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Can You Go Home Again?

As my sister Jeanne and I approached the little town that we were born in, Cross City, Fl., my curiosity started to waken. Jeanne, being a few years older than I, excitedly told me she would point out where our house was, the depot where Daddy worked and even where we used to go swimming.

My mind wandered to times when Grandma Neff would sit still while I combed her long grayish hair. Then she would sometimes ask me to play on the piano her favorite song, “Home On the Range.” I could always play by ear, as it was called, with one finger. I think my parents thought I would be a talented and accomplished musician but that did not happen, even though my two sisters played wonderfully well and still do.

I vaguely remember living adjacent to the cemetery and my sisters telling me to not walk on the graves and trying to scare me when we would play in the graveyard. Just a few scattered memories is all I had because I was five when we left Cross City, Fl.

No sooner had we crept into town, than Jeanne quickly pointed out what was left of the old depot where Daddy was the agent for the Atlantic Coast Line. My heart filled, as I pictured Daddy telegraphing, while gazing out of the front bay window or stepping outside while the train passed, to make sure all was well.

Jeanne showed me a motel that was built where our house used to be and then we rode down where the movie theatre once was and it was no more. We went in search for Fanning Springs, where we used to go swimming and discovered it was now a state park. Of course we did not expect things to be the same after many years, but it warmed our hearts to be in the same location, even for a few minutes as we talked about our beloved Mother and Daddy and our childhood experiences.

In answer to the question, “Can you go home again?” Thomas Wolfe and many others have stated a definite “no.” I say of course you cannot be physically in that space at that exact time, but what you can do is allow yourself to browse back in time and visit once in a while. After all, if we don’t know where we came from, how will we totally know who we are? What do you think?

Writing your memoir is nothing more than writing down memories. That’s it. I promise you. It is one of the best things you can do for your self. Then and only then will you fully appreciate your life, even if some of the memories are not so good.

By the way, did you know that you can read “You Can’t Go Home Again” by Thomas Wolfe? (1947)

Just click

Plot summary (from Wikipedia)

George Webber has written a successful novel about his family and hometown. When he returns to that town, he is shaken by the force of outrage and hatred that greets him. Family and lifelong friends feel naked and exposed by what they have seen in his books, and their fury drives him from his home.

Outcast, George Webber begins a search for his own identity. It takes him to New York and a hectic social whirl; to Paris with an uninhibited group of expatriates; to Berlin, lying cold and sinister under Hitler's shadow. The journey comes full circle when Webber returns to America and rediscovers it with love, sorrow, and hope.

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Francine Larson:

She is a freelance writer and has written several books. 

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She also writes short stories and poetry and has written two children's books.

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