you can’t go home again


In less than a month it will be 20 years since I moved to Massachusetts from Minnesota. Prior to that, I had lived in upstate New York, Alabama and South Carolina. It’s been nearly 34 years since I left my childhood home on Long Island, shown above.

I suppose it’s no accident that two transplants found each other back in May of ’97. Mary had already been in Massachusetts for over 15 years and had founded a business here. For me, a grueling stint with a startup had been short-lived, but there were plenty of other opportunities in high-tech to be had, therefore I never doubted that this was the place to hang my hat.

So it’s interesting to note that we’ve both experienced occasions in which people have asked us if we were “going home” for one thing or another, whether it’s a class reunion or a family event. It strikes me as odd that the association for so many never goes away, while we grasp immediately that it’s a place we haven’t called home in decades.

Tomorrow I head back to Long Island for my granddaughter’s christening. While it’s over 30 miles from where I grew up, it has that same suburban look and feel to me, rendering me once again an outsider rather than someone making a triumphant homecoming.

In two months time, my two eldest sons will be moving, at which point there will be no immediate family left in the place we all once called home. Perhaps Thomas Wolfe was right…

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2 Responses to you can’t go home again

  1. Janine says:

    I’m going home next week. Go figure! My brother still lives in our childhood home. I haven’t been back in several years. When my class reunion was scheduled for the day after his birthday, I felt the time was right. That being said, I really don’t think of it as home anymore.

    • I moved out in ’82 when I got married the first time, and then made periodic visits until my parents sold the house and moved to Florida in ’92. I haven’t been back since.

      Mary has more connections in her home town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it being considerably smaller than a Long Island suburb, so we seem to go back there every few years. But hearing her called by her maiden name (which she hasn’t used since the early 80s) does get old after awhile, so it’s always good to “return to center”.

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