It’s not that you can’t go home again; it’s just that when you get there, you find someone completely changed the scale and perspective of everything you thought you knew, making it unrecognizable. The fanciest house in town looks worn, the lush hedge moth eaten and the thriving corner store across the street has its sign hanging by one hook. That solid brick bastion of authority and education is gone. The gravel lot in front, home to so many dare base games by day, looks so small you can’t imagine there was any thrill to the game at all. The baseball diamond is barely large enough to host a beginner’s t-ball game and the only permanent part of the playground still there is the swing set which they must have been moved closer to the back of the E.U.B. church because the grassy area around it is really small.
In the surrounding area many of the farms you pass boast half collapsing sheds and lone sentinel silos bereft of their barns. Neatly painted houses, barns and outbuildings are weathered and look as if they may slowly sink into the land. Roads that used to wind through valleys whose fields were rich with river silt no longer go anywhere. Dams for water conservation have turned the valleys into lakes, their shores lined with vacation houses each with a speed, pontoon or house boat parked at its dock.
Towns which had vibrant downtown shopping areas are deserted, most commerce having moved out to the interstate exits. You watch children coming out of an elementary school to their waiting buses and wonder what their childhood is like here. Would they think you are some weird old geezer type if you told them that where they go to school used to be the egg factory you worked at to get through college. There’s no trace of the land’s former purpose nor does there seem to be any trace of your ever having been here either. Time has moved on and you wonder if the memories you have of these places were real. Maybe yes, maybe no.