In the 50s, my mom grew up in a neighborhood that paralleled many communities in suburbia. The tides changed in their community in the late 60s/early 70s and everyone moved away. For a child who left for college, it was pretty traumatic not being able to actually come home. My mom and her peers from her community have felt an extreme camaraderie and fondness for those affirmative years in a way that I was taught only happened if you were never truly able come home.
I was fortunate enough to not “lose” my hometown. Although I don’t live there anymore, I live close. I often drive the same streets I spent my life driving on. I even occasionally stop at some of the same stores I frequented as a child. Despite the fact that I didn’t move away, never to return, I still feel that I have never truly been able to come home.
Today I was driving those same streets I have driven essentially my whole life. A reminiscent song from my youth came on, and suddenly I felt transported in time. Instead of the Thai Sushi restaurant, there was the Pharmacy that we used to buy slap bracelets. Instead of the houses around me being generic suburban houses, they actually belonged to people I once knew. These streets that I drive all the time, that I shuffle my kids around on, that I use to get to and from my parents became the streets of my youth. They suddenly looked completely different than present day. For a second I thought maybe this is what it means to come home.
Nothing stays the same, nor would we really want it to. Time can make things that were once so familiar so foreign. Whether your community stays about the same, or turns into something completely different, it’s still not the same circumstance it was when everything seemed more dramatic, more fresh, brighter even. On those sidewalks I saw things I had never seen before. In that grass, I cried harder over stupid childhood drama. It was all fresh and new. The experience I have had all these years later make everything look differently now. It doesn’t help that Hair Sensation changed owners a million times, that Cravings is Tasty Spin or Target was never there. Even if none of that had changed, it still would have changed for me because I have changed.
I have made a new home. A home with streets I see differently now. I frequent different places. And even when I visit the places of yesteryear, they are still not my places anymore. In actuality, you can never really go home…nor would you want to.