Friday, August 19, 2011

Where the heart is... and ain't

Norwalk Tunnel- Sparta_Elroy Bike Trail
It was a quick trip, less than 24 hours, back home, which is a funny way to describe it as I lived there only twelve years as opposed to the almost forty I have lived here, but it is where I grew up.  Western Wisconsin with it's hills and valleys and small running creeks and foggy bottoms and farms always will seem like home. It is where my parents lived.... and I guess, in some sense, it was where my home was.

We sold my mother's house. There were items I had left there, stored there, that needed to be moved and this was the time it had to be done.
I didn't get about on this trip... spent time with my sister and brother-in-law, cleaned out the last little bit out of the house and came back..... home.  But it got me thinking about where home really is.

I went to grade school there, High School, played football there, went to prom, had my first girlfriend, got laid for the first time, first beer party, swimming in the lakes, doing the bike trail, it always felt like home, and yet, when it came time to leave yesterday... I felt relieved... to be coming home.  Here.  Where I went to college... joined the debate team when I could not make the football team... had multiple girlfriends, smoked my first joint.... and made friends that are still with me.  Here.  I got married, had children, bought a house, got a divorce, watched my children go to the same college I did... I guess here.... is home. Oshkosh.  It is where my parents got married, where all my relatives lived.  Well they are mostly all dead, my son has moved to Oregon, my daughter graduates in December and I do not expect her to hang around.... here... home... for very long after that.  So, will this, here, still be home?
I think of moving where in particular, just elsewhere, and extinguish this notion of home altogether.  But then I know it will never be possible... as long as I have a memory and a heart.

Back... home.... there is a nice thirty some mile bike trail that was made of a old railroad bed, a neat level grade through the hills.  I used to ride it frequently... made special trips just to ride it.  Years ago, when home for holidays I would gather my kids, their cousins, and take them on a hike on the trail, through the longest tunnel, nearly a mile long.  They would hoot in the darkness, collect bugs and leaves that would strike their fancy, look for frogs in the creek and generally have a great time being kids.  Now they are gone; Portland, Minneapolis, San Diego, Madison, Milwaukee. I miss those hikes...and their laughter.
  In their lives, so far, they have gone places I never have and never will... Korea, Australia, Germany, France, Peru, Vietnam, Italy,......... It was like they walked through a tunnel... and went home.  Where ever that is.

Homeward bound
I wish I was
Homeward bound
Home, where my thought's escaping
Home, where my music's playing
Home, where my love lies waiting
Silently for me
Silently for me
Silently for me


dmarks said...

I grew up in that area too, and love it.

Squatlo said...

I still call east Tennessee "home" even though I moved to middle TN at age 19 and have been here for 38 years now. But I think we are "imprinted" with the place where we saw our greatest changes, for good or bad. Middle TN is not has hilly as where I'm from, so when we travel east and start to climb into the mountains I always feel like I'm more in my element.

For some strange reason I've had an overwhelming urge to move closer to those fictional "roots" even though I have nothing there to draw me back after all these years.

Strange...(and great song, by the way)

Anonymous said...

I'm not imprinted on any home, having grown up in a military family. I've seen a lot of sidewalks but seem to not have formed attachments to places. That feels odd to me. I think that when you have to say "goodbye" every three years, you avoid clinging to places. I envy you, okjimm - your memories and your descriptions of them are sweet and filled with nostalgia. I wish I had nostalgia for a place!

I love Wisconsin. When I moved to Minneapolis in 1987, I couldn't believe there was a more beautiful place than this neighbor. I would have much rather have lived in Madison. Ahhh, regrets.

Your writing is beautiful, okjimm. You may not know it; that's why I'm telling you.

Lisa said...

For what it's worth, when I think of Oshkosh, I think of you.

Sue said...

There really is no place like home...beautiful, Jim! I'm in the same town my parents moved me to 44 yrs ago, so this is my home and always will be. It's not where I was born, or went to elementary school, but it's where I grew up and grow old. As long as my kids and Amelia are here, I must be here too. I could never leave them, that's just the way I am!

Why is it you always make me cry? Is it just because I need to cry and your sweet stories bring it out?

Happy Birthday honey...

okjimm said...

Dmarks.... where was that?

Squatlo...I heard there is good whiskey in TN...that must make it homey no matter where you are!

SDS... I always like MinneyApples....the Sculpture Gardens were also a favorite place. &I am just an OK writer... but it sure beats my singing :)

Lisa... whew, don't think too much about Oshkosh... and I live here! Ha!

Ha! SUE... BOY&HOWDY... if my stories make you cry, just be grateful you cannot smell my sneakers.... they would REALLY make you weep!!

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