Not Quite the Same…


Apples and oranges are certainly different. It’s true for you and me, too, and for night and day and old and new… lots of things are not the same.

So, what can we do with another old piece of bumper sticker wisdom that everybody knows? “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

A popular TV show (American Pickers) features two junk-pickers who travel the country looking for old stuff piled up in falling down garages. Sometimes – in great excitement – they pay thousands of dollars for the thrill of owning rusted frames of decayed old cars or bicycles or torn-down buildings.

They have become multi-millionaires by reselling the old junk, sometimes as-is and sometimes restored to its former glory. The things are still the same, even when they are made entirely new.

Restoration is the secret. Old and new are different, but when something old is restored, is it different or the same as it was before? It’s a question antique dealers ask every day and antique car restorers struggle with while rebuilding an ancient Model-T Ford. And how about old house renovators?

A friend of mine once bought a beautiful old house that was built long before the town was electrified. He restored it “like new”… except for electricity, indoor plumbing and real nice wallpaper. It looked like new but it was different.

So how about the restoration – some people prefer to call it the renaissance – of another old relic every Jamestown Gazette reader is familiar with: the City of Jamestown itself?

The city famously lost 1/3 of its population and a huge chunk of its industry in the last decades of the 20th century. People have been asking ever since whether Jamestown can be “restored” to what it was before.

This week your Gazette answers that question with absolute certainty: Yes and No! Feel better?

Jamestown is becoming something new, but it will be something it never was before, just like that old house and the Model-T. People who wish it would return to exactly what it was before have to wait a little longer — until the invention of a time machine.

Whether it is The National Comedy Center of the restoration of a couple of beautiful old downtown banks, apples are being turned into oranges by people who respect and honor the past while our clocks and calendars and time itself move forward.

Maybe the best of the old sayings that combines the difference between “old and new” and the things that “stay the same” when they are changed, is best said by, “Everything old is new again!”

Respect the past and embrace the future is Jamestown’s message to the 21st century. Apples can be changed into oranges. We do it every day in Jamestown

Enjoy the read.

— Walt Pickut

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Walt Pickut
Walt Pickut’s writing career began with publishing medical research in1971 while working at the Jersey City Medical Center and the NYU Hospital and School of Medicine. Walt holds board registries in respiratory care and sleep technology as well as bachelor's degrees in biology and communication, and a master's degrees in physiology from Fairleigh-Dickinson University in New Jersey, with additional graduate work in mass communication completed at SUNY Amherst. He currently teaches Presentational Speaking in the Houghton College PACE program at JCC and holds memberships in the Society of Professional Journalists and the American Society of Business Publication Editors. He lives in Jamestown with his wife Nancy, an MSW social worker, and has three children: Dr. Cait Lamberton in Pittsburgh, Bill Pickut, a marketing executive in Chicago, and Rev. Matt Pickut in Plymouth, IN.