Homecoming. No, not the Wildcats. I know the ‘Cats Homecoming was in October.
But scattered all across this planet are multiple generations of our native Oak Ridge sons and daughters. Almost to a man (or woman), they recall their youth in Oak Ridge very fondly. There is another whole army of scientists and technicians who reluctantly moved on after working in Oak Ridge because their careers demanded it. They, too, almost universally remember their years in Oak Ridge oh so fondly! That’s an outstanding record. Trust me, not every place is quite so fondly remembered.
So, in a vision for “Something Else” for the economic revitalization of Oak Ridge, these armies of our fans amount to a tremendous asset. As the Greatest Generation who fought World War II and built Oak Ridge leaves us, these former residents are the people who it will be easiest to persuade to move here and swell our ranks. The Boomers among them are approaching retirement, too. Oak Ridge is an outstanding place to retire with a low cost of living, mild climate, scenic beauty, and the great lifestyle they remember.
So, here’s a thought: how about an Oak Ridge homecoming? What say we invite them all at the same time to catch up with each other and Oak Ridge and to talk about Radioactive Dimes, catching fireflies (allegedly) for science, Friday nights at Blankenship Field, Big Ed’s, the Federal Bake Shop, hunting for Indian arrowheads by the pre-Melton Hill Dam riverfront et al. until they are fairly waxing with nostalgia? They would surely be reminded why they grew so fond of here. And some of them might just decide to return here permanently. Having been born and raised here and returned after many years away, I can certainly recognize the attraction. Perhaps sometimes, you can go home again…
Leslie Agron is an Oak Ridge resident.