Opinion: Missing old Madera

Driving to the post office last week, I became nostalgic for the Madera of long ago. Driving by the former Madera Tribune building kicked it off.


I spent many years in that old building. Maybe even wrote some of my best stories in that building. I started at the Tribune on June 12, 1995. I specifically remember the date because it should have been my mother’s 65th birthday, the age I am now. She died in April 1990.


The owners of our old building at North E and 7th streets have given the place a whole new life. It is a large building and they remodeled it to accommodate a slew of businesses that include a nail salon and a company that grooms pets.


Then I drove to get the mail from my post office box. The Madera post office is in a great old building. We’ve had a P.O. Box for more than 40 plus years. While going to the post office is a bit of a hassle, we always know our mail is safe.


Except for needing a bit of sprucing up, our post office looks like it is in pretty good shape. Not all the flowerbeds have plants growing in them and the steps could use a good sweeping. Sadly, when money is tight things like building maintenance are often the first to go.


Driving up South E Street, I see Leighton’s Jewelry to my right.


The Miller family’s jewelry store is now twice the size it used to be from back in the 1970s. What they now use as a gift room once housed the Madera Loan Company. One of my first jobs found me working in that room as a pawn shop clerk.


We had a diverse clientele long before the word diverse became a popular buzz phrase.


We had one client who would bring in his mother’s Kirby vacuum cleaner around the 20th of the month. He would get about $25 for it. When the first of the month rolled around, he would come back and redeem the loan plus interest. This went on every month the whole time I worked there.


There is a television commercial now advertising a service that puts one’s monthly check on a debit card. It brags it can get your money for you up to two days early. What it doesn’t say is the people that subscribe to the service are probably broke at least two days early. It is a vicious circle.


In the 1990s the day before Old Timers’ Day the Madera Downtown Association, with the help of the fire department, pressure washed the streets and sidewalks of Yosemite Avenue. It gave Madera a fresh look for the people attending the parade. Sadly, after the parade the litter left behind by the public made it look as if it had never been cleaned.


Driving on Yosemite Avenue, a street that will always be Main Street in my mind, I miss seeing the J.C. Penny’s, DiCesari’s Stationary, Paul Jones Gift Shop and many others.


These business owners had pride of ownership and their places of commerce reflected it. Too many shops and stores in Madera have dirty sidewalks and filthy parking lots.


I would like to see some of the companies on the Howard Road business corridor take the initiative to clean their parking lots and sidewalks. While I know we are in a drought they really could use a good hosing down. A bucket of hot water and a push broom could go a long way toward pride of ownership.


Last weekend I visited a drug store to pick up prescriptions. Outside someone had left a banana peel on one of the benches. In the gutter of the parking lot lay a discarded paper face mask. Using the mask, I picked up the banana peel and put it in the trash can about five feet from the bench.


Another customer waiting outside the door to get in said, “that is really nice of you.”


My reply was I had been coming to the store since it first opened. The staff has taken care of my family’s needs for so many years I feel like I own a part of the pharmacy. Afterwards I cleaned my hands from the bottle of sanitizer the store keeps by the front door.


I wish more people would take an active part in keeping Madera litter free. Refuse cans are placed near most places of business.


Please people, show a little of that pride of ownership I keep talking about and put litter where it belongs. If you see someone else has dropped trash on the ground, pick it up. Let that be your good deed for the day.


Long days and pleasant nights, have a great weekend.


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Readers may contact Tami Jo Nix by emailing tamijonix@gmail.com or following @TamiJoNix on Twitter.