You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.”

It was only 5:00 when I reluctantly dragged myself out of bed. I am not a fan of this early in the morning. It is too reminiscent of my working days when every morning started in the dark, but I can now see a tiny glimmer of the morning light in the gray sky and that makes me glad.

It is as if I never went anywhere.

My town, where I grew up, has three churches on three street corners across from each other. The Catholic church is two blocks down the street. Both funeral homes are on the same street and are right beside each other. That street is convenient to all four churches. The police department, the town hall and the fire department are basically on the same block, one right after the other. When I was young, the fire and police were in the same building, but the town and the police department grew so the police needed their own building. The bowling alleys are gone now. There were once two, and each of them was candlepin, the kind of bowling where you use three small balls per frame. Candlepin bowling is a New England thing. We all grew up playing it, and the bowling alley was a spot for Friday nights with your friends. My town has a good Italian restaurant which is always filled. You need a reservation. It used to have only a Chinese restaurant, but now it has Thai and Indian restaurants. I have eaten at both, and the food is excellent. I know of two Dunkin’ Donuts and neither one has a drive-up window. There is no bakery and no bookstore, but there is a wonderful library built with money from Andrew Carnegie. I remember reading the plaque about that when I was standing in the doorway out of the rain when I was younger. The two golf courses are on the edges of the town in two different directions. I never knew anyone who played golf. My mother had her senior prom at the club house of one of those courses. I have never even seen it as it is off the road, and I’ve not had the inclination to go look. The movie theaters are gone, but the one from my Saturday matinΓ©e days is now a theater which presents wonderful plays. My sister and I have the tradition of seeing their Christmas play and then eating at that really good Italian restaurant.

My sister lives in my old town, and I don’t visit enough. The ride is only about an hour and a half, but I’m lazy about making the trip. I have to change that. When I do visit, I like to take a memory tour and ride the familiar streets. I go through uptown and check out the buildings and any changes, I go see the house where I grew up, my elementary school, the field where the park was and, on the way, I remember which friends lived where. I am reminded that it was wonderful place in which to grow up.

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12 Comments on “You can never go home again, but the truth is you can never leave home, so it’s all right.””

  1. Birgit Says:

    Sounds like it is a lovely place!
    My “childhood home” is easier to reach, same city – different suburb,
    but since most people I knew had moved away or died (and some bad memories shouldn’t be recalled), there is no reason to visit if I don’t have to. It’s just a place of the past.
    So it might be a good idea if you visit your old town more often while the place is alive with people you love πŸ™‚
    (Btw, a song about my hometown -big hit in the 80s over here- is linked in name, but as you can guess, it’s not in english…)

    • katry Says:

      Birgit,
      I thought it was the best place. There was a zoo, a pool, woods, a swamp for all seasons and plenty of kids in the neighborhood.

      You are so right about visiting. Some of my friends still live there. When my mother was alive, I used to visit her often and see my sister and friends at the same time. I vow to get up there more often!

  2. Hedley Says:

    Leatherhead was not a big town, although it did have a high street where cars attempted to travel each way. We lived about a mile out of the town, and from the youngest age we were allowed to walk in although there was no apparent purpose as we had no money.
    The bearded lady ran the Crescent book shop fearsome in both her appearance and demeanor so there was no reason to loiter there. I think we just liked to be around the shops and the people.
    The centerpiece was the wonderful St Mary and St Nicholas Church, which has its own ghost.Not surprising since parts of the church dated back to the days of William the Conqueror. We sang in the Church Choir under the firm direction of Sid Hardacre who was the master of old church organ and demanding of the choir. We sang at Eucharist, at Matins and at Evensong. We liked weddings as we received 5 shillings each. We listened to Canon Ball. On Christmas Eve I read the first lesson
    It is my wish that one day I will go home again.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      I totally understand just going to town for the sake of the shops and people. I did the exact same thing, but I was never blessed with a bearded lady.

      How wonderful are your memories of the church and choir, and the haunted part makes it even more wonderful. I love church choirs and those big, old organs with the pipes.

      You will go home again!

  3. olof1 Says:

    I do occasionally go back to where I grew up but too seldom. The cinema’s are gone now, one is a record store (well I guess they only sell CD*s now days but I don’t know what else to call it πŸ™‚ and the other one is a big post office.

    There are no restaurants left and the laundromat, the only one I’ve ever seen is long gone as well. But my old school still stands but I guess it’s only a matter of time until they make something else with those buildings.

    Back when I grew up we only had one Catholic church in Gothenburg and I think it still is the only one there. But the three big Church of Sweden churches can be seen from a long distance. I guess they once were filled with people on Sundays but now the sounds echo for a long time since almost no people go there any more.

    The ships don’t go in to town any longer, they are so big they can’t come even close πŸ™‚ So the water is clean and almost clear now days, they say we can take a glass and drink it but I remember how it used to be. The surface was covered in thick oil most of the time so I guess not only Jesus could walk on it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    Have a great day!

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      I’d call it a record store too. I still refer to them as albums.

      The towns do change and many times not for the better. The old stores are replaced by those with far less character. My town has lost the old stores I remember. I miss the bakery and the cobbler.

      I think the return of clear water is a miracle.

  4. Bob Says:

    I wish that I had grown up in a small town instead of two large cities. New York City is basically a large collection of small towns called neighborhoods. Each one had their own culture, houses of worship, stores and restaurants. Walking the streets in a different neighborhood was like visiting a foreign country. The people on the streets spoke their native languages.

    When we first moved to Dallas Texas in the 1950s it was a vast wasteland of culinary endeavors. There were barbecue joints, fried chicken joints, mexican restaurants, steak houses and a couple of all night diners. Most Texans lived on chicken fried steak, fried potatoes and enchiladas with refried beans and rice for variety. If you looked hard you could find a Chinese restaurant or two that served chow main served with sliced white bread. The Viet Nam War ending was a major improvement in the quality and number of Chinese restaurants in America.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      I think cities have advantages small towns don’t. I’m thinking the museums, all those wonderful restaurants, easy transportation, (in Boston) historic sites, parks and on and on. I loved my town, but I also loved visiting Boston. It was a special treat. I still feel the same way.

      The Chinese restaurant seemed exotic to the kid me. What made it even more exotic was my parents telling us the food was not for kids. That held us off for a while. We always had Chinese before or after a special event.

  5. MT C Says:

    The town I grew up in was so small we had to go 7.5 miles to be in a small town. The most we ever had was a grocery, three churches, the town hall, a library, a central school (1 -0 8), one package store two gas stations and one old run down and eventually burned down, Inn. The Colrain Inn was also the greasy spoon and local booze establishment. At the time it was the largest town, land wise, in MA. The milk cow to person ration was about 6 cows for every person. And it too was a great place to grow up in, and mostly still is.

    Carl

    • katry Says:

      Carl,
      I love that no matter how small the town there are always multiple churches.

      I know the area around Colrain. My roommate grew up in Shelburne Falls and I visited her many times. We used to walk all over and usually went to town for the homemade salami. I haven’t been there in a long time, but I suspect it hasn’t changed much either.

  6. Bill S. Says:

    Our town of Mont Vernon, NH has a small general store and that’s it–no industry, no commercial offices or buildings, only a dairy farm.
    We have everything we need in Milford, only ten minutes away, or the next larger towns, 18 minutes by car.

    Mont Venron has grown in population in 34 years, as witnessed by the number of cars commuting to and from work on our road. Our kids used to be able to ride bikes here, but now I don’t feel safe even crossing the road for the mail.

    Maybe we should move to a smaller town….

    • katry Says:

      Bill,
      Your town is becoming citified with all those cars. Next thing will be a traffic light!

      Didn’t you live in Milford, Connecticut at one time?

      My village is now a mass of people. I am living where there used to be just scrub pine and oak, but that was 35 years ago. The Cape in the old days was much like what you describe as your town now. I had to shop the next town over for most groceries though there was a store here for emergency items and, of course, alcohol. The lights went out at all the motels on the day after Labor Day. Every summer I long for those days.


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