Tuesday, June 30, 2009

What I Learned on my Summer Vacation

You CAN go home again, but it might not be there.

On the afternoon before we left Vancouver to return to Richfield, everyone indulged me as Jen drove us over to Portland to find the house where I grew up. I wanted my grandkids to see the lovely idyllic place on the outskirts of town that influenced my life so profoundly. We had a GPS to guide us, but it didn't turn out as I hoped it would. There was nothing left to recognize. Gone was the quiet neighborhood and three little rows of houses on two short streets. Gone was the dairy and the pasture beyond where we chased the cows in for afternoon milking. Gone was the farm land and the wild blackberry patches and the little stream where we found frog eggs in the spring to take home and observe their metamorphosis into tadpoles. Gone was the 50-foot row of irises on the north side of our house, and the roses that lined our driveway, and the ten cottonwood trees in the back yard where we played ball and the silver leaf maple in the front yard that overlooked my mother's rock garden. Gone was the quarter acre of garden space that fed us from year to year. Gone was the house, half of which my father built, where we ate breakfast every morning watching the sun come up over Mt. Hood.

But things changed. In its place was an industrial park of staggering dimensions - acres and acres of semi-trucks lined up in place of all that had been familiar, now guarded by miles of chain link fences, a testament to the power of change.

Disappointing though it was, in a way I was glad. I am secure in the memories of childhood that shaped my life. They are always mine, always available, always part of me, and I can paint the picture in words whenever I want to. It is enough. I am content.


jwise said...

Yeah, it was disappointing, but I think you're right--you can be secure in the memories.

Anonymous said...

I thought it was that small green house to the right. We never really found the house number.

It was fun to see where exactly your home was.