Monday, November 27, 2006

Home Again Home Again Jiggety Jig

"A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it."
-- George Moore (1852-1933)

Margot and I took a drive out to Johnson this weekend. She had to conduct an interview for Seven Days and I was itching to get out of town, the farther the better.

We moved to Johnson Vermont from Manhattan when I was 7 yrs old and Margot was 12. The town is sheltered by mountains and, during our childhoods, was entirely isolated from the outside world. We each left town when we turned 15 yrs old and got the hell outta Dodge without one fond look back.

"'Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble there's no place like home!"
-- John Howard Payne (1791-1852)

Going back to Johnson pulls me into a thicket of memories thicker than molasses. The houses look more run down than I remember, there are more renters and fewer family homes. I can still name all the families who used to live on Railroad Street - The Sladyks, The Benfords, The Manchesters - when will I forget these names?

But the cemetery hasn't changed much since I was a girl haunting its nooks and crannies with my gang of pals, a couple new occupants here and there.

After a trip "home" to Johnson, my head often feels cloudy and muted as though I have been seeing back in time through many layers of dusty, ancient cobwebs. And if I look closely enough, I will see a 10 yr old version of me playing Murder between the tombstones and giggling like a maniac.

It is funny to think that these complex layers of memories lie dormant until I choose to crack open the door to the past and then, WATCH OUT!

Dr. Evil: My father was a relentlessly self-improving boulangerie owner from Belgium with low-grade narcolepsy and a penchant for buggery. My mother was a 15 year old French prostitute named Chloe with webbed feet. My father would womanize, he would drink, he would make outrageous claims, like he invented the question mark.

Sometimes, he would accuse chestnuts of being lazy - the sort of general malaise that only the genius possess and the insane lament. My childhood was typical: summers in Rangoon, luge lessons. In the spring, we'd make meat helmets. When I was insolent, I was placed in a burlap bag and beaten with reeds. Pretty standard, really.

- Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery

We have not passed that subtle line between childhood and adulthood until we move from the passive voice to the active voice--that is, until we stop saying "It got lost," and say "I lost it." - Sydney J. Harris

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