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Tag: wake forest

Home is where the Hyatt is


Yesterday, I went searching for a piece of my past and found Hilton and Hyatt instead.

The house where I spent my seventeenth year – not quite 40 years ago – is gone, erased without a trace and replaced by a Hyatt Place hotel with, for your pleasure and convenience, Starbucks coffee and ample parking.

One purpose of my continuing journey across America, with my dog Ace, is to revisit some places of my past – both those I have recollections of and those whose memories, like some dog’s used-up bone, are buried in my head and difficult to locate without help.

On this trip, we’ve tried to dig some of them up. The triggers, we’ve found, can be a road once traveled, a scent once smelled, a song once heard,  or a human reconnection, be it with childhood friends, or college buddies.

Passing through Raleigh, I felt the need to visit the last house I lived in, before going off to college in nearby Chapel Hill — or at least the place where it once stood.

It was on Wake Forest Road, just a block or two off the beltline (I-440), once a sparsely populated stretch that ran from the town of Wake Forest into downtown Raleigh, lined, back then, by lots of woods and homes spread far apart.

Now, as it nears the beltline, Wake Forest Road is a lot less foresty. It’s Anyexit, USA, with a Denny’s, a Day’s Inn, a Marriott, a Hilton Inn and, on the property where I once lived and roamed, a Hyatt Place. Once nearly rural, it’s now upscale suburban — an area where weary travelers can get a tasty meal and a decent room exactly like those they got in the previous town and will get in the next one.

But 40 years ago, I can tell you, that same swath of land, now mostly paved over with parking lots, had character. Man, did it have character. Read more »