to her because the memory connection was too great. I wonder if she still has that scorecard.

Realizing that I didn't see it took a back seat to the fire truck that passed me at a high rate of speed. I saw smoke in the distance and a couple blocks past my dad's old church was an apartment building on fire. This distracted me until I realized yesterday that I did not see the Putt-Putt.

To determine if it was still there I got on Google Earth and looked at 34th and High School Road and there it was, a section of grass that looked as if it had been freshly razed. Putt-Putt had been replaced by a couple banks. I cried.

Gone was the place that I remember smiling. Gone was the place that I rented numerous Nintendo games. Gone was the place that I would play Skee-ball and the arcade game Ivan Stewart's Off Road Racing (An AMAZING game!).

Knowing that place is gone with no trace of its existence hurts me. When I was there when I was older I felt a connection to those I knew back then. With this associative memory system I feel a connection to my family, and even Emily, when I am at a place where they were. Much like the soda can I mention in my book, I felt that connection of friendship, and perhaps even love, by being being at that Putt-Putt.

But it's gone now. There are no pictures of it on the internet. I have a scorecard to remember it by, but it's not the same. I may have it in my memory of defeating adults on that Off-Road game, but I won't experience emotions. I can remember that I went to practice for the Indy 500 and then played Putt-Putt with my dad, but I won't feel it and know what it was like to be the happiest kid in the world like I did when I returned there.

It is gone, and with it went all the connections I know I shared with those that went with me there.

1 comment:

  1. I was born in Indianapolis on 12th St and lived in Indiana until I was ten. I spent a little time there last summer and was surprised at all the change.

    My uncle owns the Putt-Putt For the Fun of It chain of Putt-Putts there. Don't know if that was one of his. I think they may be called Rascals Fun Zones now.

    Anyway, the connections are still there. They are memories and are precious even if the personal monuments to them no longer exist.