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In Sheridan, Wyoming, after forty years, my life has turned full circle. I live at the bottom of a hill, down the street from my former elementary school, now a child development center. The old wooden steps up the hill are still there. When I was in sixth grade, our house was at the top of the hill, and I often used those steps to get to and from school. In winter, I still hear the happy cries of people sledding.
The old brewery, now Whitney Common, features a playground, fountain, plenty of grass, and sidewalks. Only foot traffic is allowed. The senior center and public library are close by and provide parking for those using this area.
Across the street from Whitney Common, a cement walkway and bridge lead to Kendrick Park, the setting for many childhood memories. The swimming pool, band shell, ice cream stand, playground, and elk sanctuary have been modernized. When I was in ninth, tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades, living only a block away, I walked through the park and climbed an old wooden boardwalk up the hill to get to the high school. The boardwalk has since been replaced by a bike path.
Downtown, Woolworth’s, with its inexpensive clothing, toys, and other items plus soda fountain, has been replaced by several smaller businesses. Dan’s Western Wear is now a thrift store. The palace Café, where I enjoyed milk shakes at the counter after school while listening to the jukebox, is now the Cowboy Café, with no jukebox or milk shakes. Main Street has since been reconstructed, with new sidewalks, lights, and curbs. The bank my family patronized for years is still there, having changed hands many times and become part of an office building with a parking garage.
When my late husband Bill proposed to me over ten years ago, he was living in Fowler, Colorado, and I was living here. At first, I thought he wanted me to leave my home town and move to his, a daunting prospect since I’d lived in Sheridan for years. To my astonishment, he told me he wanted to move here. He was tired of living in Fowler, where there wasn’t much to do. The idea that I wouldn’t have to leave familiar surroundings made marrying him more doable. You can read our story in My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds.
What do you remember about the town where you grew up? What has changed over the years? Please share your thoughts in the comments field.