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The Socratic Club A club that Lewis founded at Oxford. A forum devoted to general philosophical and spiritual discussion

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Old 07-03-2014, 12:49 AM
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Default You Can't Go Home Again

Places where we've been change while we're away from them.

In connection with driving across America to visit the grave of my first wife Mary, I had the opportunity to visit Fort Meade -- the home of the N.S.A. -- for the first time in quite a few years. A mere eight years after my retirement from the Navy, I scarcely recognized the place. There's a huge amount of new construction, including the new headquarters of the Defense Information Systems Agency, which had barely started to come into existence by the time I retired. And there was no opportunity to see any of my former colleagues in cryptology. The old place just isn't the same -- though I recognized the field where I used to run my obligatory mile and a half.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:16 AM
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I spent seven years in a small city in southern China. When we first moved there, it was a nice green patch of farmland in front of where we lived, and a lively village behind (you know, the kind with dogs and chickens and wonderfully practical farm women). There was also no fast food chain in the entire city.

When we moved away, it was a forty-story high apartment complex in front of where we lived, another middle-upper class apartment complex sprawling behind us, and there was a number of McDonalds, KFCs, a Warner Brother's Theatre, and even a Wallmart. Hong Kong doesn't have a Wallmart, but tiny southern Chinese city does?!

I miss the village.
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Old 07-03-2014, 09:23 AM
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This may not seem as important, but the small ton in Illinois where I used to live seems to have more and more ten-story buildings each time I visit.
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Old 07-03-2014, 12:46 PM
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I can sympathize with all of the above.

When I was a young scuba instructor, I lived on Grand Cayman island and worked on 7 Mile Beach, which even then was rather developed as Caribbean islands go. But for days off, to get away from the hustle and bustle, we would sometimes drive way up the other end of the islands to Rum Point. There was on small scuba lodge/hotel there with a bar and outdoor grill so you could get something to eat, but otherwise just white sandy beach down to a shallow blue bay — you could walk out into it for a hundred yards and not get into water up to your neck, and hammocks slung between pine trees on the shore. There was a dock for boats and sometimes pleasure craft from Governor's Harbor would pull up, if they didn't draw much, or the bigger boats might put out in deeper water and everyone swim ashore. It was never crowded except on a Sunday when the locals came to barbecue and picnic. It was idyllic.

Just a couple years after I returned to the states, my mum and I went back to Grand Cayman for a visit and drove up there ... to find that a fast ferry from Governor's Harbor was bringing huge amounts of tourists from 7 Mile Beach to a brand-new huge dock that went way out into the bay to accommodate the big ferry. There were a couple more hotels, a sprawling bar/grill complex on the beach, and big crowds of people. I was never so shocked and appalled! There was a whole business of beach chair and beach toy rentals catering to day-trippers from the cruise ships ...

**Sigh**

There's always Little Cayman island, but I am afraid to go back there -- what if something similar has happened to Point of Sand, the one deserted beach on that tiny island?
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Old 07-04-2014, 12:06 AM
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I too, can identify with these things.. When I moved away from Virginia, I was plagued with a terrible homesickness. I still do feel homesickness for VA sometimes. I loved that place so much. As time rolled on and I began to be able to examine my feelings objectively, I realized that I was longing for something that didn't exist anymore. I was homesick for a place and people and a time in my life that would never exist in the present or the future in the same way again. Places change, and people change, and I couldn't ever go back. In a way, coming to that realization helped me to cope and move on, but it's still a little sad to think about.

I still haven't been able to visit VA since then, but someday I would like to go back and visit all the places I used to go.
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Old 07-05-2014, 01:39 AM
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Excellent illustrations! Warrior Satyr, your example is just as valid as any of the others.
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Old 07-07-2014, 11:43 AM
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Having grown up a military brat, I've lived all over, both in the states and abroad. I've never actually visited any place I used to live other than locally, but thanks to google maps street view I can see how much they've changed and in shocking detail.

Yeah, you can't go back again. It reminds of that Stephen King story (and the lame tv adaptation) where the past remains in this stasis until the monsters come and devour it.
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Old 07-07-2014, 12:59 PM
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I've never heard of that Stephen King story. What happens when a monster devours the past? Hmmm ...

LoN, you were very wise to realize it wasn't just the place you wanted back, but the circumstances of your life in VA. Your story reminded me of my boss' foster daughter, who came to live with him and his wife when she was only 3 months old, and wasn't able to be placed permanently back with her father until she was about 7 or 8 years old. She knew she was going to be with her biological dad, with whom she had often visited, but the only real parents she knew were her foster parents. As they were putting her on the plane to fly off to her new life, she asked them if they would be there to pick her up when she got back to the airport. Her foster dad gently explained that she wouldn't be coming back this time -- and she said, "No, I mean when I'm 18 years old and can go where I like." She knew she couldn't come back while she was a juvenile, but she had it planned as soon as she was old enough to come back and take up where she left off.

But that never happens.
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Old 07-08-2014, 06:59 PM
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I believe Dawnpatrol was referring to "The Langoliers." I never read the book, but the televised version was dumb.
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:59 PM
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I recently graduated, and I've been missing school a lot. I never lived there, but it was home. It's where I fell in (and then out) of love and where I spent many hours just sitting on the third floor of the library and watching people walk around the quad and where I slept (in the library, the cafeteria, on friends' couches, in my car in the parking lot), where I learned to love Shakespeare, where, for the first time ever, I had friends that were like family. I was there five days a week from morning to late afternoon, trudging from class to class to the library to the parking garage in sun, in rain, in snow, bracing myself against the wind, in despair and in hope, in isolation and finally in togetherness.

I haven't gone back since graduation in the spring, and I know if I were to go back that it would no longer be mine, that it's not my home now, although it still is to many others.

I think, ultimately, what I miss most is what I carry with me, so even if I was physically there, it wouldn't be going back.

I've been thinking about this a lot, lately.
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