You Really Can Go Home…
I have just completed a weeklong visit to my city of birth, Peoria, Illinois. Having been a resident of California for the past 32 years, and always feeing the sense of pride for being a product of a proud Midwestern city, I usually stay only a few days before heading back to the west coast.
If you have ever spent a week in your hometown, you know how it feels to see childhood friends, fellow high school classmates, even a long lost love…but it was the time I spent with my family that brought so much joy to my heart. My best friend and his family had a cookout where so many of them and their children, and grandchildren were introduced. Outside of the stifling 95 degree heat, the time reminiscing about our childhood pranks and foibles, I was emotionally satisfied. However, it was the time with my daughter, grand and great-granddaughter that had my heart singing.
Imagine now, as we are moving towards a time in our lives when there are more days behind us than in front of us, and knowing that there is a legacy of your family in place. Sharing family lineage and life history with my granddaughter brought joy to us both as she found many things both funny and interesting. I even brought a letter along with me that she had written to me over 10 years ago…when she was smitten by the Hello Kitty craze. She was surprised that I had kept it and got a real kick out of that. Looking into the eyes of my great granddaughter, knowing she will see things in her world that I can’t even imagine, humbled me as to the evolution of life and honor the fact that we are all here for just a few short years..
For my online friends and former Peoria residents who now live around the country, I captured photos and videos of various cityscapes…creating a trivia game of name-that-place. Sadly, my video blog pursuit of a childhood eatery, Velvet Freeze, famous for their Wonder dogs and chili, came up empty as they all have been closed in a sad example of the economic times we live in.
As I prepare to board my plane later today I do so with a smile on my face and a song in my heart. This trip to my hometown has been cathartic and special. I am reminded once again that we can go home and feel that sense of connectedness to people and a place that can never be undone. Time to now click my heels, board a 727 airliner and head back to my new home….without the need of any Wizard. Peace.