Tuesday, April 14, 2015


MARCH  8: You can go home again, but should you?

It’s one of those big, monumental high school reunion years for me, and I have the phone calls, emails and Facebook postings to prove it.
Maybe that’s why the title of one of my favorite books during my high school years — Thomas Wolfe’s “You Can’t Go Home Again” — keeps drifting through my mind.
And I still remember all the points Wolfe made about the futility of trying to recapture times, relationships and eras that are gone forever.
In real terms and real time, after altering my vacation schedule and booking a flight, I could go home again.
But should I?
The truth is, I haven’t seen most of my high school classmates since we were all 17 or 18. I went off to college. My parents died young and most of my closest family members moved from my home state. Except for a few months working at my hometown newspaper, and a few visits home when my parents were ill, I never went back.
Since then, I have moved to interesting and lovely places — lively New York, the trendy Pacific Northwest, tropical Florida, enchanting New Mexico — and my loved ones seemed to agree that it was more fun to visit my relocated family than have reunions on our old, often frozen stamping grounds.
I enjoyed high school, as much as any thoughtful old soul could enjoy adolescence on this planet. I have fond memories of fun times with good friends, of my favorite teachers (English and music). I liked being editor of the school paper, appearing in a few plays, playing in concert, pep and marching bands, singing in the chorus and several fun road trips to music competitions, which we usually won. 
Thanks, I suspect, to some multi-talented classmates who excelled in both music and sports, there was no “Glee” stigma at my high school: the arts were high status.
We baby boomers were the third graduating glass in a brand new high school, affording some unique opportunities. Our beloved music teacher Carl Borgeson wrote our school song, and the lyrics were written by Wayne and me. Class clown Wayne (we never dated, but muddled awkwardly through a scripted kiss in a school play) grew up to marry my best friend, Linda H., and become a Methodist minister.
Skills from those  days pop up in surprising ways. Humming tunes from long ago. Resurrecting my woodwind instrumental chops to do an impromptu melodic riff on a little ocarina shaped like a Gila monster. Teaching my grandson how to do a foot-first dolphin maneuver learned in my high school synchronized swimming days.
I’ve heard many interesting tales of people who did go home again, who resolved tormenting issues, or reunited with old sweethearts and happily remarried as senior citizens.
Rekindled romance is not on my bucket list. Contacts with college boyfriends over the decades have convinced me we were right to part ways. Somehow, I always knew my soulmate was not to be found in high school, confirmed when I finally met him, a few thousand miles away.
Every now and then, contact is made with an old classmate: a CD proves that Dave U.’s  beautiful baritone is better than ever. I learned another favorite Dave, a poet, also moved to the same  Pacific Northwest city  where I spent two decades, and also has a son in a band. I was surprised by a phone call one day from another favorite Linda, still her fun and funny self, and was saddened to learn of her death.
And there have been quite a few deaths in my large class: some early, like lovable Steve while we were still in high school, some in Vietnam, some lately: Laurie, who was on the newspaper with me.
My brother, who still lives in the city where we went to high school, gives me the headlines, and periodic phone and Facebook contacts offer information without the time-travel culture shock of encountering senior citizens who live on in my mind as teenagers, still.
I've realized it’s a long-gone, if cherished, part of what has surprised me by being longer, richer, busier and considerably farther-flung life than I ever expected. I’m still working and have a long list of family members and good friends to commune with in a finite amount of time, and this year’s schedule is very full.
Finally, I figured out what I feel no particular compulsion to “go home again.”
The truth is, I’m already home.

In next week’s Las Cruces Style, I’ll explain some of the wonderful — and sometimes strange and synchronistic — ways the City of the Crosses became my querencia, my soul’s special space, and my true home town.
S. Derrickson Moore may be reached at dmoore@lcsun-news.com, @DerricksonMoore on Twitter and Tout, or call 575-541-5450.

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