I’ve been walking Bromont over at the Menninger Foundation grounds the last few days. The Menninger Foundation was one of the most prestigious psychiatric facilities in the nation up until 10 years ago when they closed up shop and moved to Houston Texas. Lots of famous people have come and gone through Topeka because of it. It has been a part of my life from a very young age. I grew up with a ton of the Menninger kids. I was even college roommates with Fritz, during my short stay at KU.
Anyway, it was strange walking around over there while Bromont was running crazy in the woods. The place is so barren. 10 years ago it was nearly a thriving little city and now just a grassy field. A local hospital, St. Francis, bought the grounds and intended to build their new facilities there. I think a twist in the stock market might have put that on hold, but they did raze all the buildings, but one.
I graduated high school early. I lost interest in it nearly before it started. I used to skip out whenever a class would be doing library study, or anything when I wouldn’t be missed, get on my bike and ride over to the Menninger Campus and train. It is on a hill and there was a hard mile circuit there. Sometimes I would throw my bike over the fence and do hill repeats on a paved road that went down to the river. I’ve ridden up and down that road 1000’s of times. Walking there, the road is only gravel, just a few patches of asphalt here and there. It is amazing how fast the planet reclaims what is its.
Bromont and I got in the van and drove to Texas. I’m going to be installing, in theory, a ceiling fan at Sue’s mom’s in Richardson, plus I wanted to fix a post of the fence I built last year that has moved, then go down to Austin and put in a dog door for my friend Ann. She got a new puppy and wants it able to get in and out of the porch. Plus, obviously train. I’m kicking around maybe trying to race a local training race this week, we’ll see.
I went for a 15 mile spin last night when I arrived. Richardson has changed too, but exactly the opposite. It takes forever to get out of town here. When I first came here in the 80’s, it was the country. Now it’s an hour to get out to the country. I rode by The Richardson Bike Mart. It was closed, there were no cars in front. I might be wrong, but I believe it is the largest, by square footage, and probably sales, of all bike shops in the country, most likely the world. I first met Jimmy Hoyt, the owner of the store when I rode from Schwinn and he was a Schwinn dealer. It was a little shop, nothing at all like he current business.
I guess this is just a part of life. I usually don’t attach much emotional feeling to changes initiated by humans. But, the stark different between the Menninger Campus just disappearing into a field and then the next day coming down to Texas and seeing what was just a field, become landlocked and the center of urban sprawl, got me thinking. All this change is sort of disturbing for some reason. It seems so wasteful. I’m not sure why. Maybe I’m just in one of those moods.