This photo reminds me of a truism that most people don’t recognize. That truism is: “You are definitely an ‘old-timer’ when you give directions based on what used to be.”
The building in the center of the photograph was the First National Bank of Crafton. My parents never deposited any money there – after losing a home during the Great Depression, they didn’t have much faith in banks. But my mother did go into that building on a regular basis… to pay utility bills and to buy money orders to use for other bills.
The bank changed names and moved out of that building decades ago, but I’d be willing to bet that old-timers in Crafton still tell people to turn at the old bank building. For clarification, they might tell the hapless person to look for where the Franklin Five & Ten Cent store used to be.
Of course, if they really wanted to be precise, they could add that the trolley car used to go right past the intersection. You can imagine what this intersection looked like with even more overhead wires.
When I moved to Georgia, I encountered many old-timers. “Go north on highway nine until you come to where Egg Acres used to be. Then turn left and go until the road dead ends. Make a right…”
If you’re like me, you stopped listening when you were told to go until the road dead ends. In Pittsburgh, when you got to the end of a dead end street, you had no choice but to turn around and go back the way you came.
I soon learned that when a Southerner referred to the dead end of a road, he or she was referring to a “T” intersection. The road you were traveling on came to an end – BUT, when it intersected with the other road, you could turn either right or left and continue your journey.
Of course, I vowed that I would never give such poor directions. That was more than thirty years ago. I now find myself telling people to go past where the old Texaco station was and turn where the house that burned down used to be. But I still don’t tell them to turn when the road dead ends.
Tomorrow I think I’ll dig through our pictures of Ireland. Now that it’s Spring, we could all do with a bit of green.