by Lisa Tome
It had been more than 22 years since Deanna Aaron-Hamilton had been in Rising Sun.
Aaron-Hamilton, 29, of Orlando, Florida, grew up in the town and hasn't been back in years. She spent a portion of her visit in tears, overcome with emotion and memories.
Her parents, the late Daniel James Aaron and Donna Cyr, and a business partner, once owned the former Rising Sun Hotel. That landmark was taken down years ago to make room for the Rising Sun Town Hall which is a replica of the hotel. "I know things have to move on. The hotel (owned by her parents) wasn't the greatest building or the safest building," she said.
"I lived here for four years of my life. This is my hometown. I figured life out here in Rising Sun," said Aaron-Hamilton.
She and her husband Christopher toured the town on Friday, July 10. They first went to town hall, where they were given a tour of the town museum. But getting to the area was pure the luck. The couple were vacationing, headed to New York, when they got off an exit which led them to Dunkin' Donuts in North East.
From there, they made their way to Rising Sun. "I was more upset that the (Rising Sun) Donut Shop was gone more than anything. I remember going to the library and the Acme. I remember playing on the train at the park," she said.
She said she was stunned by the downtown area. She was happy to see the music school and Sue's restaurant and disappointed that the Western Auto is closed and at the condition of some of the buildings.
"That was a bygone era. It's sad to see the Main Street buildings empty. The downtown has that run down look like it's not the center of the world that it used to be. But it's not Detroit," she said.
She said she has a lot of memories.
"Being here is emotional. This is the last place that my dad was alive. He died in 1997. This is the last place I have good memories of my father alive. I need that closure. This is not a fantasy land. I needed this," she said.