We found out that this 60-year-old man had been a teen-ager in that church when my husband was pastor there. His mother baby-sat our children, and both of us remembered his father's sweet smile. We went inside, visited with him and the pastor and secretary for a while, and had a great time of fellowship. Even though the church had a new building since the time we were there, we felt the sweet spirit that remained.
None of the stores and businesses we remembered were there, only the shells of the old buildings on Main Street, where we used to shop for groceries or do business at the bank. Even the body shop that did a lot of business when one of our church members ran it was shut down. Sometimes we saw open doors, but the old buildings were filled with trash. Not a soul could be seen anywhere. Even the school across from the church had been torn down. All that remained was the old ball field, the fence still intact around an overgrown plot of ground.
We did not get to go into the church, since nobody was around, but we hope some people remain to worship there. We noticed the outside of the building had been recently refurbished, though, and it looked like people still cared about it.
We sadly drove away. Seeing that place reminded us of what years of neglect will do. The population of the town had decreased to only 164, according to the roadside sign. The people left to get better jobs and better opportunities, and those who remained were left with nothing. Any kids living there were bussed to school in Carrollton, the county seat town about ten or fifteen miles away.
Bogard's opportunity seems to be gone. Where there was once a thriving community, now there is only desolation. A church that used to have 100 or more in attendance now seems to have a dwindling congregation. People who live there have to go somewhere else to earn a living or to get things they need.
We passed an old, long-forgotten place where I used to buy gasoline. The Phillips sign was still on the side of the building, but the door was locked. The broken window showed years of neglect. The gas pumps were long gone, and the driveway was broken up and filled in with grass. I remember that station because it was there, during our stay back in the 1960s, when I first recognized that age was creeping up on me, just as age has crept up on that little town through the years.
|Site of the old service station at Bogard|
It is sad and shocking to see what time and change bring to a town or a person. But that day has come for the little town of Bogard, Missouri. What a difference fifty years has made.