"You can't go home again"

in reality, all of this has been a total load of old bollocks
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GoogaMooga
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"You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 30 Oct 2018, 07:12

It was the American writer Thomas Wolfe who penned the famous line, "You can't go home again." It became the title of a novel, with the theme of nostalgia, how memories can play a trick on you. Whereever is considered "home", an ideal time in a person's life, if the person has left that place and state of mind, it may get frozen in time and idealized. Then, if years later, the person tries to return to that place, it will have changed so much that it will ultimately lead to disappointment. Proust expounded on that in his cycle of novels, "Remembrance of Things Past". So it is a well-known, universal theme, one I have acutely felt myself since joining Facebook, where I have reconnected with people in my past, going all the way back to the early 1970s.

My idealized time and place was a four year period in a sleepy, suburban town in Denmark, in elementary school in the period 1972 to 1976. Having lived a peripatetic life, it was the only time where I felt fully integrated, felt I belonged, a sense of community. Otherwise, abroad I was always "the Dane", and back in Denmark I was "the returning expat". So I was always alienated, but had those four years to look back on and idealize.

Now, it so happens that I have reconnected with half the class from back then, people I haven't seen for 42 years. Always had a strong desire to reconnect with them, as I'd had no one to share the memories with in all the years since. So I began posting anecdotes on an FB page, all the memories that were still vivid and intact. I got as high as 46 updates, before the well ran dry. Even got a bit of feedback, but not what I had expected. Not only had my old classmates moved on, in many cases they'd also been to several reunions or kept in touch with one another, so that the subject of school days had been exhausted, "talked out". Therefore, I decided to stay away from a recent mini reunion, I knew it would just be an excuse to drink together and talk bullshit. I'd even considered a one on one meeting with anyone from the old class who would be interested, but even that I am having second thoughts about. Perhaps it is better just to keep those memories of a happy childhood intact, and not try to recreate something that would inevitably be lost by now.
1966 and all that

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Toby
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby Toby » 30 Oct 2018, 10:17

We had my father's memorial service on Saturday in the small suburb where I grew up. Now that he has gone, apart from the house he has bequeathed to us there is little to keep me attached to it. And in fairness I don't have a deep well of really positive memories of growing up there. It was "fine" - I mean, by that, it was neither really great nor was it really bad. I have "memories" but I don't think I'm really nostalgic for it in any way. Small things, like some books or photos may produce a flicker of nostalgia, but I have to admit that I feel a little embarrassed by my childhood sometimes - perhaps because I'm a father now, I look at how I was brought up and think deep down that I have brought my son up differently, or also because I was a bit of a lazy, nervous child - something that I don't really recognise in myself anymore. But then again, I can't go back to my childhood - it is set in stone and to a certain extent I have to face it and accept it.

Where I live now is "home" , mostly because I have a family and I feel that it is a strong place to put down roots. So perhaps in years to come I will feel nostalgic for this time.

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GoogaMooga
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 30 Oct 2018, 11:42

Condolences to you on your father's passing, Toby, and thank you for your personal reply here. Yes, we all have different experiences to look back on, and the ideal state could be later. For some it's youth. The further back you go, the more difficult it is to recreate it, and that is perhaps just as well. I don't necessarily long to be a child again, I enjoy my independence and whatever wisdom I have gained through the years, plus of course the material privileges. It's the carefree feeling and the sense of belonging that I yearn for. For others it could be something else again. Although I've got a handicap and certain health issues, the present is okay, but also one big blur, as every day is more or less the same. Internet, hobbies, eat, drink, sleep - and too busy waxing nostalgic to appreciate the relative peace of mind I have found now, in full.
1966 and all that

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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby Fonz » 30 Oct 2018, 14:21

Maybe you can’t go back to what ‘life’was like 40-odd years ago, but you can still meet those people and chat about life now, with the knowledge that you do have common ground. Conversation needn’t be centred on the nostalgia, but there’ll be the occasional knod to the past.

Enjoy it all the same.
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GoogaMooga
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 30 Oct 2018, 17:08

Thanks, Fonz, you are right of course, and I have certainly considered that angle. Maybe I could enjoy it, but with my Asperger's, I need to know people pretty well in order to be relaxed about a meeting like that. Afraid too long a time has passed. If I were "normal", I'd just say to hell with it and go to a reunion. :)
1966 and all that

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GoogaMooga
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 05 Dec 2018, 18:10

BUMP

I did it, I finally connected with my childhood! An old classmate whom I had not seen in 43 years came to visit. I thought I could sustain at least an hour's worth of conversation, but she had lots to say and ended up staying three hours. We covered all bases, and it was good to finally have somebody with whom I could share those memories. 72-76 was my personal "paradise lost". Now I needn't think about any class reunions, I am fulfilled.
1966 and all that

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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby bobzilla77 » 05 Dec 2018, 18:35

I've been living in LA for the last 30 years, more than half my life. I still think of Lambertville NJ - where I lived til I was 20 - as "home" although I definitely found my relationship to it altered after I moved away. The first few visits home, it was like I'd just been away for a few months. Over the years I felt myself more disconnected from it, as is natural, until my last visit there, I really felt like a stranger. I would have to pretty much start over if I lived there again, no different from any other town I might move to.

I still keep in touch with maybe a dozen of the people I went to school with. That feels about right. I don't have any desire to see my entire graduating class again. Maybe at the 10 year reunion mark, it would have been interesting to see what people had made of themselves. Now I hardly remember most of them, I can't possibly care what happened to them. But some, who I was in the band or the school plays with, it's nice to see them still around, enjoying their lives. Some are still active in music or theater, posting about some show they just put on.

I like seeing that we still have gigs to get ready for. That's kind of reassuring.
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby sloopjohnc » 05 Dec 2018, 18:56

I took care of my dad for a couple years in the home I grew up in. It's a semi-rural area with the suburbs of San Francisco not less than a half mile away. I enjoyed taking walks in the hills where I grew up riding my bike. I knew his and my time there was limited, but it was a nice place to be under difficult times. I use to shoot baskets up at my old grammar school on the weekends and would go down to the local sports bar & grill a few times a week to have a glass of wine and watch SF Giants' games.

When my dad died and we sold the house, my brother and no interest in going back and ever driving past the place. I've driven past a couple times when I'm over there and even talked to the new owners, whose young sons are enjoying playing in the creek that ran through the property just as much as my brother and I did.

As you can see, it was kinda rustic. My dad built it.

Image

Where the basketball court and lower driveway was.

Image

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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby Stille Baron » 05 Dec 2018, 18:59

GoogaMooga wrote:BUMP

I did it, I finally connected with my childhood! An old classmate whom I had not seen in 43 years came to visit. I thought I could sustain at least an hour's worth of conversation, but she had lots to say and ended up staying three hours. We covered all bases, and it was good to finally have somebody with whom I could share those memories. 72-76 was my personal "paradise lost". Now I needn't think about any class reunions, I am fulfilled.


That’s really cool. I’m glad it worked out well!
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GoogaMooga
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 05 Dec 2018, 19:01

Looks nice, Sloop, good place for a kid to grow up. Not "Falling Water", but it has its own charm. :)
1966 and all that

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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 05 Dec 2018, 19:02

LeBaron wrote:
GoogaMooga wrote:BUMP

I did it, I finally connected with my childhood! An old classmate whom I had not seen in 43 years came to visit. I thought I could sustain at least an hour's worth of conversation, but she had lots to say and ended up staying three hours. We covered all bases, and it was good to finally have somebody with whom I could share those memories. 72-76 was my personal "paradise lost". Now I needn't think about any class reunions, I am fulfilled.


That’s really cool. I’m glad it worked out well!


Thanks, Baron, yes, and she gave me very short notice of her visit so I didn't have time to build up any anxiety. :)
1966 and all that

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GoogaMooga
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 05 Dec 2018, 19:07

bobzilla77 wrote:I've been living in LA for the last 30 years, more than half my life. I still think of Lambertville NJ - where I lived til I was 20 - as "home" although I definitely found my relationship to it altered after I moved away. The first few visits home, it was like I'd just been away for a few months. Over the years I felt myself more disconnected from it, as is natural, until my last visit there, I really felt like a stranger. I would have to pretty much start over if I lived there again, no different from any other town I might move to.

I still keep in touch with maybe a dozen of the people I went to school with. That feels about right. I don't have any desire to see my entire graduating class again. Maybe at the 10 year reunion mark, it would have been interesting to see what people had made of themselves. Now I hardly remember most of them, I can't possibly care what happened to them. But some, who I was in the band or the school plays with, it's nice to see them still around, enjoying their lives. Some are still active in music or theater, posting about some show they just put on.

I like seeing that we still have gigs to get ready for. That's kind of reassuring.


20 years is a good long stretch and I can see why you wanted to return. I moved about a lot, so my base would have been my grandparents' village (both couples). But they and their generation have long since passed on, and it's an entirely new population there now. What's left are the graves and my maternal grandparents' house (farm, with most of the land sold off), where a cousin lives now.
1966 and all that

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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby Sneelock » 05 Dec 2018, 20:41

sloop, that house is awesome!
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GoogaMooga
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Re: "You can't go home again"

Postby GoogaMooga » 05 Dec 2018, 20:56

I immediately thought of "Falling Water", the way it is built into the slope. Very unique!
1966 and all that