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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