Monday 14 July 2014

Go Home

You can’t go home again.

I have heard that old tired phrase for the better part of sixty years and I am not sure I agree with it. Well, I agree with it sometimes and at other times I disagree with it.

A few years ago, I was in Toronto and went back to the old neighbourhood to see if it had stayed the same or if it, like me, had slowly deteriorated. I think that the neighbourhood had aged rather well. The train tracks that I walked along to get to school for all of those years, were still there and other than being a trifle over grown with bushes and trees, I could almost see young Ken and his buddies Ken and Mike on their way to school. My grade school building looked exactly the same. I saw the swing set that gave many hours of entertainment. The high school had grown and expanded, but some of the places where I misspent my youth were easy to recognize.

All of those places had shrunk somehow and the colours were less vibrant. There was an emptiness about those places, almost as if they had simply sat waiting for my return. They were hollow and even the memories were just shadows of memories. Perhaps places like that hold the memories of so many people that they all blur together and slowly disappear as the people who lived them fade into history.

You can go home, but I suspect that it is rarely home anymore. The people who made it home have moved on with their lives just as you have moved on with yours. Not always in the same direction. I am now and have been for many years half a continent away from the place I grew up. Most of the people who are my memories stayed in that place, or not too far from it. I visit from time to time, but when you visit you have to set an itinerary. By setting that itinerary, you put people on a list of how important they are to you. You put family first, friends that actually like you next, followed by friends that like you but can and do get along nicely without thinking about you. The others? No time left to spend on them.

The priority list in no way reflects what you want to do, but for me it is and was the best was to schedule the far too short visiting time. I can’t even remember how often I have heard myself say “Next visit for sure, I want to see …”

Sometimes because of proximity, someone gets more attention than they deserve and take up far more time than they should. Such is life I suppose. I am getting too old to tolerate this state of affairs for much longer. I have less time to waste on being nice to those who don’t deserve it. I guess it is emotional charity and may just count in the next life somehow. I hope so.

No, I don’t believe that you can go home again, mainly because home is a combination of where your love is and where you feel the most comfortable. I am no longer comfortable in the past…

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