Sunday, August 30, 2009

Of Time, and Distance, and Going "Home"

One week ago yesterday I was on my way to my fortieth high school reunion. One week ago today I was at a family get-together with all the relatives from both sides of my family who could make it. One week ago tomorrow I was making the 9 1/2 hour drive back to Michigan.

I was born in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, a town of less than 10,000 sitting nearly on the Mason-Dixon line. Although we only lived "in" the town for less than a year (when I was six), we lived nearby enough to attend the same small country church my mother was raised in, to which my brother and SIL still belong. The exception to this was the year I was five, when my father took a short-term job in southern Maryland. We all felt as though we had moved to the other side of the earth, it was "so far" away. I just checked the distance on Google maps -- it's 117 miles. From 1984 to the early 90's, Roger's daily commute was longer than that. Arwen and Rosie live 90+ miles away, and we think nothing of running down to see them for a day. Expressways make an enormous difference!

When I was growing up, with 1950's ideas of distance, I thought that Detroit was incredibly far away. Now I live an hour north of Detroit, 520 miles from Waynesboro. With six kids in the car it used to take us nearly twelve hours to drive from here to there. These days, with 70 mph limits and drastically reduced pit stops, we regularly do it in 9 or so. On the other hand, when my parents were alive we used to try to visit Waynesboro three times in each two years. When we were planning this trip, I suddenly realized it had been over two years since we'd been there at all. (My brother and SIL did come to see us twice in that time, something they couldn't do when the folks required care.)

So it seems that both years and miles go by more quickly as I age. This is not a new concept, of course, but it's different when you experience it. It seems impossible that I have been out of high school 40 years, but 2009 --1969 = 40, whether I like it or not. And things both here and in Waynesboro change. There were fewer people at the family get-togther than I ever remember at similar gatherings. My parents' generation is all but gone, my children's generation is busy and scattered -- only Maggie and Tommy of our six were there -- and my cousins and my grandchildren's generation will never know each other except perhaps on Facebook.

When we were planning this trip, both Roger and I realized that we were "homesick" for Waynesboro. Since I was a small-town girl -- 60+% of my graduating class still live within 20 miles -- this is not too surprising for me. But Roger grew up outside Grand Rapids, and never went to Waynesboro until the summer before we were married. Furthermore, my brother's current house wasn't bought until after my folks were gone. But the sense of family makes it a part of home.

So "home" is there, and "home" is here, and nothing looks quite the way it did when I was a kid. And we are in the process of finding a new house to "keep" home in, since the state "made us an offer we couldn't refuse" to buy us out for the very long awaited construction project. ( I know I posted about that, but I can't seem to find the post. If I do find it I'll link to it.) And because this world is changeable, I have to live with that. But I am very grateful that (God willing) in the end I will recognize my True Home, and time and distance will be only a memory.

1 comment:

HereWeGoAJen said...

I moved so much while I was growing up that I don't really have a "going home." I've actually never been back to most of the places that I lived as a child.