Dear. God. No.
I left after high school, heading to college, then to my first newspaper job and my second newspaper job, and a job with a famous game company and then freelance to write novels, moving to a new town or two each time. I’ve lived in ten places so far.
“Home” was being five years old, a passenger in my mother’s car when she pulled in the driveway one night and ran over my dog.
Home was summer days running through fields and climbing trees, building “forts,” and burying a treasure cache of favorite marbles in a tin that I could never find again. It was nights staying in my bedroom so I wouldn’t see my mother drink. Home was where I learned to love science fiction…I read a lot of it my bedroom.
Home was band and choir competitions and speech meets; gaining trophies and ribbons long-since tossed away; Friday night football games and marching at halftime; slaying butterflies for sophomore biology’s required insect collection; riding my bicycle to the Baptist church; working as a carhop; giving up on trying to roller skate; and collecting comic books.
Home was watching my father’s first heart attack.
I made frequent visits home when my mother had aplastic anemia and was often hospitalized. My final trip home was after she died and I sold her house.
I might be able to go home physically…in the sense of driving into town and parking outside the house I grew up in. But that “home” is long gone; it’s only thick memories. The used bookstores I used to frequent closed a while ago. Most of my friends fled to distant states; those who stayed changed with the years. The restaurants are different, the high school band has a new sound, the river looks the same but the bridge over it was upgraded when I wasn’t looking, and the park along the bank has vanished, replaced with a parking lot.
Home was the place that built me and at the same time knocked me down.
I go “home” only on the page. I retreat there sometimes when I’m writing, culling characters from my past, regurgitating descriptions of stores with tin ceilings and creaky wooden floors that hang in my brain like cobwebs too high for the broom to reach. The feel of the metal monkey bars, the sound of the Baptist church’s bell, the smell of the creek behind the 4-H grounds, the curl of my little dog’s tail.
“It’s your fault,” she told me. I was sitting in the seat of the old Chevy, wearing a plaid red dress, black shoes, and white socks with lace trim. She sewed a lot and had made the dress for me. “If you hadn’t wanted to stay later at your grandparents, the dog wouldn’t have been out.”
Why would you ever want to go “home?”