When I was a kid, we used to walk to our grade school (middle school) every day, rain or shine, sleet or snow. I did the same walk each day for about five years or so.
That’s five years of walking past the same scary high schools, same convenience store, same homes, same trees, you get the idea.
A while back, I heard someone talking about virtually walking to school again using Google Street View. I gave it a try and was totally enthralled by the experience. It brought back such vivid memories of hiding behind a wall and throwing snowballs at cars, of buying candy at the convenience store (or panhandling out front), stopping in at an old apartment building to pick up a friend, a near death from a falling tree during a storm.
It also brought back great memories of my brother Mike and friends, Carrie, Pat, Maria, Richard, Spence, and others whose names are slipping my mind at the moment.
The virtual walk was strange because many of the buildings have changed now. I had no idea that a group of homes had been torn down to build condos. In fact, one of the high schools had become a condo too! Oh, Toronto, when will the condo fetish cease?
Still, the majority of buildings are where they were way back when. Even the old decrepit wall is still there. It's the one that we used to climb to sneak under the fence of the high school’s football field, or to roll down into massive banks of snow.
The whole experience of virtually walking to school again was an amazing one (I'm a sucker for nostalgia). It took a few minutes and many clicks to get there, but not nearly as long as it did by foot, and it was a heck of a lot warmer this time too.
Give this a try for yourself. Has your old neighborhood changed much?