Monday, October 03, 2005

You Can Never Go Home Again

I grew up in the tiniest of towns. There were actually three tiny towns in the county, and they all shared one elementary, middle, and high school, so it felt more like one slightly less tiny town. It was impossible to swing a cat without hitting 3 people you knew. This once tiny place is now the fastest growing county in the United States, with statistics to prove it and everything. Most of this growth took place after I left almost 11 years ago.

On my way to Ft. Lauderdale last week, I decided I would drive through and look at all the changes. I’d heard that a second high school opened this year and I had to see it to believe it. Growing up I never paid attention to street names specifically, and I always found my way around the Lilliputian community by memory and landmarks. To get to Christine’s you turned right immediately after the middle school. To get to a cul-de-sac where we did a lot of underage drinking, you turned left at the BP station. Well I’ll be damned if the BP station hasn’t been knocked down and replaced with a huge Home Depot. I drove around as if I were a visitor to the town for the first time. Nothing looked familiar – roads replaced woods, restaurants replaced woods, and there are now 3 Beall’s department stores, when one was really one too many to begin with.

I drove in the direction where I’d been told the new high school was. I got a little sentimental in the process. I cried one tear because although I have my memories, this is no longer the place where I grew up. I cried another tear for my friend Dean whom I had not seen in more than 12 years, but who had died a couple weeks before. I cried one last tear because I got so lost that I never did find the new fucking high school.


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