Monday, January 16, 2012

Orange Nostalgia illuminates Main Street

Yesterday I went to the Orange Nostalgia event at the YWCA on Main Street in Orange. I got my junior and senior life saving certificates at the Y when I was a teen, but I haven't been there in decades. It was delightful to enter the building, which has so many memories, and share an afternoon with Orange historians. Organized by Tony Monica, an avid chronicler of the Orange scene, it was a time to be surrounded with sights and sounds of a place, echoes from many eras that gave our small city a dimension of IMPORTANCE. Tony had brought an aerial photograph of Orange before the freeway was built. It allowed to see the streets I used to walk in their fullness and effectiveness. Donna Williams had brought her uncle's high school yearbook. His classmates included Councilman Ben Jones, for whom a street is named not a 100 yards from the Y. Another classmate was Monty Irvin, who went to become one of the town's very famous sons and for whom the park was named. I brought my Tremont Avenue School 7th grade cooking notebook, with all the Orange Public Schools recipes and instruction pages. Karen Wells brought maps, books, newspaper articles and artifacts from her magnificent collection. Edward Marable brought a flyer advertising home lots in Seven Oaks. "Look at that!" we all said to each other, startled by some face, or notation, or bit of information. Historian Sarah Kirshen wandered through and nodded sagely. "Archives. The raw stuff, the real stuff that helps us understand the past."

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