The Writing Traveler: You can’t go home again by Maryann Miller
October 27, 2021
Early mornings when the sun twinkled on the dew, the West Virginia mountains in the distance were blanketed in mist.
We packed up and headed on to West Virginia. They say you can’t ever go back again. But I’ve never been too sure who they are and what exactly they mean. Being a sentimental sort, I’m always going back. I love to reconnect with special times and special places of my past and relive the moments that make them so memorable.
West Virginia is one of those places. As I child, I grew to love the beauty of the hills, the easy, uncomplicated way of living, and the warmth of family. I was always secure in the knowledge that I could visit any time and be welcome, even though that welcome would add two inches to my waistline.
I couldn’t wait to introduce all that magic to my children.
It had been several years since I’d been there, and I knew all things wouldn’t be the same. My Grandmother, whom I’d always considered immortal, was now very ill and in a hospital bed.
One of my uncles was dead, so my children wouldn’t get to have homemade ice cream in large soup bowls at his house. But they would get to meet Aunt Opal of the “great pie making” fame, and I would take them to all the favorite places of my childhood.
High on the list was the swing on Grandma’s porch. We all piled on the swing, and I settled back to tell them how much fun I used to have out there. That lasted all of five minutes before the kids were off on some adventure of their own making.
I was left alone with the majestic view and my memories.
Early mornings when the sun twinkled on the dew and the mountains in the distance were blanketed in mist.
The time when my sister and I collapsed on the venerable old swing after stuffing ourselves with blueberry cobbler and gently rocked back and forth to ease our aching stomachs.
The many times I sat practicing my clarinet while dreaming of someday being famous.
And most of all, the times when Grandma would join me, bringing out a new block of quilting. As she stitched, she would impart her years of wisdom on a sometimes greatly misguided teenage girl.
Very definitely, this trip held a lot of magic for me. But the same magic wasn’t there for my children. They were a little scared of that frail old lady so high up on that bed. And that wall of rock behind her house where my brother and I played Robin Hood and Maid Marian was overgrown with weeds.
It didn’t even faintly resemble the canyon of my childhood. The little dime store where my aunt used to take me to buy a coloring book didn’t strike my children as quaint and nostalgic. To them, it was just a broken-down old building.
So, I guess in that way, they are right. I couldn’t go back and make all this mean as much to my children as it meant to me.
But, we would head out the next day for Michigan, where they would see their grandparents and aunts and uncles, and I realized then that we were repeating the same cycle my father had started so many years ago.
Maryann Miller is the author of Evelyn Evolving: A Novel of Real Life. Please click HERE to find the book on Amazon.