Sunday, November 13, 2011


Someone recently asked me if our move to London has made me homesick. I don't miss the United States -- partly because Dave teaches at an American school, we know lots of Americans here, and much of the television and popular culture we experience is American. The cultural differences are not so huge that I miss my culture, know what I mean?

Of course, I do miss my family. But they're just a plane ride away, and I'm not sure flying from London to visit them in Florida will be much different from flying to see them when I lived in New York -- just a few additional hours of flying time.

What I miss is home the way it used to be. ("You can't go home again," as Thomas Wolfe once wrote.) Almost immediately after I moved out of my family home in 1985, it changed dramatically -- my brother colonized my old bedroom, the neighborhood became more developed, my childhood friends moved on to lives of their own. In the years since, the changes have escalated as we've all aged, and as more and more people have poured into Florida. And of course I've changed a lot too.

Nostalgia is responsible for some of these feelings. When we think of our childhoods we often remember the good things and bury the rougher memories -- the struggles of growing up.

But still, if I'm homesick at all, that's what I miss -- lying in my bedroom listening to "99 Luftballons" on the radio, or waking up early to get ready for school with an old "Flipper" rerun on the TV, or riding bikes with my brother as our dogs tagged at our heels, or anticipating my mom's beef stroganoff. I'm homesick for the vacant lot that used to be next to our house, which you see in the photo above. Just a year or two after I shot this picture in 1984, a house was built on that lot. Now it's gone for good.


e said...

An interesting post. I was never homesick while traveling and probably would not miss the US once I left, a by-product of growing up abroad and seeing other cultures.

Merle Sneed said...

I'll never live abroad, I'm too old, but what I do regret is having not taken chances in life. I don't long for a life past, but for a life that might have been, had I not been bred to be cautious.

Barbara said...

Our Florida childhoods seemed so simple compared to a kid's life today. We never worried about cell phones or texting or listening to music everywhere we went. I spent a lot of my time just roaming around my neighborhood with friends. No one ever worried that I might be abducted or that my dog might get hit as he ran after my bike.