“You can’t go home again” is often said, mostly relating to a state of mind, usually in reference to personal growth or inner changes. In my case, I cannot go home because there is no house and everything about the land is an antithesis of my childhood.
For twenty years this was the view from my bedroom window. I don't know when this photo was taken but it was probably in October or November because during the warmer months the trees and bushes were green and the wild oat fields beyond the shrubbery were tall and wavy green and alive with quail, pheasants and jack rabbets.
Beyond the grassy fields were several small creeks which I frequently explored, chasing frogs and playing pretend games of being in the wilds of Africa or, with my BB gun, protecting myself from bandits and barbarians.
The neighborhood was sparsely populated and houses were identified by the owner’s name. In conversation, someone would say, “Did you see the Helmick house has been painted?” Or, “The County was doing work between the Anderson’s place and the road.”
I don’t think my parents actually knew the people in most of the homes, they just knew the names, probably because people had their names on mailboxes. Also, hardly anyone moved away and new constructions were uncommon so, after a while, in casual conversations, names and houses became a single identity.
Then something happened. Perhaps because of relaxed zoning codes, perhaps it was because of the proximity to a larger city or maybe it was just the result of over population ... whatever the reason, almost overnight, the area changed and became charmless and filled with row upon row of ordinary looking houses.
My parents eventually sold their house which was had been centered on two acres. Looking at the Google image, there are now six houses where once had been one.
The yellow circle is where my home had been and the arrow is towards the view from my bedroom. Of course, when I was seventeen I couldn’t wait to leave. I suppose, when I moved away, I assumed the house and view would always be there. No, sometimes you simply can't go home.