I’ve spent most of my life here in this small, historical town of Clarkston. At the turn of the century, Clarkston’s foot traffic was befitting it’s size; the occasional couple walking their sons to the park, kids taking a historical tour, a man or woman grabbing a last minute addition to dinner from the local grocery store. A picturesque template of the typical, sleepy American town.
Eventually, things began to pick up. Curt Catallo, the owner Clarkston’s renowned watering hole, The Clarkston Union, began to buy up storefronts and put the town on the map with a bevy of award-winning restaurants. For a long time thereon, Clarkston was the place to be to meet up and eat with friends and family, county-wide and beyond. Cars packed bumper to bumper, people lining the streets waiting for their table, and parking overflowing onto the front of private residence (much to the annoyance of the locals). But the good times, it seemed, had come for Clarkston: Property values rose, the towns coffers filled, and a sought after meal was a five minute walk away.
But then the lock-down came.
Overnight, the shuffling from car doors to front doors ceased. The sidewalks were blanketed with snow and there was no need to shovel them. And as the months went by, and the nights began to warm, the outdoor patios were empty and silent. The saddest happy-hours you could have imaged. But as Lansing, only now, begins to decide that people are allowed to leave their homes, signs of life have are flickering in Clarkston once again. While it was bittersweet to relive the times when my town was quiet and quaint, I’ll take a noisier evening with out-of-towners than watch things shutter and die in this place where I grew up. It would be far better for there to be a Clarkston for another family to bring-up their little boy.