Clinging To A Past That Doesn’t Let You Choose

by Susan Pogorzelski on February 9, 2010 · 16 comments

Remember the good times that we had?
Don’t let your life pass you by
Weep not for the memories…

Sarah McLachlan, “I Will Remember You”

The landscape of my life is changing. I know it was bound to happen, as time changes and small towns grow more populated, as neighbors move away and new families take their place, as strangers shout hello and old friends whisper goodbye…

The red barn that I used to pass every day on my way home is being torn down. Up the road, the hotel where my grandparents had their fiftieth anniversary party is being razed to make room for a gas ‘n go. It’s a crappy hotel, and the only memory I really have of the party are old people I never knew in fancy dresses who wore layers of makeup and smelled strongly of perfume. But the memory is there, locked behind four walls, mingling with others’ reminiscence.

Fields of corn are bulldozed for new residences, and soon I’ll think they have always been there, like that neighborhood on the corner. Businesses change their signs from therapist office to law office to library. I don’t even recognize my high school anymore, having undergone a multi-million dollar upgrade since I graduated. A few days ago, I took a shortcut home from the pizza shop that is still there, still going strong, driving past the school in order to connect to another road. But the road I used to drive down is now just earth, covered by another playing field, devoid of any sign that anyone had ever been down that path before.

We grow up and everything changes. Or maybe we change and everything else just tries to keep up.

Someday, I won’t recognize this town, though it will always be my home. Someday, I’ll say, “we had a fort there in those woods and picked the daffodils that grew among the fallen logs and moss. And look, see, that church lawn was where we had neighborhood picnics and Easter egg hunts and planned performances beneath the willow trees.”

Someday I’ll say, “that was my home — where my brothers and I fought and played and chased each other with water guns; where we once played basketball into the late summer night, the open garage door spilling light onto the surface of the driveway; where we crowded in the kitchen at five o’clock dinner time — sneaking treats to the dogs at our feet.

There are memories stored in places, moments frozen in time and marked by the structures that housed our dreams, our laughter, our tears, and ourselves. And while someday I know I’ll love another place, while someday there will be another home, there are these moments and memories I’ll always return to.

Because while a landscape may change, while we may change, there are some things that will always remain the same.

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