Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Can You Go Home Again?

Is there truth to the saying "you can't go home again"?  We found that there are two answers to that question when we recently traveled back to Kansas for an aunt and uncle's 60th wedding anniversary party.   

It had been several years since our last visit to the county where my husband and I both grew up.  In the early seventies, the small high school that D attended was closed  and combined with my "larger" high school in the county seat, twelve miles down the road.  When Mr. B assigned desks in Journalism class, our lives were forever changed when the handsome new boy in class was seated next to me.  We've been together ever since!  

After attending college (Kansas State, together of course!) and a couple of years in the mountains of Colorado (perhaps another blog post someday) we returned to start a small business and our family in that same small community.  Times, careers and lives change and now we find ourselves and our family spread across the Midwest.  So after an absence of several  years, we made a trip "home" again.

This is such a sad photo. I have to admit a few tears were shed when we drove out to the farm.  The house on the family farm homestead where I grew up is no longer standing.  It was bulldozed and burned last year to avoid it's inevitable collapse and ruin.  This was the view looking out the front door to the west.  The scorched trees are evidence of the heat from the century old walls, hardwood floors and white  porch posts that are only a memory now.  The white lilacs, irises and tree swing were gone long before that.

The lonely frame of the big old swing set still stands, giving a reference point to where the back porch door opened to the yard and garden behind the house.  Most everything else, the barn, chicken houses, grain bins and garage, are all gone.  So, nope.  Can't go home.

We drove up to the little town where D grew up.  Another sad sight.  The last time we were here, someone was living in the house that his dad had built back in the late sixties or early seventies.  But now it looks to be completely abandoned and in pretty bad shape.  Hopefully, it is only temporary.
A few miles outside of town was D's grandparents farm.  All that is left here is the skeleton of the windmill.  It was getting dark but we took a few minutes to walk around and take some photos.  D spent a lot of time on this farm as a boy while his mom battled cancer in a hospital in Kansas City. He sometimes would drive the lawnmower from his other grandparents home in town out to here. Not a speedy trip, I'm sure! 

 Another stop on the tour of homes that were.  This is the house that we built back in 1980 and where we lived when our two youngest children were born.  I'm not sure who lives here now, but it was satisfying to know that they are taking very good care of it.  The workshop now seems to be a barn and home to some goats and a horse.  Something our kids(at least one of the girls anyway!) would probably have loved to have done if we'd stayed here.  

But, even though those houses are either gone or occupied, that doesn't mean we couldn't go "home" again.  After all, these last photos are part of what we think of as home!

Thanks for riding along on this trip down memory lane!


Lori said...

So sad for you. Times do change don't they? Your picture of the sunflowers and the sun over town are amazing though! You should enter them in a contest. really!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh gosh Janet -- your post even brought tears to MY eyes. So sad about the farmhouse. Isn't it weird how time passes? You wouldn't think 1980 is really that long ago, but it seems like it when you look at the changes around it. I have memories of driving across Kansas as a child -- and I always picture a field of sunflowers, just like in your beautiful picture!

Anonymous said...

I can imagine the disappointment you must have felt at times when visits to the old places were so changed.

joeks said...

You're right--you can't go home again.
You're right--you can go home again.

p.s. Your swing set was the best!