It has been a while since my emotions have been so stirred up I felt the need to write a letter. I get a sick feeling in my stomach the first five minutes of my morning commute and the last five minutes of my afternoon commute home. It’s like the feeling I get when I drive through an area that has been swept by a tornado. In fact, for a while what I was seeing reminded me of just that. What I have been seeing is not an act of God but premeditated destruction, plain and simple. Homes and lifetime memories have been torn apart.
My husband and I live in a neighborhood off of Friendship Road, and have for nearly 10 years. When we first heard about the plans for Friendship Road several years ago, it disturbed us because we will not have direct access into and out of our subdivision as we do now. We were so caught up in our disappointment that we did not stop to think of how it would affect the people who lived on Friendship Road, and some who lived a block or two off of Friendship on side streets.
Several months ago, we began noticing some things missing. Subdivision signs and some small businesses were being torn down. Homes were being destroyed. Then one day I noticed trees were being cut down or uprooted. Not only could I see the effect on plants and grass, but some homes were stripped of their privacy as all the trees in front of their home were taken away.
My heart began aching for those people. Some people have had to move from homes that have been in their family for many generations. Some have erosion fencing right up next to their front door, some with big piles of dirt or tree roots as a reminder of what they have lost. Some beautiful homes were revealed, while other eyesores appeared.
There are two subdivisions that have lost trees blocking passers-by from seeing the swimming pools. Worse were the trees were torn away from the ballfield at the elementary school. What parent is going to want their child playing ball right next to a four- to six-lane highway? I halfway expect to see the ballfield bulldozed one day, or even the school.
On top of all that, like rubbing salt in a wound, the powers-that-be voted to change the name of the street that has been a part of people’s addresses for many years.
As days and weeks go by, I can see that where they have plowed down trees, graded dirt and planted grass, it will one day be a beautiful highway with rolling hills and wildflowers. Many years from now, people will drive down that busy highway oblivious to the lives that have been changed, all in the name of progress. Meanwhile, hearts are still aching for part of their lives that remain only a memory.