Looking at that photo, I immediately became fascinated. I was like, “Wow, it looked like that back then? Why isn’t that still there?”
It’s also how I retroactively fell in love with the neon sign from the East Side’s old Oriental Drugs. Mid-century signs like it are becoming extinct from landscapes all over the country.
Last year, I posted on Facebook to see if anyone knew what had become of the sign. To my surprise, I heard back. Somebody had it tucked away in storage in West Allis, having snatched it from a dumpster over a decade ago.
I got to share pictures of it, resurrecting this monument from the grave of memory, even for a brief social media moment.
I get a little annoyed whenever someone tells me I’m living in the past. I’m not. I have an iPhone, I don’t dress like it’s the 1960s. It’s just an appreciation – an appreciation shared by thousands of Milwaukeeans.
For archivists like me, we don’t want to be constantly reminded of how things aren’t the same. There are places that aren’t around anymore, and there’s no place to remember them other than through photos.
— Adam Levin, as told to Adam Rogan
Did you like this story? Check out our previous Why I Love Milwaukee stories.
- Betsy Rowbottom: You Have to Leave, Then Return
- Jon Mattrisch: The Parts of Milwaukee We Overlook
- Corry Joe Biddle: A Community Garden, and Growing a Community