Posted by: David Stewart | July 23, 2012

The Aurora I used to know

I lived 10 years in Denver (1968 – 78) and during those days, I used to think of Aurora as “way out there.” Not in terms of lifestyle, but in terms of distance! Dad told me that the goddess Aurora was responsible for the dawn, and so the city was located east of Denver (towards the sunrise). In that era, I remember endless radio commercials for places like “Heather Ridge,” an apartment community in Aurora. I always thought of Aurora as mostly new development outside the more settled portions of Denver.

After I moved away in 1978, my sister ended up marrying and moving into her new husband’s house in Aurora, which meant the town got an immediate upgrade in my mind. Now whenever we visit Colorado, we usually spend time in Aurora: eating in the restaurants, going to movies and (for me) going for runs through the neighborhoods. There are nice paths along a canal through the city and various parks. My sister’s house is close to schools and she is very close to her neighbors.

Often when we’re there on a visit, we’ll do Movie Madness. This involves seeing four or five movies in one day, in an attempt to catch up on the movies we have been missing. This requires careful planning, assembling a list of the candidate movies from everyone, pouring over the theater schedules in the Denver Post and assembling a plan of attack for the day. And accordingly, we have seen movies in the Aurora 16 Mall before. In fact, my sister’s husband and I have seen several movies there.

I’m pretty sure my daughters have a stronger association with Aurora than with Denver now. I can’t say I really know the place as someone who lives there. But we have some pretty strong associations.

I guess Aurora now seems like a comfortable place to me rather than “way out there.”

The shootings in the Aurora movie theater will be a psychic hole in the spirit of that city for a very long time to come. Whether we’re refering to “Columbine” or “Jones Town” or “Oklahoma City” or “Waco”, place names get associated with tragedy in the common lexicon. I don’t believe there is anything intrinsic about the community of Aurora which led the perpetrator to commit such a hideous and horrific act. The association is really sad for them and will be a weight to bear for a long time.

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