I was made a member of a group on Facebook called Holy Spirit Alumni in Mt. Carmel.. The now defunct school is a part of the ever collective memory hole of  so many who attended there. I left Holy Spirit some time around 6th grade and went to Immaculate Heart in Girardville..

I am thrilled to see the memories people are sharing, including old photographs of class collages, pictures of staff, and even the famous Mrs. Ficka, who graced my early life with a whole lot  of love that made me able to stand the stresses of a school taught by Carmelite nuns with attitudes..

There was a photograph posted by someone, and a long time friend and former classmate from Holy Spirit, publicly posted:  “I remember you doing flips down these stairs like it was yesterday.”

I recall that too. I did flips down those steps. I don’t quite know how I was able to do it. But I did them. Regularly.

There are profound moments in my life that took place in Holy Spirit in Mt. Carmel. Some good moments, some not so great.. some moments of 1980s bullying. But being a part of this Facebook group actually adds to my recent viewing of STRANGER THINGS season 2. The homage to the 80s is now complete with my personal nostalgia being drug up from the uncharted waters of memory-land.

Also got me thinking a bit about the collapse of the coal region.

I am not too certain I am alone here so forgive me if it sounds like I am making myself the center of the universe, but here goes nothing:

I was born in Ashland Regional Medical Center. Which closed.
I went to Holy Spirit in Mt. Carmel. Which closed.
I went to Immaculate Heart Elementary school. Which closed.
I went to Cardinal Brennan. Which closed.
My first job was at Henry’s Family dining. Which closed.
I hung out at Devitos in my teens. Which closed.
I shopped regularly at the Schuylkill Mall. Which is closing.
Oh, and to make all of this even more: I grew up in Centralia. Which is now not even a zip code.

There isn’t much more binding me to the coal region, which the exception of memories and family. As family ages and passes from the earthly dwelling, even less will be here.

The rebirth of this region seems far away. The current drama of daily drug addicts and overdoses is becoming too much to handle.

The memories of yesterday? …they are fondly in my heart. But they are just that. Memories.

When will a new burst of joy and love come back to this beautiful area..? When will things actually open again….

….perhaps the day I can do cartwheels and backflips down the stairwell of the former Holy Spirit elementary school…