I went home today. It's funny that when I say I'm going home, it's the home I grew up in. And yet after "going home" today for a funeral, and driving 6 hours today, I was glad to be back home again.
So, I went home today, I went to attend a funeral.
She was our neighbor, she was the mother of my first and best childhood friend. I don't see that friend very much anymore. We don't live in our home towns anymore, we aer busy, we have family, and that family is growing.
She is one of the last people on earth that communicates by writing letters. That's how we've kept in touch over the years. A letter once in a while, a phone call when I was in town, a class reunion. I didn't know her mom terribly well, you don't really get to know other kids mom's sometimes, but I went because I know my friend would like to know people remembered. That they remember her, and the family, and what we used to know, and what we used to do. And that what we had then, no one can ever take away. We went to school together every year, all the way from kindergarten to seniors. We played ball, we played outdoor games, we played board games, we rode bikes, we talked and picnicked and played.
We had a nice visit and a nice little remembering time. We remembered the times when we wanted go on a picnic, we would walk uptown to get a Shasta for 15 cents. Then we'd make a little lunch and go "back of the park" to eat it. I remember asking if we could go first, though.
We have a lot of memories together. I wonder if she remembers the time her mom sent us uptown to buy an onion, we were stumped at the grocery sore, on how big of one to buy. we bought the biggest one there was, it was as big as a grapefruit if my memory serves me right. Her mom was dumbfounded. I don't think she ever expected us to bring one home that big.
Or the time we were walking by an old lady's house and we heard banging and cries of "help" coming from inside. I stayed with her my friend ran for help. The poor woman had fallen and broken her leg, and had been lying there for hours.
It was a beautiful sunny spring day, with a little nip in the air. I got to mom's in plenty of time so we took a tour of the town. Mom wanted to show off the hospital addition and I wanted to see the school addition. The elementary students are bused out of town to a new addition on the high school. Those buildings don't look anything like they did when I lived there, almost thirty years ago.
I liked our little town, and it looked so clean and fresh driving familiar streets that took me to school and friends' homes. The elementary school building is empty and some of the houses I remember are gone. Streets are paved and houses are built where there was gravel and nothing before. But the streets on main street are still brick and several blocks east of there, too. It's painful sort of memory, of times past that can't come again. A memory that is hard to put in words, hard to take the pictures that tell the story, hard to remember what was there and what is gone. It's a feeling, and it means I'm growing older. It also means my folks are growing older, and some time there won't be "home" to go to.
And it will be my kids, coming "home" to see me. .