The Crap Stop that Grew Up

Remember that one strip of highway that has everything you could ever imagine on it? A Walmart, Kmart, Kroger, almost every gas station and fast food chain imaginable, every phone carrier, countless body shops, and a Dunkin’ Donuts? And then, after all of that, there’s still more, like a Goodwill, Gamestop and retro game store, book stores, hair cutteries, Petsmart, Sams, and still after all of this you’re not even halfway down the strip yet? I lived in the subdivision twenty feet behind it for 15 years.

Shopping Center

One of the many shopping centers on the Hiram Strip.

Other Shopping Centers

The rest of the highway.

Apparently, when we moved in, there was only a Kmart, Kroger, Burger King, a bank or two and two gas stations. Not even a Waffle House existed yet. Oh yeah, there was also a Sparkles skating ring. I wouldn’t remember; I was just a baby. Then it all exploded after we came along, and all of a sudden this tiny crap stop on the highway became a bustling mini-metropolis that spanned a couple miles.

Technically, this strip of road was part of Hiram, “Georger” (as some of the locals call it), but, to this day, I’ve only been in downtown Hiram once or twice. This isolated strip of stuff was my home; I even went to the daycare at the opposite end of it until middle school because my parents worked late.

Since I’m apparently only sharing my view of my hometown, I guess it wouldn’t be complete without our Friday night routine. Where others would go to parties or hang out at Sparkles with their friends or maybe go see a movie at Movie’s 278, my mom would take my brother and me to Blockbuster and would let us rent a game each, then he’d get Taco Bell and I’d get Burger King. Every. Friday. Night. Times were great.

And then I started middle school.

Burger King did away with their infamous chicken fries and cheese sticks, changed their fries, and started making milkshakes like McDonald’s (in other words, they sucked). I didn’t eat there anymore. I also stopped going to day care since I was “old enough” to be left home alone after school. They closed down soon after. Then Blockbuster died. Most of my friends started moving away or we drifted apart, and the next thing I knew, I was apparently the “smart kid” since I got all As.

Then we moved about thirty minutes away in 2009. I still went to the same school thanks to school of choice, so I didn’t lose everything, but it was never the same. Even going down to the Hiram Strip doesn’t have that same effect anymore: Kroger and Kmart have been replaced with an Academy Sports and a Hobby Lobby, and Burger King’s chicken fries aren’t the same. My childhood home was gone.

Even with everything I was loved there gone forever, new greatness has taken it’s place: we have the grand and mighty Chicken World and Super Gator Games. Chicken world has the best food on the strip, and only the Vortex in Atlanta has topped it in my book. Since I’ve picked up game collecting in recent years, Gator Games is perfect for me, and it rekindles the childlike flame in my heart that I thought had long since been extinguished. There may be hope for me yet.

The Hiram strip may have changed, but it’s still my home, and it always will be.

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