Old America

It was a little past 2 when I parked my car in the center lot of town, surrounded by residential homes on the right, and town business on each other side. I stepped out of my car and I immediately was smothered by the heat from the beating sun. I moseyed around from one block to the next, snapping shots of old bar signs to old-school barber polls. The town was relatively restful, and as I turned up Main Street, a fried food aroma subdued me.

I drifted up towards a restaurant named the Grill Shop. Lounging on the bench outside was an older woman: cutoff grey shirt, wornout tattoos, smoking a cigarette. I smiled her way, and she reciprocated with a measly head nod, almost suspicious of me holding a camera.

Boyertown is a town comprised of old brick homes, local restaurants, niche stores such as Yugioh cards for sale, and a community known for its conservatism and traditions. Parts of the town are quaint: such as the yellow or red colored homes, clotheslines in the backyards, retro cars. At one point, many years ago, I could envision this town being a major destination in Pennsylvania. However, this town didn’t move with the accelerated pace of the rest of the country, for better and for worse.

Commercialized businesses or standard looking homes haven’t invaded, leaving the town’s original mark as it is. Most money seems to remain in-town, whether it’s in the hands of few or many, I am not sure. I encountered a 76 year-old woman, not looking a day over 50, yanking down her shirts from her clothesline. She was upbeat and well-spirited, embracing fondness for her town.

She was the only woman looking for a conversation that day. Everyone else kept their head down and kept to themselves. This town represents the essence of traditional American small towns. It’s not glamorized, and consists of regular folks: the joyous and subdued. Doesn’t really matter if this town keeps falling behind the rest of the world’s long stride. At any rate, we all eventually get to the same place.

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