Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Indian Village

I will never forget the feeling as a child cycling to South Natick for the first time. Fifty years ago things were quite different. The Old South Natick has remained with most of its buildings still standing today, but there was Indian Spirit that you could feel back then that was differnt then any other part of Natick.
Riding down Eliot Street with the view of Great Blue Hill on the Horizon and the Eliot Church at the bottom, gave me the feeling that I really was going some place special. Magical! It gave me the same feeling as did the family trips to the Mohawk Trail and Mount Greylock.
We lived on the other side of town and our "Bike Hike" was a simple 7 mile ride that would have us riding on, for the most part safe roads. Things have changed.
The water fall park made the perfect picnic spot. White Pine on one side and mowed grass on the other. A fantastic place for a young boy to explore on his own. There always seemed to be white foam floating around the falls and on a windy day, in the air.
The Pharmacy was a major part of the village. Back then drug stores had shelf's of large glass bottles of chemicals they "compounded" into concoctions to fix what ailed you. The Pharmacist always wore a pressed white coat. There was a soda fountain to the left as you walked in serving up things like fresh Lime Rickie's and Vanilla Cokes. There is nothing like an Ice cream Soda on a hot day. Fountain Drinks are now part of South Natick's past and kids today don't know what there missing. There was a Barber shop, and a Antique store that specialized in arrow heads and coins.
The stores were off limits for children. On your own, if you were not going to buy something, you simply were not welcomed.
Visiting The Indian Village had you feeling that you had arrived, not just passing through. I never questioned that we didn't see Indians. As far as I was concerned, if you ever wanted to see some, stay at home and turn on the TV.
Back then it seemed as if South Natick had a theme. It was as if all the shops were working together as one. Pride of "The Village" bonded them together.
Things changed when the Shopping Malls started popping up on Route 9.
Places like Natick Center and South Natick seemed to fall away from the interest of shoppers. Stores closed and only the well established ones remained.
You can go back now and imagine what it was like when things thrived. Customers felt special patronizing the local dealer. Discounted Items and shopping on line wasn't heard of. You happily paid full price with out any question because the Best deal of all was that when you returned to the store, it was still in business.

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