I have now returned to my hometown of Donaldsonville and am experiencing the joys of small-town life.

I can walk everywhere and freely enjoy bike riding. The numerous grocery stores that once dotted the neighborhood have disappeared, but we still have The Midway Store and Bellina’s.

I have renewed friendships — the faithful who have stayed. Paraphrasing a line from “Our Town,” you can make new friends, but there is nothing like old ones. My dear friend, Beverly, has remained and inspires me every day by her virtues and qualities. Another friend, Concietta, also has returned to Donaldsonville after living in Houston. She has expressed the same delights in returning to the home of our youth.

My brother, David, fondly remembers his first job delivering prescriptions for one of the three locally owned pharmacies, a job many youngsters shared at that time. The people are friendly here, and the many plants offer job opportunities galore.

I have lived in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, New York City, Santa Barbara and the White Mountains of Littleton, New Hampshire, but my heart has always remained in Donaldsonville.

I was surprised when my New York friend, Laurie, remarked that she knew how much I treasured the memories of Donaldsonville. Upon her visit, she said, “This is a great little place,” and she understood why I continued to have a loyal devotion.

I wish we could emulate New Canaan, Connecticut. When my mom and sister, Sue, visited, they said, as we disembarked from the train, “This is like Donaldsonville.” However, as we strolled down Main Street, they remarked, “Well, it is more like Donaldsonville could be if it were thriving.”

This little town, to me, is a wonderful example of just how marvelous small-town life can be when it flourishes.

Growing up in Donaldsonville was great for many reasons — the Grand Theatre, public swimming pools, playing outdoors without danger, dances at The Club, bike riding, skating rink adventures and the once glorious State Fair. There are the contributions of John and Laulie Folse — they have really added flavor and opportunity with their loyal endeavors.

We have a beautiful riverwalk along the levee with wondrous views for strolling along the Mississippi River. All we need is more people and businesses to boost the economy.

Like other small towns, Donaldsonville has experienced its downfall over the years. I invoke all residents and visitors to engage in bringing our delightful little town back to its former self.

There are lots of good things about Donaldsonville ­— great places to eat, shop and creative outlets. I do wish we had a public swimming pool again. I, my brother, Mikie, and my many friends took advantage all summer long of that fun, exhilarating and cooling-off pleasure.

There are unforeseen opportunities and potential in good ole D’ville, even in the age of modern technology. Come one and all, and let’s bring Donaldsonville back to its former glory.

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