September 20, 2014

Drawing on the past as we look forward

By Lauren Begley
Staff Writer | reporter@arenacindependent.com
Posted 2/3/10

“Do you want a cookie?”

“Um... do you take credit cards?”

“Do you want a cookie.”

“…OK.”

It’s hard to describe in words the actual look of, “We’re closing in two days and you’re seriously asking if we take credit cards?” (I really need to start carrying cash on me more often.)

I walked into the Standish Bakery late last week to interview whoever was willing to talk to me about the bakery closing on Sunday afternoon. What I ended up with was over an hour of laughs and conversation.

I had a seat at what was deemed the political table – the big round table in the back – and I had a wonderful opportunity to talk to several people who frequented the bakery.

It wasn’t until I was getting close to leaving that I realized I hadn’t gotten one word about the fact the bakery was closing.

What I did get to hear, however, were stories about how Standish used to be, many, many years ago, and how much the area had changed over the past few decades.

There was a time when a trip to Detroit was considered newsworthy enough to be talked about in the newspaper. Soldiers came and went through the Depot during multiple wars, and there are people who remember classrooms slowly emptying out as men were drafted during Vietnam.

People also talked vividly about the candy store and how you could buy strips of candy dots as long as your arm for only pennies.

If I want to talk about how things were “back in the day,” I cite all the great times I had growing up in the late ’80s and into the ’90s. The “Power Rangers” were the coolest thing ever, and Nickelodeon actually had good shows.

Times were better than they are now, but I know there are people much older than me who have gone through worse than what we’re experiencing right now with the economy.

I don’t mean to make light of the situation by simply saying, “Hang in there! Things will get better if we tough it out a little longer.” It’s very depressing to see businesses close down one by one, and I’m sad that a place like the bakery closed before I got the chance to experience it like the rest of the community has for over 70 years.

But I am an eternal optimist, and I always remember the good that comes out of experiences.

The bakery closed, but I arrived just in time to sit down and enjoy some coffee and a cookie. I got to see the photos on the walls that outlined the community’s past, and I think the history of all our communities – not just Standish – is something that needs to be preserved even when the businesses themselves are no longer up and running.

P.S. That chocolate chip cookie was amazing.

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