One of the main reasons I love photography so much, is that you have something concrete to hold onto. When memories begin to fade, get clouded, and sometimes altered by our minds over time, a photograph speaks a truth. At least for one moment, it does. It’s hard evidence. It shows what was. It also helps in recalling not just one memory, but several ones associated with that time, place, season, year, clothes that were worn, etc.
Growing up, there was a local miniature golf course – City View, located in Dartmouth, MA. It looked down and across over the North end of the city of New Bedford, hence the name City View. It was a popular landmark and hang out for kids and adults alike, with a great ice cream shack right across the street. From what I understand, it opened in the 1960’s and it closed about 6 years ago, now. Though, the windmill and other novelty miniature golf course figurines are gone, the little green courses are still there. Though, the grass is overgrown and the paint is chipped, the memories are still there as well.
Holding a print of one of the photos, touching it in my hands over and over and staring at it, it transports me back to a summer’s night in the 1980’s. I was about 11 years old. One of my best friends, her dad, my dad, and I are on the course enjoying a round of mini golf. I remember the mosquitoes nipping at us. I remember the giggles. I remember wearing suspenders with some equally silly shorts and top to complete my “80’s look”. Laughter abounded both from our game and from other families and friends all around us. I don’t remember who won, but I remember we had a great time. Sadly, that friend passed away a few years ago, but thinking back to that night, all I temporarily remember is the laughter and joy we had at City View.
Then I look at a different photo, and I’m transported back to a weekend day in the early 1990’s. My high school boyfriend and I played a few rounds of mini golf and made it a point to etch in our initials inside a heart on every score table. Though, that made us vandals, our little bit of mischief was just one of hundreds of initials on those tiny score tables. I’m betting many dates and love stories took place at City View.
My most recent memory is from 2007. As I look at another photo, I recall a hot summer’s August day. It was a few days before my wedding. My future brother-in-law was in from California. He, my now husband and I enjoyed some rounds of mini golf, laughter and bonding. I think my brother-in-law actually made that last hole that won him a free game, something my friends and I had never been able to do. I wonder how many people won a free game from that last hole at City View.
There will probably be a time when the remnants are bulldozed over and the golf course will be long gone. But the photos will be around forever.
Here are some recent pictures of what is left. See if you don’t picture people smiling, or hear children’s laughter after viewing these. I know I did.
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