One of the most amazing, warm, and surprising events in all my travels over six continents, going “home” was maybe the most memorable.
My wife and I were in the middle of our magical Baseball tour. We had just attended the MLB All Star game in Minneapolis. We were actually between two tours with Broach Sports Tours. Mary Ann’s college room mate, Debbie, lived in the area and graciously hosted us. Not only did she live in the area, she lived in Mendota Heights, (a suburb of St. Paul Mn.) WHICH IS WHERE I GREW UP!
I had not been there for fifty years. Mendota heights has of course grown and changed over the years, what hasn’t. I was set on finding my childhood home and Debbie was as excited as I was to find it. She referred to it as “old Mendota heights” which is true because where she lived was truly upscale and did not even exist when I was ten years old. So, we loaded into her car, I gave her my first ever address which I amazingly found rattling around in my wooly mind. I was able to tell her that it was near a country club, but that was about it. No problem, She whisked us right to it. I think she was as nervous about it still being there as I was.
I immediately jumped out of the car and started taking photos. Then I remembered my manners, this was not MY house anymore and anyone living there might think I was invading their privacy or worse.
So I knocked on the door. I was met by a great guy who is the new owner. He had just bought it a few months ago. I told him “I grew up in this house until I was ten. This is the first time I have seen it since. Do you mind me taking a few photos?”
His response was to invite me in! He was working on interior renovations, but mostly my old residence was the same.
Memories came back like they do when you look at an old photo album. I started blabbering.
“Wow, this is where…” and “Wow, this was my room”. He was humored and I think actually entertained by my stories. I asked to see the basement and showed him where my old man’s man cave used to be. All this went on for quite a while before I remembered my wife and her friend were waiting for me outside.
When we walked out I saw MY TREE.
The neighborhood had of course changed. In front of my house was nothing but acres and acres of soybean fields when we left. Now it is full of homes. It is pure suburbia, with swing sets in small yards. My old house had the largest yard around. Just then a “crew” of kids that were about the age I was way back then, rolled up on their bicycles. I told them I lived here when I was their age. I told them that where their house is, used to be nothing but farmland. I guess they were as interested as a ten year old could be, and they soon pedaled away.
My next door neighbor’s house was still there, where my best childhood friend lived. I stopped to look at it and saw a woman taking in their rubbish cans. I started to explain my presence and told her that I grew up in the house next door. She asked my name and went apocalyptic when I told her.
“I used to baby sit you! ” I live in that house there.” She pointed at a house I well remember. In fact this woman’s little sister was my first hearthrob!
She took me inside her family home. Her mother was still alive and really perked up when she found out who I was. She went on and on with stories about me in my childhood. I never knew I was such a little scoundrel!
Then Mary Ann’s friend asked if I wanted to see my old school. I remembered that we lived something like 1/4 of a mile too close to qualify for a ride on the schoolbus. Soooo we had to walk to and from school in the snow, and it was uphill both ways!
So folks, if you are as lucky as I am, YES you CAN go home again!
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Next post, more Baseball!