Pacificmelody's Blog

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Visiting My Old Life

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Robert Frost said, in his poem, “The Death of the Hired Hand”, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Luckily for me, I’m just back on a temporary basis. Two weeks in my old stomping grounds, visiting family and friends who, so far, seem glad to see me. This is my second trip back, and even though it’s only been 16 months since I was here last, things seem to have changed everywhere I look.

One of my many kind and generous friends, Craig, loaned me his car, which he assures me he hardly drives. My son is acting as my chauffeur while I’m here, because he drives stick and let’s simply say I don’t. No need to burden you with the ugly details of my attempts at driving stick-shift.

In the last six days, in the course of visits and errands, we have driven past a million memories. It seems there’s hardly a street that doesn’t hold some piece of my past. And now I live 3,000 miles away and call another city home. I know some people are not big on change, but I’m still so glad I made the leap.

Something I hadn’t considered when I moved away, was exactly what a big change I was making. When you move to a city where virtually no one knows your name, you’re presented with an opportunity for a fresh start. I was a blank slate to everyone I met, as were they to me, and the amusing thing is that most of my new friends are also making a new beginning. I have in a sense reinvented myself, hopefully as a much kinder, gentler version of me, and perhaps they have done the same.

Now I’m back where people know me, warts and all, and in some ways it feels as if I never left, as if the last twenty months were a dream. Then I’ll turn a corner and everything looks strange. The trees are taller, familiar landmarks have disappeared and new ones have taken their place. But the faces of my friends and family are the same, which makes me happy. There is a new face, too, that of my niece’s new little daughter, and she’s so beautiful! I was holding her in front of me, cradling her head in my hands and sweet talking her, when she began to tell me a story. She was waving her arms around, sticking out her tongue and using every expression in her repertoire. All the while she was looking intently into my eyes. It was a real conversation, even though only she and I will ever know what we talked about. Suffice it to say that she now owns my heart. New babies are the best!

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Author: Melody J Haislip

I'm either a transplanted East Coaster or a born again West Coaster. My heart kept pulling me toward Oregon, and when I followed it I found my dream, which I am living daily. My dream of becoming a writer has come true as well. I am in the company of people who speak my language, and the sense of community is healing hurts I didn't know were there. I am very grateful for my enormous good fortune.

6 thoughts on “Visiting My Old Life

  1. What a lovely trip you are on. One of old treasures and new memories for you to take back home with you. 😀

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    • Not to mention the nice blue sweatshirt my sister “loaned” me. I didn’t tell her she’d have to come to see me to get it back!

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  2. This is a lovely post – it took a moment for me to realise what you meant by ‘stick-shift’! Here in the UK the majority of our cars are manual gear boxes, as is mine. However, my husbands car is an automatic and when I drive that, I am often to be found flapping my left foot around looking for a non-existent clutch pedal!
    I left my home-town 25 years ago. When I go back, I hardly recognise it. But just as you say, my family are still there.

    My own family has recently increased too, as i became a grandmother for the first time at the end of August, a little girl. That is lovely as i had 3 sons – so just waiting for little Abigail to grow up a some so we can start playing girly toys!

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    • Juliana, that’s lovely news. I’m so in love with my new great niece! She’s the first new baby in our family in almost 30 years. I’m going to have a little girl to buy dresses for. I’m so excited!

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  3. What a great story. I’m a grandfather now, never thought I wanted to be old enough for that until I heard from my little granddaughter the words ” Grandpa I love you sooo much “

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  4. What can I say? Babies mend holes in hearts and do many other wondrous things, among which is reminding us what’s really important in life. They’re so new from the hand of creation that they’re still full of magic! I wish you all joy of your granddaughter. It sounds like the perfect relationship to me!

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