Going Back to Texas: A Senior’s Home

Aug 2nd, 2010 | By Dr Jerry D Elrod | Category: Senior Moments Blog

Having spent sometime in the desert, where the weather is not exactly idyllic in the middle of summer, we will soon  be on our way to Texas for a reunion with my roots.  It is difficult just to know where my roots belong.  We have gravitated from Texas to Arizona and back enough that the sense of home is somewhat confused. Our being in Arizona is driven by family considerations, generationally involving a 95 year old father and our daughter’s family. So that is the magnet that draws and keeps us in Arizona.  It surely isn’t the weather in summer.  That is for the reptiles. 

In Texas, we are there both for my 90 year old mother and our home, which is on the market, and allows for a comfortable environment when we are there. Home is somewhat confusing to define. For many of us past 70, home is not so much a place as it is a state of mind, a condition allowing for comfort and familiarity.  Home, to which it is not possible to return, cannot be that environment where everything is familiar anymore.  No matter the miles or the times separated from it, change is constantly in motion.  Coming back is not a condition that allows for everything to be as it was. Upon high school graduation, I left my childhood home.  Except for occasional visits, I did not return until 40 years later, upon retirement. Much, as you can imagine, had changed.  The home, where I had lived from age 10 to departure was much the same.  The farm had undergone slight change, but the town and most of what was remembered, could not be recreated.  It had suffered major alteration, inevitable and radical.

Wishing for it to b e different would not make it so.  Blaming those with limited foresight who had contributed to the loss of many of the structures that had been the thumbprint of that small town would not bring back the “good old days.” It was now forever changed.  Finally, the adjustment had to be made by me.  Acceptance of the influences that had uprooted and removed what had been was mine to make.  The few things that were left that could stimulate memory were visited, the court house, the school, now a museum, other less prominent and obvious structures. So going back was a return to a different place in a different time.  Some, whom I had known, were still around.  But, now over these intervening years, many of them have died.  So change and home continue their redefinition. 

Drawing what one can from the experience of ”going back” is about all one can do.  While fleeting, it often offers the joy of a reminiscence, the quiet recovering of something pleasant that had transpired long ago, the recall of a person, a place, an event.  Such moments of going back are rich treasures, but cannot be kept for long.  Finding in them some memory, some teaching moment, some passing recall is about all we can retrieve.  That is enough.  “Going back” is its own reward and leaves us with whatever we find to enjoy, if only briefly.



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