The relationship between time and distance

Published 7:08 pm Monday, November 19, 2018

Do you remember growing up and a mile seemed like a hundred miles? Even a trip across town seemed to be endless, and we asked, “Are we there yet?” Growing up, our world seemed to revolve around our neighborhood. Some neighborhoods were large yet others may have only a few homes. Still, in this area, we had all we needed. Our only means of travel then were our bikes and sometimes our two feet (Pat and Charlie).

I remember riding my bike out to visit Whit Rhodes on the Slatestone Road one summer morning to play catch. Whit lived where the new high school is today, and it seemed like miles away from my neighborhood on 10th Street. Taking the old Bath Highway past MacsWoods then to the Slatestone Road took forever. I thought I would never get there. What is now so close then seemed so far away.

Riding our bikes out on Market Street Extension was always against the house rules. Market Street was narrow and hardly had room for a bike, let alone a car. It was a sense of accomplishment to ride out to the airport and camp out so that we could watch the airplanes take off and land. There was no Smallwood back then, only the cemetery and Civil War embankments behind Oak Drive. This was the perfect place to pitch our tents and camp out for the night, pretending to be soldiers. Later, Market Street Extension was the road Coach Wagner would take us driving on, and we all shuddered when another car passed because it was so narrow and Coach Wagner would be taking his nap!

During the summer, Mom or Virginia Gerard would take a load of us to the Country Club pool and that seemed like it was nine miles out of town. It always seemed to take 30 minutes to get there and even stopping at Carolina Dairy for ice cream on the way home didn’t make the trip faster. (You could get the best double scoop of chocolate ice cream at Carolina Dairy!)

The CC Road, which is now 15th Street, was all dirt. It connected Market to Highway 17 and is now one of the busiest streets in town. The CC Road had no houses and another area that was good for camping. Once it was paved, we could visit Cambo. After a baseball or football game on the open lot in front of Bill Taylor’s on Summit Avenue, we could walk over to W.B. Scott’s store and get a large Pepsi and a bag of peanuts that was poured into the Pepsi. If lucky, you could get a frozen Pepsi with only a little ice in the bottle. It was so good! Now 15th Street has a mall and many offices and is used by numerous merchants and fast food restaurants. It extends from Highway 17 to Highway 264 and past the hospital and Tayloe Drug Company now.

Like I said earlier, we never ventured out of our neighborhoods when we were young, but as we got older, we soon found other places to explore. Once we got our licenses from Mr. Bill Deans, our neighborhoods got closer. Still, until graduation, our neighborhoods were where we created memories and friendships that would last our entire life. Betty, Jane, Mike, Wayne, Herman, Bubba, Thad Hodges, Ginger Parker, Keith, Sandra Jean, Warren, Bill Mac, Susan and Al —  all names that will never be forgotten.

It is my hope that you remember when a mile seemed like forever, but now, I got it figured out why. It was our safe haven and our comfort zone! The best of times with the best of friends and in the best of places — Washington, NC.


— Harold Jr.

Harold Robinson Jr. is a native of Washington.