FINDING my way home

This photo is borrowed from the historical society in my home town.

Thomas Wolfe famously said that you can’t go home again. I used to agree with him. But now I’m not so sure. I’ve had an astonishing change of heart recently about the community where I was born that I was so desperate to leave three decades ago I practically ran to the town line.

Over the last few years, though, as life has led me there for longer periods of time, I find I’m ready to reclaim the history and make the memories my own again.

The truth is, I just never liked my town. Not because it wasn’t beautiful. Or friendly. Or historic. It had those good qualities and many other New Englandy perks that people love. Paul Revere lived and worked there for a time, along with a framer or two of the Constitution. 

It was even the home in 1770 of the guy who advertized the first cure for a rattlesnake bite, although the town fathers at the time prefaced that historical account with a disclaimer.

I dreaded my town. Having high-profile family members was like living under a microscope. And it was so close-knit that the time I skipped church with a friend in favor of a coffee at Dunkin’ Donuts, my own father drove by and bagged us. All I wanted was to be anonymous. After I was shipped off to high school in another town, any ties I had remaining just sort of faded away and I got my wish.

But time, I am finding, is kind to the past. As it marches on, I’m able to see my early experiences there as just more of the things that have helped to make me who I am today. I can set aside any memories that still haunt me with all the other old things I no longer need.

My family is gone from the town now, which is strange enough in itself, and I rarely see anyone I know when I visit. But the spirits of my life are still there, in names on stones in cemeteries, and recollections of who lived where, and did what, for those who are still living.

Somehow, I’m finding, those memories that fly up to embrace me as I drive the shady, centuries-old streets have begun to serve as a salve, as wounds begin to heal, instead of the curse I ran from.


About Michele

I am a freelance writer with three kids, two cats, and a dog with thyroid disease. I'm bouncing back from a divorce and making the most of every day. There is so much beauty around me. I am grateful!
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4 Responses to FINDING my way home

  1. mmm61 says:

    Was that the time that you and I were at Dunkin’ Donuts? And weren’t we pretending to speak Spanish to each other by taking turns with the lines of the Hail Mary in Spanish – adding lots of expression, of course. Didn’t we use the money for “the basket” to buy the coffee?

    Man, everyone did know us – and your father had an uncanny ability to bag his children where they weren’t supposed to be. Your sister being in North Falmouth illicitly comes to mind – “In the same community!”

  2. Michele says:

    Dios te salve Maria ….

    You have a very good memory, mmm61! I’ll never forget the look that passed between us as we spied that familiar station wagon slowing down on Washington Street. Holy shit!

  3. mmm61 says:

    Llena eres de gracias…(sp?)

    It was worth it, though.

  4. Michele says:

    el senor es contigo …. yes, it was!!!! some of the bad old times were really good old times, i’ve found.

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