Monday, September 26, 2005

Going back to one's old neighborhood

Have you ever gone back to the old neighborhood where you grew up? Over the weekend I did. I had an opportunity to visit my hometown of Elmont, Long Island (NY). It's a strange experience because it's an odd combination of how life always changes and how time seems to stand still.
Some things are still the same--the church building, certain stores, street names, some landmarks--while others are very different: different people, new stores, new buildings, more cars (a lot more cars!) and other things. Those are only the surface things that are very visible. Underneath there's changing social relationships and dynamics and even cultural values. The world is very different and changing rapidly.
I saw a review of a book called Bowling Alone, which is about the fraying of social ties in American communities. I'd like to read it. If anyone has already read it, please let us know what you think of it. It sounds quite intriguing because the author uses bowling as a metaphor for what's happening in society. Whereas years ago many people enjoyed the social ties of bowling leagues, today people are more likely to bowl alone. That's one small example of how social ties have become less cohesive in the US today.


Elaine said...

Your comments strike a chord with me, partly because as a result of my parents' many moves I have grown up with no close ties. But in second grade we lived in Elmont. I went to Covert Ave school and broke my ankle jumping off the monkey bars. We thought it was so thrilling to go to the corner store and vote for Miss Reingold (giving away my age now). Yes, you are right, society has changed very much. It sometimes seems like every man for himself rather than all for one and one for all. I too would like to read Bowling Alone. (Bowling certainly seems to be a touchstone - Bowling for Columbine.)
P.S. I enjoy your blog immensely. Thanks

xaipe said...

Interestingly, however, here in downtown Chicago a new bowling alley just opened. It is the new (old) thing for young adults; the new disco, I guess.

Sr. Lorraine said...

Elaine, it's great to know that someone from Elmont has visited the blog! I remember the Covert Ave School, although I went to St. Boniface.