It was a dark and stormy night. Windshield wipers were keeping metronome-crisp time to classical music on the radio while driving past the many streetlights and decorated storefronts shimmering in the rain like stars falling from the sky. Shops, boutiques, and a trendy restaurant mingle with family established pizza joints, dry cleaners, and antique dealers in true metropolitan fashion. High rises loom and thrust themselves forth shadowing drivers as they make their way through the Big City.
This is no Manhattan, in fact, it’s Malvern! Not the Malvern of the Little Red Schoolhouse, nor of the Hire’s Root Beer factory; nor the Malvern, (as one writer coined in the 1970’s,) “Where the main line meets the sewer line.” No, this is the ‘new and improved’ Malvern, with tiny shops and flats and the Taj Mahal of train stations.
It’s surreal. And I don’t mean that in a good way.
Some folks think that older ‘Malvernites’ are stuck in a nostalgic time warp and that the good old days cry out to be replaced with bigger and better new days of modernization. The outskirts of town will soon boast of a new storage facility where the newcomers living in their Eastside Flats can store all the stuff that won’t fit in their high rise apartments.
Parking will be difficult, but no worry, there will be walking paths aplenty in the future: from town to Wegman’s, Target, and the new movie theater and the availability of biking from Malvern to Exton or Manayunk. Heck, gather some friends and march from the Monument Grounds to Valley Forge to re-enact the historic Paoli Massacre and the winter tragedy of Washington and his troops!
Driving through town will resemble a stream of ants trying to carry a watermelon back to their underground buffet table. However, newly minted townies will enjoy the ambience of fresh produce, festivals and events under the gazebo in midtown, Vera Bradley picnic ware, Gucci tote bags, and Smartphones to light up the night sky.
Interspersed between traffic jams and exhaust fumes, residents will delight in the shopping experience for procuring organic chocolates, remedies, and body products at Kimberton Whole Foods. And, as the evening ends, ‘happening and hip’ folks will meander to the The Whip Tavern for sticky toffee pudding and a hot toddy before heading home to sweet slumber; the sonorous lullaby of Amtrak ten feet from your bedroom window while visions of stuff in storage dance in your head.
The City that will never sleep. The new metropolis!
Ah, progress! Ah, modernization! Ah, Malvern!