While conducting the Lost Reunion Tour this past weekend, I had a chance to go back past my childhood home. The is the only home I knew since I was born until 19 years old. I played in the leaves in the fall, collected the unripe green walnuts and placed them in the street waiting for some unsuspecting motorist to drive over them and crack them open, and played tackle football in the front yard while my mother always exhorted us kids to go "play in the field". (Of course, we never did as the field is also where my Father pastured his livestock and playing there would have exposed the ball carrier of not only losing yardage on the play, but, suffering the indignity of wearing the remnants of a freshly produced cowpie on your play clothes. Now, THAT would have gone over well with Mom when it came around to laundry day.) It's where we mowed lawn, learned to identify which weeds to pull in the flowerbeds, and watched huge spiders build their webs under the eaves. It was home.
Passing by this weekend, I didn't recognize the place. The yard had dry grasses and gangly weeds close to 3 feet tall in the front. A toppled TV antenna was laying on it's side on the rooftop. An old range and kid's pedal cart were strewn in front of the driveway. The windows had all of the shades drawn save for the one room where, as kids, we watched countless hours of TV on a black and white TV and never realized we were deprived because it wasn't color. There were 3 channels and one of them came in fuzzy because the station's transmitter was on a mountain that was blocked by some hills we lived near. The place was a dump.
It was the lone downer of my weekend. It still bothers me today. I realize I can't keep living 45 years in the past and I wouldn't trade all of my accomplishments today to go back to that time. I know I am welcome and can always go back and visit anytime I would like in my memories. It just gnaws a bit inside and I am not sure it will ever go away. Even if the place were turned around tomorrow and made pristine clean, I still would have a feeling of melancholy for once was. It's not the same. You can't go home.