Mainers have a saying that goes something like “no matter how many years you stay away you’ll always come back.” I think it has something to do with the sense of ‘place’, the feeling of ‘coming home.’ I’ve had that feeling about a few of the places I’ve lived. Occasionally I have a bit of nostalgia about the old North Side where I grew up in Minneapolis, a real neighborhood.
Lincoln, Nebraska, where I lived for seven years and where our kids were in grade school holds fond memories of family and friends.
Me and Rob at home Gordon & Claudine Scott Trinity UCC
San Francisco represents a time of re-emerging as a human being after a period of spiritual aridity.
The San Francisco ICA House No Caption Needed Now Six Bucks to ride?
And Maine. It is difficult to capture in words the feeling of being at home I experienced while travelling from town to town in that state.
There is that nagging truism about not being able to go home again. And my experience bears that out. Each time I’ve returned to any of those places that saying comes to me not in word or emotion but as experiential fact. Nonetheless, the sense of ‘home’ comes up and I have to ask myself: “What is that?”
This week I had the urge to type Ellis Bliss’ name into the Google search box and the first post that came up was her obituary. Ellis died this past September and her memorial was held in October at her old UCC church in Portland. Memories came up: The time she dropped the lobster for dinner into the pot before the water was boiling and we watched the poor creature jump out on the floor; how she was always there to welcome me ‘home’ after a long cold drive; how she would beam as she talked about her kids; her devotion to Harry who was always a big dreamer and social activist; and welcoming me back after 20 years of no contact even though I had two colleagues with me for an overnight stay.
Me and Ellis in 1996 34 Bay Road in South Portland, Maine
I left Maine behind that cold November in 1977. And it was true that nothing was the same when I returned years later. But I guess the lesson for me about coming home was that even though I left Maine, Maine never left me, just as all the places I mentioned earlier remain with me, though I left them long ago.
Whenever I forget that ‘home’ is just another concept that I can get hung up on, that sense of ‘being home’ comes up to remind me that I am never not at home.
Well, I thought I was through with Maine. Apparently Maine was not yet through with me but I would have wander around the eastern United States for a few months before that discovery.