My at daybreak, Christmas walk through my lifelong hometown now finds me outward bound from the town square… feeling just as blue as the dismal, grayish blue overcast above… just as dispirited as when I had exited my boyhood neighborhood scant moments ago.
Hmm… where next? Seeing how the house my parents had rented… my very first home… was a mere thirty seconds down the main drag, I figured why not?
Of course, there’d be some unavoidable issues. Firstly, my having resided there for only two months, as a newborn, meant any recollections, at best, would be as hazy as this a.m.’s chilly, misty fog. Lastly, only family photo album pics can attest to the existence of this neighborhood… i.e., since that era’s city fathers wound up rezoning the bulk of that city block… thereby clearing the way for a wrecking ball crew to raze a row of homes, houses of historical significance, just to make way for a factory. An ugly factory so close to the town square? YIKES! What were they thinking? Were they thinking?
With really nothing to see, here, I move onward, my “last man on Earth” delusion getting debunked, momentarily, by the sound of two yackety-yakking guys tanking up their SUVs at the Speedway convenience store / gas station.
My next stop finds me admiring the very first house my newlywed folks had rented. Both being public school teachers, they could not have chosen a better locale. They enjoyed a walking distance “commute” to/from the town’s (then) high school.
For a fleeting moment I consider a mid-course correction to reconnect to my old Elementary School… to revive / relive my kindergarten days … but… due to yet another wrecking ball crew… well… why even bother actually visiting a place that only virtually exists?
And so, onward I hike, along the very path my folks had traveled to get to work… simultaneously passing by the school I attended from grades 5 thru 8… where my 7th grade English class had convened in the very same classroom that an old yearbook photo shows my own mother teaching in… five years before I was born.
Alas… long sigh… while this school still stands, it is no longer what it used to be. Nearly a decade ago, the school board opted to auction it off to the highest bidder (the bulding is now repurposed as a Big Biz’s HQ).
And so… here I am, yet again, stuck within this new town reality clashes with old town memories… where these inescapable truths rule…
Lyricist Kim Gannon’s reminder: “I’ll be home for Christmas / If only in my dreams.”
Author Thomas Wolfe’s adage: “You can’t go home again.”
“Stay Tuned” for Part 4…