Maybe I spend a little too much time trying to connect my past with who I am today. Since returning to my homeland in The Silver Valley, I have been playing "connect the dots" in order to facilitate my unending quest for the missing pieces. I have spent countless hours driving around Wallace to see what was and what is left. I drive by old buildings, my old home on Cedar Street, the site of where the hospital stood where I came into this world, and the site of my old grade school, junior high school, and high school. There is not much left except for the ghosts of days long gone.
I don't know any of the people who are on the street corners. I used to know everyone. I don't recognize the names of the businesses anymore. How can multiple generations of things just be gone? Who gave the new people the right to change things? I am sure that many of the people who live now in Wallace don't even know what mining was all about.
However, the real kicker came last Saturday when my wife and I were driving around Wallace and I saw I sign that made me screech the car to a halt and quickly drive around the block again.
My wife asked me what was wrong, and I replied tersely that I thought I had seen something, but I could not believe that it could be true, so I wanted to see it again.
But, there it was, a sandwich board on the sidewalk in front of the old Cornell-Ward Funeral Home that said "Parlor Antiques" This had to be some kind of sick joke. I didn't know for sure that the old funeral home was gone, although I had suspected it might be relegated to only part-time use. But the idea of turning on old funeral home into a tourist trap was beyond any sense of
respect for those lives that ended their earthly journey with a stop at the funeral home.
What a slap in the face to families who had said their farewells to dear family members at that place! What a slap in the face to those who had grieved there ! Have we degenerated so much that nothing is sacred anymore? I guess everything is for sale now days, even the memories of those who made this Valley what is was with blood, sweat, and tears, and then went to their final destination. "Parlor Antiques"?
Wallace is full of nothing but antiques stores now. I personally think that they are "junk stores" instead of antiques, but what do I know? So, we sell our past, and it is being sold by people who are new to Wallace. They know nothing of life in a mining town, and yet they want to capitalize on it's history. I will bet most of them have contempt for mining. After all, weren't miners just dirty, uneducated men who knew nothing but bars and cat houses?
My past is not for sale, and especially not in a degrading business called "Parlor Antiques"