Niagara Gazette — I’ve said it before, and I say it again, I cannot know for certain what John Howard Payne was thinking when he wrote “Home Sweet Home” for his 1823 opera, “Clari, Maid of Milan,” but he, like Dorothy who uttered “There’s no place like home” in the 1939 “Wizard of Oz” and Motley Crue or Carrie Underwood when they crooned, “Home is where your heart is”, but surely they all must have had in mind the same heart felt sentiment we all feel when we think of that place we cherish as “Home.”
For me it is Niagara.
Sadly, anybody born and raised here who stayed behind unwittingly witnessed a region in steep decline; children born into this could not have known that what they were seeing was not normal, and most of the adults who suffered through it were helpless to do anything about it.
To many, decay became the norm, except on television, in the movies or in Florida, the Carolinas or out west in California, Arizona and Las Vegas where so many of their grandparents and other relatives had escaped to.
For this new crop of graduating students, the future could be a lot brighter, though they may be too young to appreciate it; our home town could be sitting on the precipice of prosperity unlike anything our children have ever seen here before.
It is difficult to see it unless you step back, put it all into perspective and have a tad of hope along with a healthy portion of faith and enough love to move mountains.
Of course, this requires vision, a virtue that not everyone is endowed with; some will never see, but some current and a growing parade of former Niagarans are seriously rethinking their moves.
• Real estate costs in the nether regions are creeping back up again, but ours not as much. We appear to have escaped the worst of the mess. In fact many houses which could be bought here for well under $100,000 or less sold for 10 times as much elsewhere; when the bubble burst, they fell in value to half as much or less leaving a lot of families upside down in debt over their heads, or homeless while the actual value of our homes remain relatively steady and affordable.