We always took our young children to play at the Capitol. How they enjoyed tossing pennies into the big circular fountain, chasing squirrels, sitting next to and pretending to ring the huge Liberty Bell on the Capitol steps.
The downtown Sam remembers, and the one I remember from 1954, has changed a lot. Gone are two favorite department stores, The Diamond and Stone & Thomas, places my mother-in-law loved to shop. My husband still talks about going to town as a boy with his mother and having lunch in The Diamond's fifth-floor cafeteria.
As we drive through town, Sam points out Estep's, a men's clothing store, and the Peanut Shoppe, both still in business, but places of his past are few and far between. This trip we found the Blossom Deli had closed.
We're always happy to visit an old-time drugstore still in business in Kanawha City. They're always busy at lunchtime, definitely still a favorite with the locals. We make sure every trip we have a Charleston Hot Dog or two, and often order that or a "Long Bob" at Trivillian's.
Whenever we go back, we always take flowers to Sunset Memorial Park for my husband's family. We spend time at their graves, remembering, and as we drive through the large cemetery my husband sees familiar family names on many of the tombstones.
Our last stop before heading home is always Capitol Market, a downtown market my husband remembers his father going to. The indoor vendors and the farmers have almost anything you could hope to find. One year I found very small plums, the likes of which I haven't seen since I was a child and a neighbor had that kind of plum tree.
We leave with the backseat full of our purchases, knowing, of course, we can find the same fruits and vegetables at farm markets back home, but here they seem a little more special. Still, we have yet to find tomatoes that taste as good as those my Italian father-in-law used to grow.
Hometowns change over the years, but you can go home again. Go to those long-ago places and let your memory do the rest.
Sally Evans Sovilla, of Cincinnati, may be emailed at blueeyedsa...@yahoo.com.