When I was a mere youth, obsessed with the shiny and new as most youths tend to be, these signs seemed confirmation to my teenage self that our hometown was a backwater stuck in the 1960s. I yearned for something new, for a bulldozer to come wipe out those buildings and their associated signs, and give us some Real Progress. Like a new mall, or something.
This is why city planners do not hire teenagers.
After a decade soaking up some quality industrial decay in the likes of Philadelphia, Brooklyn and parts of New Jersey, I have come to love these old signs and the memories of times past they have come to represent.
How wonderful to see signs featuring old telephone exchanges! Hey teenagers, know what those are? But to be fair, how many in my own generation have even heard of a telephone exchange? Learn more here and here (and points to anyone who calls the Hotel Pennsylvania after reading those).
And how quaint and lovely that older folks such as my grandparents do not lose their guideposts from younger days.
|The Cady's Sign, 2007|
My grandparents moved to Salida in 1947 so that Grandpa Ruttum could run his own dairy processing plant and Grandma, despite her most concerted efforts at bringing up nice, civilized children, could raise three little hellions (I've heard the stories, so don't try to deny it, guys!).
Cady's was a store they visited on occasion, and I imagine my grandfather--who came downtown for the news and was friendly with the Cadys--probably stopped by to chat it up at the shop.
Amazingly, while the store closed sometime around 1992, I was still able to snap a photo of the sign in 2007 (although it has since been removed).
Until my grandfather passed away a few years ago, both grandparents would still refer to chance sightings of neighbors, or the opening of a new shop, by their proximity to the shuttered Cady's.
"I ran into Mr. X this afternoon, down in front of Cady's," grandpa would say, circa 1995, or
"Did you see the new bookstore in town? It's across the street from Cady's," he would tell grandma when he stopped home for lunch between rounds of golf and a trip to the local library.
Not having grown up in Salida, I naturally thought Cady's was still open, so was shocked to learn they had closed years before!
So here's a tribute to small town life, my wonderful grandparents, and the preservation of small markers of that which has gone before.
And a big thank you to the librarian at the Salida Public Library, Jeffrey Donlan, for double-checking Cady's dates of operation for me!