This past weekend on a speaking trip I had a little extra time Sunday morning to drive up to the small, one-high-school-town I lived in 30 years ago as a kid. What a reminiscent little jaunt!
Hmmmm. Maybe I’ll have a little contest seeing if you can guess where this town is (better keep reading).
I stopped by my little elementary school, the house I lived in back then (see pic to right), and the church that my dad pastored at the time. It’s crazy how nostalgic this small town is for me. I only lived there three years (from age 7 to 10). But I have such strong memories of riding my little bike with the big banana seat around the neighborhoods (yeah… it was rockin!), walking home from school with my brother (remember when kids walked home from school?), climbing a tree in my backyard, playing football with my dad and brother on the front grass…
I drove around the town in my rental car taking it all in. I couldn’t believe how many of the little streets I remembered, although it was strange driving a car instead of peddling a bike. I drove by several of my friends’ houses—my 8 and 9-year-old friends from 30-years ago—wondering if their parents still lived there. I even saw the edge of the creepy-looking woods where my buddy Mark Krouse and I got lost for about 30 minutes—it felt like a day!
As I pulled up to my school a nice memory popped in my head. You see, my mom or dad used to pick up my brother Thom and I from school when the weather was bad during the winter. I saw the spot where they usually parked our little brown family car, a 1976 Volkswagen Dasher. One particular Friday after school my brother and I arrived at the car to find both my mom and dad in the car with a couple suitcases in the back.
Thom and I were no dummies… we almost never traveled those days. So we immediately wondered what was going on. My parents tried to play it off. “Oh, really? Are there suitcases back there? Hmmmmm.”
I don’t even remember how far the drive was, but probably within an hour or so we pulled up to a little motel called the LampLighter(funny that I remember the name). I don’t know where it was or even remember what the rooms looked like. I just remember walking through the snow covered parking lot into the little motel lobby… and seeing the indoor pool! This was paradise for Thom and I! My parents’ little surprise trip to the LampLighter was the highlight of our year. (In retrospect… I think the place was probably just a rinkydink little motel. But we didn’t care. We were swimming in the middle of winter!)
It’s amazing what you can remember when you take time to look around your childhood stomping ground.
Random Contest Idea: I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged or written about this little town. I know I’ve mentioned it speaking. So let’s see if any of you will be able to figure out where it is. Here’s the pic I shot of the church from my phone. This is the church I attended when I was 7 through 10 years old! My dad was the pastor there for 3 years. (If no one gets the answer by noon on Monday Pacific Time, I’ll add a hint in the comments.)
THE CONTEST: I’ll give a copy of any one of my books (your choice) to the first person who uses the comment section below to tell me where this church this is (what city, etc.). (one guess per person)
I’ll give you a quick hint to start. It’s not even half an hour from this thing!