Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Going back.

I took the day off today, to visit a friend who lives in the town I grew up in.
An hour's drive.

It's beautiful country, the Adirondacks, but for some reason, it doesn't feel good to me.
I wish I knew why.
I took a swing down the road where I used to live, and stopped at the house I owned for 20 years.
It was pretty depressing.

Grass has grown over the driveway, and the beautiful English garden I had in the front yard is nothing but overgrown weeds.
They don't live there full time, it is their "vacation" house.
I only drove down and turned around.  I was kind of hoping someone would be home, to show me what they've done.
Unfortunately, it seems that they haven't done anything at all.

I loved this little house.  I bought it for next to nothing, back in 1985.  The siding, the windows, the roof, the skylights, the deck, the kitchen..........well, I could go on and on, but you get the picture.  It needed everything when I bought it, and over the course of 20 years, we did everything.

It came with a mere acre and a half, and I bought 10 more acres adjacent to it.
This grassy area was ALL vegetable garden once, with asparagus and horseradish behind it.
Another lifetime.

Went to my friend's house.  Roy made himself right at home.

 The Mohican was coming down the lake, and blew its whistle to let everyone know it was stopping for a pickup.

Could you ever get tired of this view???

That's Prisoner's Island out there,  I learned to water ski going around and around it.
I think I was 11.

I don't know why, but going back to the town where I grew up makes me miserable.  It is like there are dark clouds over everything.  I try to look at it objectively, but all I see is what 'was'.  Who 'isn't'.
Maybe the people who live there don't see it, since it happens on a daily basis.
But when I go there, the change is so dramatic, in people and places, and things, that it hits me squarely between the eyes.
And it hurts.
Damn it.

We drove by Eichen's dock.
That's where we used to swim, my cousin  Billy and I.  Where we rough housed, and learned to swim, and took incredible risks.
They don't swim there anymore.  And he is gone.
That's where my cousin D.D. lived, but he died of cancer, and his wife and kids moved away.
Every where I turn, a memory, a loss, a change.
It was too much.

Maybe I am getting maudlin in my old age.  I wish I could have that old place back, just for a few minutes, where I could walk down the street, and see everything the way it was when I was a kid, cracks in the sidewalk, and all.

Everything changes.  It is the only thing that we can really count on....change.  And the thing that is the hardest to do.
Even my friend's beautiful house on the lake is soon to be a memory.  It's for sale.  She is moving already.

My sweet Roy, on the other hand, absorbs change like a sponge absorbs water!!!
I aspire to be like him.

Does anyone else miss that old hometown where they grew up?  That one that is no more?


That Janie Girl said...

I do, sometimes, though it was nowhere as pretty as your home town!

That little house of yours, I bet, was beautiful. It's got "good bones".

Donna said...

I was just missing 'home' terribly all weekend and have had the experience of recognizing that I can't go home again - except in my mind - which I do frequently.
I'm a thousand miles away though so I don't have to face the sadness of so many changes often.
So much beauty in BOTH your 'old' and new homes!


TexWisGirl said...

i haven't been back in 5 yrs. and even sparingly before that too. it is a melancholy thing... for me, i feel no one knows me and i don't know them either anymore. just a few relatives...

Anonymous said...

"You can never go back home" I've driven by my childhood home many times and fantasized about moving back but I've lost the warm a fuzzy feeling that I once had. The people that made that place home are gone. My youth is gone. Kinda of sad in a way...BUT you and I are at a very cool time in our lives. We can do anything we want (okay except kneeling). Go when and where we want. Answer to no one and love whomever we deem worthy. Just another stage. So, you get a pass to be blue just this one day. But tomorrow, you look out your new window Hilary. It's beautiful where you are. Would you really want to be anywhere else?

Kathy said...

I still live in my hometown. But it's not the same. Houses instead of farms, cars and shopping malls instead of tractors and barns. And along the river, where there was a huge manufacturing area...glass, clothing, cast iron stoves, lamp posts and other big factories....more houses. They call them 'town' houses, but there is no town. The big malls took away the shopping district. WalMart took away the small businesses. We could get everything from soup to nuts in town. Even watch a movie. No more. People drive through to get to the big highway. They are all from 'away', and know nothing about MY town. They call me a 'townie' and laugh when I remember the good old days. Our town is not big. MAYBE 4000 people. I walk at night and don't see anyone I know anymore. We have more and more kids in our school district, but the last names are none of the ones I know. I'm only 55, but I remember things like I was a much older person... Times have changed faster, now, I think, than they did in the past. I haven't kept up. Like you, change comes hard to me. My husband, too. It's good we are alike. It would be hard otherwise. We are going on vacation soon...one of the same places we have gone for all 36 of our married years. And my husband for 15 years before that...and his father before that! Probably for the last time. Change... now we have kids living in New England, and we'll be going there...and maybe...if we can do it...we'll take the plunge and change... we'd like to move closer to them. Things here aren't the same anymore, so it really doesn't matter where we are. Just so we are together.

Reena said...

It is a bit melancholy to return to my hometown .. definitely not the same. I love this lake. It looks beautiful Hilary ... where is it?

(GBS) NewsFromTheHill said...

I'm selling our "forever" home that I never thought I'd leave. I've poured my heart and soul into it over the past 26 years.... we designed it and acted as General Contractor to build it. We've raised our four sons here and always treated it with love and concern.
But now that our kids are grown and family has passed on, we realize that this town (and state) are not where we want to spend our retirement years.
Putting the house on the market and having people come and tour it has been difficult.... even painful. I know that I will never return. I just couldn't do it.
Isn't it funny how to some people a house is just a house.... a building. But to others, it is a home.

Teri said...

I've been lucky that I adapt to change very well. We can't change the past, and don't know what tomorrow will bring. Live for today.

Rubye Jack said...

The lake is definitely beautiful and I also was wondering where it is. My hometown has changed immensely, but I'm okay with it. I guess that's because the same people are still there and I still talk to them. Nostalgia for place can be about so many different things. When my mother first passed away I had a very hard time with place.

Stickhorsecowgirls said...

I still live in my hometown, and it's ok, but---the old neighborhood where I grew up--it's painful to see the decline and neglect. And then there are the memories - some good, and some bad--Just don't want to go there and I avoid it.
Funny thing is though I am a person who doesn't like change, I've been thinking I want to move to south Florida--really bad! Problem is my husband doesn't, retirement isn't in the near future or ever and all the kids and grandkids are here. Oh, well, I can dream!

Valerie said...

I know exactly what you mean. But "time passes, things change" is such a true phrase. And though it would be nice to visit my past in that place for just a day, I thank God everyday that I am not stuck back there.

The river of time has moved on...and so have I.

Valerie said...

PS: For when you go to Maine: http://www.sarahotchkiss.com/

You'll love these rag rugs, if you haven't seen them already.

Anonymous said...

I come from a family of homesteading types, and three generations of us have shared the same hometown. My dad is eighty, and he has told me that when he was young, he thought the hardest part of growing old would be having his body break down. Now that he is old, he has discovered that the hardest thing is how much he misses everybody. His grandparents, parents, aunts, uncles, friends---he is gradually outliving everyone. He is a cancer survivor with only one kidney and diabetes, but he still rides his motorcycle every day and keeps going---I hope I have his courage and enthusiasm when I am his age.

Brenda in Iowa

Anonymous said...

Roy is an inspiration to all of us, take each thing that comes and deal with it. Really wish I could feel your blues, sorry...having moved so many times in my life both as a child and as an adult there is no one place to call home. So, I adopted the old adage....home is where I lay my head. Not pretty to be sure, but it does work for me. Always wondered what it would be like to call one place home, but on the other hand I have lived all over the world and have experienced many things - was this a good trade? Depends what day you ask me. Hillary, your old house is needing some love to be sure but I can still see the love and care you put into it - don't fret, all will work itself out eventually. hugs to you and Roy boy

Devon said...

I think it is difficult because nothing seen through adult eyes is as rosey as memories created with a childs optomism.

I used to feel this way about the sweet small town I grew up in. Now I look back with fond memories and when I visit I see there are new families creating their own memories.

Your past has led you to your current life... it looks so peaceful and creative!

Nancy said...

Boy, do I know what you mean! One house where we lived in Maine I went back to and I asked the woman if the Baby's Breath has continued to grow. "The what?" she asked. The dog had dug a big hole in the flower bed and slept there. Yes, going back hurts. Those good times are gone and a lot of the people are gone. Nancy

Hilary said...

It's a beautiful spot but I can understand why you feel as you do. You've experienced losses there.. during and since your time there. It's like missing huge chunks of a child's (a neighbour kidlet.. a friend's little one)life.. and all of a sudden they're grown. And they're not at all like you expected or hoped they'd turn out. The past is done. It's a part of you but it's not where you're headed. Enjoy what you do have. I know that you do.

And that Roy.. he's got it.

MarthaVA said...

I haven't been "home" in a long long time. My parents moved to Rochester (NY) before I was born. I was the only one in my family born a New Yorker. The rest were Maniacs. No one is left there from my family. One brother lives in CA, the other lived in Maine till last year then went to FL to never look back. Don't know how he does it. I'd go back to NY in a heartbeat.....but not my family or my hubby.
Where I grew up, my memories aren't great. But, I loved the area, it was my home. Yes, everyone is gone, things change.
You know how Roy does it so well? He lives in the moment. Takes advantage of that sunshine to snooze it, because it's there. He loves you (that is SO obvious) and he will be at peace because he's with you.
Your friend's place is beautiful. Wish I could afford a home like that........with that view......sigh. I'm happy where I am, but VA isn't NY! It's just as pretty but too hot, too crowded. Not enough winter for me either. lol Yes, I'm crazy.
Enjoy the moment you're in. Yes, the past is sad, but be happy you have a past like that to remember.....some of us don't have those great times to look back on. Thank the Universe (whatever higher power you believe in) and live each day to it's fullest. You do what you love to do, live by your own schedule, live in a beautiful place, and have a GREAT dog. Could it get any better?????

Anonymous said...

Even the selling process of a home is difficult. We completely remodeled our house in Maryland and the first people interested talked about changes they would be making right in front of us before they had even purchased it. We had JUST completed the remodeling yet they wanted to change it... It was hard to listen to. As for my childhood home, it looks very much the same as does the town of only 700 people. I RARELY go back there just because there is nothing there for me anymore.

Sharon said...

NO - I never get tired of your pictures. I savor them. We live in different worlds, almost different planets! I grew up in San Diego and it's also nice to visit the kids. It doesn't make me want to move back. Was that the question?

Anonymous said...

We left a home in which we had raised our daughters and truly poured our blood, sweat and tears into. I realized, however, that the beautiful memories of our young family life in that house, were already that- memories. And those, I'll carry in my heart with me wherever I live.

Welcome to my world.

Because every thread counts

Because every thread counts