Ready or not, change comes

by Steve Harrison

Change comes, invited or not; aging forces our familiarity. Steve Lopez, in a recent LA Times column, suggests aging is all about managing decline. Some people are lucky and their decline is minimal, but the strongest, most fit among us have to acknowledge a certain loss, a certain change that comes with age. A bigger nose, more wrinkles, that damned middle age “ponch,” all bring us to the awareness that we no longer look like our high school photo.

And it doesn’t matter how much money one has to pull, tighten, and tuck; an 80-year-old doesn’t look 60, let alone 30. There are celebrities who look great as they age. They manage their decline well. Cher, Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton have morphed into beauties for the ages; but take a look at old photos and you will see how much each has changed.

Change comes whether we want it or not. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes not. Our democracy is built upon change. Every two to four years there is the possibility of picking new politicians who promise much and always deliver less than hoped for. But unlike monarchies and dictatorships, we aren’t stuck with people until they die. At its foundation, America has embraced change.

Our little town has changed much over the years. There is the freeway parallel to Baseline that makes commuting easier, unless you are going to Pasadena anytime, or eastward after 3:30 p.m. Beloved stores and restaurants come and go. Remember First Street Bar and Grill? Do you remember the old gas station-turned-mechanic’s garage across from Walter’s? Does anyone remember when Harvard Square Cafe was just a small sidewalk breakfast spot? Or Nick’s? Or Griswold’s?

Our house stands on land once owned by Pomona College. Padua neighbors initially bemoaned the building of 10 houses on the land, but have grown to accept the change. I’m certainly happy for it. Below us, Stone Canyon Preserve cleaned up an illegal dumping ground, adding a well-tended neighborhood along Mt. Baldy Road. The Claremont Lewis Museum of Art is a thriving art repository open to all, and Pomona College’s Benton is a beautiful structure educating students and residents alike, showing us the wonders of creative endeavors by artists near and far.

I’m grateful for the arrival of Trader Joe’s and Sprouts. Village West — and soon Village South — revamped formerly forlorn industrial space. I’m thrilled with the additions of I Like Pie, Crème, and recently Insomnia Cookies, all joining the ranks of Some Crust to satisfy my sweet tooth and expand my belt. We bemoan the loss of Rhino Records, Barbara Cheatley’s, The Press, and Candlelight Pavilion. New things move in, some better, some not, and some still hold a promise for greatness.

It came to my attention a few days ago that the Marie Barna mural that once decorated the side of the Candlelight’s former home, now a new gym, has been painted over. The mural represented characters from 30 of the plays in Candlelight’s repertoire. Art and memories have become a blank wall.

Change is the one constant; it’s a trite saying, but true. Sometimes change brings something better, sometimes not. The one thing it does do is spark our memories, making us all aware that time is passing, and our world is changing. We have the choice to embrace the past or the future, or if possible, both.


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