There's a nostalgic Irish song, “The Town I Loved So Well,” which may have referred to the town of Derry, but in my version it is the charming town of Napa, California. That magical town is in the past. I remember with fondness delightful times with our family during the years between the "patriotic" 1976 and the modern 2017. When did all the changes happen? Like the wrinkles on one's face - one day at a time.

I have memories. Can you imagine now, a young family going downtown at Christmas time to see the decorated windows and to have a family meal at Fisher's Restaurant? We did. Can you see groups of young children walking to their nearby school, or playing in the park without parental supervision. They did.

It's true that these visions may no longer be taking place in any town in our country. But this is our town, the town I loved so well.

Now, I envision a Napa of the not-too-distant future. There are old folks on walkers, accompanied by care-givers. There are empty and condemned school buildings. There are overgrown dog parks where children used to play. And there are sky-scrapers and expensive places to dine.

Where are the families? Where are the children? Families will no longer be able to afford to live here. The overgrown parks will not be safe for the few children who remain. The shops downtown are all up-scale, and the other businesses house expensive restaurants or yet another wine bar. Even the family-friendly toy store will be closed due to excessive rent.

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Finally, the Board of Supervisors will approve a large sign on the outskirts of town saying, “Families Not Welcome.”

Is that time so very far away?

A sad reflection on the demise of one of the finest towns in California or anywhere.

Margaret Crotty


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