My wife and I went to visit my parents in Pinckney, Michigan for the day over the weekend. Our son fell asleep on the drive, and instead of sitting in my parents driveway waiting for him to wake up we decided to drive through Pinckney.
Pinckney is a rural town of a couple thousand people north of Ann Arbor. It tends to be conservative and very white. The town has two claims to fame. The close proximity it has to the tourist trap Hell, and graduate Robert Sabuda. Sabuda is a master pop-up book creator. It is also where I spent 22 years of my life.
My parents have lived in Pinckney for almost 40 years. My mom graduated from Pinckney High School in the 1970’s, and has lived there almost her whole life. They are the last members of my immediate family still living in the area. While they live in Pinckney they have almost no association with the town. My dad is from Dexter, a town 10 miles away, and they spend most of their time at functions there. So I should not have been all that surprised when I noticed the first school I attended, Village Elementary, was being torn down without my knowledge.
The school district has been losing students for years, a common trend in most of Michigan, and Village has not been used as a school for some time. It seems to make sense to tear it down, but I will say that I was geniunely shocked when I saw it.
Village was actually the high school for a number of years in Pinckney. My grandma graduated from there in the 1930’s. There used to be this poster display that had all of the graduating classes, and my dad pointed her out to me. I seem to remember someone telling me that she played on the basketball team, and the gym appeared to still be standing. From what I have read it looks like it will soon be gone as well to make room for a new library.
It is strange when a piece of your history is gone, or fades away. Memories flood back. I remember not wanting to dance at an assembly for The Letter People because I was shy. And seeing local children’s group Gemini (yes, they are twins). I met some of my first friends at Village, and played little league baseball behind the school. Seeing it in the process of being demolished made me feel old and sad. A part of me wanted to jump the fence and snag a brick, or at least take pictures. I did neither.
When my parents retire, and move from Pinckney I am not sure how often I will return. The only reason we head out there now is to visit, and when we do we rarely venture into town. When I lived there I kind of hated Pinckney because it felt so far away from everything, and I still kind of feel the same way today. It will always be my hometown, and where I grew up, but I just do not think I belong there anymore.