Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

May 18, 2015

You Can’t Go Home Again!

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 7:00 am

Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again” brought mixed reviews in the 1940s.  People across America loved it — people in his hometown did not!

Wolfe’s novel talked of changing America.  He made the point that it is impossible to recapture what has changed.  Today, the expression “You can’t go home again” has become part of our American speech.  It means that after you have left a place, you cannot return to relive those youthful memories!

But I will say, “I can try!”  And that I did!  Oh, I have returned several times to those places of my youth.  But this tour seemed to have more significant meaning.  Perhaps as we get older, we want to make “one more” journey to those places filled with so many memories.  And so on this trip, we simply went to the places of my childhood and youth.  Names may not mean much to many of my readers, but there will be many that recognize locations such as Stone Mountain, Clarkston, New Deal, Pine Lake, and Pea Ridge.  There are other names, but the very names suggest special places.

Stone Mountain had changed even more since my last visit.  But there was a “feeling” as I would stand in those ancient places!  The big house at the top of Main Street where I grew up is no longer there — nor the small house built in back.  The entire place is now a funeral home and parking lot.  The old schools are not there — but the old rock gym stands as a historical site!  I tried to remember the route of the streetcar as it came to town.  I would point to a high stone wall where I remember jumping down on a bully after school!  I saw where families lived for generations — the houses were not as large as they seemed when I was a boy.  I can not bring back those days — but my memory cannot forget.

It was on to Clarkston — the days of my youth.  The large family store that had stood for years is a used car lot today.  I sat and remembered the Jolly’s General store. It was a large building, but later petitioned to provide for Dr. Flower’s Drugstore, the Post Office, later replaced by Gibson’s Radio and Television.  The family home has been replaced by a business; the bridge is no longer over Peachtree Creek; and the land and homestead of my grandparents has been replaced by hundreds of apartments.  Oh, the changes!

Names of streets and roads had not changed however.  So many still bear our family names  —  Jolly Street, Jolly Road, Lovejoy, Hairston, and others.  I would point out places — there is where my first sweetheart lived, there is where I got beat up after school one day, and there is where so-and-so lived, and on and on I would go!

Changes, changes, changes!  In the use of the term, it is true, “You can’t go home again.”  But nothing can erase what I have in my memory.  Most of the changes are disappointing . . . but the memories become more treasured each day.  I rejoice for a sound mind that can enjoy such memories.

But wait . . . !  I may be an  octogenarian . . . but I may still need to make another trip!



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