by Kassandra Lamb
“You can’t go home again.” That phrase has become iconic. (It’s actually the title of a 1940’s novel by Thomas Wolfe, published posthumously by his editor — I looked it up.)
The question of whether or not we can “go home again” has been on my mind lately, ever since we returned from our annual summer sojourn to my native Maryland.
It was a good vacation. Unlike some previous visits, nothing drastic went wrong (if you don’t count the broken crown on my tooth the day before we were to return to Florida). Nobody got sick, no vehicles broke down or had flat tires, and all scheduled get-togethers with friends and family went off without a hitch.
We even survived babysitting our two rambunctious grandsons so our son and daughter-in-law could have a mini-getaway to celebrate their tenth anniversary (OMG, I’m old!)
Nonetheless we came home feeling like we might not be doing this quite the same in the future–not in the same way nor for quite so long. Until two summers ago, we owned a summer home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. We sold it because it became a maintenance headache. The last two summers, we’ve rented a house there. It’s a very nice house and we’ve enjoyed our stays in it.
But still, it’s expensive, and, well, you can’t completely go home again.
Things change over time.
The landscape is different. Houses have sprung up where cows used to graze. Businesses you frequented in the past have moved or gone bankrupt.
And people change too. Some friendships have waned, not able to survive long-distance status.
Others have, interestingly enough, become stronger. We savor our time together, knowing it is limited now.
We still enjoyed our authentic Maryland crab cakes (those produced elsewhere are never quite the same) and the mouth-watering sweetness of Silver Queen corn. But sadly the ice cream parlor on the corner of Sharp and Main Streets has lost a lot of business to the young upstart down the street with the clever title of “Get The Scoop” (they promise “from the cow to you in 48 hours”). We must confess that we probably added to the old ice cream parlor’s demise by “getting the scoop” quite a few times while in town; their ice cream really is delicious.
And we had two lovely sunset sails on the Chesapeake Bay with charter boat captain, Mark and his first mate (and wife), Suzanne. They were a delight as always.
But even they are talking about retiring in another couple of years.
Still, the drive on I-95 has become more challenging every year.
And really the bottom line is that WE have changed. We’ve pulled up our roots that were planted in Maryland for so long and have sunk them into the sandy soil of Florida.
The Sunshine State is home now.
And while it’s good to visit the people we care about in Maryland, can we really go home again?
Probably not, because after a while, it’s just not home anymore.
But we can still enjoy visiting.
How about you? Where do you call home? How successful have you been at “going home again” to your childhood home?
Posted by Kassandra Lamb. Kassandra is a retired psychotherapist turned mystery writer. She is the author of the Kate Huntington mystery series, set in her native Maryland, and a new series, the Marcia Banks and Buddy mysteries, set in Central Florida.
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shannon espositoAugust 11, 2015 at 9:45 am
Oh gosh, I can just taste the crabcakes… but maybe because they are a favorite meal in your Kate mysteries 🙂 I have to say, Florida has always felt like home to me, even though we didn’t move here until I was twelve, it had me at palm tree. We lived in NC for a few years and when we moved back and I looked up at the open sky with those signature white fluffy clouds I cried. I missed it so much. I definitely don’t consider where I spent my childhood in Pa. home and it is hard to go back there. Mostly because nothing’s changed.
Kassandra LambAugust 11, 2015 at 5:55 pm
Yeah, I can see how nothing changing could be as bad as a lot of changes. When a place stays stuck in the past it’s hard to relate to it after a while.
Florida had me with the first palm tree I sighted as well. I love it down here. But another interesting note on coming home again, my husband spent his teenage years in Florida so he considered it home, but when we retired and moved down here a decade ago, it took him a lot longer to adjust than it did me. He kept getting upset over all the changes (mostly the shopping centers where pastures used to be), but for me, it was what it was.
K.B. OwenAugust 11, 2015 at 10:00 am
It’s a funny little dance between what has externally changed and what has internally changed. I think we can all relate, once we have a few years on us. I do hope you decide to come up our way again, though – it was lovely to meet you in person!
Kassandra LambAugust 11, 2015 at 5:59 pm
Oh, I’ll come up there again, never fear (or perhaps, you all should be afraid….bwahahaha). But I may come up by myself and make a swing through Virginia–Maryland–Pennsylvania, visiting my friends and family. My ties are stronger up there than Tom’s. The month long change of household (it’s really a mini-move each year) is getting old though.
Vinnie HansenAugust 11, 2015 at 1:01 pm
I grew up from baby to age 18 in Philip, South Dakota–all in the same house. It is the geographical center of my life. My brother lives in our childhood home, which is packed with memories. But it is his home, not mine.
I’ve lived in Santa Cruz for over 30 years. But now a new national flight plan called GenEx has re-routed jets into tighter, lower corridors, affecting millions of Americans. We have jets flying over our house, sometimes one every few minutes, audible inside. We are fighting the good fight with Save Our Skies, Santa Cruz, but have been giving serious thought to moving. The idea of moving breaks our hearts because Santa Cruz is our community–our home.
Kassandra LambAugust 11, 2015 at 6:02 pm
Oh no! That’s horrible to feel like you’re being driven out of your home. I hope your good fight is successful. My guess is there are other communities that are equally outraged.
That’s cool though, that your brother still lives in the family home, so you can go visit the memories whenever you want to.