street fair
Street fair in Cody, WY.

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…

Home.

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.

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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…

Out of Time cover art
What happens when a twenty-first century woman on a mission to change the past meets a thoroughly 1940s man trying to stay alive in the hellish skies over war-torn Europe?
You Can Go Home Again
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4 thoughts on “You Can Go Home Again

  • September 28, 2015 at 4:39 pm
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    Yes, I’ve been ‘home’. In two senses. One was the return to Amsterdam, where I was born. The other was to Perth, where I grew up. I think I’m going to have to blog about this.

    Thanks for the memories 🙂
    Greta van der Rol recently posted…I love writing Morgan SelwoodMy Profile

  • September 28, 2015 at 1:23 pm
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    The last time I tried to go home was when my dad passed away. NC to TX is not a trivial trip and with my ride to the airport running late and I got to the gate only to find my flight was delayed by a last-day-of-winter snowstorm in the Midwest. It wasn’t the first delay that was so bad, but there was no way I’d make my connecting flight (if there even was one anymore) and I was told I would likely be stranded if I boarded my delayed flight. I was told “Houston? Maybe Tuesday.” It was 4PM and the viewing was at 6PM the next day and the funeral was scheduled for Monday. I did some quick calculations and went to the counter and cancelled my entire trip, grabbed my bag (hadn’t checked it) and hopped on the first rental car shuttle I found. Took me two agencies to get a car, but within 20 minutes I was on IH85 heading toward Atlanta. I was exhausted so I stopped in eastern Alabama for the night, then got an early start and drove all day long, going into cooler weather as the cold front caught up with me. Flurries all across Louisiana shifted into heavy snow in of all places NE Texas, as I shifted from IH 20 to US 59 to make the final leg into Houston. Warmer weather and clear skies came back as I headed directly south and, finally, I got to Bellaire TX where the funeral home was. I looked like crap, but I made it, walking in the doors about 6:45. Apparently you can go home, but nobody said it was going to be easy.

    • September 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm
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      No, that sounds pretty miserable! Sorry that happened, but glad you made it! Trips for reasons like that start out hard, I guess. 🙁 Hugs!

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