I have been wondering this ever since last week when my sister and I went to our uncle’s 90th birthday party in the town we grew up in. We drove over a little early so we could drive around town. I haven’t made too many trips back to my hometown recently despite living only 30 miles away from it. It seems funerals are the only reason to travel back anymore. (At least this time it was for a celebration!)
Just after we get to town, on the road we travel in on, is our old house. It is the one we moved to the year after the tornado. We had rented one across from my aunt and uncle for that first year. Although it was a small house, at least much too small for us, I loved living across from my relatives. The new house was an older two story house across town. It had a fireplace and a woodbox in the living room, which also had a huge sliding wood door. There were pillars between the dining and living room and pillars on the front porch. Those rooms also had windows with decorative iron through them and old beautiful chandeliers.
After I moved out, I always loved pulling into her driveway and going in the back door into the kitchen just to sit and talk and drink coffee with her.
My mom was still living in this house when my stepfather died. It was soon apparent that it was much more house than she would need. She moved to an apartment and sold the house.
As we drove by the house last weekend, my heart sank. The shape it is now in broke my heart. I could hardly believe what I saw. It was hard to remember how it had been, seeing what it now is. I became sad.
We continued around town, driving by places that once meant something to us. We drove by our grandma’s old house. We talked about how it used to be. It hadn’t changed a lot on the outside, but I know they remodeled the inside. When I think of it, I think of how it was when we went there. How no matter how small her kitchen was, we loved being in it. I remembered Christmases and her making dozen of eggs. I remember how crowded it was and how much we loved that. It is nice to remember happy times. It is sad to remember how long ago that they were. How long ago it was that we were the younger generation and so much was ahead. How almost everyone we loved was still with us. It was a hard feeling to know how much time has past and how fast it has gone along with so many of our loved ones. I was sad again.
We can never go to town without driving through the cemetery. My mom is there beside my stepfather and I find that difficult as I drive down to the riverside where my dad is. A very simple grave that was alone for so many years until his brother was buried beside him.
Soon it was time to go to our Uncle’s 90th party. It was one of those things that you think, maybe we won’t go, but do and then are SO glad you did. We saw SO many people that we hadn’t seen in years. Old neighbors, relatives, and even old teachers. Even some people that I recognized their faces but couldn’t place them. It was so odd sitting in the VFW in my old hometown. I almost felt like I was transported to another time, another place. My uncle has played guitar for longer than I have been around and he used to play in a band. When we got there, we saw a set up for a band. Sure enough he got up and played and sang. At 90! It was great and again came that odd feeling of old/new. Past/present.
As we drove home and after I got home, I got to thinking about it all. Wondering if you can really go home again.
You can go back to what was your home at one time. It won’t be the same. It can be a good thing, yet a bittersweet thing. I was glad I went even with all the feelings it brought up. I liked being reminded for awhile of the place I came from. The place that was once home.
This, where I am now,