Last week during our trip to Kentucky we had the chance to take a quick drive around our home town. We do this every trip to our home state in hopes that we will see some sign of the place we both once called home. Once again though we found we felt like strangers in the town where we grew up.
The town had changed so much we nearly did not recognize it. When we got to the road where I lived for the first seventeen years of my life it was even more foreign to me. The road which seemed to take forever to walk back in the day had shrunk so much that I found myself questioning if we had indeed turned down the correct street.
The field I played ball in with my brothers was so over grown a person would have a hard time walking in it. We used to refer to it as the “cow field” because it had a single cow that would chase us if we got too close. It was obvious that neither the cow nor anything else had resided in that field in a very long time.
The house I grew up in was even less recognizable as someone had added an addition to the top making it a two story home. I am not sure if my parents ever envisioned a second story over the home but I would like to think that if they had they would have done a better job of it cosmetically. The garage was still there and actually looked as good as I remember. It still had the room over it where we had many parties during my formative years.
While the parties will always stand out as good memories there is one memory that stands out even more. It is a memory that makes me smile anytime I think of sitting on the back deck of the garage. It is the memory of a smell that would weave its way over the hills and linger in the air above the treetops. Even as I type I can nearly smell the moonshine which used to drift through the air when the wind was right. I do not know if any stills remain or if that too is just a memory but when I was growing up there were stills in those hills.
The yard was smaller than it used to be and the house next door was now nearly right on top of our old house. Surely it was not that close when I lived there. As we drove to the end of the dead end street that once took forever to walk it made me a bit sad to see that it was not the same as I remembered.
My husband said he feels the same way when it comes to visiting the street where he once lived. Maybe it is because we are not small anymore that the places do not seem as big or maybe it is just because we have been away for so long.
I have heard the adage that you can never go home again. That saying was to be the focus of this blog however a couple of days ago I received an e-mail from an old friend that I reciently reunited with on Facebook. My friend wrote in his e-mail that he had heard you could never go home again however he had returned after many years and is very happy living close to where he grew up.
That got me thinking and made me wonder if it is true that one can never go home or, does it merely depend on the individual? Maybe while some people are meant to go out, see the world and return with stories to tell, others are meant to leave and make their mark elsewhere. If we were all destined to return to where we began, what would motivate us to leave in the first place? I think the excitement is in the discovery of where we are going and finding where we are meant to be.
While I think it is safe to say that my husband and I are two of the ones meant to settle elsewhere we both also know we have some very dear family and friends that remain in our home state. While we may never return to live in Kentucky we will continue to visit the people and memories that keep pulling us back. Memories of a place we once called home.