The town I grew up in was a pretty stereotypical small town. It’s tripled in size since I was a kid, but back then everyone knew everyone, and you ran into them at the only grocery store/pharmacy/post office in town. There was one big hangout, Lamppost Pizza. Last Friday night I discovered, via Facebook, that Lamppost was closing. I was shocked – where are all the high school kids supposed to hang out now? THE MALL?!?! How cliché.
I remember when the pizza place opened back in 1986. I could not WAIT to go to the new pizza place with VIDEO GAMES. Then we discovered it had a train that went around the entire inside of the restaurant, which upped the kid-cool factor by a thousand points.
I spent countless Saturdays here, playing video games in my softball uniform and tracking muddy cleats all over the floor. So many team parties were at Lamppost. When I got older my friends and I would get pizza after Friday night football games, and stay to watch the football highlights on local television.
Mike, Annie, my parents and I met up with my friends Tara and Mia and most of their respective kids at Lamppost this last weekend for lunch. As Tara’s kids asked for quarters, I remembered begging my parents and Tara’s parents for quarters while they sat at the same tables.
(Annie, by the way, didn’t care that her video game didn’t work. She just wanted to sit at the “Annie car” and turn the steering wheel.)
My mom asked why the place was closing, and was told that they just couldn’t compete anymore. It seemed hard to believe because the place was jam-packed on Sunday, but with the town’s growth there are lots of other places to go hang out and eat pizza.
Sitting at those tables brought back so many memories…birthday parties, off-campus lunch in high school, dinners with favorite teachers, gossiping in the bathroom about boys, bonding with my friends during college breaks. Lamppost always served as this standing reminder of how great and innocent my childhood was, and even though I don’t live in my hometown anymore, it was great to know I could always go back there when I wanted to. And now I can’t, and it’s sad.
I’m glad I was able to take Annie and have that last lunch with my friends. One day I hope Annie will have a favorite local place that will hold decades of memories.