Friday, May 15, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again

Thomas Wolfe said it first and someday I must read the book that he wrote with that phrase in mind. I've always been a person who lives in the present - often in the future - (that's what Aquarians do) so I've never understood those who can't seem to leave the past behind. I don't do class reunions and I abhor "oldies." I've obsessed over the fact that I'm pretty cold when it comes to washing my hands of people, places and times that have caused me pain. I don't hold a grudge, I just don't care any more.

So, when people ask me how my vacation was, I have mixed reactions. Driving to Maryland with Don is always great. We're easy companions in the car, talking or not talking is equally comfortable for us. I love Chesapeake Beach and feel at home there, but this time the visit had to be short as I was long past due for some time with family in Massachusetts. Our crew is so small - so few of us left. My aunt Jackie, always like a second mother to me, was 84 this past week, her "boyfriend" was 89. We had a lovely visit, never at a loss for conversation, always ready to go out to eat or get in the car and just do errands. My sister, still there but, I surmise, still searching for a place to call her own.

The cold, rainy weather, the pasty looking folks just coming out of their winter hibernation, gave me such a discomforting feeling in the pit of my stomach. Sometimes, this is weird, I have nightmares in which I stay too long and am not allowed to leave. Though the economic downturn sure isn't evident in the prices of food, gas, or real estate, the trendy tourist attracting facades of the businesses on Main St. belied the shabby back doors where the weathered wood and rickety stairs looked close to collapse. Even the time share I was lucky to get had a run down feel to it - think Bates Motel. When my return flight started its descent into Florida I looked out at the St. Augustine/Ponte Vedra Beach shoreline and felt my heart lift. I started to grin when I came even with the cotton candy thunder heads. Sure, we haven't had rain in a while, sure it's flat and yes, it's brown, but it's home, my home now for 25 years and I reveled in the return.

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