Been a while, hasn't it?
My current WIP recently had me going down virtual roads of research. I was using Google Maps the other evening and scouting out my hometown of South Bend, Indiana. I knew a lot has changed since I moved from there to Milwaukee almost 24 years ago and saw some of the change firsthand when I went down for a wedding a little while back, but seeing it again was kinda depressing.
Many places I knew as a kid are gone or changed. Brant's Ben Franklin 5 & 10 doesn't exist (hasn't since Old Man Brant cacked it and they closed the place). Buschbaum's Drug Store is now a fabric store. One house I lived in no longer has an enclosed porch. Another is just as dreary as I remember it being when I first lived there. Ralph's News Stand and Head Shop...I mean...General Store...excuse me...is out of business, though the sign over the door remains. The Bonnie Doon drive-in on Michigan is still abandoned, and they've put up a chain link fence around it (looks like the one on Lincoln Way still might be open). I didn't even go out far enough to see what's become of the G. L. Perry on Western, and I think the K-Mart down on Ireland/Michigan might be gone; the Rite-Way across from the K-Mart is, I know. Azar's Big Boy no longer exists in the area, either. Hell, even my high school relocated a block north.
What's even crazier is I remembered how to navigate through Google Maps to get to a lot of these locations.