Home again, home again

21 08 2011

Did I mention that my mother got a tattoo for her birthday?

On her ankle, about an inch-and-a-half, two inches.

A butterfly.

Apparently, she’s long wanted one, but only now did the time seem right.

Besides, she said, I’m at that age where everything that was going to sag has sagged.

~~~~~

When I was in college it was easy to go home; it was still “home”, after all.

I left for good when I left for my second year of college—not that I knew that at the time. It was just that I decided to stay in Madison in a sublet that summer and work, then the following summer I was in my apartment and working, and then, y’know graduate school.

I kept stuff at my parents’ house, gradually moving it to whatever apartment I was in in Minneapolis (I moved a lot those first few years), then moved some of it back to their attic when I hied on out to Montreal.

And there was a big drawer reserved for some clothes, which was then downsized to a smaller drawer. I still have some old running shoes there, which came in handy this last visit.

Oh, and I went through a bunch of boxes that were still in the attic. I thought they were just grad-school books, but there were toys, stuffed animals, files, and some books from when I was a kid.

The Great Brain, Encyclopedia Brown, a few books by Ruth Chew, and the first book I ever read (memorized, really), The Monster At The End Of This Book.

I don’t particularly like sentimentality, but I thought, what the hell, I can keep some of those old books.

So I still have a box. And a drawer.

~~~~~

When did it become strange to go back to SmallTown?

Like I said, it was normal when I was in college, and probably into graduate school, as well. Maybe it was when I stopped returning for Thanksgiving: Minnesota was on a trimester system then, and the fall quarter ended the first week of December—too close to the end to leave town.

Maybe when I ran away to Albuquerque, and had Christmas dinner with T. and her then-husband at their apartment in the NE quadrant of ABQ.

Who knows. At some point when I said I was going “home” it sounded strange to me, to use the term “home” for a place which was once, but never would be again. Home, now, would be where I lived.

Still, even today, I’m not at all sure I’m home.

~~~~~

This last visit discombobulated me. It was normal to go back, then it got hard, and then it was a rush, and now, now it’s just odd.

When it was hard, it was as if I flipped a switch to return: Blue when I’m out of state, notched over to red when I’m in state.

Either/or.

Now, now things are blurry, and they slide along rather than click over one side to the other.

Not bad, really, but in some ways it was easier when it was hard.

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One response

22 08 2011
dmf

I would be interested in hearing from ee and other parents if having kids is part of having that at home feeling after one has stopped feeling that way about their own childhood homes.

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