My old home town

Susanville, California

coming into town

Emotions spill forth when I think of the town I lived in for my high school years. I was mortified when my parents informed me we were leaving the San Francisco Bay area to live in the Sierras in a small town called Susanville. I’ll never forget those first days of being the new kid in town or as we were referred to, the flat-landers.

my home during high school

memorial to my Mom at a local school

But quickly students who had lived here their whole lives took me under their wing and I transitioned smoothly, or so I think I did. I ended up loving every minute of living in a small town. There was so much to do with almost weekly dances, trips to Eagle Lake, sporting events and just dragging Main Street in my parent’s car. (we didn’t have our own) Small town life was good.

home of the Grizzlies basketball team


play ball

where many dances were held

more dances here too

Then I went away to college, University of Oregon, and got a job before I even graduated. Oregon was now my home and California was visited during vacations. Most of my friends had moved on too. But every time I returned I liked that small town life.



Friday night at the movies

once a JC Penneys where I worked part-time

Then something happened. The prison, once a small minimum security affair, grew and got more hardened inmates. Some of their families moved into the town. The box stores moved in: Wal-Mart, Rite-Aid, and the big grocery stores. They moved to the other end of the Main Street and what was once a charming uptown area became deserted and run down. It’s still the same. The little shops like the soda fountain, he variety store, the shoe store and the dress shop are all gone. Nothing takes their place.The shops stay empty and the buildings deteriorate. It breaks my heart to see it.

the old Walkers cafe-empty


the old cafes

where I used to buy doughnuts

this used to be an A&W

Even the county buildings are being replaced by new ones. The old jail, which should be a historic building, is crumbling. Our gorgeous stone high school was replaced with a low-slung modern one. Everything changes and nothing is the same.

the old jail now crumbling

the Court House


where I used to buy candy and sodas

I’ll still return again and again and I hope, some how, the new residents will start to take pride in the little town that holds so many memories for me.

a familiar place and still the same



About gretchen

I love living in the Pacific Northwest being close to the mountains and the ocean. My hobbies include photography, travel, reading, biking, walking and gardening. I am an Anglophile at heart and try to visit the UK often. My camera goes everywhere with me.
This entry was posted in An idea of home, Daily Life, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to My old home town

  1. Dan Ebbertts says:

    Hi Gretchen,
    What a treat seeing these photos of Susanville. I don’t know if you remember me (I was a year ahead of you) but I remember you from school. Seeing the picture of your house brought back memories–I helped install the electrical wiring for that house when it was built. Great photos–thanks for the flashback!

    Dan Ebberts

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