A decade ago a huge twister roared through Charles City, Iowa, the town where I spent most of my summers and then lived with my grandparents during 7th and 8th grade. The tornado destroyed most of the downtown on both sides of the river, including the little neighborhood near the river bridge where our house was, the house I helped my grandfather paint one summer, the house where we played checkers and listened to the radio in the evenings. Gone! The Shell Station on the corner. Gone! The bridge was still there, about the only landmark I could recognize.
The dam where my Grandfather and I fished for bullheads
CeCe High School, a few blocks away, is still there, now a middle school when the new high school was built.
The old suspension bridge spanning the Cedar River I used to ride my bike across to get to the park where we played and where picnics and carnival rides were held, and bonfires during Homecoming. All that is left of that bridge is a bent support structure on each side of the river.
I hardly recognize the place but the memories live on in the present.