Going Home

I am reposting this blog entry because, thanks to my friend, lauri27wsmith, I have been made aware of a song that so perfectly reflects what I am trying to say.  It is called “The Old House” by John Mcdermott.  I have added the lyrics below which I think are beautiful.  You can pull it up on the web if you wish to hear it sung.

Lonely I wander through scenes of my childhood
They bring back to memory the happy days of yore
Gone are the old folk, the house stand deserted
No light in the window, no welcome at the door

Here’s where the children played games on the heather
Here’s where they sailed their wee boats on the burn
Where are they now? some are dead, some have wandered
No more to their home will the children return

Lonely the house now, and lonely the moorland
The children have scattered, the old folk are gone
Why stand I here, like a ghost or a shadow?
“tis time I was movin”, tis time I passed on

I drive in silence, watching the road closely as it coils along the rocky coastline, occasionally flipping on the wipers to remove the sea mist that gathers on my windshield.  How long has it been, I muse, since the last time I was here.  More years then I like to think I’m afraid.  Yet still, the closer I come to the village that was my childhood home, the more a sense of belonging reawakens.

I enter the village, driving slowly past aging homes with painted shingles and large, inviting porches.  I used to know many of the families that lived here.  I went to school with their children.  We spent many afternoons playing in these yards.  But where I once belonged is now merely the familiar. The old neighborhoods have forgotten me.  Moved on as did I.

I pass the high school, and thoughts of happier days spent with friends here are revived.  I remember my prom.  Dressed in my rented tux that almost fit. Double dating with my friend Brad because he had a car.  Trying to look so cool while stumbling through a waltz.  And my first love.  A girl from the West side of town who moved in different circles then I, always surrounded by the popular in our class.  My heart kept silent by our differences.  She never knew me at all.  Funny how times change. I heard that she married one of our football heroes who ended up driving a truck for the Public Works department.  Ironic.

As I approach the shops on Main Street, I note that most have new names and new owners.  Others sit dark and vacant.  There is a time worn atmosphere encompassing the area.  Not at all like the vibrant tone that was the norm during my youth.  Back when this was the heart of the community.  You came here for your groceries, your clothes, your haircuts.  This is where the theater was.  But no more.  I can’t help but feel a little sad.

I continue to search for the familiar, driving down by the old port.  It speaks more loudly of what I remember.  The names of the boats, bobbing at anchor, have changed, but much remains the same.  Lobster traps stacked along the weathered wharves.  The smell of the sea assaulting your nostrils.  The ferry to the islands loading vehicles for the short trip across the bay.  For just a moment, a little of the warmth I have been seeking has been discovered.

I drive aimlessly through the town, only to be greeted by a today I had not anticipated.  I had been so excited about coming home, only to find my home is no longer here.  This place was the soul of my childhood.  I guess I never expected it to forsake my memories, but instead, remain frozen in time, waiting for my return to begin anew.

As I drive the tree lined streets, lost in my emotions, I hear the distant ringing of a bell.  I recognize the mellow chime immediately, like the voice of an old friend.  It is the Chapel by the Sea calling me.  I am drawn, quickly responding to it’s invitation.

I stare as if seeing it for the first time, savoring the weather beaten wood and frosted windows.  The sturdy steeple urges me to enter.  As I step into the dim, cool interior, it is as if I never left.  I am that kid again, with shined shoes and slicked down hair that came here every Sunday to profess my faith.

The silence is overwhelming as I slide into a pew, letting the nostalgia of the moment wash over me.  I have found my anchor.  For all my absence, I feel this one place has indeed awaited my return.  As I immerse myself  in its embrace, I at last experience a sense that says “welcome home.  I’ve missed you.”

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at poormanspoet.wordpress.com to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Beauty, Faith, Home, Love, Memories, Narrative, Reflection, Senses and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Going Home

  1. splitspeak says:

    I have been in the same city almost all my life. Wonder what it would feel like to revisit after a long time. Nice to read this post

    Love, Mehak

    Like

    • oldmainer says:

      Although this piece is an amalgam of several towns I have visited or lived in, there is one constant. You can never go home. It is never the same and your memories of what it was are always far better then what it is

      Like

  2. You only have to move a few miles away and you can not go back home again. Distance isn’t the biggest part of that. I can drive by my old neighborhood whenever I like but I don’t…everything has changed, mostly me. I don’t belong there…I stopped belonging there the day I left. The place is different and so am I and that’s the way it should be because nothing is more constant…like change.

    Like

    • oldmainer says:

      I left home at seventeen and over all these years, i think I have been back maybe four times, and two of those were for my parents funerals. You are right. As soon as you leave, there is no rewind.

      Like

  3. laurie27wsmith says:

    I returned to England in 2003 after an absence of 42 years, everywhere I went called out to me in a whisper. I felt sad, someone else lived in the home I was born in. I stood at the door and spoke with the owner, she seemed nice but the house told me to go away, that I didn’t belong anymore. I listened and felt the vague animosity that came from it. perhaps it didn’t want to remember its secrets.
    Laurie.

    Like

    • oldmainer says:

      You are right on. I toured my old neighborhood once. My grade school was now a nursing home. And as you said, my boyhood home told me to go away. It was not a museum where my childhood was displayed. It was a cemetery where my childhood was buried.

      Like

      • laurie27wsmith says:

        Oh so true, the past is certainly a foreign land yet it has that ability to drag us back looking for something. I get dragged back into it at times and there is so much to let go of. Memory is definitely a two edged sword.

        Like

      • oldmainer says:

        I think it is our desire to recapture something that we liked and lost, be that our friends, our classmates, or maybe just our youth. Whatever it is, we are always hopeful that we can “play it again Sam”:)

        Like

      • laurie27wsmith says:

        True and Rick’s Café Américain is boarded up and when you peer through the window the dance floor is littered with rubbish and Sam’s piano has rotted and fallen to the floor. All that’s left are ghosts of perhaps happier days gone by.
        If you can find it on the net have a listen to a song by Foster and Allen, it’s called ‘The Old House.’ the first few lines are,
        Lonely I wander through scenes of my childhood,
        they bring back the memories of happy days of yore,
        gone are the old folk, the house stands deserted,
        no light in the windows, no welcome at all.

        I cry when I listen to this song.

        Like

      • oldmainer says:

        I found it. Wow. Brought tears to my eyes too. It goes to the heart of what we have been trying to express I think. Thank you for suggesting it. Now that I have heard it, I don’t think I’ll be forgetting it.

        Like

      • laurie27wsmith says:

        Glad you found it, there is something so beautifully haunting about it and of course it brings on the tears. I play it every few days when I’m on the computer, it stirs my soul.
        Laurie.

        Like

      • oldmainer says:

        I think I am going to update Going Home to include the lyrics of The Old House. Thanks again.

        Like

      • laurie27wsmith says:

        It will add a touch of nostalgia alright, I just put the song on again. I guess I punish myself with it but it is so beautiful. I look forward to seeing your update.
        Laurie.

        Like

  4. laurie27wsmith says:

    Yes! The song lyrics have really highlighted a great post.
    Cheers
    Laurie.

    Like

  5. bgbowers says:

    This is such a wonderful post – I will include it in my weekly list. It stirred many thoughts and memories for me. I would love the opportunity to drive through my old country, alas it will never be.
    Bianca x

    Like

    • oldmainer says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it. The lyrics to the song The Old House, thanks to Laurie, add a lot I think. We all wish we could make memories materialize, but sadly, it is not to be.

      Like

  6. Pingback: Bianca’s Weekly Wonder List 23.08.13 | B.G. Bowers

  7. Wonderfully written 🙂

    Ah, memories so bittersweet.

    Like

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