Sistersville High School Alumni Weekend Photo Essay
(Gallery Featured Below)
Taking yet another first glance,
that lonesome little town looks the same as it did
those many years ago
when youth guided my principles,
and death seemed far away.
The town that enclosed
(and at times encased)
still breathes quietly -
Worn bricks and aged sandstone
flavored with artificial progress
line the streets,
laying out history-cloaked paths towards my memories
that exist quietly
just around the corner and out of sight,
a little ways down from where Wells and Charles Street intersect.
I wonder on and come across my Old Main home,
the ornate iron fence still fortressing it nobly.
The slowly rusting ironwork
welcomes and haunts me,
as my hands grip its 19th century surface tightly -
reliving images of that beat up car pulling away for the last time,
her face in the window waving back sadly.
Scenes of a softer time
before me as memories flood my brain:
Friday night lights.
Blankets of chilled fog.
Sunday lemonade with neighbors.
The City News.
Not far away, the tattered, decaying remnants of Tiger Pride
peak through overgrown foliage pitifully,
those cheering voices of yesteryear
now protesting age and amnesia,
squeaking like those wheels seldom turned
of the abandoned wagon
resting near the banks of the grand Ohio,
flowing in unison with time -
I head my way back up Charles Street
and come to another street corner,
my city-slicker shoes feeling insecure
on the worn and torn brick sidewalks,
unfamiliar with their surroundings.
My feet know better though -
they've experienced it all before.
The distant, familiar voice of the
sounds early, an extra trip to Wheeling is apparent.
Leaping out of the past and into my ears
comes an old familiar voice which interrupts my observations,
speaking a friendly "hello" which
reverberates through my head.
With age coating her utterance,
she questions me: "now what brings you home?"
In an instant, the dusty, aged pages of my yearbook come alive -
the faces, not unlike those of ghosts,
now speak in real time to me -
their voices echoing through the recesses of my brain,
as memories strike nerves long-since forgotten.
In a quiet voice, my uttered words
betray my aching, lonely soul.
“I’ve missed it.”
~ Bill Breneman ~