Reflecting on how Sedalia has changed

Jack Miller - Contributing Columnist

Jack Miller

Contributing Columnist

With the recent destruction of the First United Methodist Church I thought about all the changes that have taken place in Sedalia since I was a boy.

The changes are not surprising since I am well into my seventh decade, but some hurt more than others. Some people may think change is slow when it comes to a town, and to those who never leave it I guess that would be true. For those of us who left Sedalia as boys and girls for one reason or the other could see those changes more clearly when we returned home. For me it was the Navy that took me away allowing me to return for a few days now and then to see my loved ones, and get re-acquainted with the town.

In those days the changes were subtle at first, then a building would disappear, or one would be built, a name would change on a business, and a familiar person would no longer be behind a counter of a store or cafe to be happy that I had returned. Now as a somewhat older man, as I drive around Sedalia trying to remember the way it was when I was a boy I find a lot of gaps in my memory, like the gaps created by the missing buildings, homes and people no longer a presence in Sedalia.

Nearly all the homes I lived in as a boy in Sedalia are gone now. I drive by their locations now and then and try to recall them as they were when I was a boy. One of the few exception to those missing structures is on East 11th Street where I lived when I started my education at Washington School.

The old house doesn’t look the same as it did back then, having gone through several structural changes. When I was a boy, the old house had a porch with a trellis at one end where honeysuckle grew, and the sweet smell of its flowers always filled the house in the summer months. Bees were constant visitors to the flowers, and their buzzing could be heard like someone humming during warm quiet summer days when mom, sis and I sat on the front porch.

Sadly the porch and trellis are gone now. One of the other things I remember about the property was that it was a full block long, and dad would plant a big garden on the empty space behind the house that ran all the way to 12th Street every year.

It was there I saw my first potato bug, and also picked up a few new words as dad cursed them as he sprayed the plants. Dad was always proud of what came out of that garden; unlike me, he had a green thumb, and harvested Hugh tomatoes, potatoes, and baskets full of green beans mom would can for winter.

The other few remaining homes my family and I lived in back then are only fleeting memories to me now, because I was too young to retain much about them when we lived there. Sometime when my mother spoke of a place where we lived when I was a baby or a toddler I would get a flash of a memory, but it was as I said fleeting. I guess the main thing is my town is still here, as are many of my memories, and those no wrecking ball can reach. I hope the congregation of the First United Methodist Church will find some solace in their memories of the old church.

Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.

Jack Miller is a longtime Sedalia resident whose column will run in the Weekend edition of the Democrat.

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