It was the mid-1970's. I was looking for my first post-college apartment. I found on a place in what is now known as the Lakeview area of Chicago. 3510 N. Pine Grove. Ten minutes from the lake. Ten minutes from Wrigley Field. Most importantly it was cheap. Ninety-Five dollars a month. Wow...those were the good old days!
A guy has to eat so I needed a place to buy groceries. I found this grocery that was around the corner. Two minutes away. Treasure Island. For it's time, Treasure Island was a pretty upscale grocery store. That didn't matter to me because my food needs at the time were pretty basic. Cheese, yogurt, Rice-a-Roni, Noodle-Roni and pizza bagels. I loved those homemade pizza bagels. Lots of sauce and a ton of shredded cheese on a sliced half bagel. They came six to a pack. All you had to do was heat them until the cheese melted and then dig in. Mmmmm....that was good eating. Maybe not the healthiest food but it was yummy! Yep....those were the good old days.
It's now more than four decades later. Today is closing day for all the Treasure Island stores. Yesterday, I decided I needed a bit of nostalgia. I took a ride over to my old grocery store. The one where I knew all cashiers by name. The one where I would see and talk to my neighbors. The one where I would grab some ice cream after a Cubs game...usually a loss. The one where I would get my pizza bagels.
When I got there, what did I find? NOTHING!!!
There were no cashiers. There were no neighbors. There was no ice cream. THERE WERE NO PIZZA BAGELS!!
Treasure Island was closed. The only thing left were the fixtures. Once they sold all the food, they decided not to restock. It was easier to close the store and call it a day. Friday came early for Lakeview's Treasure Island.
The end of Treasure Island started me thinking about other iconic things from our past. To be honest, this is nothing new. You can find memory threads all over Facebook. Places like Growing Up In Skokie or Living in the 60's in Highland Park are sites where people can share the thoughts about how great their early years were....even if they weren't.
People pine for their favorite restaurant that had the best broasted chicken ever. They miss the bowling alley with sixty lanes and the greatest pinball games. How can you forget the record store where you could pick up the new Beatles album...and for less than four dollars. We loved that movie theater where we had our first kiss and saw a James Bond movie...at the same time. Man...those were the good old days.
There's no doubt that this is a thing passed on from one generation to the next. My dad would tell me stories from his youth and I'm sure his dad did the same thing. I passed my memories on to my children. I even showed them the memories because I lived as an adult in the same town as I grew up. Yep...for a while I was living the good old days dream.
But time and progress takes away the physical structures of our youth. The broasted chicken restaurant is a bank. The movie theater and bowling alley became condos. Those four dollar albums now are in the twenty-plus dollar range. All that we have left is the memories....and that's not a bad thing.
Usually, I'm pretty good at living in the now. While I do like the things and people from my past, I'm not obsessed with how great things were in fourth grade...although I do wonder what happened to Mrs. Klein. But for one day, I'm going to remember the days at Treasure Island. In their honor, I'm making pizza bagels for dinner. Mmmmmm.....that's some good eating.
Ahhhhhhh.......those were the good old days.
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