When I was twelve my family moved from New York to New Jersey. I loved living there, ad lots of friends nearby, and it was the first place we stayed long enough for it to feel like home to me. But we left, I was devastated, and life went on. It took ages for me to feel like New Jersey was home, but it does (and I am deliriously happy to be here).
In 1997 I had the opportunity to go back there and take a look around. The place had changed dramatically, but still felt very familiar. Best of all, I happened upon the mom of one of the kids I had grown up with. She invited me in and we talked for a good couple of hours. It was really great.
Over the years I have kept the old neighborhood close to my heart. I would often use my old street name, the town name and other bits and pieces of my time there when naming things or crafting usernames and passwords and such.
This past weekend I went back there again. It's amazing how much a place can change in fourteen years. So much so that it no longer felt familiar. Oh sure--my old house and street looked familiar, but that was really about it. Just about everything else seemed foreign.
While I was there I stopped by the town library and looked at two yearbooks from the high school I would have attended: one from my graduating year and one from four years later, when the neighborhood kids graduated. I. Recognized. Nobody. It was so weird. I remember their names, but don't recognize their faces. But to be fair, I'm that way with many of the people I actually graduated with.
So it seems that I have finally gotten my old neighborhood out of my system. I loved my time there, I have tons of wonderful memories of it, but it is now all in the past--where it belongs.