Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day Dreaming

I don't know how these things work, but when I travel around looking at blogs, I show up as from, variously, Tyrone, or State College, or someplace like that. Today, I was surprised to see myself denoted as entering from "Chest Springs, Pennsylvania." I've never heard of Chest Springs, but it struck me as humorous. I have a chest cold right now, and I woke up early this morning, coughing. I simply got up because Tim has to work this afternoon, and I didn't want to disturb his sleep. So I got up and I came down stairs and discovered that I was coming from Chest Spring, Pennsylvania today.



I did a little looking around and Chest Springs in in Cambria county, some distance from here, a small 'map dot', population 110. Isn't that something? And in that little borough, there is no one who lives below the poverty line. That's something too. Furthermore, I discovered that there are 49 homes there, and that 42 of them are lived in by home owners. I discovered that only 11 of them carry mortgages, the other seven occupied by renters. I read on and on. There's a wealth of information on that little town of Chest Springs.

I'm a daydreamer. I have always been one. I remember, as a child, watching a woman in a full skirt shaking out rugs on the big concrete front porch of her home. It was just a glimpse of her, as I rode past in the back seat of the family car. But even then (and I couldn't have been more than ten), I found myself wondering what her life was like, what it was like to live in that house, whether she had children. Did she work outside the home? Was she happy? That sort of thing.

Even today, I still do that. I drove past a woman in Russell. She was pulling weeds from a small garden. Fresh laundry flapped on the line. Her laundry basket sat in a little red wagon. That glimpse told a story. She was elderly. She cared about how her property looked. She was having increased difficulties doing her chores, but had cleverly managed to figure out ways that enabled her to stay active and busy and taking care of herself.

Yesterday, going to Erie to meet with a financial planner (?!!), we drove through a small town in New York State, full of old homes, all well taken care of. I caught a glimpse of another elderly woman, this one sweeping the snow from her steps, from her sidewalks. To sweep the snow...now that's something you do every day or else it packs down and becomes ice. Sometimes multiple times a day if you are getting a lot of snow. She had an old fashioned wool scarf tied around her head and under her chin, and she busily swept the snow away. I daydreamed about what it was like to live her life, to walk in her shoes, to see out of her eyes.

I don't know what this means. It is just something that I found myself thinking on yesterday as we drove to Erie for a business meeting. Today, I'm daydreaming about the residents of Chest Springs, PA. What they're like. About living there. About their little corner of the world. I wonder about quiet people, about quiet lives and quiet places.

Hey. If you live in Chest Springs or know of it, drop me a line.

7 comments:

Donna said...

I get moved all over the state of Missouri by those sitemeters and such. I've been fighting some sort of coughing plague too... with fever. Was so happy to sleep 6 hours straight last night!

Hal Johnson said...

I remember at 17 driving through a small town on a back road in central California. My sister, 14 then, was riding with me and navigating; we were meeting our parents for a camping trip. The town captivated both of us. There was a fairy-tale feeling to it. Everything was old, but well cared-for, and it was beautiful. It was the kind of place, that beckoned. We both felt sad driving out of the little town. When we met our parents later, my sister and I realized that we couldn't remember the name of the little town. Thirty-seven years later, I still feel the pull of a place I have no name for.

Bill of Wasilla said...

hmmm... I always show up as "Wasilla, Alaska."

Curious...

Twain12 said...

i show up as from Fredericton NB, it's close.

Paula said...

When driving in our county I like to imagine who lived in old ramshackle houses and what they did. One in particular we passed everyday tending the cattle had a flower blooming even though no one had lived there in many years. I wrote a poem "And The Flower Lives On" imagining who lived there and what they did.

Kelly said...

I have no idea how I show up because I'm not sure where to look to see....

I do this kind of thinking when traveling at night. As a little girls I loved peering out the back window of the car into the night, hoping for a glimpse into the lit world of someone's home.

quid said...

Deb,

I show up as Tampa, Florida, so all's right in my part of the globe. I have not been through Chest Springs, but I've been close and remember it on some sort of sign, when our family did a lot of camping in Pennsylvania in the 80's. I have a vivid memory of Blossburg, PA, which is where the new car fondly known as "The Lemon" broke down as we were driving to the Virginia shore for our 5th anniversary. The car only had 3rd gear and 5th. It was late on a Saturday afternoon in Blossberg and no one could fix a new Pontiac. The vacation was already under a bit of a dark cloud, so damn if Frank didn't run it all the way to a swanky hotel in Washington DC, where our anniversary week was starting out. I think Blossburg was a tad larger than Chest Springs. I'm looking forward to you taking some Chest Springs pictures and letting us see, once the snow is off the ground.

I confess that as I drive, I spot memorable people and go thru gyrations making up what they might be doing at that point and time in their lives, and on that particular day. Today's "victim" was an older fellow, crossing a busy street in the middle of rush hour, pushing a bike and wearing sunglasses on a Foggy Day. He was in the University area, and I decided he had decided to reinvent himself, go back to college, and couldn't afford a car while he did so. Not sure "why" the sunglasses, but there you go. I like the days when I compose poetry in the car... better than the people-maginings! But its comfortable to know others do so, too.

quid