This week my childhood McDonald’s closed as it prepares to open in a new location.
As a child eating fast food was considered a treat and something that my brother and I got once a week. Before we moved closer to Lexington, we lived in such a small city that there was no McDonald’s. (This small town did get a McDonald’s a few years after we moved). I suppose this increased the significance of fast food being special.
I refer to the above McDonald’s as my childhood McDonald’s as this is where I probably had my first Happy Meal. Every time I came to visit my grandparents in Lexington (which was almost weekly), I was guaranteed a stop here. Our family would go shopping at one of the local malls and before we made our first stop we would often stop by McDonalds. We would go inside and I would have a cheeseburger Happy Meal which came in the paper boxes and Nanny would get a quarter pounder with cheese.
One memory which stands out is the day Nanny took me to see one of the Muppet movies and of course afterward we stopped. On our way home I realized I had left my cute little purse (yes, I was one of those little girls with purses at a young age) that Nanny had bought me on a trip. I was upset and certain it wouldn’t be there. We turned around and it had been turned it. My worries were gone.
It is funny the memories that we create from moments and places in our lives. The fact that this McDonald’s has been in the same location for 30 years in significant and amazing. Amazing because it is in a horrible location and never easy to get into or out of. There was only one lane for the drive thru and it would back up into the street. Yet, it continued to stand.
Since the death of my Mom and Nanny, there have been many stores and places we used to frequent that have been remolded/changed and look nothing like the places I visited with them. As Mom was diagnosed and dying, both Target stores in town were expanded and remodeled. I was so thankful I had a place to go where I knew she had never been. I didn’t want to saddened by the memories we had walking down the aisles looking for something new.
However, this McDonald’s was different. I liked knowing it was there. It was a constant. Perhaps even a tangible reminder that my childhood did happen and exist here in Lexington. Sadly, the people I had those memories with are no longer here with me.
This McDonald’s was a part of my childhood and although as an adult I did not visit regularly, I drove by it almost every day. It created loving and special memories with my Nanny as a child. It brought me comfort in the way of french fries and sweet tea (don’t judge) while I took Mom to doctor’s visits. It has always been there. Perhaps it is fitting that since Mom and Nanny are gone the location would finally close.
And now there will be a bigger and better McDonald’s with two drive thrus and easy access. I’ve trained my body to no longer like their food and will have no need to go a little further (and out of my way). I’m sure someday I may visit (the sweet tea is really good) but it will not be the same.
Thank You McDonald’s for being a part of my childhood. I enjoyed each and every one of those Happy Meals and every moment I spent there with my Nanny.