Susan Clayton, an environmental psychologist at the College of Wooster, says that for many people, their home is part of their self-definition, which is why we do things like decorate our houses and take care of our lawns. These large patches of vegetation serve little purpose, but they are part of a public face people put on, displaying their home as an extension of themselves. It’s hardly rare, though, in our mobile modern society, to accumulate several different homes over the course of a lifetime.”
Whether we know it or not, the place where we grew up usually retains a special iconic place in our hearts. Much of our identity is wrapped up in where we came from. Our accents give this away and sometimes our style. Looking back on our original place of residence as a child is a therapeutic and nostalgic way to remember who we used to be.
Thomas Wolfe says, “You can’t go home again”. Finding your way back to your childhood home is something thousands of people do each year. At the very least, most of us drive by, stand on the driveway or sit in the car and stare. We note how much the trees have grown or the new color of the shutters. Some of us are brazen enough to knock and speak to the new owners. Perhaps Mr. Wolfe is incorrect. There’s just something so nostalgic about standing there that brings back all those childhood feelings. Esther Sternberg, a rheumatologist and author of the book, “Healing Spaces : The Science of Place and Well-Being says, “There’s a kind of memory that focuses on place.”
Perhaps this summer your travel plans will take you from your new community at The Village of Bedford Walk to your childhood haunts and home. If so, take pictures and bring them back to us. Share them with all and tell us what you enjoyed about the experience. One thing is for certain, Thomas Wolfe was not entirely wrong. He also said , “But why had he always felt so strongly the magnetic pull of home, why had he thought so much about it and remembered it with such blazing accuracy, if it did not matter, and if this little town, and the immortal hills around it, was not the only home he had on earth? He did not know. All that he knew was that the years flow by like water and that one day men come home again.”