Wednesday, September 14, 2011

You Can't Go Home Again?

Hi, friends. I hope you are all well. I've been on vacation with my family for the past two weeks, and there hasn't been a moment to write. Well, I'm trying to steal a moment right now.
They say, "You can't go home again." Why do they say that? They probably mean, "When you go back, things are not the same. So you can't return to the home you remember."
But, you know what? Here I am in th

e home in which I was raised, and everything is more or less the same. Some neighbors that I remember are still here, and then there are some new ones.
The house is exactly as it was, but our wooden rocking bench on the front porch is missing. Where's my rocker? We used to sit out on that rocker on Shabbat afternoon - talking and laughing. But wooden rockers don't last decades, so I guess it's time came and went.
The interior of my childhood home is more or less the same as well - packed with new stuff and old stuff - stuffed with stuff.
But mostly it has that aura of "everything is going to be okay" about it. That was very
comforting to a nine year old and it's very comforting to a ***cough cough *** year old as well.
The apartment house that was my first home was in a really bad neighborhood. We pulled up to the front of the building and I opened the window to take photos. A woman on the porch called out to me, "Whatchu doin'?" I said, "I lived here ***cough cough*** years ago. She was flabbergasted, and she told the old woman that I lived there many decades ago. They were very impressed. My very brave sister jumped out of the car and said, "May we look at the lobby." The woman proceeded to unlock the fortress that was once my early childhood play space.Back to the Older and Oldest Homes
Yesterday we conquered Manhattan on foot - walking on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Avenues (including Broadway). I visited my old offices and showed my daughter the excitement and energy of New York City. My terrific tour guide was my brother-in-law.
Today, my brother-in-law had another idea - leave Manhattan and travel back to Brooklyn, the old neighborhood - to show my daughter where I was born and the homes I lived in from ages 0-3, 4-8.
I was about to snap a photo when a resident said, "I don't get no photos shot of me." Ooops, sorry.
We went inside and photographed our once beautiful lobby (now furnitureless, but still clean). We snapped the elevators and the super's apartment and the porch. As we left the women sitting outside, one of the women said, "I bet you live in a house now." I replied, "I don't even live in this country." They all said, "ooooooooh."
We waved good-bye and speeded away to Home #2. When we moved, as I turned eight, our neighborhood was turning very bad. Today it has been regentrified and is just lovely.
We pulled up to the brownstone that was my home so long ago, and I was overcome with excitement. I knew the house, and I recognized my neighbor's homes too. There was my alleyway where we played ring-a-leave-i-o until late at night.
My sister again led the way right up the steps. She rang the bell and then explained to the lady-of-the-house who we were. Incredulously she opened the door and we just barged in saying, "This was the living room. We had guppies here in the corner." "There was a TV here in the dining room." "My brother left the water on and flooded this room."
My home was straight out of Leave It to Beaver. This home was straight from the pages of Better Homes and Gardens. The family had pulled up the carpeting and retreated the magnificent parquet floors. Gorgeous photos hung on every wall.
The kitchen was renovated and our mud room was gone.
My sister and I were transformed into girls again, running from room to room, remembering the days when my mother made french fries and dabbed the oil off with a paper bag, and when my father, o'h, would put a flashlight in the middle of the living room, make paper hats for us and sing Indian songs.
Who says, "You can't go home again?" I did, and it was better than I ever would have dreamed!!

1 comment:

  1. I miss you darling. When are you coming home to your real home?