I walked into the relationship doubting you and not giving you a fair chance. I remembered you from the past and assumed that things hadn’t changed. I settled in and decided that it was temporary and that I would weather the storm.
And that’s when you slowly and gently swept me off of my feet.
Four years later, we amicably part ways, yet I feel more of a loss than ever anticipated. I won’t make this a history piece, as I lack any information that will enlighten you (reference Steve Novotney’s Elm Grove article – http://weelunk.com/elm-grove-defined-uniqueness/). This is simply written from my point of view as an Elm Grove resident over the last four years.
Elm Grove is full of wonderful families. Our children attended Elm Grove Elementary, which contains some of the most wonderful staff that we could have ever imagined, and through their friends we met numerous beautiful families. These are parents who live for their children and children who reflect their parents’ positivity and light. I trust that we will remain in contact with these families and that our children will remain friends until they meet again in high school.
Elm Grove has beautiful neighborhoods and amazing neighbors. We had the great fortune of being surrounded on all sides with neighbors who quickly became more than just people who live in close proximity to our house. We shared holidays, happiness, birthdays, and loss. I hope that my children will always remember that dynamic and what it means to truly be part of a community.
As far as our work commutes, Elm Grove is a quick 10-minute drive to downtown for me, and my wife could quickly navigate Peters Run Road (as long as she didn’t get stuck behind a gas truck) on her way to West Liberty University. We were close to The Highlands and Interstate 70 to the East, as well as I-470 to head to the West, or W.Va. Route 2. Most importantly, we were extremely close to the bridge past Elm Grove Elementary that leads to the Creek Road and our special home away from home — our creek camp. These little pieces of property along the creek are hard to explain until you see them, but they are truly a little slice of Almost Heaven, West Virginia. If you’re looking for a temporary escape and want to travel less than 15 minutes, make a friend with a camp and visit it often.
In every relationship, there are things that we continue to love, or at least remain fond of, even after a breakup. Although I can drive the two miles back to Elm Grove to experience these places at any time, being part of the neighborhood and living within the walking convenience of some establishments is what I’ll miss dearly. The first is the most obvious — Elm Grove DiCarlo’s. It was always on the way home, and it never got old. It will remain my first and favorite. The second thing I’ll miss is Riesbeck’s Grocery Store. Sure, it’s a little bit smaller than Kroger (not Krogers) and doesn’t have the huge variety of organic and natural foods sections. What it does have is character and customer service with happy employees who smile and converse and who will cart your groceries to your car and load them for free (always tip them). Plus, it feels good to support a local business, as the corporate headquarters is located in St. Clairsville.
Lastly, I will miss Rite Aid most of all. This might seem odd to most, but hear me out. The convenience of walking across the street for literally everything was truly wonderful. Groceries, snacks, cleaning products, alcoholic beverages, diapers, toys, greeting cards, gift certificates, etc. As a family, we never went 24 hours without a visit to that Rite Aid. We were platinum members and probably accounted for 10 percent of their weekly business. The employees knew us well, and that kind of relationship reminded us over and over how nice o a community that we were lucky enough to have lived in for four years.
Time will pass, and the pain will lessen, but my heart will remain forever fond of the place that I called home for nearly a half-decade years. There will be new neighborhoods, new grocery stores, new convenience shops/pharmacies, and new eateries, but you always remember the ones that you relied on through life transitions.
Elm Grove is a unique piece of our ever-evolving and revitalizing city and I’ll remember her always. For now, it’s time to look forward and move on.
I now live within walking distance to Ye Olde Alpha.
(Photos by Steve Novotney)