Thanks to Google Maps and my iPad’s screenshot capability, I was able to travel across the continent – and back in time a little – to the very first fire hydrant in my life on the corner of Murdock St. and Hutchinson Ave. in Canonsburg, PA.
(click to enlarge)
Here you see a modern representation of my native fire plug so that you can better picture me, not long after Alaska and Hawaii achieved statehood, small enough to sit with my butt on the main outlet cap, my legs straddling the secondary outlet caps, while holding onto the head of the hydrant. I would be facing the building on the corner, which at that time was Marcantonio’s market. A large mail box used to be right in front of the fire hydrant against the building. The bigger kids used to sit on top of it. We were all assuming our positions in a tradition that seemed to have neither a beginning nor an ending.
Sketch Club, Procreate, iPad Pro, Apple Pencil, Memory Lane
When we as Americans speak of our crumbling infrastructure, we focus on rusty bridges and other examples of tangible decay and neglect, and we tend to overlook the undesirable, long-term, and initially intangible effects on human capital precipitated by the steady erosion over time of investment in and support for public education.