There’s an expression that says you can’t go home again. Recently I learned there may in fact be some truth to this…. then again, there’s also an expression that says ‘home is where the heart is,’ or ‘where you hang your hat;’ It’s amazing how many expressions there are to totally confuse us.
Anyway, in the spirit of returning to one’s home, I recently went back to the town I grew up in. Every time I visit there, I am always tempted to see my old house, the one I lived in from the age of five up until I went to university. In past visits this was never possible as the house sits behind a gate and is recessed from the road. So all I could do is drive by and reminisce about the various memories I had surrounding that period of my life – and oh were there many.
This time however I was with my friend - who clearly had her balls on that day, more than me anyway - and when we drove by the house she suggested that we ring the gate and see if we could go inside. I looked at her like she was nuts, and before I could give her any reason not to – like the fact that the house could’ve been owned by a notorious slave trader and we could be swept up into his human trafficking scheme (I watch WAY too much TV) – she pushed the buzzer and a man came on the speaker. He spoke only Spanish and we proceeded to have a one-way conversation with him that entailed us repeating my name a lot, the word house, followed by please. I’m not sure why we didn’t throw in a 'por favor,' but whatever we did say worked cause suddenly the gate opened and we were in.
The second we drove up the driveway I knew that things had changed a bit since we had lived there. Okay, a large bit, starting with the slightly ominous religious icons dotted all along the driveway. Listen, I’m all for beautiful religious artifacts and imagery, but these crosses and statues looked like something out of Deliverance; one cross specifically looked as if it had just been nailed together out of two pieces of driftwood and slung up there for our arrival (us agnostics are always convinced people are trying to convert us). Coupled with the fact that the driveway was falling to pieces, my friend and I exchanged a look as if to say, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.
As we approached the house, unfortunately the situation got a whole lot worse. I have two words for you to describe what we saw: Grey Gardens. If you’re not familiar with the story look it up, it's a doozy. To say the place had fallen into disrepair is an understatement. Things were falling down, torn apart, stained, broken, etc. not to mention the pool was covered in dark green algae, and the front lawn resembled an episode of hoarders. To the point that when we pulled up to the house itself, every fiber in my body was simply screaming run! Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure the owner, who I believe has 30 cats, is utterly delightful, she’s just clearly not big on upkeep.
I managed to reminisce a bit - albeit quickly - as I looked around and shared a few memories with my friend (mainly where I liked to hide around the property and smoke cigarettes when I was a wayward teen – bad bad cigarettes. I’m reformed now) and then after a brief inhalation (no pun intended) while we took in the view, we both decided that putting the pedal to the metal was a good idea. Let’s just say, the outside of the house was enough of reality for me, I think seeing what the 30 litter boxes had done to the inside of the house would’ve killed me.
So the moral, or my moral anyway, perhaps you can’t go home again, or more to the point, perhaps you shouldn’t. That way, memories stay memories, and you can revel in them and cherish them and the best part, not have them tainted by reality…or poor housekeeping skills.