Sunday, February 12, 2023

Bob Greene Road

It will probably come as no surprise that I'm all about Google Maps: the maps, its Satellite View, its Street View, all that stuff. If I see a street address in something that interests me, pretty much for any reason, I'll look it up on Google Maps, check out the Satellite View, drop into Street View and look at the 360┬║ image.

Growing up I used to spend my summers living in the old Greene family home, the house my mom grew up in, in eastern Kentucky, not far west of the West Virginia line (Bruin, Kentucky, along State Route 7; Elliott County, county seat Sandy Hook; nearest sizable town Grayson, near Grayson Lake State Park, in Carter County).

So it was only natural when Google Maps became a thing, I'd bring up Google Maps and revisit my old childhood haunts from time to time. I found that old house, which had electricity (on good days), but no heating (other than a fireplace), and no running water (other than what I ran out to the well and got). The toilet was an outhouse, which was a fair trek out the back door and beyond the old chicken coop (but not as far as the barn) on a cold night. I also found the homes of my cousin Bob Greene and some other relatives in the neighborhood, which were just on the hillside on the other side of the hollow ("holler") to the north of our house.

Until one day, I couldn't find it. I could find other landmarks, like Route 7, the tributary of Grayson Lake that was in the neighborhood, and the old Horton Flat Road, but I couldn't recognize anything where I thought the old house should be, nor any of the homes I knew to have been near it.

I was mystified for months, until some judicious Googling led me to a page of the Kentucky Department of Transportation that explained that the short section of Route 7 on which the house sat had been completely rerouted, the road straightened out, and widened, and it now ran west of the old house, behind the hill on which the house had been built, instead of in front of it. And the original narrow, winding, sometimes treacherous section of Route 7, on which the gravel driveway up the hill to the old house was, was now an unnamed road off the shiny new Route 7.

A couple of days ago I revisited my old stomping grounds again, the very place where I learned to shoot a gun, first rode a motorcycle, read Frank Herbert's novel Dune on the front porch, and lots of other stuff, only to find that the old former Route 7 segment was now officially named "Bob Greene Road". 

Which made me really happy.

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