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  #1  
Old 12-12-2005, 07:10 PM
ShortBus ShortBus is offline
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meaning of "you can never go home again"?

I never really understood this quote. Does anyone have better insight?
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  #2  
Old 12-12-2005, 07:13 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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I always took it to mean that things and you change, and that you can never recapture the feelings you had in the past. It will always seem different.



Either that, or your parents have moved without leaving a forwarding address.


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  #3  
Old 12-12-2005, 07:17 PM
saoirse saoirse is offline
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Once you have grown up, and been out into the wide world, "home" will not be the same place it was when you left. So much so that it will no longer be "home" to you any more than any other place you live.

Incidentally, Look Homeward Angel was once the most popular gift for college freshmen.

And no, the preceding is not true at all.
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Old 12-12-2005, 07:20 PM
Polycarp Polycarp is offline
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"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke
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  #5  
Old 12-12-2005, 07:24 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Read the book.

Thomas Wolf - 1940
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  #6  
Old 12-12-2005, 08:34 PM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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Spartydog, I support you totally in recommending the book. But I'm going to nitpick only about the copyright date which was 1929. (The author was dead before 1940.)

If you liked the book that much, you might want to visit Ashville, N.C. which is the real setting for the book. The house that served as the boarding house in Look Homeward Angel was his own mother's boarding house. It still stands and is open to the public. There is a short walk to the place where the "stone carving" business was supposed to be. The boarding house is on the same street as the Radisson parking lot downtown.

Characters in the book were modelled after his own family and there are books available at the Thomas Wolfe Center behind the boarding house that compare the two. (Many other interesting things there too.)

The hook is coming again. Silenus answered the question well.
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  #7  
Old 12-12-2005, 08:53 PM
R. P. McMurphy R. P. McMurphy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe
Spartydog, I support you totally in recommending the book. But I'm going to nitpick only about the copyright date which was 1929. (The author was dead before 1940.)

If you liked the book that much, you might want to visit Ashville, N.C. which is the real setting for the book. The house that served as the boarding house in Look Homeward Angel was his own mother's boarding house. It still stands and is open to the public. There is a short walk to the place where the "stone carving" business was supposed to be. The boarding house is on the same street as the Radisson parking lot downtown.

Characters in the book were modelled after his own family and there are books available at the Thomas Wolfe Center behind the boarding house that compare the two. (Many other interesting things there too.)

The hook is coming again. Silenus answered the question well.
My humble apologies. Knowing the author I Googled his name and the bibliography. 1940 came up, which must have been the year for a particular publisher.

Just goes to show, you can't believe everything you read on the internet!

Nonetheless, it is a book that I read many years ago and consider one of the most important books I have ever read.
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  #8  
Old 12-12-2005, 09:38 PM
NoCoolUserName NoCoolUserName is offline
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It means:
Quote:
Life is change
How it differs from the rocks
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  #9  
Old 12-12-2005, 10:22 PM
silenus silenus is online now
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I've seen their ways
too often for my liking
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  #10  
Old 12-13-2005, 03:30 AM
Ponster Ponster is offline
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I moved away from Ireland 8 years ago and can never "go back home" as it does not exist anymore as the Ireland that I left in 1997. This is what I understand by the phrase.
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  #11  
Old 12-13-2005, 03:47 AM
don't ask don't ask is offline
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meaning of "you can never go home again"?

no really don't.
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  #12  
Old 12-13-2005, 10:18 AM
BurnMeUp BurnMeUp is offline
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As Edward Abbey wrote in A Fool's Progress "Home is where, when you have to go there, you probably shouldn't."
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  #13  
Old 12-13-2005, 10:27 AM
Gary "Wombat" Robson Gary "Wombat" Robson is offline
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I really understand this phrase! I returned recently to the "home" where I grew up. I hadn't been there in over 15 years. Everything was different. I was in the same physical location, but I wasn't "home."

The phrase "you can't go home again" means that you can return to a particular hunk of land, but the old home simply doesn't exist anymore so there's no way to return to it.
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  #14  
Old 12-13-2005, 04:11 PM
rowrrbazzle rowrrbazzle is offline
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And as T.S. Eliot wrote:
Quote:
We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
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  #15  
Old 12-13-2005, 06:28 PM
panamajack panamajack is offline
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Thomas Wolfe's You Can't Go Home Again was published in 1940, indeed posthumously. I think there was some confusion over which title was being referred to.
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  #16  
Old 12-13-2005, 08:31 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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I didn't read Wolfe's book but I have a slightly different interpretation than what has been said here.

It's not home that has changed, it's you. You return to a place hoping to recapture that part of your life, but you have moved on and that part of your life was not waiting around for you to recapture it.

My 20th high school reunion party was just down the street from the school, and they opened it up for us for a tour. I went in. It was the first time I had been back since graduation day. It was maybe a coat of paint away from being just as it had been 20 years earlier. But it wasn't quite how I remembered it. The biggest difference was that I wasn't a teenager anymore, so I just saw it completely differently. I had expected to be a teenager again when I walked through the doors, but it just didn't happen.

A similar story can be found in Anthony Bourdain's A Cook's Tour where, in his 40's, he persuaded his brother to join him in returning to the French countryside of their youth, to recapture some of those lost years. Some things had changed, to be sure, but the author seemed to find himself sitting there in the cold eating oysters wondering what was it that he thought was so great about this when he was 10.
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  #17  
Old 12-13-2005, 08:43 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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[QUOTE=CookingWithGas]It's not home that has changed, it's you. You return to a place hoping to recapture that part of your life, but you have moved on and that part of your life was not waiting around for you to recapture it../QUOTE]I think both you and place changed.

I don't know who said it but, "A man cannot step into the same stream twice." and its opposite, "The same man cannot step into the stream twice.
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  #18  
Old 12-13-2005, 08:46 PM
David Simmons David Simmons is offline
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Wikipedia to the rescue. It was Heraclitus.
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  #19  
Old 12-13-2005, 09:22 PM
Little Nemo Little Nemo is online now
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And it was L.P. Hartley who said, "The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."
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  #20  
Old 12-13-2005, 11:09 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ShortBus
I never really understood this quote. Does anyone have better insight?
The way I look at it, it's like when you leave, you and all your friends have a picture in your mind of how things were. You go back a couple of times trying to recapture that picture in your mind. One day, you look at the picture and are like "who the fuck are these people".

The movie Garden State gives a good example of the strangeness of returning to a place you haven't been to in awhile and seeing everything as familiar yet alien.
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  #21  
Old 02-05-2011, 08:58 AM
teacher52 teacher52 is offline
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meaning of "you can't go home again"

You can't go home again because it's not there. "Home" where you grew up, the people and places and events of your early days, has changed just as you have.
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  #22  
Old 02-05-2011, 09:09 AM
Lust4Life Lust4Life is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silenus View Post


Either that, or your parents have moved without leaving a forwarding address.


I hate it when they do that, every single time.
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  #23  
Old 02-05-2011, 09:40 AM
SuperAbe SuperAbe is offline
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Publication date

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
Spartydog, I support you totally in recommending the book. But I'm going to nitpick only about the copyright date which was 1929. (The author was dead before 1940.)
(Yes, this is a 5 year-old zombie thread, but there's a small clarification to be made here.)

You Can't Go Home Again was published in 1940 - posthumously. Wolfe died in 1938, leaving YCGHA and The Web and the Rock (1939) complete but not printed (source).

The issue of copyright date is considerably more murky....
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  #24  
Old 02-05-2011, 10:04 AM
The Hamster King The Hamster King is online now
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Re-reading this thread now, five years later ... it's just not the same.
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  #25  
Old 02-05-2011, 11:00 AM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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Originally Posted by The Hamster King View Post
Re-reading this thread now, five years later ... it's just not the same.

[Stares wistfully at his old post from his youth]
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  #26  
Old 02-05-2011, 01:59 PM
GiantRat GiantRat is offline
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Originally Posted by Ponster View Post
I moved away from Ireland 8 years ago and can never "go back home" as it does not exist anymore as the Ireland that I left in 1997. This is what I understand by the phrase.
That reminds me of a Black 47 lyric :"always remember / at the end of the day / you can always go home, / you just can't stay."

I like that song a lot. I believe it's called "American Wake."
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  #27  
Old 02-05-2011, 03:59 PM
msmith537 msmith537 is online now
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Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
That reminds me of a Black 47 lyric :"always remember / at the end of the day / you can always go home, / you just can't stay."

I like that song a lot. I believe it's called "American Wake."

Tough to go home again when your option are "castration" or a "one way trip to New York"!
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  #28  
Old 08-26-2013, 08:25 PM
Ron Townson Ron Townson is offline
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At 14 I left Hicksville, New York and hitch hiked to California with a buddy.
Stayed for several months and came back "home". I had just turned 15,
but I was a man! Home wasn't like it was when I left. Never felt comfortable there!
Needless to say, I went back on the road for the nest 40 years...where I always felt
comfortable! Strange. But I am glad I did what I did.
BTW, where is that Stream?
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  #29  
Old 08-26-2013, 09:50 PM
Shakes Shakes is online now
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Originally Posted by CookingWithGas View Post
IIt's not home that has changed, it's you. You return to a place hoping to recapture that part of your life, but you have moved on and that part of your life was not waiting around for you to recapture it.

.
This. I remeber right after I got divorced, I went to go look up an old GF of mine. Turns out she happened to be single at the time too. I was all excited about seeing thios girl again.

Well, once we hooked up, we soon realized that the magic was gone. Really, she felt like a stranger to me. And I'm sure I seemed like a stranger to her as well.
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  #30  
Old 08-26-2013, 11:28 PM
md2000 md2000 is offline
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Originally Posted by Shakes View Post
This. I remeber right after I got divorced, I went to go look up an old GF of mine. Turns out she happened to be single at the time too. I was all excited about seeing thios girl again.

Well, once we hooked up, we soon realized that the magic was gone. Really, she felt like a stranger to me. And I'm sure I seemed like a stranger to her as well.
It was raining hard in Frisco,
I needed one more fare to make my night,
A lady up ahead waved to flag me down,
She got in at the light...


Scary how for every scene and mood, somebody more artistic has always done it better.

I really liked The Go-Between, particularly for that opening quote.

As others have said, I also take it to mean - you can go home, but it won't be the same after a long time. Everything changes. It's just the changes were not obvious when they happened day to day around you.

As a minor example, I went back to where I lived for several years when I was a child. It took me a few seconds to figure out the difference - the bald subdivision with a few sticks for landscaping was now an urban forest canopy giving the whole area a different look. (In the other neighbourhood, the whole block of 1930's houses was replaced by one giant apartment building on its own bald lot. )
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  #31  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:26 AM
Peter Morris Peter Morris is offline
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Obligatory XKCD cartoon
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  #32  
Old 08-27-2013, 01:50 AM
naita naita is offline
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Especially true if you're a zombie.
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  #33  
Old 08-27-2013, 10:31 AM
ClintO ClintO is offline
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I always liked, " You can always go back, but you can't go back all the way."

Bob Dylan
The song was,"Mississippi"
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  #34  
Old 08-27-2013, 11:39 AM
kayaker kayaker is offline
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The concept of a statute of limitations doesn't apply to everything.
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  #35  
Old 08-27-2013, 12:00 PM
Keeve Keeve is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by md2000 View Post
It was raining hard in Frisco,
I needed one more fare to make my night,
A lady up ahead waved to flag me down,
She got in at the light...
Yeah, but I prefer

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out and I watched her drive away.
Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain... ...
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  #36  
Old 08-27-2013, 01:46 PM
Capt B. Phart Capt B. Phart is offline
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Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
Obligatory XKCD cartoon
That's what happened when my sister and I decided to try our childhood sledging spot:
"It's going to look pathetic, and it used to be terrifying"
- then we climbed to the top:
"Holy crap! we used to go down that?"
(though at least the rusty barbed-wire fence at the bottom that you had to lie flat to avoid was gone)
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  #37  
Old 08-27-2013, 03:01 PM
Earl Snake-Hips Tucker Earl Snake-Hips Tucker is offline
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Well, looking at the OP's name, I kinda doubt he ever moved far away from home.
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  #38  
Old 08-27-2013, 07:45 PM
CookingWithGas CookingWithGas is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Morris View Post
Obligatory XKCD cartoon
I think that's a send-up of a cornball syrupy story I read decades ago (probably in something like Reader's Digest) that started the same and ended with the guy just finding a little rusty sliding board in place of the huge one he remembered. I don't know the source of that story.
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  #39  
Old 08-28-2013, 09:52 AM
johnspartan johnspartan is offline
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You can, but it only works if you say "Home again, home again, jiggity jig."
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  #40  
Old 08-28-2013, 12:07 PM
astorian astorian is offline
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Originally Posted by Keeve View Post
Yeah, but I prefer

The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out and I watched her drive away.
Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain... ...
As long as we're trading relevant song lyrics, there's "Unanswered Prayers" by Garth Brooks.


Just the other night at a hometown football game,
My wife and I ran into my old high school flame,
And as I introduced them the past came back to me,
And I couldn't help but think of the way things used to be

She was the one that I'd wanted for all times,
And each night I'd spend praying that God would make her mine.
And if he'd only grant me this wish I wished back then,
I'd never ask for anything again .

She wasn't quite the angel that I remembered in my dreams,
And I could tell that time had changed me
In her eyes too, it seemed.
We tried to talk about the old days.
There wasn't much we could recall .
I guess the Lord knows what he's doing after all.

Last edited by astorian; 08-28-2013 at 12:08 PM..
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  #41  
Old 08-29-2013, 05:03 AM
Zoe Zoe is offline
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When I was a child living in a town of 2,000 people, all the kids went to the movies on Saturday night. At Christmas, colored lights were strunk from pole to pole for the two blocks of downtown. My dad's store in the middle of all this was thriving for 35 years -- as were the other businesses including five dress shops. I didn't go back much after my father died in 1989. My mother moved away to another small town to be near my sister.

When my mother died, she was returned to my hometown for funeral and burial. I didn't let myself look at the town when we cut across at the stop light. But I went back later that month to make photos with an old friend for a class reunion. It was gut-wrenching for me. All of the stores downtown were closed or falling down. There was a tiny drugstore on one corner. No soda shop. The theater had collapsed. No high school. Many of the beautiful old houses were gone. My favorite street in the world, bar none, was pretty much deserted.

When you've lived in a town and known everyone, it is so painful to know they are mostly all gone.

The people who bought our family residence of 50 years have kept it in beautiful condition, but I won't go inside. But at least I have that -- and a photograph of it in the snow.

It was hard not to think of some of the Westerns my rowdy buddies and I saw together. The ghost towns always made me sad and frightened. I never dreamed...
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  #42  
Old 08-29-2013, 06:43 AM
ralph124c ralph124c is offline
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Originally Posted by Zoe View Post
When I was a child living in a town of 2,000 people, all the kids went to the movies on Saturday night. At Christmas, colored lights were strunk from pole to pole for the two blocks of downtown. My dad's store in the middle of all this was thriving for 35 years -- as were the other businesses including five dress shops. I didn't go back much after my father died in 1989. My mother moved away to another small town to be near my sister.

When my mother died, she was returned to my hometown for funeral and burial. I didn't let myself look at the town when we cut across at the stop light. But I went back later that month to make photos with an old friend for a class reunion. It was gut-wrenching for me. All of the stores downtown were closed or falling down. There was a tiny drugstore on one corner. No soda shop. The theater had collapsed. No high school. Many of the beautiful old houses were gone. My favorite street in the world, bar none, was pretty much deserted.

When you've lived in a town and known everyone, it is so painful to know they are mostly all gone.

The people who bought our family residence of 50 years have kept it in beautiful condition, but I won't go inside. But at least I have that -- and a photograph of it in the snow.

It was hard not to think of some of the Westerns my rowdy buddies and I saw together. The ghost towns always made me sad and frightened. I never dreamed...
So sad..I just read an old book by Pierre van Passen-("Days of Our Year")-in it, he relates his return to his old town of Gorcum, Holland. He saw his family house now a garage, all his friends gone. So sad and melancholy.
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  #43  
Old 08-29-2013, 11:19 AM
Cartoonacy Cartoonacy is offline
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Originally Posted by Ron Townson View Post
At 14 I left Hicksville, New York and hitch hiked to California with a buddy.
Stayed for several months and came back "home". I had just turned 15,
but I was a man! Home wasn't like it was when I left. Never felt comfortable there!
I live just a few miles from Hicksville. I like the neighborhood. I do miss the old "My Pie" restaurant, though. They had the best deep-dish pizza around. It closed about 25 years ago.
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