Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas. This time of year makes me traditionally nostalgically moody, so today's topic is: Mill Housing. Mill housing communities were a product of a specific era. After World War II, GIs returned to rural hometowns, eager to participate in the new social incentives that had initially tempted them into the war. Meanwhile, domestic textile production was returning to civilian market pursuits after long military service as well. Men were expected to return to work while women laid down to deliver a baby boom. The best way to tempt newly returned soldiers off the family farm and into textile centers was to create affordable nuclear households in planned neighborhoods around the mills. Fields were leveled, grids were drawn, and little white clapboard and asbestos structures were parked like Monopoly pieces every forty-five feet throughout. My parents grew up in these neighborhoods, which lined the tracks from Charlotte to Durham. When I was young, these little white squares were the houses I visited every holiday. During the summers I would play in backyards that abutted six others. On Halloween I'd hold hands from house to house, trick-or-treating--sixty houses in a sixteen-block square. There's something sad about returning for holidays now. So many people have died--there was a time when I would play over there on the floor, in afternoon sunlight, and seven pairs of legs lined the furniture around me. But there's a still more personal, perhaps selfish, sadness I find pervasive: because I spent only the best times of my young life in mill houses, that's what I remember when I reminisce. Decorations, cakes, merry cheer--these are my only memories within those places. It's only possible to recall the missing things of my youth there, like ghosts of things that have gone away without dying. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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