While I ran errands today I drove through Highland Square, the little town center I’ve called home for the last 10 years. In that time, I have seen it change a little here, a bit more there. For example, the closing of Two Amigos. Or, the knocking down of the Star Market to build the shopping center with Chipotle and the new Highland Square branch of the Akron Library. The development that has happened has been controversial, but over all, I would have to say the Square is improving.
I moved to the West Hill/ Highland Square area with my pseudo-sister Sharon after we graduated from High School. We rented an apartment which we named “Spiritual Rehab,” and lived there for a year. After our lease was up, she got married and moved in with her husband to a two bedroom apartment in the Crescent Apartments right in the heart of the Square. When we’d visit together we’d sit on the grassy spot between the Crescent and her twin building the Von and drink coffee from Angel Falls. I always wished I had gotten an apartment in one of those buildings.
Instead, when I married Rob we moved into the second and third floor of a century home in West Hill. Sharon and my sister Brittany planned my bachelorette party. We met in Highland Square (can anyone remember where?! I am drawing a blank) first, and Sharon introduced our event for the evening. We divided into two groups and each group was given a penny. We were given a two hour time limit and told that we had to ask strangers to trade us the penny for something “bigger and better.” Then to trade the next thing for something else bigger and better. Hence, the name of the game: Bigger and Better.
One group took off in their cars. My group crossed the street and went into the Crescent apartments and started knocking on doors. In one apartment we traded the penny for a quarter. In the next a man in his underwear holding a cat traded us the quarter for a frisbee. We knocked on a few more doors only to get rejected, so we crossed the driveway over to the Von.
We were much more successful there. At the first door we tried we were invited into a home which was decorated with neon green walls and a spiral of microwaved CDs on the wall. Not only were the renters super nice, but they traded us the frisbee for a plastic 80s elementary school chair. We thanked them and tried another apartment on the third floor. Those renters traded us the school chair for an oak desk.
We carried the desk down three flights of stairs, just about out of time, and shoved it into the back seat of Brittany’s car. We ran out of room in the back seat for people, so my friend Eliza rode in the trunk. When we got to the restaurant we where we had agreed to meet up, the other group had traded their penny for another friend of mine who came along to the party. I decided that was cheating, so we won. Besides it was my bachelorette party, so I got to win no matter what. In the end we ended up giving the desk to the friend who the penny was traded for and it was a successful night for everyone.
So that’s my story of the Crescent and the Von. Today I watched a backhoe knock them down to rubble. I couldn’t help but wonder if what was going there in their place will be bigger and better. Or maybe it’s just more parking. Does anyone out there in Akronville know the story? What’s going to live in the footprint of the great twins of Highland Square?