Alton, Illinois: Home for 11 years

Thanks to online news sites and the proliferation of “hyperlocal” news sites, those of us who have lived in multiple places throughout out lives can keep up with what’s happening in our old hometowns.

My daily Internet cruises includes visits to web sites that provide news and information about Tampa, Florida (the city of my birth), Farmville, Virginia (where I lived for five years as a child), St. Louis, Missouri and Alton, Illinois (where I worked for 11 years as a newspaperman) plus Arlington, Virginia and Washington, DC (where Amy and I lived for 23 years before moving to Floyd).

On a typical morning of surfing sites, I can find out that a childhood friend died in Farmville, a distant cousin retired from from the company where he worked all his life in Florida, a former co-worker died in a traffic crash in Northern Virginia and a former girlfriend was arrested for shooting her now husband in St. Louis.

This morning, I discovered the Metro that once served as a showcase subway system for the Washington area has fallen into disrepair and a bureaucratic nightmare where trains break down, delays have become an everyday occurrence and escalators at more than 60 stations are out of service.

Thomas Wolfe wrote that “you can’t go home again.” In the Internet age, you can do from your den every morning.

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