Thursday, September 9, 2010

...You Can't Go Home Again...

I learned a few interesting things since starting my vacation a little over a week ago.

  1. Pharrell Williams likes Earth, Wind & Fire. This proves two things:
    1. Despite much internet debate, the man is black. All black people born before 1985 in America love EWF; it’s embedded in the DNA
    2. We have strikingly similar taste in music. So the only difference between us musically is that he’s a gifted musician, songwriter and performer and I’m uh, …well-- other than that we’re practically twins. I could be the next big thing in music…. If he falls off the planet and everyone else loses their sense of hearing.
  2. Doritos in the pink bowl are still the best thing ever.
  3. I figured out what silence looks like: Fluffy dark green nothingness with pink, yellow and light blue sparkles. (And yes I was totally sober)
  4. And perhaps the scariest, saddest and most unsettling thing I learned is that you really can’t go home again.
And I think it’s because when you get there, it’s just not home anymore.

Every so many years, we drive past the old house I grew up in. We travelled the three blocks between Outer Drive and 8 Mile. My dad’s best friend lived on the block between Remington and Outer Drive, we were two blocks down, between Winchester and 8 Mile (no gun jokes, I’ve heard them all before!)

The differences used to be subtle. A few overgrown lawns here and there and a lot less older white people. But this time, it was almost tragic. I’m not even sure if I want to go back after this last drive by.

There were so many cars “parked” on the street, it looked half as wide. I think the alley was blocked off. The pharmacy I would walk to for free suckers was closed and up for sale.

I counted six houses that were boarded up and probably as many more that weren’t- but should have been. There were too few kids, and waaaaay too many grown people sitting on porches doing nothing but looking suspicious in the middle of a weekday afternoon. (Unless we were all miraculously on vacation at the same time.)

As best as I could tell there was not one of my old neighbors left there. Well, maybe one, the neatest, quietest looking house on one corner. Same house my sister won a checkerboard in a dance contest to Cameo’s “Shake Your Pants” Aww, some memories are still sweet.

My house wasn’t too bad looking. The garage door had been painted, but there were no flowers in the flower box and no roses on the rose bush. I think the gate was gone, but I may have just been open and not visible from the street.

I used to dream of walking up to the front door, introducing myself and being allowed to take a look around. I had planned to point out all of the “secret” doors and passageways upstairs and show them where my over enthusiastic BBD Thought It Was Me dance routine led me to bang my head on the wall so hard I saw stars and could feel a small piece of chipped bone around my eyebrow for years. (Clearly, my sister was a much better dancer).

I wanted to see if the bar my dad and I made was still in the basement and if the old cement that my sister wrote our names and ages into after we replaced the giant, old furnace was still there.

I wanted to see if the old apple tree stump was still in the backyard. And were the old poles for hanging lines of laundry outside still there?

I guess I’ll never know.

Maybe they should revise the saying from “You can’t go home again” to “Don't bother, it will only depress you."

I’m looking for a bright side.

Maybe it’s just a reminder that nothing is quite as you remember, but nothing can take away from the good memories. And no matter what happens to those things you leave behind, the best parts of you are with you wherever you go.

Man, when Cassie dropped into a split at the end, it was over!!

And it was over for me in a completely different way when I hit that wall.

Bell Biv Devoe - I thought It Was Me
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