Monday, February 8, 2010


I grew up in a small town
Wheat fields for a downtown kind of place

--Paul Brandt, “Small Towns and Big Dreams”

Under the auspices of doing research for a novel I'm working on, I headed out to the town I grew up in awhile back to refresh myself with the scenery. It was the first time in recent memory I was there without my husband, parents, and/or siblings. I wasn't going with the intent of looking up any of my old friends who still live there (though I did see a couple of familiar faces). I wasn't so much trying to reconnect as I was trying to re-familiarize myself with things. I wanted to see how good my memory actually was in regards to some of the 'particulars' – an important thing for me to do as the town has changed over the years.

And yes, there was a degree of nostalgia mixed in as well. Driving around the building I spent the last five years of my pre-university education, I remembered waiting for the school bus – and later heading out to the car in the parking lot on the days I was allowed to drive in – mixed in with visits with friends and the faces of teachers. There were the things I thought were so important back then (the usual things we stumble through, I think, on our way to adulthood) and the confines I am, quite frankly, thankful to be free of. And I realized not only has the physical location of my 'growing up' years changed, but I have changed as well. I've married. I've moved to a different small town. I've made new friends, done things I never thought I would when I first ventured out of my home town and away from the expectations of others. And I thank God for where I am now.

There is truth to the saying about not being able to go home again. Okay, physically you can go home again. But what I think the saying means is you can't go back to your past. You can go to your childhood home, but you may find your room has been converted to the grandkids' room and the bitty TV is now downstairs and the layout of the kitchen is totally different and sure, get rid of the squeaks in the hallway floor now that we're all out of the house!

Ahem . . .

So I can go and visit my parents in their home and wander down the streets I would often hurry down on my way to one place or another. But I can't recapture fully who I was back then or the way things were when I was growing up. I'm further up the path with new things to see and old things to possibly see in a new way.

To quote a certain fictional traveller: Allons-y!

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