A present offered by the management was their purchase of a drink for anyone in the military or who had served in the military. It was totally unexpected and not at all required but it was a warming gesture by the management and spoke well for the Harrisburg Midtown Arts Center.
The entrance to the Center was on a side street off of Third street and at first was not readily apparent so a couple trips meandering around the side streets gave me a reminding glimpse of the neighborhood I once lived in while working for the Department of Labor and Industry. The streets were deserted though on a cold winter's eve that was not to be unexpected. Plus, people with families were probably snuggled in their warm homes enjoying together time on a special evening at home.
I was able to park nearly in front of one of my former addresses on Third street. I shuddered as I remembered that experience. I saw the apartment during the day time before moving in and it seemed cozy, reasonably priced and conveniently close to my job. It didn't take long for me to realize what a horrible mistake I had made. When the roaches climbed up on my easy chair and started reading the newspaper over my shoulder I knew it was time to leave. I joked with co-workers at that time that the bugs were rearranging my furniture without my permission while I slept and that did it!
I had never before experienced a roach infestation and, initially, my naiveté allowed me to believe I could get them under control. During my several weeks at that address. I accumulated 20 adhesive roach traps filled on all sides with the unwelcome guests. I stacked them on the kitchen counter as a heads-up for the next unwary apartment shopper. I moved out completely one night in several hours. Fortunately I found a nicer, bug-free apartment in Steelton and, though farther away, it was much more suitable. Also, fortunately, I completed the move without any 'hitchhikers". I was relieved.
Before finding a parking spot my drive around the neighborhood put me in sight of the high rise which was my first residence in the city directly across the street from the Labor and Industry building. I remember looking out of that 11th floor window over the Harrisburg rail yard and even though I've enjoyed railroad locales all my life, I had a dark sense of unexplainable foreboding. The culmination of that ominous feeling was a series of events (beyond the scope of this narrative) which changed my life forever. Oh how I wish I had learned to listen to my inner voice sooner rather than later.
Even though I had a very pleasant time last evening, I was struck with how quickly the feelings of emptiness and sterility return every time I visit Harrisburg. It's the same now as it was then. When the thousands of state employees have left for their homes in the suburbs or the country, only a sinister skeleton remains behind. It gives me the chills regardless of the season.
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