Friday, April 29, 2005

Natsukashii - (Japanese) adj. dear, beloved, old, nostalgic

In this weeks issue of the Fredericksburg Standard-Radio Post, I ran across a letter to the editor written by Nicole Hernandez. Nicole is a college student, and misses the town she grew up in:

More and more [our town] belongs to the tourists. . . .Perhaps we should have seen this coming when we lost the old [movie] theater to a clothing store. Or when kids could no longer skateboard on the sidewalks, or when yet another bank popped up in the yellow pages. . . . Our small town. . .should not be given up as an offering to the gods of the city.

I hate to say it, Nicole, but it's too late. We have appeased the gods of the city by luring more unsuspecting tourists to town and taken as much of their money as we could without asking them to drop off their wallets at the city limits. By the time you were going to The Cookie Jar (a combination bakery/coffeeshop), high school students looking for something to do on Saturday had been run off Main Street, and off to San Antonio, Austin and Kerrville. I remember reading letters to the editors in the mid 80s from tourists who complained about "all the kids on Main Street" making noise driving up and down.

Well, the tourists won. Now teens drive to other cities to entertain themselves so they don't disturb the sleep of the tourists. Shhh!

Most of the businesses on Main Street had turned to tourism by then because most of the locals were driving to San Antonio or Austin to shop at the malls with the big chain stores where they could save a few dollars. I even knew people who would drive to Kerrville to buy gas because they could save a dime a gallon! Once the citizens of Fredericksburg abandoned Main Street, there was no one to turn to but the tourists.

That's when we lost the spirit of Fredericksburg. The tourists didn't steal it. They started using it while we were in San Antonio saving a few bucks.


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