Thursday, July 21, 2011
Can you go home again?
The last week has been spent visiting with my family in western New York. We found a centrally located campground for the visit. The campground was an interesting place. It was originally a skiing resort. I had no idea that such a place existed in the greater Rochester area. Apparently it was not the best of ideas, as it has been replaced with the campground. Some of the ski apparatus is still evident on the grounds and certainly the slope in the campground is apparent. It was a level site with full hookups, so it worked out fine.
We have not been here in five years. Our last visit was for my mother’s funeral. I am sort of the odd man out in my family. Except for me, virtually all of my family has lived only a short distance from where they were born. Since I have spent all of my adult life moving around, the first thirty years with the U S Coast Guard, then with several post military jobs, and now nearly five years of traveling around in a motorhome, I am definitely an anomaly.
Our first outing was to visit my mother’s sister in Hilton, New York. On the way, we stopped in Kelly’s hometown of Spencerport of the Bayfield Bunch. Visiting my aunt always brings on a lot of memories of my childhood. She still lives in the main house of the farm where I spent the longest single period of my entire life in one place. I also really enjoyed being on the farm. When my father returned from WWII, my parents, my mother’s parents and their three other girls and myself moved to the farm. It was a 163 acre dairy and crop farm. While I did not know it at the time, I was two, none of them knew anything about farming. I grew up with cows, horses, pigs, turkeys and assorted other animals. I worked in the fields and the barns and loved it all. So whenever I walk back into that house, the memories always start to flow.
The house itself has some history, as it was built in 1835 with the materials that were dug up while creating the Erie Canal. Someone from my family has lived in the house for over sixty years. Too me, that is a big deal, since I have never lived anywhere more than nine years and that was on the farm. Today, everything belongs to someone else expect the house and the surrounding five acres.
We next caught up with my brother and his family at a cabin they have on a large plot of land. It was great to see them all and catch up on events of the last years. We met our great niece for the first time, and hope we will see here again sooner rather than later.
Finally, we visited with my sister and her family. This was also a lot of fun and we met a great nephew that we had not seen before.
These occasions always cause me to reflect on how different our lives have been compared to the rest of my family. They live were they have always lived, still know and see regularly the people they have grown up with. They have friends they see routinely over decades. We also have friends, but we make them in a brief stay in a location and then see them at very infrequent intervals over the years. One of our practices is when we pass thru an area we have lived to look at the house we have lived in. It is amazing how many houses that really is.
So for us the answer to the question: can you go home again is: yes, but which home are we talking about?