I know “they” say you can’t go home again, but actually you can. You buy a ticket, get strip searched at the airport, and many painful hours later, you walk off the plane in what used to be…
Or you can hop in a car and drive, bypassing the strip search and the painful hours (there are hours, but they feel less painful when I’m in control of my own forward motion). My father-in-law used to bypass flight for the drive when he’d come to visit and it puzzled me then (his early flying experiences were as a ball turret gunner in a B-17, so I figured a passenger plane would be a cake walk for him), but I understand it better now. As I slow down myself, I welcome the slower pace, not only of being home, but of getting there. And I’m in love with small town life.
Okay, I know you can get little festivals and such by driving out of the city, but you have DRIVE OUT OF THE CITY, taking your life into your hands. Heck, I have near-accident moments just driving the five minutes to McDonald’s in my big city life. If I don’t come home with breakfast and a story to tell? Well, I wouldn’t know about that because it hasn’t happened yet.
So yeah, it is nice to drive to McD’s without the near death experience.
As I was driving up to see my parents this week—and wow, was that a flash from the past—the past was kind of out of focus because things do change in oh, ten to thirty years, but so was the present. What struck me first was how much smaller the distances felt. I remember doing our day trips to Yellowstone Park and it seemed to take FOREVER to get there. (I imagine it felt like forever to my mom, too, with six restless kids in the car…)
But the next thing I realized was how…at home I started to feel with each town that passed, each bend in the road. Honestly, I didn’t see the changes time has made as I took those last turns. It was as if the present faded to the past and I saw it how it used to be, saw the shades of our past smaller selves doing the things we used to do.
The big, very dangerous—awesomely fun—swings in the park across the street.
The pool at the top of a small hill we used to try to find creative—and yes sometimes dangerous—ways to roll down.
The vacant lot next to the house filled with weeds and imaginative possibilities. (One year I think we almost dug through to China…)
The bleachers that became space ships and mansions and more in our imagination.
The houses were bigger then. The streets longer and so were the days. I’m sure I’ve spruced up the past and maybe made the days a tiny bit more magical than they actually were, but I had a great childhood. We were free to roam, to explore, to read in the shade and even to sleep under the stars in our front yard. I can’t prove it, but I believe that my small-big world is what made my imagination so…so, quirky. Haha
Anyway, have you gone home again? Would you? Could you? I love comments so much that I pick a favorite to receive my monthly AnaBanana gift basket ($25 value). Recipient is announced the first blog post of the new month.
P.S. One of the books where I tap into nostalgia a lot was Out of Time. Mel’s house was my grandma’s house. I close my eyes and I’m back…