Nostalgia and Fugue

In a fit of nostalgia, I let myself be talked  into the idea that I  should go back to the town I used to live in, and the house where I spent the better portion of my childhood.
Five hours later, I was there, staring at a town that could have been anyplace, and a few buildings that might have been familiar, one remodel and half a dozen coats of paint ago.
It’s a strange feeling, going back to a place you haven’t been in years. I spent some time looking for the old landmarks, and finding nothing. A neighbor’s house, that was still recognisable thanks to the distinctive windows was as close as I got to identifying anything.
Two trips past a house that must have been mine, once,  and I still don’t feel like I’ve been home. I don’t feel it. I do know that those pines used to be little, and once, you could see into the back yard, and there used to be a cottonwood tree somewhere in the front.
There are a lot more houses in the neighborhood than when I lived there. Closer together, and almost claustrophobic. No one has horses, anymore, and the field where Other Karen’s father used to pull our sleds behind his snow mobile? Gone.
It’s not the first time I’ve gone back. Last time, I was horrified to find a buffalo skull above MY garage door, but at least it was still MY house.
This time… I had to go back to the main street and look again to convince myself I really had turned at the right place. Things had changed.
My old school got a gym. And a bunch of plastic things in the yard. When I was there, we had old fashioned swings and merry-go-rounds. And…  I’m ashamed to say… It looks like someone may have removed the tractor tires we used as forts.
There aren’t many people left, either. None of the mailboxes had names I recognized, and anyway, it’s a mobile society.
I kept track of a few friends for a while. Saint Louis for one, Lincoln for another. Followed them until their older sister went to the Air Force, and their mother had a replacement baby, or until we ran out of letters, one way or another, and stopped writing. They aren’t there for me to look up, at any rate.
I can still find one. I might track him down some other time. If and when I feel like talking. Or… If and when I need him for points in the next blog hop scavenger hunt. Whichever.
And by the way… Blog hop deadline today. Few hours left.


  1. Reply

    I can certainly identify with this, though the experience with my old house was via Google Earth. Much of my neighborhood was the same, but the new owners (it was sold a mere ten years ago) had painted the lovely redwood a greenish gray. Yikes!
    Though I had to go to Chicago frequently during six of those ten years, I somehow never made it to Highland Park. My HS reunion (not going to tell you which one) is next month, and I’ll face it in person.
    My HS class maintains a private Facebook page so I do hear about/see changes in my old town from time to time. The only big (pleasant) surprise is how many of my classmates have become liberal activists and/or gone into communications and the arts.

  2. Jane


    I have about 40 places to look up… mostly with Google Earth. It’s quite a project, I can assure you! Once I found a house for sale online in an old neighborhood that was basically a carbon copy of our old house, so I wandered the halls for a while.

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