I am guilty. Lock me up. Take my sideways photographs and ship me off to Siberia. Okay, maybe not Siberia. I couldn't handle the cold. But jokes aside, I truly am guilty of what I consider a horrendous crime. No, it’s not something you’ll read in next week's crime report. It is however, pretty saddening to say the least.
So what’s the crime?
Well, I, Jay Bhatia, am guilty of ignoring an entire half of my own hometown.
That’s right folks, prior to working at the Journal on Center Street, I had never once willingly stepped foot on this side of town. There was no particular reason to my lengthy absence from East Turlock. I had no qualms or quarrels with anyone here. I simply had no reason to go.
I grew up on the newly developed North West side of Turlock. I attended the high school there, I ate the food there, I did my shopping there and that was it.
To me, that was the Turlock I knew and grew up in.
Not that there was anything wrong with that. I mean, I wish all the luck in the world for those business and hope they thrive to their full extent. However, after walking around the cobblestone steps of historic downtown, sitting down on the old benches of Footers and enjoying a turkey sandwich and walking through the front door of City Hall, I realized something.
There is history here. There is a genuine atmosphere of history ingrained into the walls of the streets and buildings. There is feel that can’t be replaced with flashy commercial ads and bustling new developments.
There are businesses here that have called Turlock their home much longer than most people my age have even been alive. Businesses that have been serving this town in the best possible way and held their ground when the big boys came into town.
Something about local business is incredibly inspiring to me. In a world where corporations seem to run amuck wherever they please, a few stores here held their ground. You can’t buy loyalty with a fancy ad campaign. You can’t fake quality with savvy marketing.
I’ve heard stories of how people used to park their carriages on the downtown sidewalks. To me, there is a certain majesty associated with that history. A majesty that I willingly ignored for the last 10 years.
So, for those of you who haven’t made a trip down here; please do so.
And for those business and people who do work and live here; I’m sorry about the last decade. I’ll make it up you now.