So Long, Farewell....Olean, NYMonday, June 15, 2009
It has been almost a month since my last post! Since the day of my commencement I've been hard at work moving from my adorable apartment back into my parents house. Perhaps I should feel some bit of sadness or guilt at this seeming step backwards, but I am in someways glad to move home- I hope that it somehow motivates me to figure out what to do with the rest of my life! So far, life at home has revealed to me exactly how lucky I was to get to know the wonderful town that I lived in while going to school. This small city contains such wonderful relics of the past that, while likely unnoticed by many, did not go under appreciated by me.
The photograph above is of an old beauty shop that has since been converted into apartments. In this town nothing is removed or destroyed unless it is done so by large chains or corporations (think Wal-Mart or Rite Aid) or it falls into a dangerous state of decay and must be dismantled. While the beauty shop is long gone, and likely Mary too, this wonderful sign still remains.
Much of this town, while from a bygone era of beauty, is unused, useless, empty. Many of the ornate buildings in the downtown area are vacant, their doors chained as the one below. The stores that remain are a throwbacks to a different time, a men's shop- the real deal that sells silk pajamas and smoking jackets, a shoe repair shop, from that era of make do and mend, a diner, an art deco bank, and a florist that sells bouquets wrapped in brown paper.
At the rate that many old things are dismantled in the name of progress, I feel so lucky to find a town like this still exists. I know that all over the country there are many other towns with stories similar to Olean, trying to retain, and better yet preserve, their history and relics of a long departed age.