Boyhood burial ground


It does one good to return to the neighborhood of his growing up days.

While dwelling too much on the past is not advised, it is important that we not forget where it all started.

A visit still triggers the endless memories made there ­— some that bring a smile, others that bring a frown and still others best left buried where they are.

The neighborhood on the west side of Goldsboro is where it all started for me. It was the location of the Union Station, but we called it the train station.

Today, it sits in silence at the intersection of Carolina and Walnut streets.

Hopefully, one day it will be renovated, refurbished and returned to the grandeur of its earlier days when it was at the top of the city’s offerings.

It was the hub of those leaving and arriving by train transportation.

Overall, the neighborhood where all those precious memories were made still survives, although many of the turn of the 20th century two-story homes are gone. Others have fallen into decay and deterioration, and most likely will face the wrecking ball in the short years ahead.

It is a neighborhood with deep roots that now allows me to visit it as a boyhood burial ground.

Time has been unkind to the neighborhood, but still with all of the change the memories remain as they were made.

Just a few weeks ago, I saw a photo on Facebook of the old train station and it was taken during the era of the electric trolley cars. The photo featured a trolley car stopped at the intersection to either load or unload passengers.

Development in the area today covered up trolley car tracks that once were visible at the corner of Walnut and Carolina streets during my growing up days.

They are still visible two blocks away at the corner of Carolina and Ash streets.

The trolley cars were a little before my time, but it is easy to imagine them shuffling train passengers up to Center Street four blocks away.

I can still recall the strong smell of Clorox that was used daily to scrub the floors of the waiting and rest areas of the train station.

Even the “All Aboard!” call of the conductor still echoes in the silence there.

The sound of the train leaving is a lonely sound, and while no trains have rumbled through there in years they can still be heard in the silence.

Beside the old Union Station today is the Wayne County Public Transportation facility.

It was the neighborhood baseball field in my growing up years.

It is where I hit my first-ever home run.

It is just like your neighborhood ­— where you experienced your first love, got your first kiss, started to school, got whuppin’s several times a week, got your first bicycle, dribbled your first-ever basketball and bicycled to the nearby Neuse or Little rivers to fish or swim or camp.

It is the same neighborhood where you went to church, dreaded vacation bible school, collected comic books, got your first dog or cat, looked forward to big Sunday gatherings every Sunday and learned to earn money by selling soda bottles or cutting the grass of neighbors.

It is the same neighborhood where you slept with the windows open during the summer and slept under heavy quilts during the brutal cold of winter. It is the same neighborhood where you went barefoot in the summer.

It is just like all neighborhoods across America, but most are just memories today — boyhood or girlhood burial grounds.

They sit there lonely, just waiting to be visited.


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