Well, the end is near for my first semester as a graduate student. Soon, I'll be traveling back to my hometown for the first time in almost four months. The travel has gotten me thinking a bit about my memories.
When I was living in Atlanta, I was in tune to changes on a real-time basis--as if I was watching a movie. Now, my images of Atlanta are frozen in time. Until I visit a certain place again, it will always appear to me as it did in August of 2007. Now, instead of a film, I'm seeing a slide show.
My hometown is no different. This is the longest period I've ever gone without passing by the Square or driving down Highway 5. And while many small towns may stay fairly constant over time, Canton is no longer its own city. Now, the tiny hamlet is part of burgeoning Metro Atlanta. In 2000, the Census said that there were 7,709 residents living in my little county seat. According to the estimates from 2005, the population was around 17,600. So I think it's safe to say that I might not recognize vast parts of the cityscape.
My parents tell me that Canton Place, a new mixed-use (in the traditional suburban pod style, not the new urbanist "good" style) development, including the largest single increase in retail square footage in the history of Cherokee County, has transformed the forested, rolling hills just south of Highway 20 East at the Bypass into deforested, graded pre-shopping center madness. That will definitely be a shocker.
What else will surprise me is a good question. I'll be sure to update the blog with pictures, so stay tuned. And stay warm!