What’s wrong with old stuff?

By John Toth / Editor and Publisher

In 1979, I took a friend to the airport in Lake Jackson so he could take a commuter flight to Houston, only to learn upon arriving that it was fogged in. No flights that morning.

I wound up driving the friend to Houston to catch his flight.

It wasn’t really an airport -- looked more like an airfield. Wal-Mart is now located in that area. There was little more at the time on that side of Hwy. 332 than pasture and the airfield.

It’s always fun to reminisce about the way things used to be, and how a place has changed over the years.

I know it’s hard to believe now, but for a long time, Hwy. 288 wasn’t all that crowded around Pearland, because Pearland was several miles to the east of it. I used to sail back and forth without being concerned about the traffic until I got to Hwy. 45, which was a crap shoot even back then.

Pearland is now a huge mess when it comes to traffic. People don’t seem to mind, because they tackle it daily just to live there.

Progress is great most of the time, but in some cases I like things to stay the same. Sometimes new is not all that good.

That’s one reason I like older cars. I get attached to them and want to fix them up and keep them. The older, the better, but I cannot afford the really old ones.

I still have a computer that is a decade old. It works fine. My wife uses it to get on the Internet, mostly for Facebook and email. That’s all she needs. Getting her a super-duped quad processor with infinite memory would be a waste.

A friend buys new gadgets just so he can say he has them. He shows them to people, but he barely knows how to used them. I offered to find him a laptop for $100. That’s all he needs - a good, old reliable laptop that would get him on the Internet just fine. 

When I first arrived in this area and worked for the local paper for a few months, I asked the editor if I could write a column. He told me that first I’d have to get about a decade of experience under my belt.

I kind of resented the answer. I really didn’t intend to stick around the paper that long. Things have changed since then, but he had a good point.

Having at least that much history behind you has advantages. I see that now, but back then, my ego got the best of me, and I started to update my resume.

It needed updating anyway. In a small market, writers jump around quite a lot.

But being longer in the tooth does let one see things better, especially when writing about local stuff, like when Pearland wasn’t crowded. Or, when Brazos Mall opened.

I was there shortly after, trying to see what that fancy new mall looked like. I traveled here all the way from Bay City, just to find out that it was closed on Sunday.

Off topic? That’s why I named this column Roundabout. So I can go off on a tangent and then come back to my theme, whatever that may be right now.

I’ll continue reminiscing about the old times in another column. I may even tell the story of how my car got tangled up in the chain across the mall entrance. The security guard wasn’t too pleased. I could see it in his face ... and from the words he yelled. See you next week.