Pearl Jam's "Jeremy" came on the radio this afternoon while I was in the car. Instant flashback to high school. I took a different way home from work today because of an errand, and I found myself in an area of town that I hadn't cruised in a while... one of my best friends used to live down that street with her parents. That street used to dead end on the edge of the universe in Baton Rouge. Beyond that street was...sugar cane, wooded fields, the river? We didn't know because it was THE END of our world. We turned either right towards LSU, where I would go after we graduated, or left towards the hilltop, where we once took our blind-folded boyfriends for a surprise picnic.

This afternoon I came into town on a road leading into the city that hugs the river. I've had to take "the back roads" more often now that traffic in Baton Rouge is...worse. I knew I was looking for the not-so-recent extension of that street that used to dead-end just a few miles up, but just as I found it, "Jeremy" began to play. I felt like an anachronism. Pearl Jam was playing in my car, in my head. It was 1994. But I was driving down a street that didn't exist then, neither did each of the forty thousand houses that have popped up in the last 15 minutes.

I grew up in Baton Rouge, got my first college degree here, and got married here. I've seen my friends move away, then move back. I was one of those that went off to school in a bigger city, on a different coast, in search of something somewhere else. But I came back.

This city is changing and growing so fast. I like the new stores, the new roads and the new opportunities for our hopeful population, but I lament the big, small town where I grew up. I knew every nook and cranny and have memories in most of them. I drove down a street today that I couldn't recognize and didn't know. It was a long way from 1994.


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