If you still reside in your hometown, changes might raise your eyebrows and ire. Soon, though, surprises make themselves at home, part of everyday experience.
Visiting a distant hometown, however, shifts one’s universe. A once-busy shopping center has been conquered by Bennie the Bomb Fireworks. Why did town fathers allow trees to grow so big? That implies we’ve added rings to our girth, too.
My husband and I grew up in the same city, but our parents — and we — moved decades ago.
Now, new roads have sprouted like kudzu vines.
Though I can’t find our motel, I’ve located the street where I failed my driving test. I remind Hubby that I’ve never received a traffic ticket, whereas I can point to the stoplight he ran to earn one.
Hubby and I recall our accidents: mine, near the high school, watched by God and everybody; his, when a coal truck smacked his Opel two weeks before our wedding.
We cruise past former homes.
“They cut down my favorite tree!” I complain. Without my permission, yet.
“Our yard’s taken over by creepy little gnomes,” Hubby rants. “They’re by my room!”
We tour our old high school. Star Wars technology prevails, even in drinking fountains. The school now boasts a food court instead of a cafeteria. Too many choices! A few familiar areas comfort us. We recognize the classroom where we counted red-eyed and white-eyed fruit flies for our deep, dark genetics project. His locker’s still nearby — next to my ex-boyfriend’s. A nice reminder of how lucky Hubby is to have reversed the situation.
We visit the ice cream parlor where not only I, but my mother ate hot fudge sundaes after school. The store where Hubby rented prom and wedding tuxes. The restaurant where I, wearing the world’s ugliest uniform, served customers for a dollar an hour. The pre-McDonald’s fast-food restaurant where Hubby donned a folded paper hat and baggy uniform pants five inches too short.
We visit childhood churches that nurtured our faith in Christ. We reminisce about our wedding.
Finishing the tour, we agree: Our hometown is where we live now, not where we resided 50 years ago. However, this place continues to impact us. Nothing will change that.
Not even a gnome invasion.
Your Extraordinary Ordinary: Have you visited your hometown recently?