Regular readers of Wrights Lane are most familiar with what has been described by some as an obsession...I even wrote a book about it, for Heaven's sake. In all honesty, I myself have often questioned the extent and healthiness of my nostalgic exuberance for the little town nestled on both banks of the Sydenham River in agriculture-oriented Kent County.
All along I have refuted the expression "you can never go back", insisting that indeed you can go back to the home of your childhood. In retrospect, and by degrees, I have now amended my contention by adding the words "...but you will not belong."
In my lifetime I have lived in eight different towns or cities and in all cases I have left a little of myself behind...That's just the way I am...But something has been missing every time I go back to pay a visit. Scenery changes, people change, someone else is living in my old house and I am left with an empty ache in the pit of my stomach. As hard as I try to ignore the feeling, I am always none other than someone from another era -- an intruder on familiar soil, to put it bluntly. Those places are no longer my home and never will be again, unless I physically move back and even then things will have changed and very little would be as it was before. Come to think about it, I likewise, would no longer be the person that I was -- physically different, emotionally different, much older and with interests that are different.
At one point there were 14 members of my family (Wrights, Perrys, Sharpes, Johnstons) all living within a stone's throw of my home on Sydenham Street in Dresden...I'm the only one still living.
Don't get me wrong, there are a handful of people who remember me and fewer still who have remained dear friends at a distance over the years, and I cling to that. After a half century, however, we have only one thing in common and that is the roots we share and the memories of days gone by.
So, yes, you can go back but you won't belong and that's an acknowledgement that leaves me feeling rather sad. But, you know what? I do belong somewhere. My home is at 62 Grey Street North in Southampton. My wife and dog live there too. There is no other place I would rather be.
Stephen Stills said it best when he wrote the lyrics *"Love The One You're With". Only I have changed the words as I repeatedly sing them in my mind while putting the finishing touches to this post: "Love the home you're in, don't be angry, don't be sad, and don't sit cryin' over good times you've had...Love the home you're in!"
A bit of closure here? I think so.
* The song"Love The One You're With" was first made popular by the singing group Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.